Facebook Moderation Isn’t Just About Customer Service

How To Deal With Negative Facebook Posts

Just last week, we tweeted a pretty sweet blog post from AllFacebook about “How To Manage A Facebook Wall In Any Situation.” It was chock full of great tips boiled down from BuddyMedia’s Facebook moderation 101 report. Some of my favorites: Address each poster by name. Use language that reinforces positive feelings about your brand. Don’t be afraid to apologize and be honest.

But there’s one bone I have to pick that I’ve been mulling over. It’s a piece of advice I’ve heard time and time again in the social media realm that I just plain don’t agree with – “Reply as quickly as possible to complaints posted on your wall.”

Now, don’t get me wrong – I definitely think there are times when you should swoop in ASAP. If there’s a question that needs answered by your brand, then of course. Or if this is a “problem child” who needs special attention, obviously.

How To Deal With Negative Facebook Posts But I guess I get a bit touchy when people start treating social media efforts like it’s just a branch of customer service. Customer service skills come in super handy when you’re wearing a community manager hat – I’ve already told you about that. But that’s not always the answer.

I get it. It’s easy to panic when there’s a mean ol’ post on your Facebook wall. It’s understandable, because negative sentiment about your brand online can be detrimental. But can we expand our tactics for creating a more positive community about and for your brand beyond rapid-fire responses?

If your business views Facebook as a platform to create and amplify advocates of your brand, the end goal should not be to squash every gripe, but to empower advocates to counteract the grumblings, too. That way, advocates feel valued, complainers feel like they got genuine feedback rather than PR mumbo jumbo, and the whole community is functioning as just that – a community, not a public 1-800 number.

What’s your take on Facebook moderation?

Strategists First, Community Managers Second

I came across this awesome image while wandering the Internet the other day, and right away I was nodding and laughing. “Yep, that pretty much sums it up,” was my thought. Behold, the inner workings of the minds of folks like me, revealed!

The discovery of this kick-ass (and scarily accurate) infographic came on the heels of a conversation I’d just had with The Cypher’s Agency’s Bearer Of All WOM Knowledge, Jocelyn, about the title “community manager” and if it can be synonymous with what we do as word-of-mouth marketers. Finding this illustration just cemented what she and I had concluded: yes and no.

There’s no question that in any given day, our Push-n-Pull team serves as concierges, traffic cops, and yes, even pinatas for our clients’ customers online. We are always at the ready to smash spam and crush trolls to keep communities positive and unpolluted. And there’s certainly a customer service aspect to what we do – we pride ourselves on using online platforms to solve problems for our clients’ customers, or connecting them to someone else who can. But we are way more than Web 2.0 robots sweeping up and spitting out announcements online.

Building, monitoring and engaging an online community to share your message with is vital and does require playing the many parts shown in that awesome graphic. But we are strategists first, managers second. Why we are doing what we do always factors in to how we engage in and shape conversations online. The work we do is much more than just crowd control – its always driving toward the overarching marketing goals for our clients.

When I first started out, I marveled at how cool it was that little ol’ me got to sit in on planning meetings. I had expected to be handed my social media tasks and shuffle along to do my social media work. Now, I understand the serious value of our agency’s approach. Bringing in the digital marketing minds from the beginning means that the “community management” we’re doing will be in a facet of an integrated marketing plan.