How to Handle Social Media Comments

How do you handle the tough ones — the comments made in anger, the posting that doesn’t quite violate terms of service or the diatribe littered with poor punctuation and no clear direction?

As with anything else in social media, it helps to have a plan.

Too often people get excited about the possibilities of social media and the increased engagement it can foster among audiences. They’re right to be excited … as long as they don’t forget that it’s not all unicorns and rainbows.

People are people. What pleases one is sure to tick off another. And it’s only a matter of time before someone uses an innocuous post and uses as a springboard for a special brand of crazy. What do you do next?

The best solution is to work the plan you put in place a long time ago. It helps if that plan comes with a cheat sheet, specifically a social media response triage chart. What is a social media response triage chart? Perhaps Chris Syme defines it best:

A social media response triage is an “if this, then that” flow chart housed in your social media policy that will help you make wise decisions on whether an event is escalating to the point where it needs a response.

Essentially, the chart is a road map one might follow when the tough questions come. It’s a easy-to-understand guide of how to respond, if at all, when a response seems necessary.

The following are just a few examples of what a social media comment triage chart might look like. Feel free to add others in the comments below.

Webster University

[Download as PDF]

U.S. Air Force

[Download as PDF]

Portland State University

[Download as PDF]

DePaul University

[Download as PDF]

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13 Responses to “How to Handle Social Media Comments”

  1. Great post Patrick, and great timing too. Going to link to this in a post I’m about to publish on using student voices in digital marketing (which includes a couple of ideas about how to use social media to do that). So thanks!

    July 17, 2012 at 10:50 pm
  2. Really good post Patrick. Interesting guide to developing your social media customer service response plan. It’s really important to break ti down like this for anyone in your company handling social media inquiries. Definitely use this as my own guide. Thanks again.

    July 19, 2012 at 4:28 am
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    April 9, 2013 at 10:41 pm
  4. Thank you for sharing the US Air Force web posting response sheet, very useful. I have only just learned I do not need to respond personally to each comment, nor do I need to entertain obvious trouble-makers (trolls).

    June 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm
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  1. How to Put Together a Social Media Triage Response Plan - October 27, 2012

    [...] below is an excellent example of a triage response plan put together by a team led by Webster University’s Director of Digital Marketing and Communication… Patrick [...]

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