Worried about negative comments on your Facebook page? Don’t be.
Social media is an opportunity for two-way communication with your community. The occasional negative comment provides an opportunity to understand which problems need fixing, to clarify rumors and misconceptions, and to truly listen to community members.
What’s the best strategy to deal with a negative post? Here are six tactics to respond effectively:
1) Wait. Very often, an involved, informed parent will counter-post in defense of the school district, or provide the needed facts to clarify a misconception. Having a parent leap to your defense can be more effective than anything you say.
2) Ask questions. If a post raises a new issue or a situation you are unaware of, this is an opportunity! Find out more. If this is best done privately, offer your phone number and ask the person to call you. If you are hearing the same message from several people, post an online survey to find out more.
3) Provide accurate information. If the negative post is based on a false assumption or a lack of understanding, this is your chance to open a two-way dialog and provide the facts. Don’t just do this on your social media site; look for opportunities to spread the information using several communication strategies.
4) Forward comments to district leaders. Does the post raise a safety concern? A complaint A suggestion? Many top district leaders are not social media users, or might have missed the post. Simply copy and paste the comment, then email it to district leaders. It’s important to also send them the positive comments, which can be a real morale booster for staff.
5) Enforce basic ground rules. Whether covered in district policy or not, a few simple rules will keep your social media site under control:
- No profanity.
- No personal attacks on any person: student, staff, or community member.
- Offending posts will be deleted immediately.
- Two-time offenders will be banned from the site.
6) If trolls have taken over, go dark. If you are overwhelmed by negative posts, click the “unpublish” box. Figure out a plan to deal with the situation, then turn your page back on when you are ready.