Susan G. Komen for the Cure dug itself into a PR hole recently after it cut funding to Planned Parenthood (hat tip to Gini Dietrich for sharing this with me).
I’m not much concerned with the politics of the decision, or the debate about Komen’s intentions. I’m focused on the PR response that followed. Apparently, Komen has been deleting negative comments from its Facebook Wall and other social media channels.
deleting negative Facebook comments:
is it ever a good idea?
Let’s look at it from a brand’s perspective: Your Facebook Page is your property (well, technically it’s Facebook’s property…), and you want to portray your brand in the best possible light. It’s a marketing channel and you want to win over new customers and keep the loyalty of existing customers. You have every right to delete comments that tarnish the image and message you’re trying to convey.
Okay, fair enough. But it’s still a bad idea. Here are three reasons why:
- Transparency. Like it or not, consumers demand greater transparency today than ever before. When brands scrub criticism from their Facebook Walls, customers are pretty quick to sniff it out, and they’re not afraid to point it out when you whitewash them. On the other hand, brands that embrace all feedback earn points for their receptiveness to criticism.
- Backlash. Think that negative review came from someone with an axe to grind? Imagine how PO’d they’ll be when you delete their negative comment. They’ll repost with renewed venom — then they’ll tell 100 friends, plus point out how you deleted their initial comment. Then you’ll start hearing from others who had a similar experience. Good luck sweeping that PR backlash under the rug.
- Customer Service Opportunity. Whether it’s a single negative review or a groundswell of criticism, negative feedback is a golden opportunity to show that you’re listening, you’re responsive, and you care. Remember, it’s often how you respond, rather than the initial complaint, that shapes customers’ opinions of you.
When Deleting Facebook Comments Makes Sense
There are a few cases when deleting comments is acceptable — if a comment uses obscene or threatening language, or violates your community guidelines, for example.
Do you have community guidelines for your Facebook Page? Maybe you should. What about a response and engagement plan? A social media engagement plan (sometimes called a social media policy) will advise you how to respond in various situations. A good social media plan explains when it is acceptable to delete a comment and what the protocol is, as well as when and how to respond to other comments.