So your company has decided to establish a presence on Facebook and you’ve been given the role of moderator. Naturally, you may have a lot of questions about managing the conversation. How do you keep the message on-brand? How do you handle negative feedback? What, exactly, is the role of the moderator and how can you be as effective as possible?
EMBRACE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK
Many people will argue that with platforms like Facebook, brand communication is wildly out of control and solidly in the hands of consumers who like to complain loudly. If you want to be a better moderator, here’s your first tip: embrace the complaints.
In the past, people could complain about your company all night and day but you might never know about it. Now that you can observe some of the conversation about your brand on Facebook, you have more information to work with and a more public space for responding appropriately and communicating your message. Complaints posted on your Facebook page are an opportunity for you to discover what’s not working about your business so you can fix it. See the negative feedback as a blessing rather than a curse. When you address consumers’ concerns and take the opportunity to define your brand, consumers are less likely to create their own definition.
USE YOUR AUTHORITY
The next thing you need to realize is that even though consumers can post comments all over your Facebook page, you are ultimately in control of the conversation and there are some steps you should take to make sure you maintain that control.
Some people are just angry in general and they see online forums as a place where they can spout profanity and bully other people. You should never tolerate this kind of behavior, no matter how legitimate their underlying complaint may be. Simply delete their posts and send them a private message directing them to the guidelines and let them know that you understand they may have a legitimate concern but if they violate the guidelines again they will be banned.
Having said that, there are going to be some people who had a bad experience with your brand and they will communicate their anger in an entirely appropriate way on your page. So how do you handle it? In a word: quickly. Respond publicly so the community can see you that you take complaints seriously. Even if you don’t have an immediate answer, let them know you are aware of the problem, you are looking into it, and you will get back to them shortly. Then move the conversation off the news feed and send them a personal message on Facebook asking the person to contact you directly via phone or email so you can privately discuss any issues in greater detail. This will spare your other fans the “he said, she said” back and forth and help the community maintain its positive atmosphere.
Another thing you should remember is that you don’t always have to respond. Sometimes your fans will post things that are negative but don’t really rise to the level of a legitimate complaint. They may say something like, “I wish the logo wasn’t blue.” It’s okay to ignore them.
REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOR
Probably the most important thing a moderator can do on Facebook is to reward good behavior and foster a sense of community. Clicking “like” when fans comment is great, but take the time to create your own comments on the best posts and watch the conversation come alive. Pay attention to the fans who post prolifically and think about special messages that will keep those key people engaged. You can offer special deals, new product previews, or advance news announcements to your most active fans first. Taking these actions will make your best fans more likely to talk up your brand both online and off.
You can also cultivate good behavior in your community by using customized Facebook applications to make your targeted messages trackable. At Angelsmith, our clients use the WOM Accelerator to help identify which active fans are the most influential. If you’re offering a coupon, for example, you can find out which fans are the best at getting their friends to redeem it. When you can track which fans’ shares are the most effective you can build a very powerful network of brand ambassadors and who will give you a whole new avenue for spreading your brand’s message.
Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on how to be a better Facebook moderator, you’re ready to master communication on the social network. Just remember to embrace complaints, reward good behavior and use your authority wisely.