To be or not to be – that is the question.
If I’m at an event and announce to new acquaintances that I am a marketer, the first question that typically follows is
‘Do you think I should be on Facebook?’
‘Yes,’ Is my reply.
‘…if you want to chat with other people on Facebook. Do you?’
Back in the olden days when FB was new, many organisations, including the big corporate I worked for had a ‘listening’ vs a ‘diving-in’ approach to Facebook. Nowadays there is this FOMO (fear of missing out) that organisations go through, wondering if Facebook is like some kind of party that all their friends go to, but they missed out on the invitation to.
Well, in many ways Facebook is exactly like that. Imagine that the world of virtual reality could for a moment become real – and you (as the representative for your business) were suddenly transported into a room of people from Facebook – all connected by the same motivating criteria (Mums with Newborns, or People who love Star Wars or Beauty-queen Wannabes). Let’s imagine in the scenario you had the floor and a microphone and could talk to all of them about your business. What would you say?
If you are thinking – those people would throw things at me, or heckle me out of the room, then think again about Facebook being for you. Or perhaps, think about the types of groups and people who could be on Facebook that you would be more comfortable to speak in front of.
Social media is a great tool for businesses if you know who you want to talk to and what you want to say. And don’t be limited to Facebook either. If your products or services are Business to Business (B2B) you will find that fishing in a Linkedin pond of similar like-minded people could be perfect for you.
As with all marketing it comes back to the golden number 1 rule
WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO?
What is it about your products or services that unites one group of people to need to engage with you. Don’t just think about demographics here – a 50year old man in the US may have just as much need for baby products as a 30-something first time mum. What problem are you solving for this group? Know that – know who you are relevant for, and then seek them out.
Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest and GooglePlus all have filters that will bring more relevant messages to the customer audience they serve. As long as you know the audience your products are relevant for, these social media networks can help you find those people within their walls.
The thing to remember with social media is that it is two-way. Unlike traditional media where you broadcast your message out to the world and hope your audience is listening, social media allows people to tell you what they think, and to tell their friends too. That way it can be an incredibly powerful tool in your arsenal if you use it correctly (talk to the right people about something that is relevant to them). However, get it wrong and you can end up pointing that big gun at yourself.
Facebook is a media that takes work – if you are going to build a group of people (Facebook likes) that want to hear from you, you have to regularly post information that will be useful and will push that relationship with you forward. If you fail to do this, they will simply stop liking you.
So, essentially, Facebook is no different from any other promotional channel. If you want customers to engage, then engage them – either on Facebook, on the phone, via email, face to face or with an entertaining and stimulating tv commercial. Get them to like you, get them to be interested and want to hear more – and then, only then, will they buy your products or service.
Face book is a means to an end. Don’t lose sight of that.