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BizReport : Social Marketing : December 20, 2011

Brands to get private message feature on Facebook Pages

A new feature on a brand's Facebook Page could save companies from having awkward conversations in public, according to recent reports. The move will also require those brands playing in the social sphere to be far more vigilant and responsive.

by Helen Leggatt

There's one aspect of social media that many brands have had trouble dealing with - negative feedback on Facebook Pages. While much advice is given on how to deal with disgruntled customers online there are times when a private conversation would be preferable.

According to recent reports, notably from the Next Web who broke the news earlier this month, Facebook is trialing the addition of a "Message" button to brand's Pages. The feature is currently in test with various Asian participants.

The new "Message" button will allow consumers to initiate a private conversation with the Page administrator.

The Next Web infers that conversations must be initiated by the consumer.

"The move isn't an all out opportunity for business to contact customers, however, as communication must be initiated by the customer. However, once that has been done, the conversation is open to both parties," says the article.

The new feature, when rolled out, will no doubt increase the demand for companies to manage their social media channels more effectively. Consumers will require a prompt reply and resolution to private, one-on-one conversations and, if they don't get the answer they want there's little doubt they will make their complaint and subsequent treatment very public.

For those brands not yet ready to take the plunge and deal one-on-one with their social networking fans there is an option to disable the messaging feature.

Tags: brand marketing, communication strategy, Facebook, Facebook Page, relationship marketing, social media

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