The most common answer to the question “Why get involved with Facebook?” is simply “To engage our customers.” However, what does this mean? Many cannot explain it. Some will mumble about “Brand messaging” or “Creating personality”. Others may have a stock sentence prepared, something along the lines of “To dynamically create a dialogue between the company and our customers in order to achieve higher penetration and marketability in an attempt to forward our brand identity and provide the upmost in customer service.” Whew! I’m almost scared to ask for that sentence to be broken down…
When we are asked, “Should I use Facebook for my company?” the first question we ask is, “Well, why do you use it yourself?” The answer that we hear all too often, unfortunately, is “I don’t. But I think my company should!”
This means that there is no goal set. Other than the fancy buzzword sentence previously mentioned. That means you don’t know why you should enter into social media, other than someone suggesting it as a way of growing. Chances are, six months from the date this question was asked and answered, the company will say, “Social just doesn’t work for us.” Instead, let’s slow it down, and think about it for a bit. Understanding why people are on Facebook is paramount to creating accurate, achievable, and realistic goals.
• Most people are on Facebook to communicate with people they either know now, or knew in the past. It’s typically not to make new friends, or to try new things. It’s a place to come and find your buddies. If your company is thinking of entering into this world, you must understand this principle first.
• Facebook has lots of ads running on the side of the screen. People don’t want to see ads running on their wall, too. There’s a place for everything.
• As a Facebook user, I don’t want to see too much of anyone. I have lots of Facebook Friends, and I want to be able to see what each of them are doing. So if I have someone who posts about nonsense every 15 minutes, chances are I’m blocking them.
• As a Facebook user, I’ll follow pages that have high interest to me, or that a friend of mine asked me to follow. Since I’m limited to how many pages I can follow, I’m not going to follow everything. Especially since it would cut into my ability to see what each one of my friends is doing.
Based on this information, what is your company’s goal by entering into Facebook? If it is to become friends with your customers, and communicate with them on a personal level, so that you can provide additional service to them, that’s ok. If your goal is to double your sales penetration by engaging the masses, spreading brand awareness by targeted marketing, and presenting additional vehicles to populate advertisements, you may be in the wrong place.
Create your goal before “stepping foot” on Facebook. Understand what it is you hope to accomplish, before spending the time, energy, and resources required to create the site. Otherwise, save yourself six months of pain, and resign yourself now to the “Social just doesn’t work” mentality now.