27 Jun Why You Need a Comment Policy and What it Should Look Like
People are going to say negative things about your brand. It’s going to happen and there’s nothing you can do about it. Or is there? Well, you could hit delete. But should you?
Before you do anything, it’s a good idea to have a clearly posted policy for commenting. If you delete comments first, then you run the risk of closing the communication channel that you are trying to create. Sure, if the comment is outright vulgar, illegal or pure spam, you can delete without much fear of repercussion. (Unless you are a government agency, but that’s for another post.) But, if the comment is simply negative publicity, then a comment policy will help to determine whether or not it is allowed.
[Company Name] encourages users to share comments, questions and concerns on our blog and social media websites. Comments posted by users do not necessarily reflect the views of [Company Name] or our employee’s.
We reserve the right to delete or not allow comments that contain:
- Vulgar or abusive language;
- Personal or obscene attacks;
- Offensive terms targeting individuals or groups;
- Threats or defamatory statements;
- Suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity;
- Multiple, successive, off-topic posts by a single user or repetitive post copied and pasted by multiple users;
- Copyright or trademark infringements;
- Unsolicited proposals or other business ideas or inquiries;
- Promotion or endorsement of commercial services, products, or entities; or
- Violations of third-party social network terms, when applicable.
To delete, or not to delete?
Even with a clear policy, you shouldn’t be quick to delete. Think about it for a second. Why are you participating in social media? (Don’t have a plan? Think about your online strategy, first.) You probably want to build brand awareness, generate leads, sell stuff or improve customer service. If people are posting positive comments about your brand, then you can thank them and they may or may not tell other people about your brand or the interaction. But, if someone posts something negative and you help them, then there’s a good chance they will change their attitude and even tell others about the experience.
People love a good apology. Think about all the steroid-using baseball players who apologized and those who didn’t. Who do we still love? Not Barry Bonds, that’s for sure.
Handling negative comments can be a bit tricky. Have you had any problems or success with negative comments?