Do you ever find yourself at a loss about how to respond to wall posts?
Well, Buddy Media has the answers for you in a report called “How Do I Respond To That? the Definitive Guide To Facebook Publishing And Moderation?”
At first glance it seems like a lot of common-sense advice you might have already learned from general customer service experience, but then you see important reminders like this one:
Managing user-generated content on the Facebook wall is a full-time job. If your guard is down for as little as 24 hours, you might end up with an unmanageable queue of messages that need responding to.
That includes weekends, evenings and holidays: People are on Facebook around the clock and year round, and it’s unrealistic to expect them to confine their complaints or other comments to conventional business hours.
Buddy Media recommends that you try to anticipate possible complaints and plan a response strategy ahead of time, so that you can reply as quickly as possible to any gripes posted on your wall.
The sooner you can react to a complaint, the greater the chance you’ll pre-empt follow up complainers that will make the issue look much worse than it really is. You want to avoid having to respond to multiple posters complaining at the same time, as they will all feed off each other and possibly spread misinformation.
Don’t make the mistake of replying to complaints selectively — many admins and brand managers try to avoid the more controversial posts thinking it will be more diplomatic. The “we won’t dignify that with a response” attitude backfires online. Respond to every single gripe, because any unanswered party could interpret your nonresponse as an added insult and proceed to blow up.
Buddy Media recommends that you address each complainer by name when you respond. Offer a humble and apologetic explanation that resolves the problem. Supply links to relevant information. Also, try follow up with the complainant, either directly or right on the wall — the latter will look really good to everyone else — within 24 hours if possible.
Buddy Media says that it’s just as important to respond to positive posts as negative ones. Compliments by users don’t just show up on your own wall, but also appear on the poster’s news feed and that of their friends. Every time you respond to a post, that also goes out to everyone’s news feed.
So try to come out with an affirmative reply to every nice thing that goes up on your wall — let people know you are listening. Again, address each poster by name, and use language that reinforces positive feelings about your brand. Try to engage the happy posters so they reply in kind with more positivity, further populating people’s news feeds with goodness.
Requests For Information
Buddy Media calls this area of communication a no-brainer, only because you probably have the answer to the user’s posts right at your fingertips. So all you need to do is try to move quickly with the response so you look attentive.
The consultancy says you ought to think of these requests and your answers as a bonding exercise, a way to make the fan feel like he or she is a part of things upon receiving the answers. Make sure you address everyone by their name and use a friendly yet respectful conversational style.
The only way you can mess this area up is if you accidentally supply misinformation. But even if that happens, you can rectify that by apologizing for the mistake and offering the correct data. Then follow up later to make sure the person has what he or she needs.
Guidance And Advice
Some people request information that requires an answer not as readily available to you — maybe it calls for a more involved response, or even some opinion. What this poster needs is advice and guidance. Play your cards right and these conversations can yield the positivity that Buddy Media recommends you promote.
This takes more thought and consideration –plus a reassuring and complimentary tone. It might call for a telephone follow-up that you can suggest by giving out your phone number to the person on the wall or via a direct message.
Be mindful of potential legal issues here. Make sure your answers to these questions protect you from litigation. Consult your company’s attorney for some stock information about different scenarios, and also check with the lawyer about topics that come up anew.
People can get frustrated with even the best technology, and if more than one customer service representative gets involved in trying to help someone with these issues, frustrations can mount instead of subside.
The best way to contend with these situations is to have responses prepared ahead of time. Anticipate likely technology challenges and prepare answers to questions ahead of time. And that should include a list of resources with additional information on the subject.
Managing Conversation Threads
Some conversations are easier to manage than others, and if you’ve got several of them going at once, well, it gets hard. So make sure you have enough staffing helping you manage it all. If you don’t, you’ll risk missing something that could become a headache.
You have to prioritize when managing multiple conversations. Don’t move so quickly that you make mistakes, especially because you’re going to face a mix of positive and negative posts. You’ll want to respond to the negative posts first with personalized and complimentary statements. When confronted with postings that are inflammatory, derogatory or profane, go ahead and delete the post. Consider also blocking the poster so he or she doesn’t come back to post more negativity.
Keeping Negativity And Profanity At Bay
Create a written policy about what types of posts you don’t want to receive, and place it prominently on your wall or page — that ought to reduce negativity and profanity a great deal.
If you’re still getting negative and profane posts, and it seems like not enough positive ones are coming your way, ask friends to help out by posting something nice on your wall to start a positive thread.
Know that you don’t have to let everyone comment on your wall — that’s why the link for blocking a user is there. Don’t feel guilty about using it. You can now reinstate people who you’ve previously blocked, so you could even tell someone you’re blocking that he or she can come back later.
Readers, how often do you see Facebook page conversations needing intervention by admins and not getting it in time to do damage control?