Social media has forever transformed the way that reputation managers and PR professionals go about their daily business. So much has this been true, that companies now regularly hire “social media managers,” professionals who are solely responsible for posting on social media, responding to customer mentions and messages, and sourcing/writing new content to keep people interested in liking, sharing, and interacting with a brand.
Facebook, which still sits atop its throne as the biggest social media platform around, is about to roll out the ability to answer comments privately. In the past, companies were limited to responding via the same Facebook channel that they were contacted on (responding to comments by commenting, messages by messaging, etc.). Now, Facebook page managers will have a new option to click when fielding page comments which will take the comment conversation into a private thread with that individual. The thread will include a link to the original comment, and will allow the two parties to communicate privately.
Of course, as the tool is used more and more, more individuals will likely take advantage of the increased speed and communication with companies on Facebook. This will mean an increase in the amount of messaging threads that social media managers have to deal with. To help alleviate message overload, Facebook also announced that they will be introducing new messaging tools.
One of the most welcome additions will be the way in which companies can save boilerplate responses and messages to commonly asked questions. Customers can therefore be easily responded to and would cut down on the time spent servicing the most common, easy-to-fix issues. This feature has been in testing for several months now, but it will soon be available to everyone.
Facebook itself is one of the fastest growing customer support platforms on the planet, and Facebook has created more incentives for companies to use their pages as their primary response method. For one, the company has created a badge that will display on company pages in order to let customers know that a page is very responsive to its messages and feedback. For the badge to display, Facebook pages will have to respond to 90% or more of their customer messages and have a median response time of five minutes or less; data will be based upon the last seven days. It’s unclear if “hours of operation” will be available so that companies won’t lose face their status if their support would not normally be open 24 hours per day (or perhaps this itself is a requirement).
What does this mean for you? It means that Facebook is getting more useful as a customer management tool, but along with it will come more responsibility and the need to learn new tools and functions. Let’ be honest, though: If you’re managing social media for a company you’re already likely a digital native who gets excited about such updates, rather than shying away from a new social challenge.