Facebook Page Admin’s would have already seen the above notice, informing that Facebook will be removing the Discussion Tabs on Facebook Pages on the 31st of October 2011. With a link to a FAQ.
Call me old school, but I am a big fan of forums. Although there is much to be desired in Facebook’s implementation of Forums through the Discussion Tab, to me it plays a vital role in the dissemination process of information specially in relation to solving customer service queries.
Advantages for Fans :
- Fans have a dedicated place to post their queries.
- Fans can type out their entire problem, without feeling limited on a Wall Comment.
- If it’s a common problem, chances are the solution would have been given in a previous discussion.
- Even if the Page Admin’s are lazy or ignore your query, most likely that another Fan will help you out.
- On important issues, Fans have the power to rally a big following on a discussion to get the attention of the Page Admins.
Advantages for Page Admins :
- Fans will not clutter your wall posts with their unrelated queries.
- One place to keep track of Customer queries, as opposed to scanning all the wall posts from time to time.
- Some eager and/or knowledgeable fans will provide the answers for queries.
- Build a self sufficient community, and Page Admin’s will be required only for escalations.
- Over time, the discussion tabs will serve as a knowledge repository and even be helpful in generating FAQ’s.
However Facebook seem to think that “the Best way to encourage conversation and feedback is through posts and comments on your wall”. They seem to overlook the fact that it could be truly messy for a very active page with a vast product portfolio with updates on each product happening on a daily basis.
I’m not an obsessive compulsive Page Admin who wants everything to be in order, but I speak for most Admin’s when I say that the last thing you want is a Fan complaining/commenting about Product A on your post about Product Z.
The only reason I see Facebook removing the Discussion Tab is that it doesn’t integrate well with it’s new Ticker and Timeline as well as the limitations in Facebook Insights. So rather than spend time to find away to integrate these features, they’ve just chosen to kill these important features.
So let me know whether you guys think its another one of those so called “Facebook Improvements” that is proving to be an annoyance than useful.
PS : Keep in mind, the success of a forum relies both on it’s Admins as well as it’s Fans.