Changes to Facebook Business Pages Could Alter How You Respond to Comments

By: Emily Williams

On August 5, 2015, Facebook released an announcement detailing forthcoming changes for Facebook Business Pages that will enhance the way you interact with consumers.

Easily Respond to a Comment with a Private Message

First, Facebook will add a “Message” button on comments left on your page. This will enable you to easily respond to public comments with a private message. Currently, the options under a comment include “Like” and “Comment”:

like, comment, message

Facebook plans to add a “Message” button to this menu to send you directly to a private message with the consumer. The private thread will include a copy of the original public comment so the conversation is well documented between both parties.

Are you worried comments will appear unanswered if others don’t see responses on your public page? No worries! If you choose to reply to a public comment with a private message by clicking on the new “Message” option, a comment will automatically appear under the post indicating you have replied privately.

This new comment feature is valuable, particularly for healthcare facilities, because patients and prospects often leave public posts that require a response containing personal health information. Remember, HIPAA protects a patient’s complete privacy, so public responses are not always a feasible option. Even if a patient leaves a public comment on your page saying something like, “I have an appointment with you tomorrow at 3 pm. Can you tell me how early I should arrive?” you cannot confirm publicly the person is actually a patient that has an appointment with you. Responding publicly on the page about an appointment (or even saying that you look forward to seeing them) confirms they are, in fact, a patient at your facility, violating HIPAA regulations. Any type of information about a patient should be handled privately, making the new option very valuable because it gives you the opportunity to easily respond directly to the commenter with appropriate documentation while indicating to others that you are responsive to comments left on your page.

Receive a “Very Responsive” Label on Page

With the new changes for Facebook business pages, responsiveness is critical! In fact, Facebook noted in the announcement that they will soon be posting a “Very responsive to messages” banner at the top of business pages deemed highly responsive. Facebook demoed this in a photo on the announcement page:

very responsive to messages

Facebook stated the banner would be included on pages that respond to more than 90% of all comments within a five minute (average) time frame. However, questions from business owners (in the comments section of the announcement) regarding the time it takes to draft appropriate responses and concerns over the lack of quick responses during times a business is closed prompted a response from Facebook that they will review the logistics of this new policy with their team.

According to the announcement, these changes will take place in the next few weeks.

If you have suggestions regarding the changes that you would like to share with Facebook, you can use their online submission form.

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