Using social media is a wonderful way to get your positive message into the community. However “social media” means that it is a social enterprise and your posts WILL receive comments and discussions. This is where the power of social media lies – in the ability of other people talk about your product, service or organization. For more on this see our post on Hype and Buzz.
While you don’t have total control over the direction and type of discussions, you certainly can put some boundaries around them so you can maintain a focus on what is important to you. Most importantly, you need a way to set the rules for negative comments. This is where a Comment Policy comes in.
Our strong advice is that you should have a comment policy for your website and any social media page, especially Facebook. A Comment Policy is a publicly disclosed document of what you will or won’t allow on your social media pages or website.
This is an example of a comment policy you can adapt for your company/organization:
We welcome your comments to the Facebook page for [OUR COMPANY].
Our [site/page/group] intends to inform and engage with the fans, friends, family members, and other businesses, entities, or interested persons of [OUR COMPANY].
We encourage you to submit comments, questions, and concerns, but please understand that this is a moderated online discussion site and not a public forum.
We reserve the right to delete submissions that contain vulgar language, personal attacks of any kind, or comments we deem to be offensive or disparaging.
Further, [OUR COMPANY] also reserves the right to delete comments that:
- Contain spam, advertising, solicitations or include links to other sites;
- Are clearly off topic or disruptive;
- Are chain letters, pyramid schemes, or fraudulent or deceptive messages;
- Are obscene, vulgar, or sexually explicit. This includes masked words (***), acronyms, and abbreviations;
- Promote particular services, products, or political organizations or campaigns;
- Infringe on copyrights or trademarks;
- Advocate illegal activity;
- Violate any policies of [OUR COMPANY] as displayed on our website [URL].
Please note that the comments expressed on this site do not reflect the opinions and official position of [OUR COMPANY].
This link has another great example of a policy you can use for your page.
While a comment policy such as the one above gives you broad power to edit or delete negative comments, we suggest you use this power very judiciously. In fact, with a well-crafted response, you can turn almost any negative comment from a liability into an asset in the eyes of your audience.