Should You Delete or Not Delete Ugly Posts?

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What happens if someone posts a nastygram on your Facebook page or adds a comment to your LinkedIn post that is totally inappropriate or unrelated to the original post?  Do you “customer service” it to death or should you just delete it?

Bottom line: It’s up to you.

Just because free speech exists does not mean it needs to happen all over your stuff.  It’s YOUR business.   If someone came into your business shouting out their own political agendas, screaming about how stupid blah blah blah is, disrupting customers with their negativity and generally causing a problem, you would promptly make them leave or call police.   They are real life spammers. Translated online, these are people that sometimes aren’t even fans of your pages but will make a comment on a post or photo that’s totally unrelated to what you posted.

Example: Photo posted of business success story in Kansas City and how entrepreneurship is booming here. 

Comment: We are all selfish and stupid people for focusing on our businesses when Africa does not have clean water.

….. WTF??

Here’s our policy: If they cannot behave appropriately when they walk into our business, which includes our online locations, then they  are not allowed to stay.  Yes, we have banned people, reported spammy people, and the oh so feared… deleted people’s comments.  We are not willing to disrupt our other fans and customers for ignorance.

That said, if you truly have a customer service issue where someone is unhappy with your product or service, this should be addressed immediately.   The best way to address complaints is to answer it with as much empathy as possible and then take them offline as quickly as you can.  You don’t want a string of 30 commenters jumping on the train.

Example: I came into your store and your counter girl treated me like crap.  I was just trying to pay my bill but there is always a problem.  Your company sucks and I am going to tell all my friends how much you suck so they’ll switch to “competitor” like I’m about to do.   Thank you for ruining my day. 

*Every company’s fear right there!!!

Your response: Person’s name, This is not good news and we are very sorry you had a bad experience in our store.  It’s especially unsettling to hear that you were treated badly.  Thank you so much for letting us know about it!  Our manager will contact you first thing in the morning to find out more details and assist you with your bill.  Again, very sorry.  We don’t want to ruin your day!

This person ended up apologizing within 45 seconds.  She was just mad because she needed to take care of something and it didn’t happen in a timely manner and the person she dealt with was rude.  Not an uncommon scenario.  Just like you would in person, hear the person out, empathize, focus on solving the problem, and APPRECIATE them for bringing it to your attention.   Most of the time, people just want to be heard and validated, whether it’s on or off line, and it shouldn’t add additional stress to put it in writing.

We do NOT banter back and forth with people who just want to argue.  If someone is unhappy, the unhappiness should not go on for the next 30 comments.   If other people are jumping in and fighting back and it becomes a free for all, you lose control if you don’t at least jump in and let them know your page is not the appropriate place for this conversation.. please take it somewhere else.   You have the right to do that.  If it keeps up, you have the right to delete the entire post.  We’ve seen people speak to what the post was about after it was deleted and apologize for deleting it saying it was necessary to keep the integrity of the page.  This can work well when you have loyal fans because they love it when you stick up for them!

The bottom line is that yes, people can go out there and post negative comments but you own your business and the brand that it carries so you get to decide who stays and who goes.   Yes, there can be backlash from people who become stronger haters after they’ve been deleted but the chances are slim and they only make themselves look stupid in the process.   And most of the time, we leave their stupidity up for all the world to see!

Other times, we hide it as spam.  Sometimes, the person has to go altogether –  banned.  What is banned?   When they come back to the page, they will see no options to like, comment or share.  They can look but cannot play.  That’s what happens when you can’t act right when your visiting someone’s online locations.

Your reputation is up to you.  Don’t let others wreck it for you because you think you have to leave one ugly comment online for the world to see forever.   Really… it’s okay to hit DELETE!


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