Responding in Moderation


Ugh, the dreaded negative feedback response.  This week, as an exercise in moderation, I am responding to two fictional Facebook posts.  While the language and approach of the posters in not exactly how I would go about things, I think as a social media manager, a tempered response in necessary and appropriate in both instances.  Effort is important, and occasionally, a response is all the poster is looking for (though doubtful in this case!)

Comment 1:

I am disgusted about the state of your store on 1467 Justin Kings Way. The counter was smeared in what looked like grease and the tables were full of trash and remains of meals. It makes me wonder what the state of your kitchen is?!!! Gross.”

I apologize that your experience was anything less than perfect at our Justin Kings Way store.  We pride ourselves on cleanliness, efficiency, and customer service – and the conditions you reported are simply unacceptable.  Rest assured that this is under investigation.  Please direct message me the best way to get in contact with you directly so that we can handle this matter.  Thank you for your patronage and for bringing this issue to our attention.

I hope that the customer understands that this is not how we run our stores, and that the store involved will be reprimanded.  By asking for their contact information, the opinion is valued and we have the opportunity to privately make amends for the unpleasant experience.

Comment 2:

Your reporting on the Middle East is biased in the extreme. You gave almost all your air time to spokespeople for the Israelis last night and there was no right to reply for the Palestinians. The conflict upsets me so much and your reporting of it, saddens me even more and makes me f**king furious.

XXX News provides unbiased and accurate information in all of our reports, and we stand behind our reports on the Middle East.  Though this is a controversial issue, we make every effort to represent both sides of the story.  As the story and situation continues to develop and unfold, we will continue to interview and air footage from representatives of both sides.  Please feel free to engage in healthy debate and conversation on our message boards.  However, please be aware that inappropriate language will result in a loss of posting privileges.

Directing the poster to the message board to continue the conversation helps them not feel dismissed, but removes the negative comments from the Facebook page.  I feel I stood up for the integrity of the news outlet, while offering to continue the conversation in a productive manner.  Addressing the language etiquette standards of the message board addresses the foul language without scolding the poster.





Moderation is tricky business:  finding the right balance of how to address our audience in the best way, identifying who they are, and keeping our ethical approach in tact, no matter what the situation.  Tailoring our approach to each situation requires a lot of thought and insight to the specific user and situation.  It can be complicated.

I previous worked at a Catholic church as the Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry.  At this point in time, the church was under high scrutiny regarding creating safe environments for children.  Because of this, and understandably so, contact and interaction with the youth was highly regulated.  Staff and volunteer were required to attend special training, meet specific guidelines, and even undergo FBI background checks.  This was no joke, and as the DRE, it was part of my job to enforce and regulate these standards.  However, this also effected how I, as the acting youth minister, could also interact with my students.  There was no moderation, there was rigidity.  As someone who grew up very active in youth groups and church activities, it was difficult for me to see how the regulations took away from the fellowship in the youth group.  But as the DRE, I completely understood the logic and needs behind it.

I think of this time in my career often when engaging on social media now.  Too many rules and regulations, policies and canned responses do not lend to an engaging and constant stream of trustworthy conversation.  However, moderation is important to keep things appropriate and on track (especially in my new career in lingerie… quite the jump, I know).  Also, certain platforms, especially Twitter, really force you to keep the engagement to a minimum because of the character restrictions.

From a marketing standpoint, I do think that exercising moderation is key.  No one wants to be bombarded or annoyed with constant posts and “sell, sell, sell” tactics.  I sometimes post when angry (bad) but I also try to acknowledge and engage with amusing posts or ones that drive a bigger conversation (good).  I think focusing my posts will be an exercise in moderation for me, but an exercise that will definitely be worthwhile.

Do you find it more difficult to moderate your original posts or your responses?

Has there ever been a post you completely ignored, and why?