It’s already challenging enough to get people to comment on your business blog or post reviews. However, what do you do if you get a troll, baiter, flamer, or scammer that takes a liking to your page, product, or business? Depending on where they are (your own site vs. a third party review site) you may or may not have the option of deleting their comments. However, even if that is an option, are you sure that’s the best approach?
Maybe someone took that post about Michael Jackson (not that one) and decided to bomb the comment section with the other Michael Jackson’s lyrics. That can actually work in your favor since humorous comments and reviews keep things light, entertaining, and some sites (like Amazon) consider it a fun part of the whole experience. However, if the comments get abusive or attempt to hi-jack the page and take your customers elsewhere, that’s when you need to take action.
Here are your options for dealing with comment trolls and their brethren. Just remember: If you’re getting these kinds of comments, it’s actually a good thing—consider it better than another option which is no comments at all!
1. Ignore them
This may be the best approach if the comments are generally harmless and don’t include links to pages that aren’t related to your site. However, location is everything (both in comments and with small businesses), so make sure you keep control of comments on your own site or social media pages. You need to know when to step in and act as moderator and when to let your audience enjoy themselves.
2. Respond professionally
This doesn’t mean you have to adopt a dry tone 24/7, and poking fun back at some of these commenters will actually bolster your online reputation. However, keep things professional, grammatically correct, and never respond in the heat of the moment. You can show your sassy side, and Buzzfeed gives inspiration from well-known brands, but this will continue to be a fine line to walk.
3. Own up to any mistakes
If the comments start rolling in because you made an embarrassing typo on the page, (such as missing that elusive “L” in “public”), own up to it and don’t get defensive. Of course, make sure you fix the mistake as well. Nothing’s worse than a company making a mistake and refusing to admit it or getting too defensive. This is an opportunity to engage with your audience, so take it and have some fun.
4. Fix problems as they arise
Sometimes a negative comment might be genuine and coming from a place of frustration. Perhaps a customer got an order really late, it wasn’t what they wanted, or they’re otherwise unhappy. Resist the urge to delete angry comments unless they’re abusive. This is your change to fix things publicly, (not pubicly), and show how important customer service is to you. Others will be impressed and see that your first priority really is customer service.
5. Delete the comment
This should always be your last option and exercised only when the comments might be offensive to others. Remember that with comments, there really is no such thing as deleting them from the internet. Someone may have taken a screen shot, and who knows how many people saw the original comment and now notice that it’s gone AWOL. Make sure that the end result is going to end up being better than any other option before making this drastic move.
Most importantly, remember that almost any comment is a “good comment” because it means people care. Nobody trolls neglected or abandoned sites. You’re going to have to deal with these kinds of commenters as your business grows, so you may as well learn to handle them early.