Category Archives: Top Tips

Complaints on Facebook

A recent query from a colleague alerted me to just how overly sensitive we still are to seeing complaint appear in our social media streams. Granted, it does sort of get your gut twisted and your blood draining when you open your stream and there it is for the whole world to see. My colleague’s reaction was to want to hit the “Remove this Post” button but is that the right way to go about it?

John Beale shared his experiences when dealing with online complaints in the post entitled Ten types of social media complaints on BizCommunity. He lists ten types of complaints and how to deal with them.  Valuable insight and a concise summary of complaint-type consumer engagements we can expect in our various streams.

What I would like to highlight as a conclusion from this particular post is the following: In not ONE of the types of complaints does he (or I, as a matter of fact!) ever suggest that you put your head in the sand in pretend it did not happen!

Typically every type of post (and platform) has a unique approach to take, but in general terms what I suggested to my colleague (and clients in the past) is this:

  1. Acknowledge the post or comment
  2. Indicate how you will be addressing the concern (i.e. “We will investigate and report back within 24hrs etc.)
  3. Indicate specific time-frames where possible and stick to them
  4. DO NOT engage in an emotive response where you simply defend your position (SMME’s are typically prone to this type of reaction)
  5. Use this opportunity to assist the consumer to resolve their complaint OR to change your processes to prevent this from happening again (learning opportunity in other words)

I know, it’s like showing up at school and realising you didn’t prepare for the test. Fact remains, you’ve gotta do it. Avoiding confrontation leaves a bad taste in the consumer’s mouth and creates the impression that your brand / business and ultimately you (SMME’s!) don’t care. It just isn’t worth it.

Diva, done.

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Facebook for the South African SMME

Facebook is a hot hot hot potato. Looking at the potential impact your Facebook Business Page can have on the South African (SMME) market, I have established the following:

SMME business’s are keen to dip their toes into the Facebook pool but they appear to be unsure of how to manage the soapbox once the get on it.

The reality is that as a SMME, you probably don’t have the resources allow one person (whether an employee or yourself) to commit 100% of their time to manage your online communication strategy. That is of course assuming that you actually HAVE a communication strategy in place….

My 5 top tips to optimise your time (and effort) spent on Facebook are:

  • DON’T use a personal page as a business page. Even if you are a Sole Proprietor or a Consultant, make use of the Business Page facility. It appears unprofessional when a “business” suddenly declares that it has a degree in Business Administration from this-or-that University. Business Page also allow you to promote events and add custom fields and pages which creates a more meaningful impression with your fans.
  • Make an effort to create a unique page for your business. Consider developing a landing page that encourages visitors to “Like” your page or that simply presents your HOOK in a fun, creative fashion.
  • Remember at all times, that Facebook doesn’t work effectively when used as a selling platform. Your visitors are desperate for good, worthwhile content that adds value to their business or personal lives. If your content doesn’t fit the bill, they will simply not return.
  • Have a plan. Work towards a goal. A structured under-current in your messaging helps your fans / readers to easily identify with the online personality you are creating. Haphazard comments that don’t ever draw a sensible conclusion, leave your visitors confused an unsatisfied.
  • Daily activity. Think of it as talking with your best friend – sharing an essential piece of news every day. You can’t only resort to using Social Media platforms when you suddenly need more sales. You have to maintain the “friendship”. Trust takes time – invest in your online relationships. It is important to note that different Social Media Networking platforms require different levels of input and frequency.

If you plan your online activity and focus on using one or two suitable platforms efficiently and effectively, you will soon develop a routine. I have found with most of my clients that 15 to 30 minutes a day is mostly all that is needed to maintain a productive online communication strategy.

Happy writing!