Social media is primarily about interaction and engagement. The very purpose of these channels are the comments, questions and dialogue, and we welcome both positive and critical responses. Here you will find advice and support on how to address incoming comments and questions.
When it comes to questions directed to Lund University through our social media channels, you should generally consider the following:
- Prompt responses establish credibility and encourage further engagement.
- If what the person is writing requires the University, as a public authority, to take a decision or some form of action – refer that person to a direct contact via email, letter or telephone. It may also be a good idea to take a screenshot of the person’s original message and attach it to the other documents that may arise in the matter.
- It is important not to give advice and information on matters relating to individuals. In such cases, you should refer to the division or person at the University who can assist the person in question, and transfer the case to a more appropriate channel (e.g. email or telephone). When it is not a personal matter, it is obviously good to provide advice and information directly in the comments box, so that more people have access to it.
Respond, ignore or delete?
As a public authority, we are obliged to manage our established channels. We are responsible for the material we publish and for monitoring the channel.
Comments on social media are to be regarded as official documents just like other matters received by the public authority, and any direct questions addressed to the public authority are to be answered as soon as possible and without unnecessary delay. If a question is very extensive and providing an answer thus takes time, you should inform the person who asked it.
There are many important aspects to consider when responding to comments or questions:
- Remember to include the person/s who has/have expert knowledge on the subject in the response. For example, if the discussion involves a research finding, the researcher should respond, in their own capacity or as a representative of the official page.
- Be open, prompt and objective. Social media requires quick management.
- Reply in the same thread/forum to indicate that the question has been answered.
- When responding to comments, please use your own name to make it more personal, for example, end with your first name and title.
- In case of lengthy discussions, preferably continue the discussion via email or telephone instead.
- Capture possible criticism and see whether something needs changing. If measures are taken, please say so in the comments to let others know that we accept the criticism.
Go to the Image and Media Bank to download the Checklist for crisis communication (in Swedish)
- In case of massive criticism, you should contact the head of the organisation, the communications manager at the relevant faculty or equivalent, and the head of Corporate Communications for discussion, support and coordination.
When should you ignore questions or comments on social media?
- If you have already responded to a person who continues to repeat the same question/argument
- If the comments are deemed irrelevant
Delete – but first save
As the very purpose of social media is dialogue, you should avoid deleting comments as much as possible. But sometimes it may be necessary, for example in the following cases:
- If the comment is offensive, threatening or illegal
- If it is clearly spam
What to do:
- Take screenshots of the comments you delete and save them in an orderly manner.
- Send a direct message to the person and explain that you will delete the comment and why.
- If you want to delete several comments, instead you can write in the comments field that any posts that do not comply our guidelines will be removed.
- When you delete comments with reference to the guidelines for comments, you should obviously make sure that this information is included in the presentation text for the channel so that you can refer to it later.
Hide a comment
In some social medial channels, you also have the opportunity to hide a comment. For example, on Facebook, this means that the comment remains, but it is only visible to the person who wrote it and to their friends. This solution can be used when there is not a sufficient reason to delete.
Examples of messages to someone whose post/comments will be removed:
We appreciate your participation, but in our channel we expect decent behaviour and respect for other individuals. You are welcome to post text and images on our page, but avoid offensive language and personal information, personal attacks, spam and advertising, harassment and sexual harassment, illegal material and copyrighted material. We review all posts and remove any material that violates Swedish law or counteracts the purpose of the page. Your comment does not comply with our guidelines and has therefore been removed. If you want to continue to participate in the discussion, please respect our rules. Read more about our guidelines here (referring to the channel’s presentation text).
Examples of comments in the comments field, where one or more comments have been removed:
We appreciate the high level of engagement but want to remind you that in our channel we expect decent behaviour and respect for other individuals. Everyone is welcome to post text and images on our site, but avoid offensive language and personal information, personal attacks, spam and advertising, harassment and sexual harassment, illegal material and copyrighted material. We review all posts and remove material that violates Swedish law or counteracts the purpose of the page. In this comments field, there have been comments that do not comply with our guidelines, and have thus been removed. If you want to continue to participate in the discussion, please respect our rules (refer to the channel’s presentation text).
Please contact your nearest communications officer to discuss whether and, if so, how you could use social media in your activities.
For questions regarding the content on these pages, contact:
anna_v [dot] johnsson [at] kommunikation [dot] lu [dot] se
+46 46 222 70 21