Social Media has become the magic buzzword in marketing circles for some time now and big brands are starting to take notice and create facebook fanpages and twitter accounts like they are going out of fashion but there is more to social media than being on facebook and they’re not getting it.
To really use social media, and in particular facebook, the brands have to think like the consumer and chat to them like a person… not like a brand. They need to start a conversation with them and carry it through or they look really rude and not all conversations are pleasant, positive chit chat – sometimes people are upset with you and you have to deal with it – not walk away or try to brush it under the carpet.
On a recent training trip to Poland I checked out my favourite brand facebook pages to see what they were doing and how they were faring to share what is working and what is not for brands on facebook and suggest ways in which brands can get more out of being there. I like the Evian Water babies advert on youtube which has had an amazing result with significant watches and shares all over the globe… so I searched the relevant fanpage on facebook to see if it had done similar colossal figures there… after all most youtube videos are not found or viewed on youtube they are generally just the host for email and facebook or twitter sharing…. It hadn’t. But what they had done is to put a very engaging cover picture that instantly pulled in to the page and works very well.
Their style is pictures and some video which elicits comments and shares from their fanbase. But their numbers are only about 10% of the views on the youtube channel and they missed a marketing trick with the video… no call to action at the end to either subscribe to the channel or visit the facebook page – all of these things are very easy to add after the event as when this was released they were probably not even thinking of using facebook. A smaller business is much more likely to do this and to add comments on the youtube page with a url linking directly to the page. Big brands often miss these minute details that with their numbers can have a massive effect.
I also looked up the Dell Facebook page and was horrified to see unanswered unhappy customers…. Now just one comment from a customer saying something negative is the opener for others. They are no longer the instigator of something that isn’t good on the page and are very happy to pile in and say well actually I am unhappy too and… Had the facebook community manager spotted the comment that started the ball rolling and posted just a general sorry to hear that comment it may have stopped the post 2 days later that started even more negativity. Of course some customers will post their bad experiences irrespective of the other comments on the page but they are much more likely if there are others for them to follow. The worst thing about this is there are at least 3 negative customer experiences in this one thread… and not one response from a page admin. Yet they have posted other content. So have they decided on a policy of not responding to negative comments or had it just been missed?
I revisited the page to download the screen shots and found half a dozen more specific negative comments that had been ignored publicly… yes there appear to be more happy than unhappy customers on the brand page BUT the viral effect of those comments is massive… and when you have a choice just seeing the type of comments such as second hand parts used in the machine and within 2 months not working and not being replaced you can see that people will think again about a brand and choose another… So what should a brand do? It should have a policy of how to handle them and what to say and should at the very least publicly respond saying we are here to help…
Dell also seem to be missing important things like being asked the price… a very basic business mistake… if a customer or potential one thinks they are being ignored… what do they do? In this day and age they not only walk away but they also tell everyone – publicly…
One of the fantastic freemium or low cost products on the market is Hyper Alerts which will email you regularly the comments on pages. So you have no excuse to miss updates on the fanpage or not respond to customers – especially those who have had a bad experience. A bad customer experience handled well can turn that person in to one of your most loyal fans – handled badly and they can become a PR disaster.
Another very easy win for any company is collecting the email addresses of the people visiting the page. There are sophisticated data collection techniques that will give you the email addresses of the people who have liked the page but unless you have specifically said you will email them in the app and they are happy with that then you cannot the information. A better way is to have an opt-in form which is even better if it has an autoresponder sequence of emails behind it with useful and helpful information for those who opt-in and hand over their email – is it not far better to have a list of engaged individuals who have willingly supplied their details to you than scraping the emails of every man and his dog (yes there are dogs with facebook accounts) who has ever liked your page?
This concept of data capture seems to be an issue for some of the bigger brands… and they are really missing out by not using it. A very simple app on the page will create a very focused list of potential clients for them yet they leave this clever marketing to the smaller companies who are simply transferring the idea from their websites where they have been using it to great effect.
The reward must be worth the effort as more and more places are now trying to get people on their lists so offer something worthwhile.
Recent research is showing that only 30% of people liking your page are there to be associated with your brand… the rest want something… probably a discount. We are in a very interesting economy now to that is not really a surprise, especially if your brand is a premium one and they want to keep using it but will happily take the discounts if they can get them rather than changing to a cheaper one.
As the rewards are public it is a very good idea to do this as their friends (and maybe even friends of friends) have the possibility of seeing it and may not have even thought about using the brand but the power of their peers may be powerful enough to get them across to the page to take a look and if they like what they see they may be inclined to try it when they want to buy.
If apps are being created to get people to do things, be aware that most people are wise to those very viral apps that spam all of their friends and the backlash from this is not worth creating the app in the first place and the cost can be massive. Create something simple and to the point to get the message across that gives them the option of turning on and off some sections as facebook will allow them to hide the app activity anyway so why create potential headaches for yourself by opening can of worms?
Many brands think that big apps mean more engagement… this is not necessarily the case. The more hoops people have to jump through and the less they will. Simple works best. The Ford brand page has some simple apps on the page and actually they are not very pretty – but they do the job very well. By asking people to share their experiences and pictures and posting as the page to thank them they are creating a page people want to be seen on and that is as important as what the page is trying to get out there.
The page works well on several levels, not only is showing how proud it is of their brand but they are also bringing in emotion and people and it has tagged all the people in the cover picture! We love our cars and showing them off, some of them have been restored and the pride shared with that is incredible and very emotional for some people and also invokes memory of what happened in the past. These are very powerful tools to use. The page also encourages creativity and some of the pictures are being shared an incredible number of times which gets more people to see the posts and in turn gets more interested people to come and look. The more people like and comment on the pictures and video the higher the rank of the page is and the more likely it is that it be seen in the Top News in the feed… which again gives a whole new audience who have the opportunity of joining in. This kind of post will extend the life of the picture which again increases the rank of the page. A massive circle is you like that goes through the filters of those it passes and pulls in interested people.
Sadly many brand pages are just not getting this and are simply using the pages as place to sell which if you are a brand such as ASOS you can almost get away with but for most those you have liked the page will very soon turn off the updates from it or even unlike it. Social media is not a broadcast mechanism it is a place to learn, chat, communicate, engage and virally share content. When used well it will more than pay for itself on many levels from brand exposure to increases in sales. When used badly it is a pointless exercise best left to those who will not use it like a 24/7 sales channel or a gym members that they visit when they remember.
Look after those who join in your conversations… it’s easier than you think if you think not only digitally but like your customer. Oooh and I almost forgot NEVER delete comments UNLESS they contain very nasty language or sexist, racist stuff… you will suffer a massive backlash and if you have an issue with trolls or people you can never ever please no matter how hard you try – set a time limit on their abuse and then ban them… you have been very patient and understanding as well as helpful and it’s time to pull the plug…
Which big brands do you think are getting it right on facebook? Or is someone seriously screwing up? Share, we’d love to have a look…