Once a veterinary practice starts a Facebook Page and begins attracting followers who like the Page several questions soon arise. Today we will discuss some of the things you need to be aware of when fans begin interacting with your Page. Before we begin I would like to thank Heather Neave who helps me with our social media efforts. She contributed to the answers to these questions. 

How can we tell when someone has posted a comment without having to go on the Page all the time?
Facebook has just released an update to Pages that notifies a Page administrator by email when a comment has been posted. There is a free service at www.hyperalerts.ncom  that offers more comprehensive notifications. For example, Hyperalerts allows you to schedule when you are notified and it shows the post as well as the comment. Facebook just shows the comments and emails you as soon it is posted. Also, Facebook will notify only the Page administrator while Hyperalerts can be set up to alert someone other than an administrator.
Do I need to respond to all comments on our Facebook Page?
Interactions are the key to social media so be sure to return comments or answer questions as soon as possible. More interactions to a post will result in your Page being seen by more of your followers. Facebook uses an algorithm that favors posts with more interactions or comments. An active feed gets pushed out to more of your followers while quiet posts have little reach. For more information on this check out this information sheet from Hubspot.com
What does it mean if nobody is posting comments?
Don’t expect all postings to elicit a response. In social media expect only 1-3% of followers will comment. Most people are lurkers. If you have 100 fans then only one person may be confident enough to post. We recommend asking questions when you create a post. This encourages followers to comment. Unfortunately, bad content will also result in a lack of comments so if weeks go by without comment it might be time to examine what you are posting. 
What do I do if someone posts a negative comment?
You will be surprised at how few, if any, negative comments you will receive. If the negative comment has a basis in reality, is well thought out and genuinely seems sincere then an equally sincere and genuine response is necessary. If the comment is a nasty rant you can delete it. This is a good word of thumb for all social media interactions. Keep in mind that in spite of our best efforts we make mistakes and we will be called up on them. An honest response and admission to a mistake will result in goodwill. Everyone appreciates honesty. A bad impression will result if you try to skate around an issue and not answer it truthfully.
An odd situation happened to us last week. We had posted a case study of an eyelid laceration. We invited fans to post on what we could do to fix the eye. We received 3 great suggestions then someone who works for a veterinary colleague posted what their vet practice would do. We deleted the post and emailed the person explaining that the posting was not a competition with other vet clinics. It is one thing to follow a competitor’s Facebook Page it is another to use it to promote your practice. 
Can I block a fan?
Absolutely. If someone posts inappropriate comments there is no reason not to block them. Typically we will send a message to someone after we delete a post to explain why. We would prefer to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. if they continue to post inappropriate comments then we block them.
Next week I will answer questions on how to know if your Facebook Page is doing well. What metrics should you look for and where do you find them? In the meantime if you have any questions please leave them in the comment section either here or on the Equine Vet Business Facebook Page.
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