Recently I noticed that about an hour or so after reading a post from a company I follow, the number of comments on the post had almost doubled, or maybe even tripled. While I was amazed, I also knew that this was the power of Social Media in action; creating conversation and buzz quickly and in real time. The number of comments on a brand’s single post can reach into the 1000’s in the matter of hours.
Moderating a large, and rapidly multiplying, amount comments can be difficult and overwhelming. One reason that moderation can be difficult is because of the Facebook culture. Facebook users expect a two-way conversation with the company, not just the other users. The combination of the users’ expectations and the vast number of comments turns social media brand management into a 24/7 job.
When venturing into the Social Media forum, it is important to plan not only one when, where, and what you will post, but also how you will respond to your audience. For most companies, the difficult questions or comments that you receive now, whether through email or phone calls, are the same questions that you will receive in the social media forum. Setting up a protocol on whether you will respond to comments, and if so, which ones. This is imperative for brand health.
The expectations of users varies by platform, Facebook users are more likely to expect a response than twitter followers, or at least expect a response sooner. At times, it may seem like it would be easier to delete negative comments that show up on your company’s page, but that may actually lead you down a more difficult path. Facebook users notice when a comment has been deleted from the comment thread and are often offended. Be very cautious when deleting comments, because this action may spark a larger negative backlash.
It is very common for Companies to post a “commenting policy” in the info section of their Facebook page, which would include protocols for dealing with inappropriate or offensive comments. If an inappropriate or offensive comment is posted on the page, then the established protocol should be followed to a “T”. In the Social Media world, it is considered justified to remove the offensive comment from the page. In addition, you should also respond to the comment via the comment thread or through Facebook message. You could mention your company’s “comments policy” and ask that they contact you via email with any questions or concerns.
If you only remember one thing when deciding to do Social Media, is that it is imperative that you prepare as much as possible beforehand. Social Media is an amazing tool that can grow and build a strong community around your brand, as long as you are prepared and active.