Recently, Facebook rolled out a new commenting system for individual, business, and brand pages. Individual pages with more than 10,000 fans will have to make this switch, with all brand pages required to follow suit in July.
The goal of the updated commenting system is to increase engagement with fans by:
1. Threading conversations.
2. Providing the option to reply to a specific comment within a conversation thread. As seen from Facebook’s example below, Bill can reply directly to Jeff’s comment.
3. Adding a ranking algorithm that takes high performing posts (measured by Likes and comments) and low performing posts (measured by lack of engagement) into account. The algorithm rankings are personalized for each fan, so comments from people they know or more typically engage with will appear first.
As seen below indicated by red boxes, comments are no longer in chronological order.
The impact on engagement
Brands aiming to increase engagement with fans on an individual basis now have a greater chance to do so by tracking conversations in individual threads. Within these threads, you can reply directly to fan comments rather than needing to tag them to address their individual concern at the end of the comment stream. Adobe also agreed with this in their review.
Brands that use social for customer service will be thrilled to provide a more focused one-to-one experience.
Identifying influencers on Facebook will be easier than ever before as the ranking algorithm will naturally sort those with high engagement, putting them first. From there, community directors can focus on building conversations and soon to be relationships with these influencers to ultimately drive brand advocacy.
Large brand pages should prepare for this
Those brands that experience high levels of conversation and traffic to their brand pages should prepare themselves for an increased level of focus in monitoring. Deleting spam or offensive content will now be exponentially harder as the ranking algorithm will place comments out of chronological order.
The right responses matter more than ever
Not all brands are blessed with a committed group of advocates on their Facebook pages. Community directors for brand pages that face negative comments are in for an uphill battle, as detractors now have the upper hand. They can now more easily try to derail conversations into off topic bickering sessions. And the ranking algorithm will work in their favor highlighting these conversations. The inline commenting feature will allow off topic conversations to soar.
So, brands have to be extra vigilant in real-time reading and engaging with the pages rather than relying on a CMS system or even email notifications that don’t pick up the inline comments.
While you may have time, it’s to your benefit to start early to observe how your community reacts to this change. Your brand can benefit from the algorithm ranking to gleam larger insights as to what content is resonating well. Understanding what your brand’s community and advocates care about and catering your content to that, will increase positive sentiment, increase engagement, and could ultimately result in an increase in brand awareness.