Responding to people’s comments is part of making information public and having open conversations. Whether the comment or message is encouraging or not, it’s best to be positive in return. If you include a little detail or a question in your response, this shows you’ve read the message and helps to build a relationship. Here are some tips:
Double-check your facts to be confident about your posts and responses. Be as factual as possible and give examples where you can.
Be honest. If you make a mistake, admit to it and explain how you will put it right. What is most important is that you are seen as open, responsive and listening. If you aren't open or seem to be trying to hide things, people may jump to conclusions.
Think carefully about your response before posting, but don't leave it too long. The longer you take to respond, the more you risk appearing unresponsive. If you can’t respond fully straight away, post an acknowledgement to say that you will look into it and come back to the writer.
It is important not to get into an online discussion or argument. If someone posts something argumentative, steer the conversation offline - post a positive response and ask them to send you a personal message or email if they want more information.
Dealing with negative comments
You will have to use your judgment and agree an approach on how to respond to negative or inflammatory comments. You don’t have to respond to every negative one. A good guideline is to respond when somebody has asked a question, made a strong statement, pointed out a mistake you have made, or made a request.
If you get a negative comment, or someone repeatedly posts negative comments or content, you have several options depending on the background and nature of the comments. You can:
- Respond – you may be able to resolve an issue
- Ignore it – if you believe that the person posting is simply looking for an argument.
- Post positive content – this can balance a negative post. It's particularly appropriate if someone is posting negative comments or content on social media that isn’t yours.
- Block it – if the comment is rude or offensive you might decide to block the user from commenting on your Facebook page or your Twitter account. Their own help pages tell you how to do this.
- Report it to the police – you should report intimidating behaviour straight away. This includes, but is not limited to, harassment, malicious communications, stalking, threatening violence and incitement.