Facebook pages are getting important…very important. They are not only excellent ways to promote your brand, but they can be used to gather statistics, email addresses, give away e-books and other gifts to your fans, direct people to your other websites, and much more.
The best thing about Facebook business and personal pages, though, is how interactive they are. Because, let’s think about who your followers are. They are people who really like you, your product, or service. That’s amazing!
And here they are, coming to find you on Facebook and declare to the world (or all of their hundreds of friends) that they like YOU. They can write on your wall. They can leave comments on your photos. They can play with your applications.
And, you have the control to delete their comments if you want. But, should you?
Part of having a Facebook account is also having the control to censor or delete comments you don’t like. There are many people who are using Facebook to help build up their brand as an expert in a certain area so they can attract new leads to their business. What about those that don’t feel comfortable in their skin or have something to hide? Yes, sure we all do from time to time! But there are some with more skeletons in their closet than others.
If you have a wall then it’s a free-for-all, and your followers are free to write anything they want on your wall (even if they are not your fans). They may want to belittle you or talk about their own product. And maybe they will even go as far as creating a hate page or a fan page about you. Your power in using Facebook to attract new clients and keep your current ones happy is in how you manage the comments they make on your page and how they use your brand.
Check out one of my favourite online social media stories. Imagine if Coke decided to shut them down instead…
Coca-Cola has one of the most successful Facebook fan pages out there. The page was first created by two ordinary people who just loved Coke. In time, their fan page became the #1 product fan page. Instead of being difficult, trying to buy them, shut them down, etc, Coca-Cola decided to work with them. They helped them build up the site and represent the brand. It’s an amazing thing Coca-Cola did – trusted their fans, empowering them rather than pushing them aside. It’s the perfect example of how a company should treat their customers and supporters. To this moment, the fan page is powered by user-generated content. It’s still one of the most popular fan pages out there.
The moral of this little online story?
Social media cannot become a censored community. It’s better to reward people for talking about you than shutting them down because you cannot control them. Reward those who are active spreading your message, whether it is as a raving fan or even questioning what you stand for. Thank them for allowing you to prove your point and use it as an opportunity to remind your followers who you are and what you stand for.
There will be consequences to filtering content. I say, for good or bad, let it go. Even if someone praises your competition. Even if someone criticizes you. You can respond. Or not. Reward your fans, and let everyone through the gate to express themselves freely. The only time censorship should be used is for cases of abuse.
Be transparent online! You will be found out eventually if you are not, and are deleting people’s comments just because they challenge you a little bit. The follower who challenges you may be someone with a massive following themselves. If you must delete a comment only delete those who may insult or offend your other followers. And it they insult you? This is your chance to turn the tables and prove why they are wrong. And don’t ever forget the power of allowing your followers to stand up on your behalf.
My online moto….If you are proud of your actions you will also be OK with the reactions they generate.