Facebook – an effective content channel, as long as you know why…
One key question to ask yourself is: What your customers will get out of “liking” you on Facebook? Good answers include discounts, offers, and exclusive content. Pumping out press releases or corporate messages isn’t likely to work. But you then need to meet this need, which will involve creating inspiring or behind-the-scenes content, or investing in technology to deliver offers or trials.
Secondly, it’s important to work out what you, as a brand, want to get out of Facebook and how you will measure this. Everyone thinks they want a million fans, or comments, or hits on their content – but how do you work out the value (if any) of these to your business?
Will you use Facebook to drive traffic to your main site, to find out what your customers think about your products, or to change how they feel about your brand? And, whatever the answer, how will you know if it’s working?
Additionally, you need to think about procedures and processes. You’ll be setting up an expectation with customers that they can get a response, so you need to think about how to quickly deal with complaints, questions, sales queries etc (and what happens at the weekend).
You should also plan for a crisis. Kenneth Cole, GoDaddy, DKNY, Gap and Nestle, among others, have all had problems dealing with issues that arose on their Facebook pages. Decide who is allowed to say what – and run through a few scenarios of things going wrong to see if your procedures can deal with a social-media firestorm.
Finally, don’t panic. As in all areas of business, some companies have made mistakes. No company has yet failed because its social media strategy was wrong – although plenty have wasted lots of money.
Don’t be afraid to experiment but be clear about whether you are experimenting or whether you’re just going on to Facebook because everyone else is. You just need to know what you can get out of it and why it’s right for you before you do it.
Malcolm Coles, is a digital strategist at Forward.