It’s no secret at this point anymore: there is nothing more efficient in establishing a B2C relationship than the utilization of social media. Websites like Facebook and Twitter have given businesses of all types the opportunity to better understand their customers and audience like no other. However, despite the fact that these websites have been such an influence in the trade for more than four years now, it seems that many businesses do not understand how to conduct and develop these relationships. All of the tools are there for the taking, yet they don’t all seem to be used.
Just how involved should you be on your Facebook fan page? Well, in short, you shouldn’t be afraid to be as engaged as possible. From my perspective, a 23 year old, I have taken a liking to the smaller businesses on Facebook who are consistently communicating openly with those who “like” them. They aren’t just creating advertisements and letting fans know of deals (thought that is of course important).
You will often see a representative of the business responding directly to comments made by customers on certain matters. This isn’t any secret to what the return can be: this sort of personalization as a fan makes me feel that my thoughts and comments are actually being heard. Is it a little extra work to try to achieve this sort of reach out? Sure – but can you really imagine other equally effective ways?
These are just some points to consider coming from a prospective patron to your business; the kind of conduct I like to see.
1. Media Media Media
So you have a Facebook fan page, and you’ve racked up an ample number of fans who have liked you. They have provided you with some internet influence, so what is a simple way to thank them? Give them a little access to what you’re doing as a business by including plenty of videos and pictures. People love when they are provided with some “exclusive” access to what people at your company are doing.
For instance, as a fan of small craft breweries, I love how generous the marketing teams are with releasing media. Whenever they are preparing to produce a new product, they might snap a few shots of raw material shipments that just came in for the fans to see. Not only does this entice some excitement in the fans, but also provides them with a sense of belong to the company – that they are part of the process.
2. Posting/Comment Involvement
As mentioned earlier, it looks like some businesses don’t quite get what kind of opportunity they get when someone publicly tries to get in touch through social media. When a fan places a post on your wall or comments on something, respond to them! I get kind of bothered when I reach out to companies and they don’t respond. I know there’s a lot happening, but I also know that you saw what I posted (unless you don’t c
heck your pages anymore – which I doubt.)
Simply put: just be more responsive with your fans. Individual reach out is extremely powerful, as this sort of personalization seems to have never taken the lead in customer relations. Sure, phone calls and emails can arguably be applied in the same concept, but through social media – the individual is speaking to the company.
3. Integrate Apps
Apps are what keep the social media wheel turning, and given that there are so many to choose from, it can be a little intimidating in knowing what to use for maximum effectiveness. Facebook allows you to integrate your fanpage with very helpful apps that will expand your information to fans.
You might notice how some Facebook pages have posts from the same person/company’s Twitter. The Twitter app on Facebook will put what whatever you tweeted right on your Facebook page, which in turn expands your news and updates to a wider audience.
– Skype Me
If you’re feeling bold with how you want to connect with your audience, you can put a Skype app right on your Facebook, which allows for open conferencing and discussion with the people who care about what you have to say, as well as showing that you do consider the thoughts of others.
There are plenty of others, and luckily Facebook makes it easy for you you to filter out and see what is most important to you.
4. Instigate the Conversation
Some might say that enacting on a conversation towards a customer is a bit of a precarious move; that you don’t want to get too close to your fans. I say: what’s so wrong with that? Any company that approaches me personally (say, write on my wall; contact me individually) is going to get my attention like no other. Obviously, you’re not going to be reach to everyone, but to those that you do, they will remember it and tell their friends just how focused and personal you are to them.
While these points I have made are not in terms of metrics for generating sales, it is about customer relationship establishment. Of course, this kind of trust that gets put in place when you and your business such a high level of transparency can generate the kinds of relationships that you seek. All in all, don’t be afraid to be more open with the potential patrons. They are already following you in one way, so reward them, and the rewards just might reciprocate just as you were hoping.
Mike Lamardo is a blogger and marketer based out of Raleigh, North Carolina. Expanding into various subjects, his work can be seen in ZME as a music critic, the Washington Times Communities as a blogger about the business and awareness of craft beer, and as an entertainment writer for DX 3.