Facebook rolled out a new feature to it’s Asian-based users whereby fans of a business page and initiate “private” communication threads with the page admins that do not appear in the “public” feeds. I use quotes hear as everyone familiar with Facebook and the web should understand that nothing you do online on a social media site is necessarily fully private and secure.
Regardless, this new feature enables users to send semi-private messages to the admins. The reason this is important is that prior to this point, if you wanted to have a conversation, you had to do so primarily through the wall (there are Facebook apps and other things that provide alternatives, but the wall is the main area). If your comments or messages were not particularly relevant to the community, you may have decided to not post your thoughts; or the community might have been distracted from your thoughts. Therefore, this alternative method for posting might come in handy – especially regarding customer service.
If you wanted to engage a retailer about the details of your order, do you need 25,000 other fans on the page to see the details of your order and the conversation? Probably not; but now you have a channel for doing so.
One interesting side effect of this is that it may reduce the volume of comments on the page, making it appear that the admins and community don’t engage regularly. It could also prevent the company from showcasing its excellent customer service. Though, on the contrary, if the company runs into several issues that are all handled privately, that might actually be a good thing!