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Got a Troll? Tips for responding to comments?

Social Media TrollThe more active your Facebook page gets the more comments and wall posts you are likely to get.  The big question is: how to reply?

  1. Always reply!
    Unless the comment is just a quick “Thank you”, you should pretty much always respond. This does not mean that you have to write a full reply, sometimes giving the comment a “like” is sufficient.
  2. Don’t delete.
    It is generally a bad idea to delete any comment or wall post, even if it is negative. People will tend to think that you are avoiding an issue and will make a bigger deal out of deleting a comment than if you just respond.  The only time you should delete a comment is if it is truly inappropriate, like porn or hate speech. If you do delete a comment that was in a discussion thread, I would recommend making a comment in the thread that addresses the deletion and why you did it.

Those are the two golden rules of managing your comments, but obviously there is more to it than that.

Comments tend to be one of four types:

  • Positive
  • Constructive Criticism
  • Negative
  • Spam

Positive Comments: These are usually praising your brand or your product. The person is commenting on the value you bring to their consumer experience. These are really important to respond to. This is how you build brand loyalty. Thank the person for the comment and try to add some additional value, like a fact relating to their comment – or tip them off to some exciting developments.

Constructive Criticism: This might be negative feedback but it is usually in an area that can be improved, like customer service or an issue with the product. Consider these as opportunities for flexing your customer service muscle. You can take the feedback and expand it to an email to help resolve their issue. Or if there is a solution, you can tell them how it is being addressed and thank them for bringing it to your attention.  When you address the criticism head on, you are also building brand loyalty. It shows the person that you value their opinion.

Negative: These comments are usually from a bad personal experience.  It can be an opportunity to remedy the situation if possible, or at least apologize. You may not gain a new friend, but it will smooth out the situation and show other people that you are invested in the customer/client experience with your brand.  Plus, if one person had an unsatisfactory experience there is a good chance that others have as well, but aren’t telling you.

Spam: This is pretty much the one thing you can delete without the worry of getting pushback from your fan base.  In fact, most will appreciate you moderating comments and getting rid of the spam; it will show that you care about the content on your page.


The Big Question: Facebook Polls

Facebook recently introduced their version of the most tried and true feedback tool in the box: Questions. Now anyone can easily create a poll to gather data on anything that comes to mind, and can link back to that poll through their Facebook account or Facebook Page.

However, there is a strategy behind successful polling – just ask Nielsen, or the census committee. Here are a few ways to get the most out of your efforts to ask for feedback.


Create a Debate

Which is the most financially savvy gender?
a) Male
b) Female

Giving your users a limited number of answers to choose when replying to a controversial topic will almost always create a debate – in this case, the good ole’ male vs female argument. You don’t need to be inflammatory either; political opinions can be just as strong as say… culinary ones. Avoid offering answers that let people sit easily with their position (ie: no ‘maybe’ option) so you can stimulate a conversation around the difficult options in the comments section.


Solicit Suggestions

Where is the best hamburger in the city?
a) Joe’s Local Resto
b) My backyard BBQ

Leaving the Question open to multiple answers enables a different type of data collection through this Facebook tool. Rather than using a poll to determine a fixed outcome, it can be used to build a list of resources from your audience’s suggestions – in this case, good burgers. This is a fantastic way to engage your audience, solicit feedback and potentially target the next sponsor for your company BBQ.


Let them Decide

For our next giveaway, would you rather win…
a) an Apple product
b) an Amazon gift card
c) cash

Never forget that your audience loves to influence you – and you should let them! The impact of a fan-driven decision can bring you greater success, for example in running a contest, and can give you a story to hang the campaign on. Although people can be fickle (and you probably shouldn’t base any major decisions on a poll) this can be a great way to check the oil before you rev up for future initiatives; or if you’re lucky, you may get an incredible idea from the crowd that you would never have thought of on your own.

The Evolution of Engagement

Today I received a comment on a post I wrote about MySpacefrom a guy named Spencer Kline.  I appreciated his positive feedback and responded to his comment.  I then noticed that he started following me on Twitter.  Since I had just interacted with him, I recognized who he was. I followed him back and tweeted about his comment.

Later that day I got a trackback to my post about MySpace.  An interesting post was referenced that linked to me. The post was called MySpace’s Future.

Since they were nice enough to link me in their post, I thought I would comment on it. So I did.  Though this was a new blog for me, I did not spend the time to explore it just then.  I didn’t even look at the URL. Blame it on being sick, being busy with projects, being lazy, who knows.

A little while later I got an email that someone responded to my comment.  Lo and behold it was Spencer Kline.  So I realized that he was likely the author of the blog.  I hopped back over to the site and dug in a little deeper.  Not only is he the author, it is his blog! Which if I had bothered to look at the URL I would have immediately realized, www.spencerkline.com. But, lazy, sick, busy..blah blah.

Once I FINALLY made the connection, it was a wonderful AHA moment.  What a wonderful circle of connection. He read my post. Commented. I commented back. He followed me. I followed him. He linked me. I commented. He commented back. I link him!

All of this happened within the span of a few hours. It is perfect!