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How brands can handle negative Facebook comments

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managing Facebook comments

managing Facebook comments

As a reputation consultant, I have handled a full range of public relations issues through Facebook, and if there is one issue that will always be as present as death and taxes, it is negative comments on social media! It is not unusual for organizations — whether they be Fortune 500 companies, mom-and-pop shops, churches, or non-profits — to face negative comments on Facebook. So, I have prepared an updated list of pro tips on how to handle the negativity.

I have written on this topic previously – six years ago I wrote “10 tactics for handling haters on Facebook”, and provided a similar list of tips. However, interfaces at Facebook have changed some since then, and there are more options for one to consider regarding how to manage negativity as effectively as possible.

I remind you that a “light touch” is usually the very best approach to handling negativity on Facebook. When people feel like they are being controlled, “managed,” or that their voice is suppressed, they may escalate to something more extreme and more damaging than a mere negative comment. Sometimes the impulse for smaller companies is to suspend or delete their Facebook Page when confronted with a lot of this negativity.

Let me tell you that this impulse should usually be suppressed. People posting negative comments on social media are seeking respect and acknowledgment, and a Facebook comment can be a pressure release valve that keeps them from escalating into posting negative messages in less manageable arenas like reviews or blog posts. It can also help prevent them from spiraling into credit card chargebacks, attorney general complaints, or even lawsuits.

With that “light touch” philosophy in mind, here is my secret arsenal of tactics for handling negative comments posted on Facebook Pages.

Attempting to diffuse the negativity by responding politely and professionally can sometimes immediately take things down a notch and can be viewed as an overall positive by other consumers who will see the sequence. This is an opportunity to display that you are professional, even in the face of criticism.

Take reasonable criticism seriously, such as responding with some appropriate variation of, “We see your point, and we are going to work to do better.” For customer service issues, try to move the negative interactions out of the public eye by saying something like, “We would like to address this with you directly – please send us an email or call us so that we can discuss the specifics.”

Generally, avoid “returning fire” by matching negativity with negativity. While it may be satisfying to win at one-upmanship or insult an obnoxious person, you are losing the appearance of professionalism with the rest of your audience, and wasting time and resources on things that are not your goals.

Again, if you meet negativity with negativity, you may cause an escalation that will cost much more than a few negative comments. But, if replying is unlikely to work and create an overall positive narrative, proceed to the next tips on this list.


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Hide negative comments

Facebook offers one of the best set of social media management tools out there. If you do not want a comment to appear on one of your posts where all can see it, you can click to hide it from view. The Hide control link appears below the post or on the right side if you hover over it, enabling a few different management options that include “Hide”. The brilliant part of this option is that the negative comment will still appear to be visible when the person who posted it views the comments, and also their friends will still be able to see it.

You can also reply to their comment, as per my first tip above, so when you hide their comment, replies to that comment are automatically hidden from everyone else on your Page as well! This can diffuse the anger of the commenter some, as they feel they have accomplished their goal of broadcasting a statement. Short of replying and managing the comment in the public space, this is the best option available. If you are short on time, or your Page receives far too many comments on a daily basis for you to deal with, see the other tips below for further options.

hide comments on Facebook

Delete negative comments

Similar to the Hide control, Facebook will allow you to delete comments from your Page entirely. I recommend that you first wait a while for the individual to see that their comment has been visible so they do not keep returning to repost it. Then, click on the three dots beside the comment and select “Delete”.

You will want to use Hide in most cases so that the user does not return and repost, but deleting it may be the best option in some cases, particularly where others have circled in to add their own comments to the original negative one.

Limit the commentators!

Once you have removed a negative comment by hiding or deleting it, you could then limit the commentators on the post so that the critic cannot return and add the negative things all over again.

Once a post is made on a Facebook Page, one may limit the commentators by clicking the three dots in the upper right corner and selecting “Who can comment on your post?” This brings up a menu of options for Public, Pages you follow, and Profiles and Pages you mention. Selecting “Pages you follow” or “Profiles and Pages you mention” will make it so that only those in those groups may comment. This locks out your negative commentator from the post. You could also do this right after posting.

But, there is a negative ramification to limiting the commentators: Facebook uses post interactions, including comments, when determining how many people in your followers list are likely to see the post on their timelines. Once you limit commentators, you are thus sandbagging your promotion efforts to a degree.

limiting commentators on Facebook

Wait. Delete. Repost.

If you just want to scrub the slate clean and start over without the negative baggage, you can always delete your original post, and then post it anew. Doing this will eliminate all the comments.

However, there are significant downsides to this. Just as with the option of limiting the commentators, this de-optimizes the post such that fewer people may see the more recent version.

Facebook displays posts to your followers according to an algorithm that limits or increases visibility based upon a number of factors, including how many people have already interacted with the post. So, a post that already has a number of likes or reactions, comments and shares will lose all those beneficial signals and start over at ground zero. And, you can expect that people who had already interacted with the original post will assume that they do not need to react to, comment on, or share the same post all over again – except for the negative commentator who might return to deface the post with their comment again. So, you might reserve the delete-and-repost tactic for only extreme cases where a post has become some sort of negative, chaotic, feeding frenzy mess.

Set up default moderation for your Page

Businesses have long needed a means for setting all visitors’ comments to be moderated by default so that they can check and approve them, rather than having everything posted to their Pages’ comment section. Thus, it remains surprising to me that there really is not a setting to do this on Facebook.

However, I invented a hack back in 2016 that enables you to do this with the “Content Moderation” settings, which allows you to have a specific set of keywords automatically hidden by default so that you must approve any comments containing those words before your entire audience will see them.

I developed a list of the top most popular English words, which can be added to Facebook’s Content Moderation setting. The words are based on word usage frequency from multiple sources. There are over 1,500 words in this list, and I guarantee they will block 95% to 99.99% of comments from being publicly posted on your Page – and because they will hide most comments, the visitors who post the comments will not realize they are being moderated!

There is already a profanity filter in the Page settings that will keep comments containing strong language from becoming visible just like the Content Moderation tool – you should leave that filter turned on for most Pages. Please note that you will need to review and manually approve all the comments to your Page after implementing this, so it will increase your workload some. If you do not approve comments, you will end up reducing the visibility of your posts in Facebook’s algorithm.

This really should only be used for Pages that have a chronic problem with spam and/or negative and inappropriate comments. Also, be aware that there are some tricky types of comments that will slip through, unmoderated, with this method. (I won’t describe how a few can slip through, since that could give people ideas.)

To use the list, download this CSV and then upload it to your Facebook Page using the Content Moderation setting.

Facebook content moderation

Block the negative commentator from your Page

Does your Page have a constant heckler? This happens at times. If so, you can use the Facebook Page settings to ban them from the Page so they will no longer be able to post comments.

Under the Page’s settings, find the link for “People and other Pages”, click on it, and then search for the user under “People who Like this Page” or “People who follow this Page.” Once you have located them, click the box next to their avatar icon to select them, then click the gear icon button in the upper right of the Page and select “Ban from Page” in the small popup menu. If the heckler is not listed among those who like or follow the Page, click on the box titled “People who Like this Page” that is just above the table listing people who like the Page. Then, select “Ban a person.” Type in the person’s name, select the right person and click to save.

There are some challenges with this option. Highly motivated haters can set up new Facebook accounts under other names, and return to continue heckling the Page. Also, a person will notice they are banned when they try to access the Page, and this may inspire them to post negativity elsewhere in channels that you may not be able to control or influence as easily. So, keep in mind the adage that while you want to keep your friends close to you, you may want to keep your enemies closer!

banning a commentator on Facebook

Hire a third-party moderation service

For organizations that are posting to multiple social media platforms, or that have thousands of followers interacting with their posts, handling all users’ comments, including the negative ones, can be a task requiring round-the-clock management capabilities and a significant time commitment. As I mentioned above, some of the tactics I provide are less desirable because they can impair the promotional reach of posts on Facebook.

If you do not have time to manually review and unhide neutral and positive comments that will get hidden by my keyword content moderation hack, you may want a more dynamic and intelligent option, such as employing a third-party moderation service to handle the review of comments. Using such a service is advisable for big brands, social media influencers, and those with high popularity Pages that have many thousands of followers.

These services can enable your team to more effectively manage comments and provide more robust settings for automation of what to or not to moderate. A number of services provide Facebook comment moderation, so you will need to review them to find one that fits your business case. Three of the top ones from my point of view are Respondology, Smart Moderation (which can work through Hootsuite and Hubspot), and Statusbrew.

Be aware that there are some interface differences between Classic Facebook Pages and their “new Pages experience”, but most of the instructions I provided above are fairly parallel. Facebook also offers a guide to Page moderation, but it does not provide all the nuance and tips that I have outlined above.

Social media remains a difficult beast for many businesses to tame, but hopefully my tips above will help you navigate tactics available to you for handling negative Facebook comments and commentators so that you will have fewer headaches. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on tactics for handling negativity on Twitter!


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

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3 Smart Bidding Strategies To Help You Get the Most Out of Your Google Ads

Now that we’ve officially settled into the new year, it’s important to reiterate that among the most effective ways to promote your business are Google Ads. Not only do Google Ads increase your brand visibility, but they also make it easier for you to sell your services and products while generating more traffic to your website.

The thing about Google Ads, though, is that setting up (and running) a Google Ads campaign isn’t easy – in fact, it’s pretty beginner-unfriendly and time-consuming. And yet, statistically speaking, no platform does what Google Ads can do when it comes to audience engagement and outreach. Therefore, it will be beneficial to learn about and adopt some smart bidding strategies that can help you get the most out of your Google Ads.

To that end, let’s check out a few different bidding strategies you can put behind your Google Ads campaigns, how these strategies can maximize the results of your Google Ads, and the biggest benefits of each strategy.

Smart bidding in Google Ads: what does it mean, anyway?

Before we cover the bidding strategies that can get the most out of your Google Ads, let’s define what smart bidding means. Basically, it lets Google Ads optimize your bids for you. That doesn’t mean that Google replaces you when you leverage smart bidding, but it does let you free up time otherwise spent on keeping track of the when, how, and how much when bidding on keywords.

The bidding market is simply too big – and changing too rapidly – for any one person to keep constant tabs on it. There are more than 5.5 billion searches that Google handles every day, and most of those searches are subject to behind-the-scenes auctions that determine which ads display based on certain searches, all in a particular order.

That’s where smart bidding strategies come in: they’re a type of automated bidding strategy to generate more conversions and bring in more money, increasing your profits and cash flow. Smart bidding is your way of letting Google Ads know what your goals are (a greater number of conversions, a goal cost per conversion, more revenue, or a better ROAS), after which Google checks what it’s got on file for your current conversion data and then applies that data to the signals it gets from its auctions.

Types of smart bidding strategies

Now that you know what smart bidding in Google Ads is and why it’s important, let’s cover the best smart bidding strategies you can use to your advantage.

Maximize your conversions

The goal of this strategy is pretty straightforward: maximize your conversions and get the most out of your budget’s allocation toward said conversions. Your conversions, be they a form submission, a customer transaction, or a simple phone call, are something valuable that you want to track and, of course, maximize.

The bottom line here is simply generating the greatest possible number of conversions for your budget. This strategy can potentially become costly, so remember to keep an eye on your cost-per-click and how well your spending is staying inside your budget.

If you want to be extra vigilant about keeping conversion costs in a comfy range, you can define a CPA goal for your maximize conversions strategy (assuming you’ve got this feature available).

Target cost per acquisition

The purpose behind this strategy is to meet or surpass your cost-per-acquisition objective that’s tied to your daily budget. When it comes to this strategy, it’s important to determine what your cost-per-acquisition goal is for the strategy you’re pursuing.

In most cases, your target cost per acquisition goal will be similar to the 30-day average you’ve set for your Google Ads campaign. Even if this isn’t going to be your end-all-be-all CPA goal, you’ll want to use this as a starting point.

You’ll have lots of success by simply leveraging target cost per acquisition on a campaign-by-campaign basis, but you can take this one step further by creating a single tCPA bid strategy that you share between every single one of your campaigns. This makes the most sense when running campaigns with identical CPA objectives. That’s because you’ll be engaging with a bidding strategy that’s fortified with a lot of aggregate data from which Google’s algorithm can draw, subsequently endowing all of your campaigns with some much-needed experience.

Maximize clicks

As its name implies, this strategy centers around ad optimization to gain as many clicks as possible based on your budget. We recommend using the maximize clicks strategy if you’re trying to drive more traffic to your website. The best part? Getting this strategy off the ground is about as easy as it gets.

All you need to do to get started with maximizing clicks is settle on a maximum cost-per-click that you then earmark. Once that’s done, you can decide how much money you want to shell out every time you pay for a bid. You don’t actually even need to specify an amount per bid since Google will modify your bids for you to maximize your clicks automatically.

Picture this: you’ve got a website you’re running and want to drive more traffic to it. You decide to set your maximum bid per click at $2.5. Google looks at your ad, adjusts it to $3, and automatically starts driving more clicks per ad (and more traffic to your site), all without ever going over the budget you set for your Google Ads campaign.

Conclusion

If you’ve been using manual bidding until now, you probably can’t help but admit that you spend way too much time wrangling with it. There are plenty of other things you’d rather be – and should be – spending your time on. Plus, bids change so quickly that trying to keep up with them manually isn’t even worth it anymore.

Thankfully, you’ve now got a better grasp on automated and smart bidding after having read through this article, and you’re aware of some important options you have when it comes to strategies for automated bidding. Now’s a good time to explore even more Google Ads bidding strategies and see which ones make the most sense when it comes to your unique and long-term business objectives. Settle on a strategy and then give it a whirl – you’ll only know whether a strategy is right for you after you’ve tested it time and time again. Good luck!

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

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Is Twitter Still a Thing for Content Marketers in 2023?

The world survived the first three months of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

But what are marketers doing now? Did your brand follow the shift Dennis Shiao made for his personal brand? As he recently shared, he switched his primary platform from Twitter to LinkedIn after the 2022 ownership change. (He still uses Twitter but posts less frequently.)

Are those brands that altered their strategy after the new ownership maintaining that plan? What impact do Twitter’s service changes (think Twitter Blue subscriptions) have?

We took those questions to the marketing community. No big surprise? Most still use Twitter. But from there, their responses vary from doing nothing to moving away from the platform.

Lowest points

At the beginning of the Elon era, more than 500 big-name advertisers stopped buying from the platform. Some (like Amazon and Apple) resumed their buys before the end of 2022. Brand accounts’ organic activity seems similar.

In November, Emplifi research found a 26% dip in organic posting behavior by U.S. and Canadian brands the week following a significant spike in the negative sentiment of an Elon tweet. But that drop in posting wasn’t a one-time thing.

Kyle Wong, chief strategy officer at Emplifi, shares a longer analysis of well-known fast-food brands. When comparing December 2021 to December 2022 activity, the brands posted 74% less, and December was the least active month of 2022.

Fast-food brands posted 74% less on @Twitter in December 2022 than they did in December 2021, according to @emplifi_io analysis via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When Emplifi analyzed brand accounts across industries (2,330 from U.S. and Canada and 6,991 elsewhere in the world), their weekly Twitter activity also fell to low points in November and December. But by the end of the year, their activity was inching up.

“While the percentage of brands posting weekly is on the rise once again, the number is still lower than the consistent posting seen in earlier months,” Kyle says.

Quiet-quitting Twitter

Lacey Reichwald, marketing manager at Aha Media Group, says the company has been quiet-quitting Twitter for two months, simply monitoring and posting the occasional link. “It seems like the turmoil has settled down, but the overall impact of Twitter for brands has not recovered,” she says.

@ahamediagroup quietly quit @Twitter for two months and saw their follower count go up, says Lacey Reichwald via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

She points to their firm’s experience as a potential explanation. Though they haven’t been posting, their follower count has gone up, and many of those new follower accounts don’t seem relevant to their topic or botty. At the same time, Aha Media saw engagement and follows from active accounts in the customer segment drop.

Blue bonus

One change at Twitter has piqued some brands’ interest in the platform, says Dan Gray, CEO of Vendry, a platform for helping companies find agency partners to help them scale.

“Now that getting a blue checkmark is as easy as paying a monthly fee, brands are seeing this as an opportunity to build thought leadership quickly,” he says.

Though it remains to be seen if that strategy is viable in the long term, some companies, particularly those in the SaaS and tech space, are reallocating resources to energize their previously dormant accounts.

Automatic verification for @TwitterBlue subscribers led some brands to renew their interest in the platform, says Dan Gray of Vendry via @AnnGynn @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

These reenergized accounts also are seeing an increase in followers, though Dan says it’s difficult to tell if it’s an effect of the blue checkmark or their renewed emphasis on content. “Engagement is definitely up, and clients and agencies have both noted the algorithm seems to be favoring their content more,” he says.

New horizon

Faizan Fahim, marketing manager at Breeze, is focused on the future. They’re producing videos for small screens as part of their Twitter strategy. “We are guessing soon Elon Musk is going to turn Twitter into TikTok/YouTube to create more buzz,” he says. “We would get the first moving advantage in our niche.”

He’s not the only one who thinks video is Twitter’s next bet. Bradley Thompson, director of marketing at DigiHype Media and marketing professor at Conestoga College, thinks video content will be the next big thing. Until then, text remains king.

“The approach is the same, which is a focus on creating and sharing high-quality content relevant to the industry,” Bradley says. “Until Twitter comes out with drastically new features, then marketing and managing brands on Twitter will remain the same.

James Coulter, digital marketing director at Sole Strategies, says, “Twitter definitely still has a space in the game. The question is can they keep it, or will they be phased out in favor of a more reliable platform.”

Interestingly given the thoughts of Faizan and Bradley, James sees businesses turning to video as they limit their reliance on Twitter and diversify their social media platforms. They are now willing to invest in the resource-intensive format given the exploding popularity of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and other short-form video content.

“We’ve seen a really big push on getting vendors to help curate video content with the help of staff. Requesting so much media requires building a new (social media) infrastructure, but once the expectations and deliverables are in place, it quickly becomes engrained in the weekly workflow,” James says.

What now

“We are waiting to see what happens before making any strong decisions,” says Baruch Labunski, CEO at Rank Secure. But they aren’t sitting idly by. “We’ve moved a lot of our social media efforts to other platforms while some of these things iron themselves out.”

What is your brand doing with Twitter? Are you stepping up, stepping out, or standing still? I’d love to know. Please share in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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