Archive for August, 2011

August 28, 2011

Grill Company Gets Facebook?

It seems that more and more businesses are creating Facebook pages, and most are created for all the wrong reasons.  Many business owners have heard of other companies who have created a Facebook page and their failing business is now an internet success story.  Well, I’m not saying that hasn’t happened; however, that’s not the reason to create a business Facebook page.

You should create a business Facebook page not only because you have something to say to customers; but more importantly, because you want to communicate with your customers…that means you have an actual conversation.

Recently, I bought a new gas grill.  Sadly, the instruction manual was lacking when it came to using the pizza stone that came with the grill.  I burned my first pizza.  So, I went online to see if I might find better instructions.  Well, the website wasn’t much better, so I visited their Facebook page.  I asked what I had done wrong.  I was very happy when I got my question answered with some very easy-to-follow instructions.  This company is doing a couple of things right.  First, they are using their Facebook page to supplement their website.  Second, and most importantly, they are paying attention to what their customers are saying.

How does that make them money?  After all, it’s really nice of them to pay someone to answer customers’ questions, but what are they getting out of having a business Facebook page?  Well, how about new products to sell?  That’s right!  Their customers have turned into their research and development team.  The same folks that loved their grills were also asking why they didn’t have a custom grill cover.  Guess what?  About a month after I bought my grill, they announced they would have a custom cover soon.  It is available now and was well worth the wait!  The design is awesome…zippers in the right place, so you can get to the storage compartments without removing the whole cover.

Now I could stop there, but I want you to think for just a moment.  What else is this grill company getting from their Facebook page?   Yes, brand loyalty; but what else?  How about this?  The strongest selling tool any marketer would kill for…word of mouth.  That’s right!  Their 19k-plus fans are saying great things about all their products…and because almost 80% of shoppers check out social media sites before making a purchasing decision, this company’s customers positive comments are more effective than any paid spokesman or traditional advertising the company may use.  Let’s face it, we trust our friends and people do business with companies they know, like and trust.

August 20, 2011

Why Social Media Fails

You may be wondering why I’m making a post admitting that social media programs fail.  After all, I’m a social media advocate!  But, I have always felt that honesty is the best policy.

Truthfully, there are just a handful of reasons why social media programs fail.  The first, and most common, reason is that businesses forget to be social.  They sign-up for Facebook and Twitter and start making posts.  For a little while they are excited…much like a child with a new toy.   But then, something happens…they don’t seem to be getting any responses to their messages.  So they double up on their posts, and then notice their followers stop increasing.  Their response is to throw up their hands and give up.

What they fail to realize is it’s not Facebook or Twitter that failed…it was their message.  For months they pushed their message out; but not once did they ever do anything to engage their audience.  That’s because for years companies have pushed their message out to the masses with traditional media.  Unfortunately, the same companies try to do the same thing with social media.  They miss an incredible opportunity to carry on a conversation with their audience.  In short, they leave the social out of social media.

Another reason most social media programs fail is because, just like that new toy I mentioned earlier, the shine wears off and companies just stop paying attention to their program.  All I can say is “How rude!”  I compare it to starting a conversation with someone at a party, then turning you back on them and walking over to speak with someone else.  If you are going to run a social media program, you need to be in it for the long haul.  If you are thinking about starting a Facebook page or setting up a Twitter account to give it a try, do yourself a favor…don’t bother.  In short, if you are going to start a social media program, you need to know upfront that it is a commitment…it will take time and resources.  If you put in the effort, you will be rewarded.