How To Handle Comments on your Facebook for Business Page {and discover vital opportunities for business growth}

strategy for how to handle comments on your facebook for business page

We cover alot of ground in my 3-Day Facebook Workshop, but one area we only touch upon lightly is how to handle comments that other people leave on your Facebook for Business Page.  So I chose this as our topic of discussion at “The Social Media Club” last week because “comments” have been all over the media (online) the last 2 weeks. Some of my clients have also been struggling with how to handle comments lately, especially negative ones, so this topic is timely.

Thing is, you can control what you post, when you post it and how you post it, and this is exactly what we cover in the 3-Day Intensives. This is also covered in detail in my book “Novice2Ninja“. But you can’t control what comments other people leave on your page.

However, you can manage the comments, and more importantly, how you react to them. Better still, if you adopt a positive strategy for handling comments, then these can actually turn into a vital opportunity for growth in your business.

Managing comments needn’t be scary, you just need to know how to handle them. And there are different ways to manage negative comments versus positive comments.

We discussed 4 case studies at “The Social Media Club” last week when we jammed this topic, too much to outline in this blog post (but join us in person next month to get the full low-down), so I’ll focus on just one example here, namely, the Qantas-Facebook Page debacle which exploded week….


Accepting Negative Comments….

I usually start with the positive side of things but I’ll talk about negative comments first because these have been the cause of a hotbed of controversy over the last 2 weeks.

Qantas started to fly into the Middle East recently and hence made the decision to delete Pork from their menu. Since these are mostly Muslim countries added to the new flight routes Qantas obviously felt it was a fair enough decision. And I agree with them. I mean, you wouldn’t turn up to teach at a children’s seminar wearing your favourite leather cat-suit, right? Simply not appropriate. I’m all for being respectful of my customers and their sensitivities. But what happened next on the Qantas Facebook Page was almost unbelievable, and in my opinion, grossly unAustralian. The deletion of pork triggered a barrage of negative comments on the Qantas Facebook for Business Page. These comments were extremely racially offensive and outrageously prejudice. So much so that the thought of placing a screen shot here would make my skin crawl. Suffice to say, the comments were the kind that would embarrass you, so I’m not posting them here, but were along the lines of “Arab lovers” and “sleeping with the Islamic enemy”. And that’s just the start! Seriously folks! Just eat the beef or the chicken that is available on the menu and put aside your love of bacon just for this one long haul flight into Dubai! Qantas have the right to put whatever they want on their menus, the same as Woolies Byron Bay stock my favourite soy milk (Bonsoy) but Woolies Ballina doesn’t keep it because they can’t shift this product to a different population! So why would Qantas design a menu around food that their customers on this particular route wouldn’t eat and would also be offended by!

The problem got worse when Qantas left this outpouring of anger on their Facebook page for over a week. And by the time that Qantas got around to actually deleting the racially offensive comments, you would have thought that online WWIII had broken out on the Qantas Facebook Page. Mind you, the whole world was watching us and our bad behaviour.

So when Qantas finally deleted the offensive comments and went public about it, they were attacked with even more negative comments from folks that felt that the “deletion” of comments on a Facebook page is plain wrong. You see,  some folks feel that a public Facebook page should not be moderated or censored in any way. I understand this point of view and in a perfect world, I agree with it in principle, but this is not a perfect world and not moderating your Page can lead to further problems (as Qantas discovered last week)….

Okay folks, so here are the important facts you need to know about public comments left on your Facebook Business Page….

  1. Last year in Australian Law, a company was sued for leaving offensive comments on their Facebook Page. They lost the case. So the case is now tested, Facebook is seen as a legitimate advertising medium, and your Facebook for Business Page must adhere to Australian Advertising Guidelines.
  2. As business owners, we therefore have no choice but to moderate comments on our Pages. Leaving offensive comments on our Pages is not an option. Our Facebook for Business Pages are “public” which means that children of any age could be looking at our Pages. Your Page therefore cannot contain any material that may offend anyone of any age.


So what are COMMENTS anyway?

Comments are just the FEEDBACK LOOP between you and your customers. You have to accept feedback in your business or your company won’t grow and change and you will struggle to survive.

Social Media has now become a fantastically dynamic way to accept feedback from the public. You can use the comments left on your Page to your advantage, and turn these comments into Feedback to improve your business.

Feedback is vital to any business. It tells you what the customer sees because what you see as a business owner is a bit blinkered. We all get a bit close to our products and what we do, and sometimes we can’t see our business through the eyes of our clients.

Accepting comments on your Facebook Page is a great way to expand and grow your business. You just need a strategy to do this.

business strategy for comments and feedback


So here’s How to Handle Negative Comments on your Facebook for Business Page and Keep your Page as Fresh as a Daisy….

  1. Accept the comments. Don’t take negative comments personally or as a slight on your character. Just accept that these comments are there to help you see what your customers see. This is vital for your business’ growth. 
  2. Address the public issue first. Nip the issue in the bud before it gets out of control (Qantas waiting a week to address the issue was way too long to wait, I don’t know why they didn’t address the issue immediately!) Remember that the customer had paid money in exchange for your product or service, so if it doesn’t live up to expectations, you can’t sweep the problem under the carpet and pretend the problem is not there. Does the product fall apart in their hand? Does the view from your B&B room meet the description on your website? Whatever the problem is, fix it, and address the issue publicly, on Facebook. If you don’t address the issue, you risk receiving a bad review on a forum where you don’t have the ability to voice your side of the story. So if a customer has left you a negative comment, this is a blessing, because it could have been alot worse (they could have left you a bad review instead.) Rather than begrudging a negative comment, you should be thankful for them!
  3. Address the internal issue next. If a product fell apart in their hands, then your supplier has let you down. If the trees in front of a hotel window have grown so tall that they have now blocked the advertised view, get the trees trimmed and pruned back to the right height to allow the view to be seen. Fix the underlying process that has caused this issue – treat the cause not the symptom. You need this kind of feedback otherwise you’ll never know there is a problem with your product.
  4. Be generous. Always offer a replacement product. This is good business regardless of Facebook. Offer a free holiday in the future if there was something significantly wrong with their hotel room. Offer them a replacement photo shoot if the photos were too dark. Offer to send the customer a new product if the original product fell apart. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the customer. Instead, take this opportunity to expand your understanding of your product. This is the time to be brave and fix the issue at hand.
  5. Be gracious. If someone is upset for a legitimate problem with your product, then nip the issue in the bud by addressing the issue and offering a replacement product BUT do this graciously. Be diplomatic always. There is no scope for sarcasm when a customer is upset. Don’t “shame” the customer either. Remember that the customers that love you are also watching and if what you say is off-putting, you might lose your good customers too. So fix the problem in your product or process, diffuse the negative comments to avoid being badly reviewed and strike a happy medium between explaining the issue publicly and diplomatically apologizing.
  6. Delete Comments. You only need to address issues that are legitimate. If a comment looks like spam, or if a comment is racial, prejudice, sexual or offensive in any way, just delete the comment. Know that there are also some people that make it their job to find pages to comment on and to leave random scathing comments, for no reason at all. These people are call TROLLS and have no shame and clearly, nothing better to do with their time. Trolling is big on the Internet. But don’t worry, just delete them. On your Facebook for Business page you have two options. You can either just “delete” the comment or can also “delete and ban” which bans the user from being able to leave a comment on your Page in the future. Choose whichever option you think is most appropriate. Bottom line, don’t be scared to delete a comment that is unnecessarily negative. My rule of thumb is, if you’re losing sleep over it, delete it. You have to protect your business and your brand.
  7. Consider Adding House rules. Qantas eventually added “House Rules” to the description of their Facebook Page. And if you are in a business that is repeatedly spammed or trolled, then you may want to consider this too. To do this, click on “Edit Page” then “Update Public Info” then add your “House Rules” there. Remember to be friendly, Facebook is meant to be a place of positivity and fun. This is what Qantas added to their Page last week. It’s all encompassing, so you may not need to go this far….
comments on facebook page

 

How to Handle Positive Comments on your Facebook for Business Page and Turn These into Vital Opportunities for Business Growth….

This is a much easier strategy…..

  1. For starters, ensure that the “comments” are turned “on” in your Facebook settings. To check this, go to “Edit Page” then click “Edit Settings” and make sure that all the “Posting Ability” and “Posting Visibility” boxes are all “ticked”. I had a client last week who wanted to “turn off” the comments on their Page. With a high profile product always in the media, this business owner was growing tired of managing the comments on their Page. I suggested that they leave the comments turned on, and instead adopt a strategy to handle them (see points below). Otherwise you are missing the whole point of Facebook if you are not allowing your customers to talk to you! For more info about the core reasons for being on Facebook, click here….
  2. Allow customers to talk with you because this is the best way to Engage with your customers and this increases the EdgeRank score of your Page. For more info about your EdgeRank score, click here…. For more reading about how to better engage your customers, click here…. We also spend about half of my 3-day Workshop talking about How to Engage your customers. Half of my book is also dedicated to this subject, so Engaging your customers is pretty important! Therefore handling comments is part of this process….
  3. Responding to positive comments allows your customers to “check you out”. So adopt a daily routine of responding to comments. Allow your customers to “try you” before they buy from you and your business has the best chance of growth.
  4. Some customers need to be comfortable talking with you on your Facebook Page, before they buy from you. So responding to comments on your Page could also lead to sales from your Page. Handling comments positively and in a timely manner is therefore crucial. Just check your Page once a day and reply to all comments personally and individually.
So comments on your Facebook Page are not scary. Comments are simply the online version of a “Feedback box” at the front of your store. Adaptation is the key to business survival. And if you adopt the view that managing these comments are an opportunity for growth, your business has the chance to adapt and expand.
comments strategy on facebook for small business
Remember that Facebook is meant to be a positive place, a place where you can build your brand online and spread the love and joy that your business brings to your customers. However ensuring that your Facebook Page remains clean of abusive and offensive comments is not only your job, it is also your legal responsibility. It’s just part of the gig. So embrace a daily routine of handling comments and by turning these into valuable feedback, you will give your Facebook Page, and also your business, a new opportunity for growth.

If you are ready to dive deeper into building and managing your Facebook for Business Page, join us at the next Facebook for Business Workshop coming up soon or come along to next month’s Social Media Club to get the benefit of the full evening of discussion.

Grab your seat to the upcoming Facebook Business Workshop here Join us at “The Social Media Club” here

And if books or 1-on-1 are more your thing, then here’s how we can connect….

Buy “Novice2Ninja – Facebook for Business” , eBook or Printed, here Request a Call-Back to chat about a 1-on-1 Session with Francesca Read reviews about the awesome work I do, here

Cheers for now!  Thank you for reading. And here are some buttons to share the love….

With Gratitude

Francesca Esposito-Rose B.Inf.Tech.
Business Mentor, Online Strategist, Author, Speaker & Social Media Business Specialist

{Photos Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net}

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About Francesca

Francesca Esposito-Rose is CEO of SummerHills.com, a successful Australian Retreat. Also Digital Strategist, Business Mentor and Facebook Business Specialist. With extensive experience over many years in corporate and public management and private business ownership, a past life as a geek and too much internet experience to admit in public, she translates Facebook for Business into understandable language that others leave you wondering about. Francesca has a fresh and straight-talking style in both writing and management, getting the job done, quickly, efficiently and successfully.

One Response to “How To Handle Comments on your Facebook for Business Page {and discover vital opportunities for business growth}”

  1. Toby Vogl June 9, 2013 11:30 am #

    You made some decent points there. I looked on the net to find out more about this issue and found your info the most articulate – thankyou

    Toby Vogl

Leave a Reply to Toby Vogl