Generating leads from Facebook is getting harder. Much harder.
The number of advertisers has doubled in the last 18 months alone (from 3m to 6m). Facebook is becoming more selective over the content it shows and even if you have the budget to run lots of ads, at the moment, 75% of the newsfeed content Facebook promotes is for organic posts. This means it is better to have one high quality, engaging ad for every three to four organic posts and to put in much more thought around how best to manage your Facebook Page.
The most effective way to manage your page is by making sure you actively engage with your followers at all times, but particularly during a campaign. Simply ‘liking’ a few comments won’t cut it now. Facebook has a quality score system in place and prioritises ‘good’ content and shows it more often. One of the easiest ways to do this is to react and respond to all comments.
Firstly, it is important to respond to all comments. Think of your Facebook followers as donors who have given you their opinions by a survey. If someone has taken the time to write a nice comment on your advert or post then be sure to thank them and start a dialogue like you would with a donor. When you do this, this will show up in the newsfeed of friends of the recipient, thus helping the posts reach. There’s always a reason to respond. Here’s a great example of that below, when it might seem that just liking the comment is enough, the Steptember team has consciously tried to engage in some banter with followers.
Of course you need to have the resource to be able to respond. That means having someone who can manage activity throughout the day and be reactive. Facebook trusts organisations more and prioritise their ads if they have been active on their page, responding to questions, starting a dialogue with audiences etc.
Consider timing your posts for when you are able to respond. Comments should be responded to in a timely manner and so it’s no good posting something on a Friday afternoon but then not being able to respond until the Monday. It gives off the wrong impression to the other audience members if you haven’t replied to comments in a couple of days that the charity doesn’t care about receiving feedback.
It’s good to also allow your beneficiaries or case study for the appeal to be able to reply to comments where possible. This can be a really nice way to engage with your online audiences. MS Limited did this beautifully with Debbie, who was the face of their 2016 Christmas Appeal. It added another layer of authenticity to the appeal which supporters loved.
What should you do if you receive negative comments on Facebook?
Ensure you have a guide for standard responses available for all staff or volunteers, not only so that monitoring isn’t down to just one person, but that anyone responding is less likely to get caught up in the moment and feel calmer and clearer on what is appropriate.
Standard responses will of course differ from one campaign to another, but similarly to positive comments; you should always thank the person commenting for their feedback as much as you can.
Remember that even though it is sometimes tempting to completely side with the opinion of the person who posted to make the conversation shorter, it is important to represent your charity and stick to the campaign or organisation messaging. In the example below, you will see RSPCA New South Wales responding to someone with a rationale as to why the charity needs to ask supporters for money as part of their campaign.
In a lot of cases it is good to try and move the conversation to a private messenger thread or give the number for someone to talk over the phone. By having a few less negative comments on the post or advert, you may decrease the likelihood of others reacting to the original user’s comment and making things worse. More importantly, it also helps to make them feel special in that their opinion is valued. Royal Flying Doctors Service (Queensland section) does this nicely in the example below:
Avoid hiding or delete comments. It is important to show your followers not only that you value all types of feedback, but that you are able to be accountable and professional as a charitable organization at all times. Again, this also shows Facebook that you are a trusted organisation and in turn, they will show your ads and posts more.
The exception here is when people use profanities, become abusive, vitriolic or generally start trolling, whereby you have reacted at least twice with a standard, polite response but the user keeps flooding the page with unwanted and abusive commentary.
Like with anything, the best thing to do is to keep a cool head and remember that we have all been there. You’ve got this.