How Facebook has made it easier for critics to bash you, and why that might not be such a bad thing.
|By David Griner on Sep. 29, 2011||Tweet|
If you work at a business that has its share of critics, I hope you’re sitting down, because I’ve got some bad news. (The good news being, not many people read this blog standing up in the first place.)
Just as a recent survey found negative comments about products are becoming more powerful online, Facebook has decided to allow anyone to comment on your business's Page without becoming a fan. What a fantastic combination.
As you probably know, commenting on Facebook pages has traditionally been limited to those who first “Like” the page. Some businesses have felt that this creates a mental barrier for critics who don’t want to be seen “Liking” the evil corporate oppressor.
Admittedly, it’s a short hurdle for activists to leap over, but I was still a bit disappointed to see that Facebook recently (and quietly) removed it. Now anyone can comment on a page regardless of whether they’ve Liked it first.
And criticism appears to be more potent than ever. As you can see in the eMarketer chart below, negative information about products is affecting purchase decisions quite a bit more in 2011 than it did in 2010.
So should we all panic? Yes. Yes we should.
No, I’m just kidding. Of course the news isn’t all bad. In fact, you don’t have to try too hard to put a silver lining on this thunderhead.
Two reasons to remain optimistic:
1. Positive comments continue to outweigh the negative when it comes to affecting purchase decisions. You can see it right there in the same chart. People put a lot of stock in customer praise, perhaps because it’s in such short supply these days.
2. Facebook’s change actually opens you up to more positive comments, too. Not everyone on Facebook is a “joiner,” and many people have an understandable amount of Like fatigue when it comes to brand pages. We take it for granted that Twitter has long allowed businesses and consumers to chat back and forth without any sort of subscription being required.
Now businesses on Facebook have a chance to hear from casual customers who are neither superfans nor megacritics, but still have something important to say. And as with anywhere else on the social Web, if you take the time to respond, you might pull off the greatest trick of all: turning a one-time visitor into a customer for life.