A blog entry by Alexandra Bylund, Web Manager, Solresor
I’ve attended countless seminars and listened to lectures on Facebook and how companies should be present on social media. I’ve looked over their agendas and looked forward to running that social media race that has become a natural part of my daily work. I’ve sat there, excited and expectant, like a kid at Christmas, thinking NOW I’ll hear something extremely smart and innovative, and leave here with a ton of inspiration and ideas that are just waiting to be called into action.
Then, after a few minutes into the lecture, I get disappointed. Again. It’s always the same approach, the same ideas, the same discussion on whether or not Company A should be on Facebook and how Company B has experienced success; success measured in number of Likes.
Attracting un-Qualitative Likes
At these seminares, people talk about how companies should embrace social media and then tie the whole discussion in with Facebook. As if Facebook is the social network to end all social networks. Sure, Facebook book is massive with its 750 million registered users. Despite this overwhelming statistic, I want to stress that social media, and a company’s decision to invest in it, is about much more than status updates and getting a ton of Facebook Likes.
10 000 Likes
The discussions during workshops often emphasize the power of viral spreading. Examples are given of successful (and costly) campaigns conducted by web agencies. They tend to highlight the campaign that won some prestigious award the year before, and managed to get another 10 000 Likes for the company in question. But they forget to mention any campaign that, despite a substantial budget, did not and would not get any spread or Likes even if you started forcing everyone and their mothers to Like it.
Manipulating Your Way to More Fans
At the same time as they talk about how a company’s transparency and customer loyalty, they brainstorm about how you can get more Likes. They try to find (manipulative) ways to spread their campaign – to get as many people to share on their Walls. Great, nothing wrong with that. At all. But don’t we know all this already? Can’t we start brainstorming about Phase 2?
So what is Phase 2? I’d like to think of it as entering a phase whereby being a good company, a company that really is transparent, we have to start focusing on getting qualitative Likes. For example, let’s say we surf the web and find a bad review of one of our products. Instead of trying desperately to stop the viral spread of the review itself, we accept the feedback and try to improve the product, because we’re grateful to have access to real client opinions that will help us become a better company.
I like to compare this with being in love: you can never nag your way to real love. The only way you can win someone’s heart is to act in a manner that makes you attractive. If someone goes out with you because you promised them a round-the-world trip, it wouldn’t feel very genuine, would it? Especially when you know that your partner will leave you, or completely ignore everything you say or do, as soon as the trip is over.
Online or Offline? How about All-line?
But OK. Even if we are “the good company”, we need to show the world we exist, of course. We want people to Like us on Facebook if they already like our company. But how do you find new ways to get them there? Simple: we have to stop thinking of online as its own little world. Forget online and offline. Think “All-line”!
It isn’t one type of person that hangs out online and a different type that sits in front of a TV, and yet another type that would visit a brick-and-mortar store. They’re all the same person! It’s just different times. But you know that already, don’t you? Most people are not online or offline; they are “All-line”.
I’m Logging Off
Nope, I’ve decided to be like our customers. I’m going to be All-line. I’m disconnecting from Facebook, I’m logging off for a bit and opening my eyes.
I’m going to invite some of our regular customers, all those that already love us and are loyal to us, to join our Facebook group. I’m sure there are many out there that have a Facebook account and like us, but that we still haven’t reached. We’ve only looked for them using one channel.
Now it’s time to think big. It’s time to go meet them on their turf. I’ll tell them that they can watch our clips on YouTube, that they can find great pics on Flickr, that they can follow us on Instagram and Twitter, and that they can read our blog if they want to.
So, can we promise ourselves that the next time we speak about Facebook and a company’s social media presence, we focus the conversation on Phase 2? Not because I have the ultimate answers to all the questions, but because I feel it’s more valuable that we, together, take the discussion to the next level.
One More Thing Before I Go
Here are some practical suggestions to that are logging off for a while:
- Mention your Facebook fan page in all of your advertisements, including TV or radio commercials.
- Put up a sign at the entrance to your office, encouraging people to check in with FourSquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places, etc.
- Set up and display a laptop in your store or office with your Facebook page as the homepage.
- Print some business cards or leaflets listing all the platforms, networks, and websites where your company is active.
- Get everyone at your company to talk about Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or YouTube to clients, partners, suppliers, vendors, leads, anyone!
- Train your staff! Tell them what your company does in all the different networks, and why, so that it becomes second nature to them.
See ya in Phase 2!