Unfortunately, it is not unusual for businesses, at one time or another, to face unwarranted, false, and malicious negativity on Facebook. Emotionally, it can leave you drained, exhausted, and feeling that your reputation is in tatters. It is not a good place for anyone to find themselves in. Knowing how to deal with negative posts on Facebook before they happen will ease the stress.
So how do you deal with a hater on Facebook without losing your mind (or your cool)? What can you do about a person who is posting malicious, mean-spirited, and false information about you and/or your business? What can you do about competitors who continually spam your page with their own business?
Not to worry, you have many options to ease you through this painful process. Below are eight suggestions to help you address this common, but very distressing issue.
1. Use a Light Touch
Most online professional advisors recommend taking a “light touch” to deal with negative posts on Facebook. When you are confronted by these “haters,” take a deep breath and try to deal with it calmly. Oftentimes, these posters are simply looking for attention and are just as happy to have bad attention as good attention. They are looking to provoke a reaction from you.
You must respond in some manner, but make sure you do it in a gentle, “light” manner. Offer understanding, solutions and, if necessary, apologies. If you truly have made a mistake, own it 100 percent, and do not make excuses. It might not appease the poster, but it shows other visitors to your page that you are professional and trying to resolve the issue. Being honest and caring will take you much farther than lashing out.
2. Be Flexible and Open-Minded in Your Response
On Facebook, you have many options for controlling the content on your page. Some businesses do not allow any posts whatsoever, some moderate posts, and some allow free and open posting. There are plusses and minuses to all these approaches, and you will need to determine which works best for you. You also have the option to moderate, review, and ban individuals who post egregious posts and/or spam your page with advertisements for their businesses.
3. Hide Bad Comments
If you run across an inflammatory post, seeks to harm your business, or provokes a negative reaction, you can hide that comment. To do this, there are three dots to the right of all postings that you can click. A drop-down menu will appear that will allow you to hide the post. This is a great option when it is apparent that the customer is not amenable to resolution. The best thing about this is that the person who posted a negative remark will still see their post. Yet, the post will no longer be viewable to the public. Unfortunately, it does not hide the comment from the poster’s friends. You may end up having to hide their comments as well.
Overall, however, this is a good option because the poster will have vented, and gotten it out of their system. Hopefully, they will now lose interest and wander off.
4. Delete Bad Comments
When dealing with negative comments on Facebook, you can completely delete the bad comments. Be careful, because this sometimes creates escalation. The last thing you need is for the poster to file complaints on Yelp, the BBB, Ripoff Report, or other local review pages. Most of these posters are wanting validation of their anger. If you delete their posts, it often escalates their negative behavior.
5. Ban the Poster
If, as a last resort, you find this person to be persistent in posting hateful commentary, you can ban them. Alternatively, if you find a person who is posting spam on your page or trying to redirect your customers to their page, banning is also a good alternative. Once you “hide” a comment on Facebook, the “ban” user option also appears. Unfortunately, sometimes this might be the best avenue to take.
6. Ban Specific Words
This is a great tool also in that it often heads off negative postings before they even hit your page. Facebook also defaults so that profanities are suppressed on business pages unless you turn off the profanity filter.
7. Moderate and/or Suspend Visitor Posts to Your Page
If you have an ongoing issue where you are finding you are receiving a lot of negative postings, you might want to consider moderating or suspending visitor posts during the crisis. This is accomplished on the Settings page under visitor posts. You can also block photos and graphics. This will require you to monitor your Facebook account much more closely, but sometimes this is necessary.
Keep in mind to carefully consider not allowing posts as you might be throwing out the good with the bad. Keep in mind that occasional not so favorable reviews, if handled professionally, can work to your benefit. This shows your willingness to work with customers and generate goodwill.
8. Revoke Local Business Reviews from your page
Reviews can be a hot button topic as people tend to “review” only when they are unhappy. Oftentimes the complaints are exaggerated. And in some cases, reviews are false and meant to hurt your business.
You can avoid this by removing the street address information from your Facebook page. This is not ideal, especially if you are a brick and mortar store, but it will prevent unwarranted negative reviews.
I hope these hints help you and give you some peace of mind if you find yourself in a situation where you need to deal with negative posts on Facebook. Just remember, these are times when you need to find the grace within yourself. Try making lemonade out of the bushel of lemons that have just been thrown at you.
If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, or if you feel your responses are making the situation worse, please do not hesitate to reach out for help from an experienced professional.
Chloe Longstreet is the Founder of The Social Expansion Project, a digital marketing agency for business owners who are sick of doing it all on their own. She is also the creator of The Business Owner’s Network, a group on LinkedIn where business owners can connect and collaborate. She loves connecting with new people online and helping them grow their business and network. When she isn’t working, she is hanging out with her super awesome family.