When you update your status on Facebook, what do you normally post? A thought of the day? What you are up to? Ask for a restaurant recommendation, or something else along those lines?
Many people (as you may realize if you are a Facebooker) use their status to ask questions to their fans to get thoughts, feedback, and opinions. As a result, Facebook has introduced a new feature called Questions. Facebook Questions are intended to make asking and receiving responses to questions a much easier process.
When you log into your Facebook account, you will now see this addition next to where you update your status, post photos, share links, and so on. Below is how it will appear when viewing a Facebook page you admin.
What’s unique about Facebook Questions is how much greater your reach can become. For example, if you post a question to your Page or Profile using a regular status update, your question will be visible to your friends via their News Feed. They can then reply to your question with a comment, or Like what you asked. When asking a question using the new Question feature, your friends can respond, but also your friends’ friends will have the opportunity to participate and answer the question as well. While other non-fans / non-friends can respond, your friends’ responses are going to be shown first, as those are likely to be more relevant or meaningful to you.
So how can this apply to businesses? Not only are Questions available for Profiles, but they are also available for Company Pages. Do you want to start a new product or service, or modify one you currently have? Reaching out to those who are already fans of your company to ask for their input could be tremendously valuable (and cost effective!). When people start responding to your question, they can agree with an existing answer or add a different response.
The next time you are thinking about surveying your customers, try the new Questions feature in Facebook. You may find that the responses are all that you need to move forward with a decision.
Though there is a ton of buzz surrounding social media for business, not too much of it highlights how to proactively manage and leverage the various networks. Often times, it isn’t until there is a “slip-up” or lapse in judgment by the individual managing a company’s account that we hear a response as to what should have occurred instead.
Perhaps you’ve heard about the recent high-profile PR incidents including personal messages being sent from @RedCross or @ChryslerAutos profiles. If you didn’t hear about those incidents, perhaps the Intern that went on a rampage on the last day of his job, calling Marc Jacobs’ CEO Robert Duffy a “tyrant” rings a bell.
There are many lessons to be learned from these unfortunate examples. One of the most important lessons is, choose your social media contributors wisely. Remember that the individual managing your account is, in essence, a spokesperson of the business. In some cases, the person actually becomes the face of the company. LinkedIn is a great example. The person that manages company groups on behalf of the company works LinkedIn under his or her personal profile.
On the flip side, having a credible individual act as the face of the company can work to your advantage. The person that is able to network and recruit a great number of credible followers and is able to engage with others through the platform has great benefits (including possible business/sales opportunities).
Let’s go back to the importance of being proactive. As managers, you should always be in tune with the activity on your social media accounts (better yet, be engaged yourself!). This is important for a few reasons. Troubleshooting is the first reason. Without micromanaging, it is important to oversee and be involved with the operation to maintain your brand sentiment. This way, if a post was inadvertently entered or a message was incorrectly stated, you can fix/remove it before any negativity goes viral. Secondly, you should always have access to and control your account passwords. In the event that your social media specialist or marketing manager leaves that company, you will always have the ability to control/manage your accounts (and in this case, change your password).
As a result of some of the recent mishaps mentioned above, some networks have created safeguards to help prevent these situations from occurring. Hootsuite in particularly, announced that they have created “Secure Social Profiles” to minimize an accidental mis-send. The new profiles feature “prevents accidental updates by team members by requiring an additional confirmation step before sending”. The Secure Profiles feature is available in HootSuite’s Enterprise plan and is designed to help large companies with multiple team members. As you can see below, the feature is also compatible and available for Smartphone users.
Social media remains one of the greatest marketing tools available. A common challenge with managing social media is a lack of time. Outsourcing these efforts, in some cases, is the best solution to this dilemma. Selecting an agency that understands your brand, goals, and products is important as they will represent you throughout the social media trenches. If you choose to hire someone internal to manage your channels, make sure that they are well trained. The person should understand the business, brand, services/products, as well as the goals of social media efforts. Remember, consistent effort and engagement can go a long way!
Unlike in the 1989 Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams, where he builds a baseball diamond on the land he used to farm and people lined up for miles, building a Facebook Page won’t automatically attract people to know about and like your business. Businesses need a strategy before creating a Facebook Page and part of this strategy should address how they plan to attract visitors to their Page and how they plan to convert these visitors to “likes” and then, often considered the most important step is how to convert these “likes” into sales.
Facebook is only a tool to be used to socialize with potential new customers and to keep up a conversation with current customers; this fact is often forgotten or simply misunderstood. Just having a Facebook Page is not enough. You need to know what you plan to offer and how you will communicate your message. When building your page, keep in mind that you want your content to be of a nature that people will want to share. Is your proposed content something people will want to talk about? Does it have an interactive component? These are questions your strategy should be able to answer.
Have you thought of what the main goal is for your Facebook Page? If it was simply to “have a presence on Facebook” you may need to rethink your strategy. Much like a company’s mission statement, your Facebook Page should have a purpose (with additional calls-to-action for specific promotions, events, or products added in later). An example of a Page with a purpose is Starbucks (technically a family of Pages, Apps and Places). Starbucks’ Official Page (http://www.facebook.com/starbucks/) is in the Food/Beverages category and has the purpose of being a platform on which to talk about and share information about Starbucks’ products. Starbucks has gone one step further in their goal of sharing their products with everyone and created a minisite (http://www.mystarbuckssignature.com).
This minisite was created with the specific goal of introducing people to Starbucks’ extensive offerings in their products and giving them a way of sharing their favorite flavor combinations with their friends. The upper right hand section of the page includes an AddThis share button which with a few clicks allows a visitor to share the minisite across the web through their preferred social networks, a Facebook Like Button which allows the minisite to be shared on the wall and in the streams of the person who clicks the button, and a button that integrates the minisite with a Facebook App to help share the designed beverage made on MyStarBucksSignature.com. More information about the Facebook Like Button Plugin and how to add the Login Button to authenticate your Facebook account can be found here: http://developers.facebook.com/docs/guides/web/.
The three buttons in the upper right of the minisite:
What will appear on a user’s Facebook Wall if that user clicks the Facebook Like Button:
These Wall posts not only build brand awareness, but they show a community around the brand’s products.
The minisite also appears in a user’s search of Facebook for the brand name “starbucks” amidst other Facebook properties even though it does not have its own minisite Facebook Page:
So, let’s recap. The wrong way to grow your Facebook presence is to jump in without a plan, start posting and commenting without a strategy or response model in place, and to sit idly after making a few sales-y sounding posts expecting people to flock to your site and shower you with “likes” and positive comments. The right way to grow “likes” of your Facebook Page is to have a strategy in place around the purpose of your company’s presence on Facebook, having a strategy in place that will address your plan to create engaging, shareable, and interesting content, and then creating this content and monitoring/joining the conversations that it sparks.
If you need help developing your social media marketing strategy, Morevisibility would love to set up a call to learn about your business. Feel free to learn more about MoreVisibility’s Social Media services and be sure to see our social media design portfolio.