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The power of the delete button in social media: when to use it

Written on 29 October, 2018 by Jen McKinnon
Categories: Social Media

It’s convenient that technology allows us to  delete the things we (or others) post online but sometimes it can do more damage to a brand than many business owners think. Deleting a post with a typo vs one with a negative review from a customer can vary in consequences. Regardless, it’s important to know when you should just hit delete and start over and when it’s best to face the consequences of your mistakes.

When you’ve made a mistake

Mistakes like typos and misinformation aren’t ideal but they happen.

If you notice it immediately, the best option is to simply delete the post and start again without the mistake. If it takes you a while to discover your error(s) and you have already received some likes, reactions and comments, you need to weigh up whether the mistake is big enough to warrant the loss of this engagement or if it’s better just to leave it as is.

Could you edit the post instead?

Facebook and Instagram allow you to edit posts you have already published. In this case, users will still be able to see your mistake if they click through specifically to see the original post; however, at face value, your post will be correct.

The thing to remember when editing posts is that the original post will always still be visible to those who want to view it. So, if you’ve accidentally made a faux pas or your initial post could inadvertently offend a group of people, it’s best to start from scratch.

When you encounter negative feedback

Negative feedback is never pleasant to receive, especially on a public forum. But it is inevitable that businesses will encounter it at one stage of their business life cycle. If keyboard warriors take to a forum you have control of, like social media or the comments section of the blogs on your site, the most attractive option always seems to be to delete it completely from ever having existed. However, in the case of negative feedback, it doesn’t fix the problem and the complainant is likely to just come back even stronger when they realise their initial comment has disappeared. Although it’s the natural reaction, the best way to combat negative feedback is actually to step away from the delete button.

So, if you don’t delete the comment what should you do?

Addressing customer complaints out in the open, especially online, is a recipe for disaster. So, in this case, we recommend you do three things to resolve the situation:

  • Acknowledge the issue in a calm manner.
  • Express a sincere apology.
  • Put them in touch with a representative to resolve it over the phone.

This not only takes the conversation offline, it demonstrates that you care for your customers and their concerns. It also helps in displaying a high level of customer service.

When the content is out of date

People rarely look too far back through your archives on Facebook.  However, blogs hosted on your website will be listed on search engines. If optimised well, they will be easily accessible to those searching for related topics. So, when you content becomes out of date, should you delete it?

It should really be treated on a case-by-case basis. If you can, the better option is always to update the information. Why? Because the older your content, the more authority it’s likely to gain through search engine. If you completely delete a well-optimised blog, you could be removing high-ranking content that delivers valuable traffic to your site. By altering it to include the right information, you are more likely to retain your ranking and maintain a steady stream of traffic.

While it can be very tempting to over-exercise the delete button, it may actually be better for your business to use restraint. Pause and assess each situation and, if it’s possible to resurrect the thread, try your best to do so. A business is a culmination of its qualities and its faults, so