How to Respond to Comments on Your Business’s Facebook Page
9 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Creating a Facebook Page to Market Your Business
Comments are a vital part of any Facebook Page, especially one created for a business. When you use Facebook marketing to build lasting relationships with your customers, you need to map out ahead of time, whenever possible, who in your company is responsible for responding to what comments, and in what time period. In part, this strategy depends on how active your fans are on your Page.
Here are some points to keep in mind when putting together your strategy for responding to comments:
Typically, fans expect a response within 24 hours. A lack of response could discourage fans and drive them to seek out other Pages.
Whenever possible, direct the conversation. Don’t let a conversation get out of hand. You can continue the conversation on the Wall or, if more appropriate, seek the customer's e-mail address and contact her in a more closed environment if the situation is more sensitive.
Respond to your fans with the same method that they lodged their message. If a fan reaches out to you in a positive manner via a comment on the Wall, by all means, keep the conversation going within that post. If someone asks a question, don’t direct him to your Web site for more information; instead, respond in the moment.
Address your customers’ needs before your business needs. Marketers often talk about understanding the voice of the customer — meaning what the customer values — but nowhere is this more important than in Facebook.
Be honest. Inside Facebook, the most powerful message is one delivered by one friend to another friend. This means that you need to ensure that every communication is as open and honest as possible.
Keep a consistent experience throughout your posts. For example, if you post a lot of videos, use the same video format. If possible, keep the video on your Page or, better yet, on a customized Video tab on your Page. If you know your fans are more likely to comment from their mobile phones, stick to text-based postings because many formats aren’t compatible with a wide range of mobile handsets.
Stick to a regular broadcasting schedule for your updates and content releases. Your fans appreciate knowing when and how often to expect updates from your Page, and your content team appreciates knowing what scheduling guidelines to keep.
Although generally you want to respond to comments within 24 hours, in some cases — such as with an irate customer who’s never going to be happy with anything you might say — you may be better off not responding at all. Trying to decide when and when not to respond can be tricky, so here are some tips to help you make this decision:
If a mistake was clearly made on your part, respond and correct the situation quickly. Apologies can go a long way as long as you explain that steps are being taken to correct the situation.
If someone leaves a negative comment about something that never actually took place or is based on incorrect facts, correct him. Always be polite because often people don’t realize they’ve made an error. If you don’t respond, however, this misconception could spread and escalate.
An irate person may never be satisfied, so you may be better off not doing anything. Sometimes, people direct their frustration with the world toward you and your Facebook Page. If you’re dealing with such a person — you can figure out whether you are based on other comments she’s made — it’s often better not to enter a fight you’re never going to win. Instead, invest your time and efforts where you can have a positive result.
Don’t engage in a fight you can’t win. Sometimes, a response does more harm than good. A negative comment or review can have a devastating effect on a company’s online reputation. However, you don’t want to engage in a back-and-forth that will uncover more cracks in the armor, so to speak. Often in these situations, it’s best to take a passive role as opposed to going for the jugular.
Don’t let anger derail your response. Although the saying it’s not personal, it’s just business, is good in principle, it’s a lot harder in practice. Disparaging Facebook comments can really make you angry. Rather than rattle off a negative response, either have someone else who is less emotional about the situation respond or sit on the sidelines and wait until your emotions calm before responding. An angry response can go a long way in damaging your relationship with the customer and can have a spill-over effect on all who read it.