Small Facebook Update May Have BIG Implications


New Function Allows Pages to Reply Directly to Fan Comments


HH replies example

By now, we all know (or should know) the importance of responding to fan comments on our Facebook pages. When a customer posts a question or comment to a business Facebook page, they typically expect a response within 24 hours. Can you blame them? After all, you wouldn’t ignore your obligation to return a customer’s phone call or reply to their email. Whether a customer asks you a question via your favorite communication channel or your least favorite, you must not ignore them. Responding directly to Facebook fans helps brands to build rapport, resolve customer service issues, strengthen relationships, improve company processes/services, and make positive impressions on the general public.


The Problem:

When a lot of people comment on the same post, it can become difficult to follow one specific thread (AKA conversation) because all of the comments appear in chronological order. This means that there can be dozens or even hundreds of comments separating a question from its response. Here is an example:

Pizzas R US makes a post on their Facebook page about their new American Bacon and Pineapple Pizza (take that, Canada!). One customer (we’ll call him Jack) poses a great question about this post in the form of a comment: “Will you use hickory smoked bacon or applewood smoked bacon on this pizza?”

By the time Pizzas R US’s community manager (we’ll call him…. Tommy) sees Jack’s question, fifty other people have also commented on the post to express their hunger, patriotism or love of bacon. Tommy can use an @mention to tag Jack in his comment to ensure that Jack is notified that Pizzas R US has responded (it’s applewood, by the way). However, there is a gap that sits between the question and the answer causing this important conversation to be lost on anyone else who may care to read or comment. Not only is it difficult for other fans to find Tommy’s response to Jack’s question, but it may appear as though Pizzas R US never bothered to respond to Jack’s question at all. This could leave people thinking: “What kind of inconsiderate pizza company doesn’t even answer important questions about their ingredients? I’m taking my business elsewhere.”


The Solution:

Facebook recently introduced a “Reply” function that makes it easy for brands to respond directly to fan comments. Replies are displayed directly below the related comments making it abundantly clear who is responding to which comment.

Given Facebook’s tendency to make drastic changes to its platform, “replies” may seem like a minor update. However, comments and responses are integral to the News Feed that makes Facebook what it is, so I suspect that this update will have a huge impact on the way marketers use Facebook going forward.


How to Turn On Replies:

Most pages are being prompted to turn on replies in the admin area about the cover image; however, if you missed it or closed it out, here’s how you can turn on the replies feature:

Turning on replies

Will you start using replies on your Facebook page? Tell us in the comments.


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