For brands that dally in social media spaces—Facebook in
particular—transparency and authenticity are the key to gaining
popularity and earning “likes.” So it’s a difficult decision whether to
delete a particular post.
Let’s face it. Not everyone loves your brand. Some see your Facebook
page as a public forum to deride you. You have two options: Engage the
person or ignore him. Both have their potential pitfalls, and it’s the
job of a social media manager to weigh those possible outcomes and
choose the best course of action.
Only in special cases and last-resort scenarios do you want to delete a
comment. If you delete them without proper cause, you risk the same fate
ChapStick suffered in 2011
. In short, it’s not pretty.
Hear how top companies adapted to the digital PR industry changes at this August event.]
Here are a few guidelines on when we deem it necessary to delete posts on brand pages:
If the post is depicting some illegal action.
Any time someone
posts a photo of an illegal activity on your page, you should definitely
delete it. For instance, a group called Label It Yourself
likes to go to grocery stores and put its own warning labels on
packaging. This is actually illegal, so brands shouldn’t worry about
deleting these posts from their page.
If a comment uses words you wouldn’t want a child to say.
set up your filter through Facebook’s settings to weed out any bad
words, but there are still clever alternative ways to spell curse
words—such as substituting the letter S with $, and substituting O with a
zero. Knuckleheads will find ways to swear on your page that you didn’t
think of. In these cases, it’s OK to delete.
If a post is completely off topic.
Let’s say you’re a cookie
brand and someone posts on your page about her undying disgust for
members of a particular political party. Do you keep it or delete it? I
generally lean toward deleting posts that are completely off topic and
out of place on the page. I have no problem explaining that away.
If a post attacks or is aimed at insulting another user.
Unless you’re managing the Facebook page for “The Jerry Springer Show
there’s probably no reason to provide an outlet for people to disparage
one another. Kindly ask them to take their vitriol elsewhere and delete
If someone is hawking their wares on your page.
It’s amazing how
many people see your page as the ideal place to inform people about
their completely unrelated product or website. It can get tricky when
it’s a blogger coming to your page who wants to use your product page as
a way to get page views for his or her article or story. These we have
to evaluate on a case-by-case basis.
If a claim against your product is blatantly false, it’s actually better
to address that in the comments and leave that up for everyone to see.
More often than not we see that when people come to your page to gang up
with negativity, your fans will come to your rescue and quell the
argument on your behalf—or at least post enough positive comments to
bury the negative.
How people can and cannot talk in your public forum should be outlined
in your community guidelines in as vague or specific language as you
feel comfortable using. As long as you have those guidelines to point to
as the reason you deleted a particular comment, you should have no
issues. It’s only when you start deleting negative comments from your
page with no basis that you run into trouble.