When you place an advertisement you have total control over the content. If you show your event in the best possible light, or make light of it, that is always your choice and yours alone. Unfortunately when you place your event’s presence in the social media sphere you have to confront that boon and bane of all event marketers: The comments. Some comments are constructive and polite, while others would push the ethical barrier of a drunken sailor. While most social networks such as Facebook and Google+ have experimented with ways to manage the more virulent comments, the bottom line remains that if a poster wants to slag your event on your social media there really is no way to stop them.
Elegantly verbose to monosyllabic swearing
The social media comments which are solicited by online event promoters as a fundamental part of their modern business model are the most unqualified form of democracy. Regardless of the person’s age, gender, geographical location education level, or vocabulary ranging from the elegantly verbose to the monosyllabic swearing anyone can air their opinions about your event on your social media platform. A considerable number of these comments are positive or at least are able to provide a valid source of market research data for event marketers. Some of the others, however, primarily focus on how many times they can place an expletive in a sentence.
You can’t count on the social networks to censor
At one time in the distant past, Facebook allowed brands to delete Fan Page comments they disliked but has since reversed its decision. As much as Facebook’s constant changes and redesigns can chagrin many users, this decision seems completely logical since deleting a comment will just inflame the writer and get them to place more and even more vehement comments. Given this uncomfortable situation, online marketers cannot rely on the social network management policies to provide them with a way to make the blasphemous naysayers go away. Event marketers simply have no choice but to confront head on the problem of negative commenting.
The primary salient points to hit in your reply
Since event marketers are human, the very first reaction is going to be to give back just as good as you got, and that is the wrong approach 100% of the time. Don’t ever lose your cool, get down to their level, and engage in a social media mudslinging match. You’ll lose before you even start and it will get very ugly. The only feasible way to respond is to hit all of these salient points in your replies:
- Never ignore any negative comment
- Reply quickly, as the more time between comment and reply, the more you’re acknowledging that they’re right
- Ensure that every single phrase you craft in your reply is polite and humble
- Provide a personalized answer which addresses their concerns directly
- If they have actually hit on a real fault, acknowledge it and apologize profusely
- Don’t ever make excuses for the claims, only provide verifiable facts
- Sign your post so that it comes from a person in a position to do something about the comment, not just from “the event management”
- Even though it may be difficult, put yourself in the commenter’s position and imagine that the comment is actually factual.
Nobody ever said that running a social media campaign to promote your event was going to be all sweetness and happiness, as some people just love to complain and they’ll pick any reason to do so. Maybe they bought a cheap seat up in the rafters and had their visibility partially blocked by a support beam, or they thought your popcorn was cold, or maybe they just want to vent their pubescent rage at a convenient target. Whatever it is that you’re replying to you absolutely have no choice but to take the high road, stay fully cool and professional, address the issues brought up whether they’re serious (or even real) or not, and demonstrate to the rest of your event’s social media following that you are worthy of their respect, their engagement, and most importantly of their trust.