Don’t shirk from negative comments on your B2B Facebook page

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When your business has a Facebook page, it’s inevitable that there will be some negative comments posted. At first these negative posts might sting a bit, but B2B companies should view them as a customer service opportunity, publicly demonstrating how much your company cares about a client’s experience.

To successfully turn these negative posts into a positive brand- and relationship-building experience though, B2B companies need to take the following six steps:

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Facebook launches photo comments for pages

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A month after Facebook introduced photo comments for users, the site is implementing this technology for pages. Now people can leave photo comments on page posts. Page admins can also respond to comments with a photo. This is rolling out gradually and globally starting today.

A Facebook spokesperson announced this capability to Inside Facebook:

For businesses, enabling photos in comments, both on Pages and elsewhere on the site, allows for conversations with customers to be more expressive and engaging than ever.

Readers: How often do you leave a photo comment?

Facebook begins supporting emoji in posts and comments on desktop and mobile

friendsFacebook has started to roll out support for emoji in all posts and comments on desktop and mobile, a company spokesperson tells us.

Previously, emoji — a standardized set of emoticons and picture characters – were available for Facebook Messenger, but not within status updates, comments or other posts. Facebook started offering some chat emoticons in comments on desktop last year, but this wasn’t the full emoji set. Now, users have more flexibility in sharing smileys and other icons across Facebook, whether it’s a check-in, photo caption, group post or some other message or comment.

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The social network has made a number of moves recently to bring more ways for users to express themselves through small pictures. There are the new structured status updates where users can share what they’re feeling, eating, drinking, watching, reading or listening to. And the new stickers for mobile messages.

These features, along with emoji, help users communicate in new ways or say things that might be difficult otherwise. They can also add a bit more fun into the service, which at points has been seen as a cold or sterile platform compared to the flash and flexibility of other social networks. When Facebook released the Poke app, which was sillier than its typically utilitarian features, we wondered if it was a sign of more to come. So far this year it seems that Facebook is lightening up and giving users new options that are popular in other apps.

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The latest emoji support for posts and comments was built at a Facebook hackathon last week and began rolling out to users on Tuesday. To create emoji characters, a user must enable the emoji keyboard on their phone and in their web browser. For example, ShowMeEmoji is a useful extension for Chrome users.

Facebook tries new ways to encourage users to buy Gifts for friends

giftsFacebook is testing a new way to encourage users to buy gifts for their friends by including a call to action within the comments section of a post.

SocialFresh CEO Jason Keath shared the example below, blurred for privacy, which says “Surprise Ty with a gift.” This is a different take on the “give a gift” button that some users had been seeing in their News Feed next to posts where their friends had shared good news. Now, instead of appearing consistently, the prompt only appears after a user has Liked the post or commented on it.

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Another recently added feature is the Give Gift button in the hovercard that appears when users mouse over a friend’s name.

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Facebook adds threaded comments to API

commentsFacebook has added API support for its new commenting system that allows users and pages to reply to specific comments on a post.

The social network last week made the new comments — with threaded conversations and a ranking algorithm meant to put the most relevant and high quality comments first — an option for all pages and users with more than 10,000 fans or followers. Now it has updated the Graph API to allow developers to incorporate comment replies.

This is a necessary addition for Preferred Marketing Developers or anyone building page management tools, and it’s somewhat surprising Facebook didn’t introduce API support for the feature when it initially went live last week.

Social media customer service platform Conversocial says it has already integrated the new commenting system, less than 24 hours after the API launched. Other companies are likely to follow soon, which should help large brands that use third-party software to manage their pages and could benefit from the new threaded comments, which better organizes conversations.

Facebook test makes comments on page posts more like web plugin, including in-line replies and ranking algorithm

Facebook has given us an update on its latest test for page post comments: in addition to a new option to reply to specific comments, the entire thread will be sorted by an algorithm to put the most engaging comments higher.

These changes make comments on page posts more similar to Facebook’s comments plugin for third-party sites, which have had threaded conversations and a ranking algorithm since March 2011. It makes sense to bring these features to page posts where there can be dozens or even thousands of comments, and users cannot tag and mention other fans they aren’t friends with. If Facebook rolls out these changes more widely, pages may see increased engagement on posts since high-quality comments will be surfaced up top and users will be notified when someone replies to their comment.

This current test sorts comments by Likes and replies, but it is not personalized for each user as it is with the comments plugin. With the plugin, Facebook will show comments from a user’s friend or friend of friend first. This would be useful for page comments as well, so we’ll see if it makes it into another iteration of the test.

Facebook says this new format is being tested for page posts only, not on users’ personal posts.

Facebook tests threaded comments on some pages

Facebook is testing a way for users to reply to specific comments on a page post and have those comments appear as a threaded discussion on the page or in News Feed, the company confirms to us.

Facebook says the test is currently limited to pages and threaded comments are not appearing on users’ personal posts.

Threaded comments are a feature of Facebook’s comments plugin for third-party sites, but haven’t been available on the social network itself. Users have long asked for a way to reply to specific comments on Facebook posts. This is especially important for Facebook pages  where users cannot tag and mention other fans they aren’t friends with. With the reply to comment option, users will be notified when someone responds to them. This also makes conversations easier to follow, particularly on posts with a lot of comments.

For now, we’ve only seen threaded comments on a Thai page, which was first written about on Faceblog.

Facebook tests option for page owners to give users feedback about why comments were deleted

Facebook appears to be testing a new option for page owners to send users a private message about why their comments were removed from the page, according to All Facebook.

Social Yeah Founder Kevin Evanetski found a “Give Facebook User Feedback” link after deleting a comment from his page. The link pulls up a message dialog and prompt to tell the user why the comment was objectionable. Admins might want to use this feature to explain their community guidelines and encourage users to repost a more appropriate comment, however, this could lead to further confrontation. Facebook might want to consider giving page owners options for pre-filled messages, similar to what the social network does for kids who don’t like what someone posted about them.

Previously, admins were able to hide comments without completely removing them. This prevents unwanted comments from being viewed by other fans, but keeps the comment visible to the person who wrote it. The option helps avoid issues where commenters get upset that a page has removed their comments. Recently, a bug has eliminated this feature from some pages.

Image from AllFacebook.com.

Facebook gives permalinks to individual comments, hides potential spam

Facebook now assigns permanent links to all comments on the site and hides spam comments rather than just marking them with a darker background. The company announced the improvements in a post on its Facebook + Journalists page.

With the addition of permalinks, users can share a direct link to any comment. When users visit the link, the comment will appear at the top of the page and will briefly appear highlighted in yellow. Previously there was no way to do this, and it could be difficult to find a particular comment among a thread of dozens or sometimes hundreds of others. Permalinks can be accessed by clicking the timestamp of a comment.

Facebook added permalinks to comments in its plug-in for third-party sites last year, but didn’t do this for the main site. Whether this was an issue of scale or lack of demand is unclear. However, with the increase in Facebook activity among public figures, more public conversations are happening on the site and being able to link to comments directly is important. On Twitter, for example, every tweet has a unique URL, making it easy to refer back to specific parts of a thread.

Other features might not be necessary when users interact with their friends on the social network, but as they engage with pages and popular people who allow subscribers, the deficiencies of comments on Facebook.com become more apparent. For example, Facebook doesn’t thread comments or sort them by relevancy on the site as it does with its plug-in. On Facebook.com, all comments are presented in a single thread. There is no way to clearly and directly respond to a comment from another user. Admins can @ tag people who have commented on a post, but users can only tag the names of their friends. (In Facebook groups, users can tag anyone in the group even without being connected as friends.) Comments are presented in order of when they were posted. However, the Facebook comments plugin used by websites including this one shows relevant comments from friends, friends of friends and the most liked or active discussion threads above others.

Comments on Facebook.com do have spam detection. Potential spam comments are not visible to other users, but they used to show to admins with a darker grey background. This would catch moderators’ eyes so they could delete the comment, block the user or unmark the item as spam. Now potential spam will be hidden behind an ellipsis. Page owners can click the ellipsis to see the comments and take action on them.

[Update 3/30/12 3:01 p.m. PT - Vadim Lavrusik, journalist program manager at Facebook, tells us this change is for public comments on personal Timelines that have the subscribe feature enabled, not pages.]

Facebook redesigns mobile feed to make liking, commenting easier

Facebook updated the mobile version of News Feed this weekend so users can like and comment on posts with one tap instead of two.

Previously, users of Facebook’s iOS app, Android app and mobile touch site had to tap a “+” button that would bring up the like and comment options. Now the features are directly under each post, making interaction faster and easier.

Since the social network pulls News Feed from m.facebook.com into its native applications, changes like this can be made without requiring users to download a new version of the app.

Still absent from the mobile feed is the “share” button allowing users to repost content from their friends or pages. Sharing on the desktop version of the site has taken off since Facebook enlarged image thumbnails and began displaying the total number of shares, but users have not been able to take this action from their mobile devices.

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