One book I have enjoyed using as a reference is Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Media. In his book, he defines the Do-Not-Delete Rule. He states, “the do-not-delete (DND) rule states that unless a comment is obscene, profane, bigoted, or contains someone’s personal and private information, never delete it from a social network” (77).
When an individual posts a negative comment, your gut reaction may be to delete it right away. You don’t want the public seeing a post like that! However, deleting that post has the potential to hurt you more than help you. Deleting someone’s comment is censorship and breeds distrust associated with your department’s identity. Kerpen explains, “The point is, when you delete someone’s comment, it is the ultimate ‘Screw you.’ It’s like collecting someone’s comment card, reading it in front of them, and then ripping it up in his or her face” (77).
Think about it this way: negative comments are the perfect opportunity to show how kind, generous, sympathetic, civil, and reasonable you and your department are. Your response to difficult comments and posts shows your true character and makes you authentic. Admitting a mistake, responding kindly to harsh words, and accepting criticism with a thank you can give your department the valuable trust it needs.
Example: @comcastcares to customer @VYPUR
Tommy (@VYPUR) 25 Feb 2012
22 hrs so far my Internet and cable out. WTF on the weekend of all things. @comcastcares @comcast and nobody on the phone knows anything.
Find ways to incorporate kindness in your replies to difficult posts. However, also make sure to check with your own department’s communications guidelines to guide you in creating an appropriate response.