We’ve all had it happen: a negative comment on Facebook Page post that glares at you from the screen.
Our first instinct (or at least mine) is to hide it or somehow bury it so that it won’t hurt the post or my business, especially in the age where social media reputation weighs so heavily. We do, after all, have the option to hide comments on Facebook.
So should you actually hide comments on your Facebook Page?
The short answer: sometimes yes and sometimes no.
Either way, you shouldn’t automatically hide them just because they’re negative. There are pros and cons to hiding comments on Facebook, and other strategies you can use instead. Before you hide (any more) comments on your Page, make sure you read this post.
The first type of comment that will typically trigger our “hide” reflexes will be negative comments about our content or our brands. Not only do they make us automatically defensive, but we also don’t want negative sentiments shared online to hurt our businesses. Since social media often acts as powerful word-of-mouth marketing, we want those comments to work in our favor.
There are other types of comments you should consider hiding, too. These include:
The pros of hiding negative comments on your Facebook Page are clear: ideally, you’d protect your business’s reputation and eliminate any negative sentiments from your posts.
It can actually hurt your Page if you’ve got a ton of spam in comments on every post that you don’t hide or delete. The last thing you want is someone turning your post into a hotbed of controversy that has nothing to do with the original status. Nipping all of this in the bud can benefit you.
There are cons of hiding comments on Facebook that you should consider, however. This is especially true when it comes to hiding comments that aren’t offensive and only criticize your business. If users notice (and many will), there can be a perceived loss of transparency. Since social media is all about transparency, people may not trust you, leading to a loss of customer loyalty.
In rare cases, a user who notices that you’ve deleted their comment can get angry—really angry.
This is most common when they’re already agitated and tried to complain about a product or customer service. Deleting their comment may not do you much good; they might leave you a scathing 1-star review, or very vocally take their opinion somewhere you can’t control it — like their own pages. While you can’t avoid fallouts with all of these so-angry-their-eyes-are-bulging-out-of-their-heads customers, reducing collateral damage is a plus.
When you go to hide a comment, you’ll see that you can also delete the comment or ban the user who left it.
Here’s what the options actually mean:
Instead of jumping to hide comments on Facebook posts automatically, ask yourself if there’s another way to resolve the situation. Sometimes users really are just frustrated; in these cases, remember that a bad customer experience turned into a good one can create some of our most vocal advocates for our brands in the long run.
Addressing comments head-on can sometimes be the best approach. Social media thrives on transparency, and showing other users that your brand is ready to step up and resolve complaints will actively help you. If you can solve their problem publicly, other users will take notice. Lyft does this extremely well, as pictured in the example below.
If you can’t offer an immediate solution, reply to the comment and ask the user to move to a private message to resolve the issue. Many will be willing to do this. And if they aren’t, you still look good for having publicly attempted to get to the bottom of their complaints.
Sometimes, though, hiding is the best option. Comments that can truly hurt your business should be hidden if they can’t be addressed; it’s easier to do this if you catch the comment early, before it gets much visibility or any traction with engagement. Similarly, comments who come from users who will just stay unhappy no matter should be hidden if they’re at risk for impacting other users’ perception of you.
There are some cases when you should always hide comments, if not delete them or ban their creators entirely. This includes comments that:
In all of these cases, go ahead and delete the comment completely and ban the user; they’ll almost definitely bring trouble back to another thread later.
To hide comments on Facebook’s native platform, all you have to do is hover over the comment. You’ll see a drop down arrow; when you click on it, you’ll see the option to “hide comment” or “embed.” Just click “hide comment.”
After you do this, you’ll see other options you can take, including “unhide,” “delete,” and “ban user.”
Agorapulse’s moderation tools make it incredibly simple to find comments that need your attention quickly. You can view all comments under the “Monitoring” tab and selecting your Facebook Page. To hide a comment, click on it.
The post and comment will be fully displayed, and you can choose to hide, flag, or remove comments.
Once you’ve hidden a comment, you can unhide it at any time from the Agorapulse dashboard.
If you want something more automated, you can set up moderation rules that will trigger actions upon seeing certain keywords. If, for example, you don’t want a whole bunch of comments or “visitor posts” with links to external Websites or contests, set up a rule to filter out “http.”
Then tell Agorapulse what you want done with any comment that features “http.” In this case, I set up the tool to flag, tag, and hide comments and visitor posts with that trigger.
You see the “email notification” in the above illustration? I’ve also said “yes” to receive emails each time the rule is triggered. Here’s an email I recently received about a visitor post that included a Website link.
I can then decide to keep it hidden (thanks to the rule I set up) or if for some reason, that comment/link was important, I can go into Agorapulse and “unhide” it.
In addition to all the strategies and situations discussed above, there are a few best practices to keep in mind when hiding comments on Facebook. These include:
Hiding comments on Facebook can hurt you or help you, depending on the comment in question. In some cases, hiding comments won’t be the best move; instead, you should address the comment head-on for more productive and beneficial results. Either way, the features in Agorapulse make it easier for you to decide which action to take.
What do you think? Do you hide comments on Facebook? What types of comments do you hide? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!