In my role as a Senior Account Manager at eModeration, I work with a lot of Facebook Fan Pages. The ‘must have’ social media marketing item of the moment, they can be tricky devils to moderate, and that’s why I was really pleased to come across this post (update – now a 404, sorry) by Nicole Landguth of Ogilvy PR, suggesting more of a two-way engagement with the fans via a full use of the avenues available on Facebook – for example, the Info tab, perfect as a customer service gateway, and (even more soothing to my internal raving) a clear explanation of page guidelines.
1. Who is Operating the Brand Page- Is this page run by the communications department, employee volunteers, the owner, a collaborations with fans, or someone else? Who can fans contact with administrative issues? No need to provide detailed bios, emails, and addresses here but you could if you as a person are part of the brand.
I think this is a great idea… I checked out the Info tabs for a few FB Fan pages and none of them really shows a ‘personality’ or gives any idea of who maintains the page. They do, however, mostly have links through to their own brand sites and one even has their Mission Statement.
To make the page more inclusive and less of an ‘advertisement’, it would be very interesting to plainly see the ‘face’ of the brand. This seems to be vastly overlooked and could, in fact, open up further discussion and promotion with the users of that page and therefore the brand. For a similar reason, it is a shame that more brands do not fully utilise the ‘Discussions’ tab as this would encourage information sharing and, more importantly, gathering… what do the users of your brand really think? What good ideas do they have that could inform your marketing strategy? Some brands do use this tab but don’t maintain it, which means each discussion will languish with minimal contributions which, quite honestly, just looks rather sad and doesn’t encourage others to take part. Discussion = engagement, so don’t just put the subject out there and then leave it. Cultivate responses and ensure the fans feel ‘part of’ something, valued.
2. How You Plan to Interact with Fans- This is your chance to set expectations. Let fans know exactly what kind of communications your Facebook page will be supporting. Is this an outlet for customer service requests? Will you be sharing coupons and codes for your website?
A brief explanation of the purpose of the page would help to cement its ‘uniqueness’ and ‘usefulness’. What will the fans get if they sign up? What will it do for them? Competitions? What do they win? Discounts and special codes of access? Companies often think ‘we must have a FB presence’ but forget to ask (and answer) the question… why? What is its purpose? How will users be drawn in and retained? Is there a reason for this page?
3. How You DO NOT Plan to Interact with Fans – If you have specific functions you will not be supporting or issues you will not be addressing through Facebook spell it out. Let customers know you won’t be responding to service requests, that you can’t answer questions about specific franchise promotions, or maybe you represent a government office and there are certain issues that can not be handled through unofficial channels.
On this I would suggest a customer service email address, similar to the one on the brand’s own site. Then on the FB page it can be explained that individual concerns can be addressed via this email, rather than publicly on the page. This also provides a ‘get out’ should the brand decide to remove criticism from their page (not something I would suggest, unless abusive) – referring users to the email address.
4. Resources Outside of Facebook- Review what you included under How the brand does not plan to interact with fans on the page and provide alternate contact information where appropriate. For customer service issues if you do not plan to support these on the brand page let customers know where to take them. If your brand partners of spokespeople have their own Facebook pages list them here.
Useful links provide cross marketing opportunities, a ’round-robin’ approach and a way in which to direct the user’s journey.
5. What can Get a Post Deleted or a Fan Blocked- Fans will understand that healthy discussion needs some moderation; provide a short list of reasons comments may be deleted from the page. General language is fine, something like, “comments that are off-topic, offensive or inappropriate (i.e. thinly veiled sales pitches).”
As yet, I haven’t seen this used on a page that we moderate. I think this would go a long way towards heading off problems and also cutting down on abusive and disgruntled behaviour. Removing items without explanation can often annoy the user and also, more importantly, drive them away having tainted their opinion of the brand. Short and concise guidelines show a responsibility to the users, and can mean that the brand will be supported in their moderation by the users actually reporting items that go against guidelines. Obviously some users are out to cause trouble from the very start, but most will respect a clear page with well thought out guidelines and aims.
This is all such logical stuff, and it’s a pity that logic sometimes appears to get sidelined in the rush to be part of the ‘next big thing’. I’m sure that once a few brands and agencies start doing it, then the rest will follow their examples of good practice. And, lo and behold, this kind of clear communication with fans will be standard and no-one would think of putting up a page without it (I can dream, can’t I?). Anyway, many thanks to Nicole – we’ll certainly start suggesting that our clients devise their own Facebook Fan Page Guidelines.
photo by breyeschow via Flickr