“B.O.P.P. Formula” – How to Deal With Negative Comments on Your Facebook Page – Jason Elkins, Transparent Social Media

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I had the blessing of co-teaching a 10 week course on Social Media at Belmont University this fall.  I was an adjunct faculty professor for the Massey School of Business  and taught nineteen, 400 level marketing students how to best utilize social media to market to connect and market to businesses and consumers.  – I didn’t buy a sport jacket with patches on the elbow, but I did wear a sweater vest!

It was some of the most fun I’ve had in my career and I learned as much as I taught.  I’m forever grateful to destination marketing mad scientist Steve Chandler for the introduction and co-instruction.  He’s big-fun to watch live!  His Twitter handle is @sschandler, (connect with him there.)


One of the topics we covered was how to deal with negative comments on your Facebook page.  There are many reasons you could receive negative comments.  Someone may not agree with your direction, platform, or ministry.  You might have a product that some people don’t like or understand…  Sometimes, even when you are trying to benefit your Facebook group with a contest, you can generate frustration.  In class we utilized an example where someone was publicly complaining about not winning a prize they felt they deserved.  The short story is that they entered a picture into a contest that was intended to solicit original pictures, and made it to the final selection before the client realized that the picture was copyrighted.  I give a detailed overview of this example below.


There’s a scene in the classic movie “Roadhouse” where Patrick Swayze’s character is brought into a rough ‘biker bar’ to help stop fights.  He’s referred to as a “Cooler” and stops altercations before they go haywire.  (The fact that there are 30 fight scenes after he’s introduced is another topic!).  One of his comments is “Be nice, and take it outside”.  I’ve adapted that a bit to fit our purposes, but it’s a good lesson.  (I would have linked the video but the swearing may make you blush).

Be Nice and Take it Offline

If someone makes a negative comment, you could simply respond on Facebook with “sorry you feel that way, if you want to talk, please e-mail me so we can make it right at [email protected].”

Offensive to the Group? Remove the Post

Only remove a post if it’s offensive to the community. We make the mistake of thinking that our Facebook pages are ours. The truth is that they belong to the user community. Our Facebook pages are made up of others, and therefore all we can do is help control the voice and the flavor of the community. If someone posts something like “this product is not helpful”. That would perhaps be offensive to me as a business owner, but perhaps not to the community, and I wouldn’t recommend removing that post. If however, someone wrote “Anyone who likes this product is a total moron!!!” That would be something worth removing, because it’s offensive to the community.

Policed by Community

Allow the community to ‘self-police.’ One of my ministry clients has a product that is distributed in public settings. Someone posted on the Facebook wall and said “You should be banned from the place where you give away your materials”. A person responded and said “I’ll be praying for you”. That was not a response from the ministry; it was a response from the Facebook community. If you treat your community well, they will come to your defense.

Post ‘Big’ Content

The day the ministry received a negative comment, they posted a long update about “loving your neighbor” from Matthew 5… then a little while later, they posted a video, with a positive message.  Later yet in the afternoon, they posted a picture with a large caption.  All of this new content pushed the negative comment off the page.  Not everyone reads Facebook on a computer screen, or goes to your wall page for that matter… but this process helps those that do.





First Post From Facebook Fan

 The client tried to connect with the user and compliment him and sent this response via e-mail.

First Response Via E-Mail to Fan - "Be Nice"



Fan's Facebook Response to E-Mail


Community Policing


Track Apology and Offer "Be Nice and Take it Offline"




Fan Final Response Via E-Mail

Consumer is Happy - Actually Went Back and Deleted His Own Negative Comments


Negative comments can usually be quieted with good customer service, and truly listening to your audience.  This is true in business as much as it is in social media.  There will always be a percentage of ‘crazy’ posters and sometimes they need to be banned from a page, but in our experience, people will ‘Like’ a page because they WANT to be connected to that business, brand or cause.

The B.O.P.P. technique is something that can be utilized effectively as a guideline on how to deal with negative postings on your Facebook page.  Have you had experiences with negative comments in the past?  What have you done to address them?

Jason Elkins
Managing Partner
Transparent Social Media