The owner of a groovy café near our office asked me this week whether it’s possible to delete posts on a Facebook page. I explained that it is, and then he went on to explain that this was a significant consideration for him in deciding whether or not to set up a Facebook page for his café.
His real concern was that, if he created a Facebook page, anybody with a grudge could slander his café directly on their own Facebook page. I pointed out that they already can.
Just by ‘checking in’ with Facebook Places, people already ‘create’ (or more accurately, trigger) a page that represents your business. A Places check-in with a comment attached will be visible for any visitors to read. The only question really is whether you want to get involved and play a positive role, or whether you’re content to turn a blind eye while the world talks about you!
My advice, naturally enough, was to play a proactive role — take ownership of his café’s page, add professional touches to it such as their masthead, logo, colours, menu, correct address, business hours, telephone number, and any other information about the café that he deemed was appropriate, and allow the comments on the page to serve as valuable feedback. I also suggested that, unless a comment was totally unwarranted and defamatory, it’s probably worth keeping the less than flattering ones as well, because in the social media space readers appreciate authenticity and balance. Given that his café really is a great place, I assured him that the positive comments would substantially outweigh the occasional negative, and if he really couldn’t bear to see a comment stay on the page he had the discretion to delete it.
The key issue to understand when deciding whether or not to create a Facebook page for your business is to realise that you can’t prevent negative online comments about your business simply by ‘opting out’ and not having an online presence — it’s going to proceed with or without you, therefore you’re better being informed and involved.