Is Facebook the place to play for a business and can your business make Friends in the Facebook Playground? Many business owners see Facebook as a distraction and lose sight of the fact that their consumer base is actively communicating about life and brands in this social media space. By intent or social osmosis, the decision-making consumer is picking up on brand recommendations on Social Media. Let’s look at some of the principles a Business can consider and employ as it engages with Facebook Friends.
Facebook would be considered the flagship of the social media industry in the English-speaking world. Brazil and China have larger local social networks but Facebook continues to be the model for developing social media strategies. From its early beginnings in February 2004 it has now grown to over 1 billion active users around the world with 76% of active users logging in each day.
Would you believe 30 billion pieces of content are shared each month in the form of posts, stories, photos and links? The average Facebook user has 130 friends and spends 590 minutes per month on Facebook. According to SocialBakers as of September 2013, New Zealand has 2,257,920 Facebook users placing us 62nd on the countries list. This means 53.10% of Kiwis are using a social network but when looking at just Kiwis who are online we find the numbers go up to 62.28%.
If you are considering using Facebook and its ‘pages’ function to connect with your customers then the key idea to develop is to see Facebook as a ‘community hall’ where groups of people can connect. Connections on Facebook can range from the small like a family or some school friends through to a gathering of thousands. For a business working on building a client base the idea of creating space on Facebook should be seen as hosting a social event for clients. Its low key, fun and we all get to take something home.
Like a good social function, you need to assign the right staff to act as virtual hosts. Don’t think you can hire a hall, put nibbles on the table and expect everyone to have a good time. Just like a party for clients, your social media experience of your brand will feel uncomfortable if customers and prospects turn up in an empty room or a room where the ‘management’ are on the phone ignoring the guests.
Another part of the ‘community hall’ approach is the ‘stage’. If you are using Facebook then you’ve already seen this kind of activity. The stage of Facebook can be used for kids to put on a play or for the community to host a panel forum with candidates for the local election. Engage a good virtual MC and you will be able to ask the audience questions, run a competition or present an award to the member of the community who made the biggest contribution to the annual fund-raiser. This can all be done through photos, videos and poll tools.
Being consistent in your engagement is a vital part of the strategy. Work with your marketing advisor to develop a digital strategy and choose staff with a strong customer service emphasis who understand the values of your brand and have a creative bent. Your marketing advisor will be able to help you develop an engagement plan and show you the tools that help your business engage with Facebook Friends.