But then my heart froze. As I went more carefully through the page, I noticed that the community manager had not responded to ANY of the fans posts. None whatsoever. There really is no excuse for this. The reason that fans comment on a page is so that they will be acknowledged and engaged with. They want to feel that the brand they love, loves them back. If you don’t have a response, simply clicking the ‘like’ button on their contribution is enough.
I realize that at the end of the day, a Facebook page is about moving products off of shelves. So if you don’t respond to a consumer here and there, who really cares? Well, that person does. If you’re too lazy to respond to a consumer that’s posted on your page, you’re probably also too lazy to research your community. You may never discover that the people you’re ignoring are your brand ambassadors, consumers who are vocal and are willing to spread the word. But sure, go ahead, ignore them.
The other argument is simply one of manners. If somebody speaks to you, be polite and acknowledge them.
To summarize, social media is about conversation. So make sure you’re having those conversations, otherwise, save your money and splash out on a few banner ads instead.
A lot of brands are still unsure of what to do with social media. In the beginning, platforms were used predominantly for product push. It didn’t take long for community managers to realize that people weren’t interested in seeing endless product blurbs in their social media streams. Content was either ignored, or the brand was unliked or unfollowed. Community managers started using the platform for general conversation instead. Content pillars were developed which supported the brand, but did not do direct product push.
Some brands have adopted this approach with open arms, while others have stuck to doing pure product push to get their message out there. As with most things in life, the happy medium is somewhere in the middle. Am I suggesting that brands intersperse useful content with product information? No. What I am suggesting is a new approach to dispensing product information.
When you enter a store, does the salesman leap out at you with his arms full of product? Generally, you are left to browse by yourself. A salesman will approach when he has noticed you taking an interest in something. Usually he will begin with, “Can I help you with that?”
How do we take this approach to on-line? The difficulty is that we cannot really see what our readers are looking at on our page (unless they click, comment or like). So how do we know what they’re interested in? We put out bait. We ask a question.
For example, if you are a brand that specializes in dive equipment, you could ask your community what their favourite part about diving is. Based on your responses, you could then suggest products to enhance the experience or make it safer. If you were an insurance brand, you could ask your community what they value the most. People might say friends or family, but some may talk about material possessions. You can remark on the value of friends and value, but you could also take the opportunity to talk about how to insure those valuable material possessions. You’ve successfully given your brand a personal touch as well as subtly talking about the products you offer.
Monitoring the conversations on your page is important. Participating in them in a constructive, non-threatening way is even more important. People will tolerate you marketing to them in their personal, social media space only if they’ve invited you through conversation. Keep this in mind. The fact that the user has liked your page is not a right, but a privilege. Treat it as such.
Don’t forget to have your brand’s persona all set up before you start these conversations!