1. Be there. You can’t gain control of the situation if you aren’t there, monitoring and ready to take action. So monitor keywords. Monitor channels. Expect attacks and crises to come, and be ready to act. In case your boss forgot to tell you, if you are charged with managing a company’s Facebook presence, you’re N.O.R.A.D. for them on Facebook. Keep your eyes on that radar screen at all times, and have a well-thought-out yet flexible plan of action if you spot missiles heading your way.Recap: Nestle’s team was painfully absent when its wall was attacked on march 19th, and the result was a bloody trouncing of the brand that lasted not only hours but days. Whomever was being paid to manage that page essentially sat on their hands while it was taken over by hundreds of facebook users with – in many cases – legitimate concerns that needed to be addressed. Not exactly a stellar display of skill, professional savvy, or… presence, for that matter. Someone should have been there to at least try to manage the complaints.2. Carefully but quickly gain control of the situation. (See 3 to 6.) Why is this here? Because it is important to realize that “response” isn’t enough. in order to be effective, you have to be more than simply reactive. You have to regain control of the situation. You have to regain the initiative. If you don’t, you will find yourself in a defensive position for days, and nothing will get resolved.3. Introduce yourself. Put a face, name and role to your official presence. Don’t just reply from behind a faceless corporate identity and avatar. Be a human being. Talk like a human being. Feel like a human being. Engage on a personal level with commenters. Look at what Scott Monty does for Ford, for example, and how he does it.Recap: Nestle’s “presence” on facebook on March 19th was remarkably corporate. This didn’t help establish the kind of rapport needed to begin a real discussion. Even if Nestle’s engagement had been stronger, its faceless approach put them at a disadvantage from the start. Humanizing its presence would have been a great first step.4. Make a point to welcome the comments. Invite them. Keep it up. See number 3, above. This is important. Popping up with a comment every three hours won’t cut it. Get in there, ask your boss to go on a Starbucks run, and brace yourself for a long day/night. Like it or not, this is where you earn your pay, so strap in and enjoy the ride. Think Marathon, not 5K.Once you get into the game, be cordial, be kind, be professional, and assume your role as the custodian of facts. Not propaganda: facts. If someone claims something about your company or products that is inaccurate, politely respond to their comment with a link to factual information that will help them reconsider their position. That infant formula comment in the screenshot of Nestle’s wall (the one about no nutrients) should be addressed. Without getting defensive or getting drawn into an argument, the facts need to be stated.Recap: Nestle’s first attempt at “engagement” seems to have focused onthe improper use of its corporate logo in commenters’ avatars. Not exactly an inspired way to get things rolling in the right direction. After a few unfortunate exchanges, Nestle backed off and went relatively silent, allowing a free-for-all of anger and in some case, inaccurate information that is now searchable on the web. This was not the most effective strategy.5. If you haven’t done it already, create an area for Discussions on the Facebook page. This will give discussion topics their own tab on the page, and a place for people to go to start and participate in discussions that isn’t necessarily the wall,Note: Nestle did not have a Discussions section on its Facebook page on March 19th. It does now.
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