Do companies really need a full blown, completely interactive website to differentiate themselves from their competition? If you have the money to spend on such an endeavor, more power to you. As I was watching TV this weekend I saw (on more than one occasion) an advertisement for Honda and what struck me as different was the call to action at the end of the commercial. Instead of promoting local dealers in the area or suggesting you visit their website for more details, they simply had “facebook.com/Honda” on the screen. When you visit their Facebook page, you’ll find an interactive tab titled “The Experiment” customized to tie in to their commercial (see screenshot below).
There was a time when you had to convince businesses to “attach” their website address to their offline marketing plans. Those days are gone, but it was refreshing and a little surprising to see a large company like Honda using Facebook in their TV ads as the main hook.
With the advancements Facebook and other Social Media sites have made to attract businesses, there seems to be no limit to what you can do in these channels. You are no longer constrained to customized promotions tied only to your website or dedicated 800 number. You can create interactive and customized marketing plans without having to make major changes to your website. I wouldn’t suggest scrapping your website, you still need that anchor to provide valuable company information for those looking to do business with you. In addition, Search is still king when it comes to how people find companies today. If you do not have a website, the overwhelming impression people will have is that you are not a legitimate company. But Social Media channels are evolving to cater to businesses looking to attract a larger audience. Social Media sites are not just for individuals looking to connect with their “friends”. They are developing into mainstream marketing channels that can take your business to the next level. Remember, even if you do not personally use Social Media sites, millions of others do every day. There is a built in audience for businesses to promote their products and services within Social Media channels. Marketers have touted this fact as justification to recommend Social Media marketing to their clients. Sites like Facebook “get it” and they continue to provide avenues for businesses to leverage technology and new marketing ideas in ways that wouldn’t be open to them with their current website. Not every business has the financial backing Honda has, yet they still see the benefits of leveraging Facebook for their current marketing strategies.
With new Facebook pages popping up every day, it is important that your page stands out from the rest, especially from your competition. It seems that many Facebook pages are only utilizing the basics. Customizing your page further will help to make it more appealing and can encourage more fans to interact with the page. Below are a few ideas that you can use to help your Facebook page to be more noticeable.
Utilize custom tabs to give your fans something unique. When a Facebook page is created, the standard Wall, Info, Photo, Notes and Video tab are included. While you can post some great information in these tabs, creating a custom tab is a another way to get fans interested in a newsletter, promotion, contest or webinars. Each custom tab you create can also incorporate HTML, so you can lead viewers off of the page through the addition of links. Adding some creativity to your page will give you something that your fans may not be able to find on a competitor’s page. Below is an example of a custom tab utilizing HTML.
This is where companies get scared. “What do I do when I get negative word of mouth via social channels”, they ask. Taking a more proactive approach, as opposed to a reactionary one could help confine negative comments. There is no way to stop people from sharing their thoughts but, as a company, you can take steps to minimize the negativity.
It’s best to have a plan in place for these situations before they even happen. Also, make sure you are on the social media channels where your audience may be having conversations related to your brand or products. Engage participants within these channels and build your following.
It is important to listen to what is being said. Don’t just spout your message with no regard to what your audience is saying. By listening carefully, you can then better respond in the most appropriate manner. It is vital to measure the success of your reputation management strategy in social channels. Is what you are doing to minimize bad publicity working or should you try a new approach?
Most important is to approach reputation management in social media channels with professionalism and courtesy.