This past week I’ve been stretched to my absolute limit juggling tens of thousands of rabid excited fans who have been so keen to take advantage of a massively-hyped Facebook-promoted sale that they wiped out the website and completely trounced the server.
Followed by the other four servers that were added to better accommodate them.
The promotion was, of course, a victim of its own success. It’s not an exaggeration to say that things went completely crazy.
While the mania has calmed and tempers have been soothed, a lot of this could be avoided if Facebook pages came with one simple feature: pinnable status updates — an easy, one-click option allowing administrators to pin and freeze status updates at the very top of their page for an indefinite (but completely self-controlled) period of time, so that they could be seen by as many people as possible.
Here’s the thing. If you’re an administrator of a Facebook page you’ll know that status updates work much the same way as with any other Facebook profile. You post them up, fans like and comment, and life moves on. As new statuses are added, old ones scroll down the page and off the screen.
But a correctly-managed Facebook page isn’t just a broadcast tool. Fans also make posts directly to the wall. On any normal day this is absolutely fine and to be encouraged, because on any normal day it’s manageable.
When you’ve got tens of thousands of people making those wall posts every few minutes, it all very quickly goes awry. Some posts get missed (but to your fans it looks like they’ve been ignored), others scroll by so fast that conversations are never completed, and anything you try and post to the wall disappears off everybody’s screen before you can say, “if you could all just hold on a second…”
And then that drops off the page, too.
With a pinnable status update, this issue could easily be rectified. Let’s say for example you wanted to appease your fans and let them know that you were working on a solution to their problem – fixing the website, for example. If that was published and then pinned to the top of the Facebook page (via a convenient “pin this status” button), pretty much everybody would see it.
Anyone visiting the page to ask for help would see your post and, one would hope, be suitably appeased. Sure, it wouldn’t stop all requests for help, but it would certainly cut back on a vast number of them, certainly from those looking for a solution to the exact same problem. Everybody wins: Your fans get the information they want and you can go back to the business of providing first-class one-to-one support for those with different questions and concerns.
Because while it’s true that a page admin’s status updates go out to every fan’s news feed, that only really works if every fan happens to be online when you send them out. The average person likes lots and lots of things on Facebook, which means lots and lots of page status updates are quickly filling up their feed, and your message can and will get lost. On a fast-moving, popular Facebook page, for every fan that sees your announcement, thousands will miss it.
That’s the reality of social media marketing, and most of the time it’s something you just have to accept. But at the most important times it would be nice if we had a few extra tools to be able to provide superior customer service to fans.
The ideal pinned statuses could be unpinned at any time, and either replaced with something else (“The website is now working everyone — order away!”) or the page could simply resume it’s normal flow.
Bottom line? It would be great if Facebook could make the page administrator’s job just that little bit easier, with pinnable status updates. Heck, they could even have value for standard profiles, too.