BekiWinchel Beki Winchel is a social media PR consultant and freelance writer currently working on The SMC Matrix. Learn more about her – and follow her – at

I recently wrote a post about building a Facebook community. However, building a community on Facebook isn’t a June Cleaver-esque undertaking. With all the opinions and personalities out there, you’re bound to encounter a few rough patches. So how do you make it through those times of crisis – and avoid them when you can?

Let your brand shine through. People want to interact with (and purchase from) people and brands they like. This becomes harder if your brand has done something to make others not like you, but along with the strategy you’ve created, make sure you’re representing your brand and using that to handle any upsets. Take, for example, Burger King’s and Jeep’s reactions to their Twitter accounts being hacked.


Be transparent. You’ve heard the stories: a company does something. Facebook Fans get angry. They leave a barrage of not-so-nice comments on company’s page. Company deletes comments and disables the ability to post more. Why does this move anger your community? It shows that you’re not willing to listen – especially when they have concerns.

Deleting comments, blocking your fans from posting or deleting your page all together at a time of crisis not only serves to frustrate those who support(ed) you, but also doesn’t give them the chance to interact with you – meaning, they’ll take their complaints somewhere else. After all, just because you can’t see them talking about you doesn’t mean they’re not doing it.

Concerned about spam or inappropriate comments? Facebook has page filters that will block posts that seem spammy or contain crass language. Setting limits will help to limit harassment as well.

Serve your community. Social media is in many ways just another form of customer service. When your community members voice concerns, they want you to listen and respond. When you can offer a solution, they’ll advocate for your brand even more. A few things to remember about service and social:

  • Social is 24/7. It used to be that a business could respond to a bad situation within 24 hours. Not anymore. Within that time, thousands of other people are hearing about it (and watching it, if you’re unlucky enough to have a video) and getting more upset. Community managers should constantly and consistently watch for these situations, and respond quickly.
  • Be honest. This goes along with transparency, but some companies think they can give a politician’s response to questions and concerns. Your Facebook community is savvier than that, and they want real answers – even if you can only tell them a part, and update them along the way.
  • Be professional. Letting your brand show through doesn’t mean that you should react casually or passionately to criticism. Just as flying off the handle and yelling at a customer doesn’t help the situation (both in person and online), reacting with care and concern will help to calm the situation down and show other community members you’re there to help.

As much as possible, respond publicly. While it’s inappropriate to talk about individual customer accounts or personal information on a Facebook wall, the more you use these tips to respond quickly, professionally and publicly the more trust and loyalty you will build.

And after all, isn’t that the point?