Social Media Crisis
Agree on community guidelines: If you don’t have community guidelines in place within your communities, now is a good time to add them. Having guidelines in place justifies deleting comments or blocking people from accessing your fan page or posting comments that your organization finds offensive.
This is a touchy subject because you don’t want to ban anyone who has an opinion that contradicts yours, but there is a clear line between voicing an opinion and being obscene and vulgar. For example, if someone posts a comment attacking another member of the community using curse words, he or she is violating the community guidelines that are posted for all to see. Therefore that comment will be deleted. With guidelines, your community members know where those boundaries are and the consequences (being banned from the page) if they are crossed. This helps all members involved in your communities feel safe while still encouraging conversation.
Know how to respond: Have a discussion with your communications team to be clear on when and how comments that call your mission and organization into question should be answered. Once this process is decided, those who manage or moderate your online communities should be aware of sensitive issues so they can respond properly on behalf of the organization.
However you decide to respond to comments, the most important thing is that you do respond. The worst thing you can do is not participate in dialogue that calls your organization or cause into question. By being present in the conversation, you give courage to other supporters and community members who do support you to also rally behind why your cause is important. Not responding only leaves your supporters wondering if you are listening and your adversaries thinking you have something to hide.
Christina Johns is online media manager at International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.