Guest Blog Alert: You’ve finally convinced your boss that you need a social media presence, even if it means relinquishing some control. And then you get it – a mean, nasty anti-organization post from a hater. What do you do? Carie Lewis, Director of Emerging Media for the Humane Society of the United States shares her two cents on the situation.
I sincerely don’t think there’s anything you can do to deter people from saying stupid and downright nasty stuff on Facebook (or any other social media platform for that matter). People are ruthless and this is where they go to say whatever they want. They think they have the right to be rude, hateful, and inappropriate. But at HSUS we decided that we weren’t going to allow that to happen on our organization’s page. And that’s why I think it’s important to develop a reactive strategy that works for you.
Our page can get downright controversial. But as you’ll see if you visit our Facebook page, we don’t simply delete disagreements. We only delete violations, which are clearly laid out (see commenting policy). This has saved us so many times from accusations that we are censoring. (One tip: screenshot those things you delete.)
We also go back to the community and say, “we deleted x’s comment because it violated x rule on our commenting policy. Please be sure to adhere to the policy to make sure this is a safe and meaningful place for all fans. Feel free to repost your comments without the violations.” The transparency helps build loyalty, and those people will begin to trust us and even defend us. People are free to express themselves on our page no matter what their beliefs are, but they MUST do it without profanity, personal attacks, etc. You get a warning (response) the first time, and the next time you get banned. Being strict on this has really helped control the madness.
Finally it is SO important to step back and separate yourself from the negative feedback, though I still find it incredibly challenging. Personally I get worked up when I work on dogfighting campaigns, being that I have a rescued pitbull. One time I told fans that this was a page for supporters of the HSUS, and the “unlike” button was right below our photo if anyone wanted to use it. I quickly learned after that to get my personal emotions in check. Live and learn right?