Every company has a “social media strategy” these days, everybody wants to embrace Facebook and Twitter and give themselves a voice in this exciting new virtual world where communities and relationships are built merely by peoples likes of certain people or even certain things. The Open Graph protocol’s that power Facebook and the ‘open, open graph protocol’ released by Google offer a new dimension in websites understanding people, their behaviour and offer a totally new way for people with shared interests and ‘likes’ to interact, engage and even befriend other people online whom you’ll probably never meet. Yet businesses find it so hard to create a truly exceptional social channel, and all we are are left with is brands who love the sound of their own voice, but not so much their customers.
What’s fundamental to the success of social media is the immediacy of it. Conversations often run in parallel with TV shows and events with users tweeting or updating the statuses and others disagreeing via comment threads. So when a brand or company opens their business up to communicate via a social network, what does a user expect?; an immediate response, a one hour response? or no response at all.
Many people assert that Twitter is a much better platform for brands and businesses to embrace than Facebook because fundamentally, Facebook is about communicating with our friends while Twitter is more often used for communicating with strangers. This fits in nicely for most businesses, their customers are strangers who they have very little direct contact with and know little about personally. Moreover, Facebook relationships need harder work and more resources to manage;
“What if people complain or ask questions?”
“Are we really going to divert precious resources toward chatting online when we won’t get a sale out of it.”
Most Larger companies are so scared of social networks that they have a Facebook page and then block access to it for most of its employees. I think what largely contributes to this problem is the fact companies can’t define an exact ROI, or even conversion rate for social media, what are they getting out of it?
Here’s what the good brands do on Facebook, measure your service as well as your ROI. What is the value of a ‘promoter’ or a ‘fan’, these theories are covered extensively by NPS (Net Promoter Score) and brands who understand how important customers are to a business (which sounds a ridiculous thing to say), understand that a customer endorsement or truly exceptional piece of customer service can be the most powerful act of marketing that any company can undertake.
For me, creating a Facebook channel for your business is creating a whole new means of communication, one which is open to everybody. Imagine allowing customers to listen to all your calls to customer service, would they like what they heard?, well opening up Facebook is similar. Users can read what other users write on your wall, and they can see exactly how you dealt (or didn’t deal) with it, this offers users and incredible insight into your business and exactly how it feels about customer service and how seriously it takes it. If every issue, complaint, question is dealt with quickly and professionally this not only creates an amazing relationship between you and your direct customers, but other people can see exactly how serious you are about making them happy. Would you rather purchase from a company that was seen to care, or seen to not care?, if your not prepared to take your customers seriously, your competitor will.