When Facebook rolled out threaded comments last week, there was a clear lack of excitement from most of the social media blogs. It was a news item, nothing more, for most of them. Cool feature, about time, yadayadayada.
What the majority of them missed is that this is arguably the most important change that Facebook has made for businesses this year. The touch factor is back. By that, I mean that businesses and organizations now have the ability to interact directly with questions and comments, making the comments made by others more useful and enabling longer comment threads to make much more sense to those who are viewing them.
For a while, the “touch” factor was missing. It was there in the beginning when Facebook pages were much less populated and it was more of a personal discussion point through which consumers could reach businesses. Then, Facebook got huge and things have changed dramatically over the past couple of years. Popular pages weren’t really able to easily communicate one-on-one with people leaving them comments. If threads got too big, it was almost impossible to hold a true conversation.
Those days are behind us. Now, businesses simply need to go to the Manage Permissions section of their admin panel and turn on replies.
It isn’t just the ability to touch those who take the time to comment. It’s a way to help the most important comments rise to the top. Those conversations that Facebook defines as “most active and engaging” will rise to the top of threads. For those who are not getting many comments, there’s no easier way to entice more than by showing a willingness to reply.
Currently, there’s one major drawback. It’s available on desktop only. They plan on making it work through Graph API and on mobile in the future, but those who manage their business pages solely through mobile will have to whip out the laptop every now and then.
If you’re managing a business or organization page, get going with replies immediately. Unless your page is madly popular, you should be replying to everyone’s comments with nearly no exceptions. So many businesses are focused on reputation management and making sure they reply to reviews. This falls under the same category. Just as a business should be replying to every review, they should also be replying to every comment on Facebook. This is the public-facing human representation of your brand. It’s not something that you want to be a one-way broadcasting tool. This is about conversations and the opportunities are growing on Facebook.
Don’t let this simple little addition slip by.