Thread­ing con­ver­sa­tions? Bring­ing the con­tent that’s most engag­ing to the fore­front? Seems pretty straight­for­ward to us. But this new thread­ing and rank­ing sys­tem Face­book is test­ing could have some inter­est­ing impli­ca­tions (and ben­e­fits!) for brands.

Face­book is rolling out a new com­ment­ing sys­tem that includes direct “reply” capa­bil­i­ties and a rank­ing algo­rithm that dri­ves the most rel­e­vant com­ments to the top of a con­ver­sa­tion thread. These changes make com­ments on page posts very sim­i­lar to Facebook’s com­ments plu­gin, which have had threaded con­ver­sa­tions and a rank­ing algo­rithm since March 2011.

Face­book has been test­ing this com­ment­ing sys­tem since Novem­ber and, start­ing next week, is expected to imple­ment on per­sonal accounts with more than 10,000 likes and will also make it avail­able to brands. On July 10, 2013, Face­book has announced that all brand pages will be auto­mat­i­cally switched over to this com­ment­ing system.

As with many of Facebook’s changes, there are both pros and cons to how these changes impact mar­keters. We thought we could address a few that are top of mind for the Adobe Social team.

What to watch for:

  • Neg­a­tive com­ments could become more harm­ful. For exam­ple, if a cus­tomer com­plaint or neg­a­tive response receives a sig­nif­i­cant amount of engage­ment from other users, it will be seen first at the top of the page or post. Brands must be respon­sive and trans­par­ent to quell streams of neg­a­tive com­ments and replies.
  • Delet­ing spam, irrel­e­vant, or offen­sive con­tent is going to be increas­ingly impor­tant. Page man­agers will need to mon­i­tor and expand all con­ver­sa­tions in order to make sure the com­ments are clean and fol­low their com­mu­nity guidelines.

What to embrace:

  • The new in-line (threaded) com­ment­ing sys­tem will pro­vide a bet­ter cus­tomer ser­vice expe­ri­ence for the users who share issues in the com­ments of the post. Prior to this change, all com­ments were in the same, sin­gle thread with­out the abil­ity to address spe­cific users’ com­ments. Now, indi­vid­ual com­ments can be responded to and con­ver­sa­tions can be eas­ily monitored.
  • Whether on forums or through text mes­sage, threaded com­ments are how users nat­u­rally com­mu­ni­cate. This new fea­ture may increase engage­ment on posts and fur­ther facil­i­tate com­mu­nity build­ing – fans com­mu­ni­cat­ing with other fans and not just with the brand page.
  • The rank­ing algo­rithm will allow brands to spot poten­tial influ­encers by iden­ti­fy­ing the com­ments that receive the most engage­ment. Brands can then engage with these influ­encers to develop a one-to-one rela­tion­ship and, ulti­mately, drive increased advocacy.

If you’re a brand using Adobe Social – or any third party social mar­ket­ing tool – please note that threaded com­ments are rolling-out via desk­top only. We antic­i­pate a mobile ver­sion and open-graph API, which can be inte­grated into Adobe Social, are on the hori­zon. We’ll keep you posted!