Mashable recently wrote a blog post claiming 8 Creative ways to Connect with Customers on Facebook. My response: Holy generic post Batman, you can do better. Mashable is arguably the largest tech centric blog out there and I absolutely expect the best from them. As of late though, I’m seeing a whole lot of less than witty, Buzzfeed listcicle knock offs coupled with regurgitated, shallow content - and I’m not thrilled about it. Come on Cashmore, look alive and get on this.
In this particular post, they asked, quote, eight entrepreneurs, end quote, how best to use Facebook to their company’s advantage. I’ve gone point by point below in an attempt to demonstrate the lackluster and, I dare say, archaic nature of their recommendations.
1. Put other people in the spotlight. Are you kidding me? It’s called user engagement and we’ve been doing it since forever -so far as tech time is concerned. Shock gasp asking the smart consumers of today to like this or buy that doesn’t work. It’s a miracle it ever did. In order to really connect with your communities, you have to cut through the hullabaloo they interact with on a moment-to-moment basis. You have to give them a reason to associate with you. You have to get to know them, wine them, dine them, hell – woo the sh** out of them. Put in the word to get to know them and subsequently, develop a long lasting relationship with them. It shouldn’t be a blatant tactic to put them in the spotlight, which insinuates you’re removing said bright blinding light from yourself. You as a brand should want to know, legitimately, what your people are doing and should be thrilled to get that engagement. Remember, you are friends with your customers and friendship is a two way street. Look both ways.
2. Interact in a Private Facebook Community: I can’t hate too much on this one because it’s an interesting idea and one that certainly would work for certain verticals. My question though, is why are you removing public conversations about your brand from the spotlight? Certainly it might make sense to encourage brand ambassadors or influencers to bounce ideas off each other and in that regard, a private Facebook group might be the answer, but as a whole, you should foster those conversations in the limelight. Some context might be relevant here Mashable. Similar to um, every marketing strategy ever, you have to know which tactics are appropriate for your brand and now throw things against a wall for giggles and sh*ts. To end on a positive note though, I have seen success implementing tactics like this for more private programs like support groups, especially in the medical space where you may not want to publically share your information/experiences with the masses.
3. Post Video Updates: Duh. I can’t justify this one with a long response. I just can’t. But I will say that original video content requires a lot of work. From planning and shooting to voice over, editing and more than a few dashes of finesse, it seems a bit misleading to just say to post video content. #justsaying
4. Offer Discounts and Promo Codes: So you’re looking for the ROI of social media, are ya? Join the club, bud. Aside from the fact that this really only works for ecommerce or printable coupons for bring into brick and mortar locations, this point is a given. Certainly you want to encourage your customer base to engage with your page, brand, and of course, buy something. We get it. The point notes though, that if you limit the number of redemptions to this code, people will likely be fast to respond and keep an eye out for you in the future. With this I agree but I think the right mindset is imperative. Reward your people on social because they’re your loyal customers and you want to keep them happy. Yes, absolutely keep them engaged but don’t do it for the sole purpose of making a quick buck.
5. Post Unrelated Content: The word unrelated throws this point off. That’s like saying post a video of a dancing kitten wearing a sombrero on the General Electric fan page. That would make absolutely no sense. You have to remain true to your brand no matter what. What does that mean, you ask? It means absolutely integrate a ratio of non self promotional content into your Facebook post mix… but it has to be aligned with your values, voice and overarching strategy. The ratio I lived by in the olden days was 7 or more relevant, fresh, non self promotional pieces of content to one brand centric push. This is still relevant ish but it is NOT new information. In fact, we’re looking back in time about 3 years. Nowadays, creating quality, original content with subliminal or understated branding is the name of the game. Look at Oreo’s 100th Birthday Campaign for example.
6. Share Stories: Can’t knock it. I agree with it. To be a successful brand, you have to paint a picture of who you are so that your customers can connect with you on a human level. Show them why you do what you do and who you are. That’s how you will maintain that relationship for years to come. Now, that’s long term ROI.
7. Post Consistently and Respond Quickly: Again, no gripes with this one… I just can’t believe it made a post dated July 2013. You have to think of your Facebook page (and other social networks) as a reflection of yourself. If you were up on stage in front of hundreds of thousands of people asking you questions, you wouldn’t stand there and do nothing would you? Of course not. Being non responsive or inconsistent in your social posting is like ignoring your communities pressing questions. Want the dumbed down version? It makes them mad. How you handle yourself in this regard is a direct reflection of your integrity so take it seriously. Be proactive, respond efficiently and present yourself in way you and your brand can be proud of.
8. Recruit Talent Socially: This should be a happy side effect to a solid brand strategy. Notice I didn’t say social strategy. If you foster and grow both your brand and company culture and funnel that information through your social channels, you’ll organically grow a community of advocates who would of course want to work with you. Don’t be on social to recruit talent, be on to social to show the world how great your brand is. The rest should seamlessly follow.