Say somebody posts something negative on your Facebook page. How should you respond? Wait. Should you respond?
First, you’re going to need to assess your situation. You have options up to and including removal of the post from your Facebook page, so it’s important to have a plan and base your reaction on the severity of the comments. Thinking ahead and being consistent will make you feel more confident in the event of a negative situation on your Facebook page.
Some ways to assess
Does the post include profanity? Is it inflammatory? Is it threatening? Does it speak derogatorily about a physician or other staff member? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then consider pulling the post. There’s not much you can do to positively address posts like these.
Does the post contain personal health information? Consider a response like this:
In order to protect your privacy, we’re going to contact you via phone call. Thanks for commenting on our Facebook page, but to preserve your privacy, we want to contact you directly for further discussion.
Does the post make a good point? Is there something you can do differently or better because of this post? If so, respond to say how the post inspired an idea and what the change is that you’ll be making. Maybe it sounds or feels like a negative post, but how can you make it work for your practice? Is there a way?
Some ways to respond and when to use them
The HCAPS Web Team is happy to assist you, weigh in on response ideas, and support you through your decisions about responding. This table will help, but if you need us, please do contact us.
|Ways to respond||When to use|
|Remove the post immediately||In extreme cases with derogatory, inflammatory, or threatening comments.
It’s unlikely to happen, but if you feel your practice or someone in it has been threatened and is unsafe, you can and should contact local law enforcement.
|Respond and leave the post indefinitely||Most often. The extenuating circumstances are rare. For the most part, people will stick to appropriate subjects and reap the many benefits of healthy interactions with your practice on social media.
|Respond and leave the post until comments about it slow down or a couple of days have passed||When the conversation seems to be taking a negative turn. In your response, try to redirect the conversation to something more positive without ignoring the line of conversation that’s happening.
You could say, “Thanks for this important feedback, but let’s focus our conversation on X because that’s where our practice can make the biggest difference.” (where X is a related, more positive and actionable topic)
|Don’t respond||No need to respond to every single post, but be an active participant in conversation happening on your page. Post at least three times a week and more if there’s a conversation with posts more often than that.
|Any of the above||Assess and respond with the help of others at your practice. A physician’s perspective or even another practice manager or a member of your marketing or management team can offer great insight into how you should respond to the trickiest of posts on your Facebook page. And always remember you can contact the HCAPS Web Team for their guidance as well. We’ve seen many different scenarios and we aim to provide the support you need when it comes to crafting responses to be used on Facebook.