Fans pages become more conversational.

While I’m still not totally thrilled with the layout of the new Facebook Fans pages, I can’t deny the new setup does promote conversations. This comes mainly because Fans pages’ responses to questions show up in the news feeds of fans the way friends see status reports. Thus fans see their pages talking (in a way) and are more likely to ask questions or join conversations.

While the upshot is that those of us managing Fans pages now have more lively brands, increased conversations also mean more vigilance and time spent on responses. Much more time. Plus because it’s like a status message, if you’re speaking for a page you have a character limit less than when your response was like posting on a wall. Somewhere in there, Facebook wisely increased the limit to 420 characters, which helps form coherent responses. I take customer service seriously and, given the high visibility of responses attributed to SUNY Oswego from the Fans page, it’s vital answers are helpful and thorough.

Fig. 1: A lively discussion.

Fig. 1: A lively discussion.

On the up side, responses from the Fans page now appearing in the feed of any fans also can spark marvelous organic conversations, like the one above. It began with one future student asking about living in Hart Hall, our international residence hall that also has a community service component. A large number of former Hart residents chimed in on how much they enjoyed it. One person did note that the extra requirement of community service wasn’t for everyone, but others responded it felt more like a reward than a chore. And, best of all, the Fans page administrator could stand back and watch the real experts give their thoughts.

So score one for Facebook here. If the goal in giving Fans page responses similar feed treatment to status updates was to create more conversation, then it certainly succeeded.



Filed under Web

6 responses to “Fans pages become more conversational.

  1. Dan Laird

    Wow, just looked over the fan page, looks like it keeps you (or someone) pretty busy answering questions. Great job though, I think your mantra of superior customer service does come across quite well. Well done.

  2. Will you share this story during our “Social Media Storytelling with with .eduGurus” session next Thursday?

  3. We’ve been tracking your page along with about 1,400 other Facebook pages and SUNY Oswego is definitely rocking out. Joe has found some interesting correlations to # of Fans vs. discussion as well as where the page opens (box vs. wall).

  4. Interesting.. We do not see very much conversation in our pages, but then again, its not been a primary focus. I’ve been spending much more time in Twitter and trying to interact more there. Facebook is a place I need to commit more based on what you’ve created. Bravo!

  5. insidetimshead

    DAN: Thanks. And, yeah, ‘busy’ is a good description. I’m trying to broaden our base of people answering the page. April’s a hard time to start it, though.

    RACHEL: Despite my lack of guru-hood, I would be happy to share.

    BRAD: From you guys, that’s a high compliment! Joe also passed along kind words last week. But shouldn’t it be a no-brainer to deliver customer service?

    JESS: We’re starting to see a Twitter swell now, but FB is still quite busy. But it’s viral and almost chain-reaction that as soon as we answer one question, other fans see it, say ‘cool’ and seek advice as well.

  6. I like the new format, as it allows me to actually communicate with the “fans” of the page I administrate. Previously you had to send “updates”, which often got lost in between a barrage of app requests, and ignored.

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