Presuming that your business has a Facebook Business Page – as it should – there are some powerful tools at your disposal. One of the most powerful of these is your ability to comment and respond to comments posted by others. One of your key objectives should always be to build your number of followers (you may prefer to refer to them as “fans” or “likes”), particularly followers who have a true interest in your product or service and who will be likely to engage in ongoing conversations. These conversations will take the form of posts, allowing you to further a rapport with your followers in a manner that enhances your marketing efforts in a very subtle yet highly effective manner.
Responding to Posts
Your settings will allow you to determine whether or not you want to allow others to post to your page. Without exception, you want to allow people to post to your page. What happens when somebody who has “liked” your page posts a negative or otherwise unflattering comment? Let me present a few rules of thumb:
1) Use of profanity: In almost all instances, if somebody posts a comment that contains profanity, simply delete the comment. If you leave it there, you are sending a message to others that it is acceptable to follow suit, and you will be presenting your business in an unfavorable light. If you go into your page settings, you can keep this under control without your constant vigilance. Go to Edit Page > Manage Permissions > Profanity Block List, then choose your settings. The options are None, Medium, or Strong. You can also create a moderation block list that allows you to enter keywords that will be blacklisted from posts.
2) Criticisms of your business: In almost all instances, if somebody posts an intelligently presented criticism – even if you vehemently disagree with the criticism – leave the post. Particularly if your page is new or has relatively few followers, you must jump in and respond to the comment as quickly as possible. Remember that you are not trying to engage in an argument. You want to put out – not add fuel to – a fire. Try to see things from the other person’s perspective and use the criticism as a learning experience. You may want to respond with some sort of apology or admission of guilt, even if you were not directly responsible or involved with the incident behind the complaint. In most instances, the fact that you have responded in a prompt and professional manner will defuse a situation which could otherwise snowball out of control. If your page has a large number of followers, it is likely that your followers will jump in and come to your defense, and they are in a position to more strongly rebut the initial comment without the appearance of being defensive.
3) Comments that “cross the line” or a simply vengeful or retaliatory in nature:One of our clients was recently attacked on their Facebook business page by a group of people who had been guests at the client’s campground over Memorial Day weekend. The campers were disruptive, showed no respect for quiet hours, refused to comply with the requests of the park’s security personnel, and had a barking dog. Clearly, these were the type of people that nobody wants at a campground because they interfere with everyone else’s enjoyment. Apparently these folks took exception with being expected to follow reasonable standards of behavior. When they returned home, they began their online assault, “liking” the campground’s Facebook business page specifically so that they could post to its wall. Their comments were highly derogatory, referring to campers who abide by rules as “idiots”, using a mild obscenity, and naming a competing campground as a better place to stay. They continued a string of comments (that were only authored among themselves), with the clear intention of “getting back” at the business. Under these circumstances, the comments were deleted and the users were banned from being able to post. (To do so, simply hover over the posts on a page where you are an admin, then click on the “x” in the upper right of the post.) Had the posts been less inflammatory, it would have been preferable to let them remain, but this was clearly an attack that needed to be nipped in the bud.
4) Spam posts: Delete these immediately, and ban the user from posting to your page.
Responding to Controversy
When the posts were deleted from the page of the client who came under attack by disgruntled campers, the client posted the following message:
Some of the things that our campers truly appreciate are the quiet hours, dog policies, and basic rules of behavior that we enforce, when needed, in order to insure that everybody will have a peaceful and enjoyable camping experience. At (our park), we do everything possible to insure a perfect combination of fun-filled days and quiet nights, without disruption from another camper.
This post received several favorable comments and was “liked” by nearly 20% of the park’s followers. End of controversy! Feel free to paraphrase it if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Posting Comments to Other Business Pages
The situation outlined in the previous section demonstrates the importance of posting comments to your own page; however, are you taking advantage of the opportunity to post comments on other Facebook business pages? Early in the Spring of 2011, Facebook changed its policies in this regard and now allows business pages to “like” other business pages. What does this mean for you? It means that you can broaden your reach to expanded networks of Facebook users who are likely to have an interest in your product or service. For example, let’s say that there is a major event in your area that draws in visitors from beyond the local area. If you are running a campground or bed & breakfast that is located near that venue, you could post the availability of campsites or rooms during the event dates. Sharing useful information in this manner represents the use of Facebook networking at its best. (If you are running Facebook ads, you could also run specific ads in advance of the event, targeting Facebook users who have “liked” either the event or the types of interests that are related to the event.)
Keeping Yourself Informed
As an administrator (admin) of your account, you should receive Facebook Alerts – in real time – anytime anybody posts to your page. Read these as quickly as they arrive, and respond to them in the appropriate manner. Use the tips in this post as your guidelines to success!
This post was written by Peter Pelland