Questions to guide Facebook brand response

May 29, 2011
Posted by: Matthew Hammer, VP- Marketing

If you’re in the business of listening and talking to your customers on Facebook, then you need a strong plan for brand response.
From deciding whether, when, and how often you’ll respond to fan feedback and questions, there’s a whole range of issues to consider. As a guide for that planning, we’ve come up with this list of 30-plus questions for your marketing and communications teams to talk through.

Planning and policy

  1. Where does Facebook fit within your brand’s overall business communications and objectives?
  2. What is the tone and culture you’re setting for the Page, and does it match the culture and promise of your brand?
  3. Do you have staff who are comfortable and capable of writing and responding in that tone?
  4. Will you respond to every post and question on your Facebook Page? If not, are there certain types of posts you will answer, and others that you won’t?
  5. Will you publish follow-up status updates that address important (or repeated) questions and concerns raised in fan comments?
  6. Are your community mangers/moderators/CS reps properly trained, both in the subject material of your brand and in responding in a Facebook environment?
  7. Do you have clearly published moderation guidelines on your Facebook Pages?
  8. How will you handle fan posts that are critical of your brand?
  9. How will you handle fan posts and comments that run afoul of your moderation guidelines? Deleting the posts with no explanation? With a warning? By banning the fans?
  10. Fans don’t stop commenting and posting when you stop working. Are you adequately staffed to provide Facebook moderation and response coverage, including on nights and weekends? If not, what areas of your moderation and response coverage will you outsource?
  11. Are there scenarios (such as a crisis, or to clarify a story on a media or related industry Page) where you would comment on other Facebook Pages, either as a Page or individual?
  12. If your front-line moderators or community managers can’t answer specific questions, do they have easy access to subject-matter experts or other members of the company who can?

Customer service on Facebook

  1. Will you respond to customer-service questions on Facebook (some brands simply do not)?
  2. How will you track and categorize the types of customer-service issues that are raised, how you’ve answered them, and whether the issues have been resolved?
  3. Are there any regulatory/reporting regulations (such as for pharma or financial services) that direct how or whether you can respond to posts?
  4. What expectation will you set for fans in terms of response time? Within 30 minutes or 1 hour? Within 4-6 hours? Within 24 hours or 1 business day?
  5. Are your moderators and CS reps properly trained, both in the subject and in responding in a Facebook environment?
  6. Will you respond to fans’ comments and posts as the Page, or with the name of the individual admin/moderator?
  7. Will your customer-service reps identify themsleves by name or initials, or simply as the brand?
  8. How will you redirect private or personal customer-service issuesaway from the public Wall, to a more appropriate 1:1 setting?
    1. By providing a specific rep’s name, and a contact e-mail address to which customer can send a message?
    2. By sending a private message from a moderator’s or rep’s personal Facebook profile?
    3. By sending a private message through an individual Facebook business account (only allowed in limited circumstances under Facebook’s terms of service)?
    4. By directing fans to contact you via a specific landing tab on your Page (see examples from Dell and Delta), or in another venue (Twitter, support forums on your website, a 1-800 number, etc.)
  9. If you’re not going to respond to customer-service questions or issues at all on your Facebook Page, will you state as such on your Wall or Info tab, and then explain where/how customers should contact you?
  10. Do you have an escalation process for routing particularly sensitive/difficult questions to the appropriate internal person for response?

Response during a crisis or Facebook attack

  1. Have you a formed a crisis response team that includes various key stakeholders across your organization? How quickly can those team members come together if a crisis or attack strikes?
  2. Have you run a “fire drill” simulating worst possible scenarios, including how you would communicate both internally and on your Facebook Page?
  3. What tone will your Facebook communications take during a Facebook attack or crisis? Friendly? Authoritative? Like a lawyer?
  4. Who will communicate to your fans during a crisis? Your everyday community manager/moderator/CS rep(s)? A senior manager or VP? The CEO?
  5. Are there any scenarios in which you would shut your Facebook Page down completely?
  6. Are there any scenarios in which you would disable fans’ ability to leave new posts on the Wall?
  7. Would your moderation standards and guidelines change during a Facebook attack?
  8. Do you consider multiple, identical protest comments as Facebook spam? If so, how will you communicate that view to fans?
  9. Are you prepared to ramp up your moderation coverage — either internally or by outsourcing — during a crisis or an attack?
  10. Will you attempt to redirect the heated conversation away from your Facebook Wall? (see Mayo Clinic case study) If so, to where? The Discussions tab? Your corporate blog or other dedicated area of your company website?

This post is part of an ongoing “31 Days of Facebook Marketing” series from LiveWorld, a social media agency that offers moderation, insight, and community programming Facebook services for Fortune 1000 brands.