Tuesday Jun 04, 2013

Threaded Conversations Make Management Platforms a Must

threadThe phrase “Facebook is rolling out something new” always charges the air with a mixture of excitement, curiosity and anxiety.  One of the more recent innovations was threaded conversations and ranked comments.

Threaded conversations allow users to reply to a specific comment so discussions around that comment are relevant and can be easily followed in a thread. Ranked comments bring the comments getting the most engagement to the top, the idea being to “reward” engagement-inspiring contributions with better positioning. Plus, each user should see personalized rankings so comments from people they know trump others.

Facebook will kick these features on for all pages by or around July 10. The goal, of course, is to increase overall engagement and thus, time spent on Facebook. And while you may not lie awake at night worrying about what Facebook needs, engagement means more time spent with your brand’s posts, and that’s a good thing for you.

A Facebook spokesperson said, “We think this update will allow for easier management of conversations around posts.” However, now might be a good time to go check and see if your Community Manager’s face is turning blue or if they’re reaching for a blood pressure cuff.

On the user side, it all makes sense. Conversations will be more organized. Users will be notified of additions to conversations they’re participating in so they’re easier to follow. There’s no need to tag an earlier commenter, because the reply will be nested under the comment.

On the admin side, a Social Media Today piece outlined potential challenges. If a CM with multiple pages doesn’t want to get bombed with notifications, they’ll have to manually, repeatedly go through each post and thread to see what’s new and what warrants a response. No more glancing at the bottom of comments to see if something’s been added. Discussions with high engagement go to the top for higher visibility…yes, even those bashing the brand. Admins can down-rank such comments but have to catch them first. And, since direct response to comments makes things more personal, some CM’s are seeing an uptick in bullying.

Which makes finding a social channel management tool more essential than ever. For Oracle’s part, the Engage component of the Social Relationship Management Suite supports these new features. Comment replies do allow for direct responding to fans and hold particular implications around social customer service. But with the management suite, CM’s have access to Read/Unread status so they can easily see which comments and replies have been read so nothing falls through the cracks. The suite’s workflow lets CM’s assign the message/comment/reply to the right person internally so it can be quickly addressed. Labels let managers categorize messages, both manually and automatically, for easy access. And the full message audit trail lets them follow up to see what team member took what action on what post, and when.

Clearly, the combination of multiple social channels per brand, numerous fans on each channel, and an ever-growing list of new features such as threaded conversations and ranked comments increasingly makes the notion of effective, customer-pleasing page management using native-only functionalities a non-starter.

But if you’re going to go that route, you may want to buy your CM yoga classes or some other type of relaxing activity.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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