There’s always a risk when it comes to aggressive advertising and marketing that many are unwilling to take. On television, radio, search, and display ads, there will be those who do not appreciate what you’re putting in front of them. On social, this is greatly amplified because people have the ability to respond.
It is nearly impossible to post effective content and make it visible to your target audience on Facebook without running into the occasional hater. In fact, if you’re not getting any negative comments at all, chances are either your message is not business-effective (are you promoting cat pictures?) or you aren’t reaching enough people. Even with fan-only, highly-targeted Facebook posts, there’s a chance that something someone finds on their Facebook wall will rub them the wrong way and make them leave you a negative comment.
There are a few unavoidable reasons for this:
- People don’t understand how Facebook advertising works – Let’s say you’re targeting a specific city. You select “automotive” as an interest and you post automotive content. Suddenly, you get a comment that says something to the effect of “How did you weasel your way onto my news feed” or “why is this spam showing up – reported!” There are many users who, regardless of what you post, will not appreciate that you’re appearing ahead of pictures of little Timmy sliding into third base and will react negatively as a result.
- Just because they liked your page doesn’t mean they like your content – People like pages for various reasons. Perhaps you ran a contest a few months ago. Maybe they clicked “like this page” on a post that one of their friends liked thinking that it was their content. There are many reasons that people might have liked your page in the past. If they haven’t seen you in their news feed before, they might react negatively having forgotten or never realizing that they liked your page in the past.
- The feed and privacy controls on Facebook are still awful – Despite repeated attempts to make the waters less murky, Facebook has never really made it easy for people to control their news feeds. Most go with the default views and privacy settings which allow for targeted Facebook ads. By appearing in their feed, they think that you’ve done something to get there without realizing that they opted in by not opting out. The biggest lie told by every person on the internet happens when they accept the various terms of services that say, “I have read and agree to these terms of service.” Ya, sure.
- Friend of fans – One of the easiest ways to expand reach on Facebook is to promote some posts with the “friends of fans” option on promoted stories. This gets more views, but it also exposes your content to people who do not want to see it. As a result, the hate comments are bound to come sometimes.
Regardless of the reasoning for the hate, there are two options to address it. You can reply back to the hate comments in a professional manner. Don’t try to explain it to them – they often won’t buy it and trying to get people to understand the way that Facebook handles marketing is about as easy as getting them to understand the tax code without an accountant handy. The other option, useful only in the most extreme circumstances, is to delete the comments. They will still appear to the person who made the comment as well as their friends, but the majority of people will not see the comments. This is a last resort – transparency rules on social media – but if the comments get out of hand or offensive, there’s nothing wrong with getting rid of them for the bulk of your fans. Do not take it to the next level by blocking or reporting them. This can open up a can of worms.
There are those who argue that there should be nothing at all promotional on one’s Facebook page. It’s a valid strategy and one that can help to avoid any of the negatives that come with using Facebook to promote your business or products, but it’s often a slower path that requires more time and effort. Even then, there’s a good chance that you’ll still be met with some hate even if your content is absolutely awesome and universally relevant simply because many people don’t like seeing brands in their feed at all regardless of the content. Don’t fret either way. You can’t make everyone happy. You can, however, minimize the hate by posting valuable content and keeping quality at the top of your guiding principles.
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“Hate” image courtesy of Shutterstock.