4 Ways Your Company Needs to Be Using FaceBook
While “Tweeting”, FaceBook, and blogging are as familiar as an old-shoe to millions of consumers, most business leaders don’t understand how to harness the power of social media for business advantage. I want to get you going on the fast-track for using social media to build, strengthen, and even repair customer relationships.
This week we’ll talk about Facebook. With over 175,000,000 active users, Facebook is the fastest growing social network in the world. You had better believe MANY of your customers are on FaceBook every day.
Here are 4 specific ways you can begin to harness the power of FaceBook for your business.
1. Poll your customers – Tens of millions of FaceBook users candidly give their feedback on a variety of issues. Businesses can use Facebook Polls to get answers to important questions about new products, current products, problems, or just about anything. Last Thursday, StarBucks asked its more than 1.2 million FaceBook “fans” for feedback on the company’s VIA Ready Brew. Facebook polling is really quick and simple to set up and you can accurately target your polls by gender, age, location, interests and other demographic data.
2. Announce new products and services. Two weeks ago I found out on FaceBook that Southwest Airlines was beginning service to Boston Logon Airport. I got so excited about this news that I forwarded the announcement to everyone in my FaceBook and I even shared the news on Twitter. With a click of a mouse and virtually no-cost, Southwest was able to announce this new service to its 64,000 fans. Pretty smart, huh?
3. Find complaints about your brand – and take action. Paula Berg of Southwest Airlines says, “We monitor more than 100 travel and airline industry blogs a day. We also are very active on YouTube, Twitter, and FaceBook.”
This morning I read in a Dell whitepaper that GelPro, the manufacturer of anti-fatigue kitchen floor mats recently found a negative review on Amazon. They identified the customer and resolved the situation. The customer had moved and was not aware that GelPro had attempted to resolve his issue long before his review appeared on Amazon. The result: GelPro turned a dissatisfied customer into a satisfied one. He withdrew his negative Amazon review. A few weeks ago I wrote an article entitled: If I post a complaint about your brand on Twitter, how long will it take for your company to respond? If you haven’t read this article, you can check it out at http://tinyurl.com/bnpkt6
4. Get your customers to “support” each other. Four or five years ago I bought some awesome video editing software from a company called Serious Magic (it’s since been acquired by Adobe). I was new to video editing and I had LOTS of questions (problems). The first time I ran into a problem it was nearly 8pm, when the company’s support line was closed. I went to the online user forum and posted my question. Within 7 minutes I had consistent responses from three users. And the best news is their support actually fixed my problem! For a period of three years I went back to that user forum with questions and I always got my issue resolved. Now how smart is that? Get users to share their expertise and truly help other customers, virtually deliver support 24 hours a day via ecstatic fans (users), AND slash your operation expenses (because the company doesn’t have to do it). This is one of the coolest uses of social media in my opinion. Your company can do this by simply building community platforms around communities of shared interest.
Don’t make the mistake of writing FaceBook off as Internet entertainment for young people. You can strategically use FaceBook to build relationships, capture the voice of the customer, quickly recover from problems, and so much more. Start a conversation with your consumers now and you’ll be on the leading edge! Get started on FaceBook now by going to http://www.FaceBook.Com/business
SIDE NOTE: While writing this article, I was on FaceBook on the page of a prominent company that strategically uses the site. I saw that on March 5th a customer posed a pretty serious complaint about the company, yet I saw no response from a company representive. I sent a message to the consumer, asking her if she’d heard back from XYZ company. It’s now been 6 days since the customer’s posting. Here’s what she just wrote back to me:
“Nope didn’t hear anything from them unfortunately. Too bad too- bc i used to be a big XYZ fan.
Thanks for your concern, i appreciate it.”
Lesson here: When customers take the time to post a complaint or gripe on your official FaceBook (or Twitter, MySpace, etc.) page, YOU NEED TO RESPOND. And you need to respond publicly so all of the thousands of other users who visit the page can see your responsiveness. Your response needs to be posted within 24 hours.
Last week my Internet started dropping and it resulted in me having to stop a webcast for a client. Because my telephone is VOIP, whenever my Internet is down, so is my telephone line. The constant dropping of the Internet was a big inconvenience for one my clients, who had paid for and arranged to attend the webcast and it was aggravating to me, to say the least.
The Internet problems persisted for four consecutive days. And on each of those four days I called my cable company, Cox Communications in Tulsa, for help. Now, the thing about my Internet problem is, it was sporadic. The Internet would go down and come back up, usually pretty quickly. By the time I reached a live person at Cox, I’d be back online. One Tech I spoke with told me there was nothing they could do for me because at the time of my call, nothing was wrong.
Frustrated, I logged on to Twitter and posted this gripe:
“Cox Communications in Tulsa just basically told me there’s nothing they can do about my modem constantly dropping Internet!!!!”7:23 PM Apr 7th from web.
First thing the next morning, I received the following Tweet from Cox Communications:
“If you need help getting your Internet problems resolved I’m here to help.”
Even though I actually teach companies how to get involved in online conversations with consumers and use social media for customer service, I was blown away with the immediate response from Cox. I was wearing my “consumer” hat and this was totally unexpected.
I couldn’t believe Cox had a Twitter account and that they monitored Twitter conversations. Not only was Cox listening, but they actually solved my problem! I learned from the Cox Twitter guy that my modem was transmitting high signals and that it was working too hard. The problem was quickly resolved with a service call, which the Twitter guy setup for me.
Now, how did the Cox Communications find my gripe so quickly? Probably, the Cox Twitter guy went to TwitterSearch.Com and typed in Cox Communications. Twitter Search offers real-time search of tweets, that’s Twitter entries. Once he typed in “Cox Communications” he was able to immediately see my tweet and he we was able to reply with an offer to help. And he saved the day for me. Not only that, but his intervention resulted in a ton of positive word-of-mouse advertising for the company. After I received his initial tweet, I posted another tweet that praised the company. Not only that, but I shared the story with all of my FaceBook friends and now I’m sharing it with you.
Are you monitoring online conversations about your brand? If not, why aren’t you? My blockbuster webinar, “Social Media Is the New Customer Service” will put your company on the fast-track to protecting your brand credibility by listening to online conversations. The live event has passed, but you can download the digital recording right now and watch it with everyone on your customer service and marketing teams. Here are the details: