I was recently at a clients office talking about how they could benefit from setting up a Facebook business page and they said they were extremely hesitant to give it a try as they were scared customers and clients might use it to defame or complain about their business for everyone else to see.
I can see where they are coming from, some of the biggest brands in the world have made some huge social media blunders in the past.. check out McDonalds for instance in the US, they tried to engage with their customers on social media and it went horribly wrong..
Even though that campaign ended in a disaster, what it did do is allow a company the ability to receive feedback from their customers in such a way that has never been done before, they get real time market research about if they are doing something their customers love or hate.
Social media channels give brands the opportunity (and I really mean opportunity) to listen to their customers, take constructive feedback on board and bring fans even closer by taking action to implement their suggestions.
Take a look at this example from Argos ( A retail store based in the UK ), they asked a relatively innocent question on their Facebook page;
What are your top tips for keeping the kids entertained on wet bank holidays?
It was all relatively peaceful until someone mentioned that Argos sell shock collars for dogs and slammed the company for cruelty to animals, the snowball started to roll..
Argos were extremely quick to act, by morning of the next day they had removed the product for sale and were able to instantly update their customers on the status, the snowball melted, happy customers came on board and praised Argos for listening to them.
Cool huh? Thats an excellent case of turning a negative into a positive.
So what can you as an Australian Brand take from this example?
- When you ask your fans a question, make sure you comment back and join in on the conversation
- Don’t delete complaints and ban the fan – openly address any complaint and let them know how you resolved it, that way every other fan knows how you dealt with it.
- Be Human, even though you are a brand, there are people and emotions behind it.. try and make that come through in your messaging
- Don’t leave it too late – when you ask a question or get asked a question try and reply as soon as possible, the longer you leave it, the less engaged the fan will be with your brand
Social media isn’t all just about sharing photos and the odd promotional update, its about engaging with your fans – it’s a two way conversation, listening to them and actually taking their feedback on board – whether it be good or bad, your customers need to know they are being listened to and that you care about them – after all without them, you’re out of business.