When the Danish magazine “Cover” ran a photo of a dangerously thin model last month, the social media buzz could be heard around the globe. While the magazine was rightfully criticized for including the photo, several media articles included another jab at the fashion magazine:
“Although the magazine apologized, it continued to face criticism both for portraying a model so thin that she appears malnourished and for allegedly deleting negative comments on its Facebook page.”
“Allegedly deleting negative comments on its Facebook page.” That phrase caught our attention at Cindy Miller Communications. It’s not necessarily bad to delete negative comments from a corporate page. When caught in a social media firestorm, focus your tactics on six strategies: Monitor. Pin. Reply. Isolate. Delete. Ban.
Monitor: At the first inkling of a crisis, assign team members to closely monitor as many social media sites as you can, even the ones where your company is not active. Need some clues on where to search? Pull in a Millennial team member, and she’ll know where to look outside the obvious ones like Facebook and Twitter.
Pin: Facebook offers the “pin” feature, which allows you to anchor a post at the top of the your company page. This allows you to write a response to the gist of the comments swirling on social media, giving you the opportunity to convey key messaging.
Reply: Don’t be shy about replying to posts on social media. Facebook makes it easy, and provides a “reply” button on each post. This is again another opportunity to convey company messages, and can also provide the opportunity to correct misinformation.
Isolate: You can take a Facebook conversation private by sending a message to the person commenting on your page. This gives you the option of continuing the conversation out of the public glare, and providing more information and resources to help clarify issues.
Delete: You should feel free to delete posts on your social media sites that don’t conform with your own social media policies. Posts that violate your company culture — racist comments, profanity, personal attacks — should be deleted.
Ban: Your company doesn’t have to take a passive approach to “trolls,” someone who posts offensive, divisive or controversial comments to your site. Do your best to engage and follow your company’s policy, but if in the end you’re not solving the problem, you can ban this person from your page. Be aware, though, that this “troll” can continue on other social media sites, and a ban from your Facebook page doesn’t control the conversation on Twitter.
Social media posts can be valuable forums for exchanging information and opinions, but you don’t need to allow them to become whipping posts.