Member dominating Facebook page: What would you do?
A while back, a fellow community manager sent me this query.
Lately 2 people having been posting on our Facebook page (for people with cancer), claiming that their product cures cancer. They have started threads about it, they’ve replied on unrelated threads, telling the community members to look into their product because it’s the cure, etc.
We’ve spent hours forming responses to them — not arguing with them but stating that to date there is no scientific evidence supporting their claims. We’ve also invited them to submit a grant proposal for research funding. As yet, we’ve decided not to remove or block their posts. If we delete them, it feeds into their idea that the ‘cancer industry’ is hiding the cure. If we block them, they will probably just come back as others. What should we do?
Reading the community manager’s responses, I felt her actions were spot on. She listened and actively monitored. Her posts
- were respectful and did not flame the discussion
- gave the 2 people options to legitimize their claims
- did not discredit their right to their opinion
- helped correct misconceptions for other readers
Most importantly, she allowed other members to police the community. The last post claiming the cure for cancer included 29 comments from other members, illustrating their intelligence and grace. Ultimately the community organically shut down the 2 people and they stopped posting.
What about using pro-active tactics to increase activity? For example:
- Reach out to key people (ambassadors) in your community through private messages and ask them to post about things not related to curing cancer. When reaching out, give them something specific to do.
- Start a fun campaign to boost participation from others like “Send us a picture of your silliest head covering: hat, wig, scarf” or “Who do you want to thank? Is there someone who helped you during your cancer journey that you would like to thank and didn’t have a chance?”
- If readers complain about these 2 people, consider a campaign to vote them off the island. A riskier approach admittedly, but members will appreciate the opportunity to do something collectively if 2 people dominate and spoil the community.
@RichMillington, well-known online community consultant, offers this advice in a recent post Remove Members Quickly. “You’re not running a country, you’re running a community. If a member isn’t a good fit for the community, remove them. It’s your community, you need to protect it.”
As a community manager, what would you do? As a member of the community, what would you want the community manager to do?See related post by @AnnFuller on SMiCH.ca: Suicide & facebook: What would you do? Join us for #hcsmca July 20th at 1pm ET to discuss.