Facebook isn’t just a broadcast medium, but a two-way conversation between your and your fans. Communicating directly with those who Like your Page by replying to their wall posts and comments on your Page updates can help fans feel appreciated, increasing their loyalty and the likelihood that they’ll follow your calls to action. It can also inspire them to leave more comments on your Page updates, increasing their news feed optimization — the level of visibility your posts have in the news feed.
Here we’ll explain how to formulate a reply strategy for your Page that offers the greatest benefits for the level of resources you can devote to your Facebook Page’s community, and explain how it can improve brand loyalty, avert customer service disasters, and keep conversation on your Page productive.
When To Engage
Comments fall into four broad categories:
- Positive comments – Those that thank your brand for the value it provides the commenter.
- Constructive negative comments – Those that criticize your brands for flaws in your product or service.
- Disruptive negative comments (Trolls) – Non-constructive insults to your brand or other members of your fan community, and non-sensical comments designed to distract and interrupt the conversation.
- Spam – Links or mentions of unrelated websites or brands.
Constructive negative comments are the most important to respond to because if these fans aren’t appeased they can start evangelizing against your brand and cause customer service and public relations disasters. In a famous example, a man who rode a certain airline had his guitar broken in transit. When his attempts to contact the company through social media were ignored, he created a video criticizing the airline that received millions of views and hurt the company’s business.
In most cases, the best strategy is to apologize for the fan’s negative experience without admitting that there is a flaw in your product or service. If you’re sure there’s a simple solution to their problem, kindly explain it in your reply.
For example, if they say “I don’t enjoy your website because you require an account to upload photos, but I don’t know how to create an account”, you could reply “Sorry to hear you’re having trouble creating an account. You can create one by visiting this link www.examplesite.com/create or by clicking the ‘Create Account’ button at the bottom right corner of the home page.”
If it’s not exactly clear what their problem is, you aren’t exactly sure of the solution, or the solution may be complicated, refer them to your customer service department or provide contact information for someone they can privately communicate their issue with. You don’t want to have a negative customer service conversation in public where it might give other fans the impression that there are problems with your brand.
For example, if you received a comment saying “I bought your food product but it tasted rotten”, you could reply “Sorry to hear you had an issue with our food product. Please contact our customer service department here www.examplesite.com/service and we’ll see what we can do for you.”
Conclusion and Priorities
Every organization needs to decide how many resources they will devote to community engagement. In general, though, you should prioritize replying to the different kinds of comments in this way:
1. Replying to constructive negative comments to keep the authors of those comments from causing problems for your brand in the future
2. Deleting the comments of or banning trolls and spammers
3. Replying to the best positive comments to create brand evangelists
4. Replying to the remainder of positive comments
Walkthroughs for replying to positive comments and dealing with disruptive commenters, as well as Page management and moderation strategies can be found in the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s complete guide to marketing your brand using Facebook.