Facebook, if it were a country, is rapidly approaching the most populated place on Earth. As it continues to grow and become incorporated into the mainstream lifestyle, businesses and organizations are jumping into the mix in order to stay in front of the eyes of their audience. However, way too many of these businesses are missing the entire point.
For the purposes of this blog post, let’s limit our ‘social media’ conversation to just Facebook and Twitter for three reasons:
- Both have huge, diverse user bases with large sub-segments of personal users and business users.
- Both are built on a two-way communication model, and really play into creating conversations.
- In 2014, there’s an expectation that someone will find you on one or both of these networks.
Social Media Isn’t…
Social media accounts are not like bulletin boards, where the only interaction people have is by observing. Instead, they are more like community centers, where people come together to discuss, interact, and share. By building a presence on social media, you are announcing to the world that there is a place for people to come, learn, interact, and be a part of your company. This is a great thing – it allows you to engage one-on-one with individuals, lets the world see the human side of your organization, and serves as a banner for your loyal followers to rally under.
The danger, then, is to open that community and then not serve it. It’s easy to assume that all you need is to set up the account and people will come. That’s mostly true – but not being an active part of your own community can lead to awkward moments when your audience wants you to listen to them.
Rather than go into details into what this could look like for you, Pat came to us with a personal story about his own experience with an unmonitored Facebook community. The lessons learned here serve as a warning: if you build it, they will come, and they will want you to be there when they show up.
What Not To Do, As Told by Pat Heck :
“I like to ride bikes. I admittedly spend more than I should on biking gear. One of my favorite items is my Garmin Edge 510 Bike Computer. It tracks my ride and automatically uploads to Garmin Connect, Garmin’s website for saving all of your ride data. People who ride a lot love things like this – I can share my ride info with others and I can look back at any ride I’ve taken since I started uploading data to Garmin Connect.
As great as it is, sometimes it doesn’t work. One of those times, I assumed that something had gone wrong with the bike computer and that the data may have gotten corrupted. I tried several times to upload it manually, and tried an online tool to verify that the ride data was valid. I wondered if others were having trouble. I jumped on Facebook and quickly found Garmin Connect’s Facebook page. The last posting from Garmin was two months old, and there wasn’t any mention of problems with the Garmin Connect service. There were hundreds of comments/questions from users just like me asking if anything was wrong with Garmin Connect service.
It was more than 24 hours later that Garmin finally posted a short update, and it was an update that provided so few details as to really feel like it stated “Some users are having trouble and we’re looking at it and please leave us alone.” This, of course, generated hundreds of additional comments from users and not one of them from a happy or satisfied customer. And there wasn’t any follow-up from Garmin.”
The Moral of the Social Media Story
Garmin’s ultimate flaw wasn’t that they had a Facebook page set up for a service. The flaw was that, after setting it up, they had not regularly maintained and monitored it. Setting an expectation for your audience, and then not following through on it, never leads to a positive experience even for your most devoted customers. If Garmin had been more active in monitoring this situation and this page, what was a negative experience could have turned into a big positive, and strengthened Pat’s already-strong loyalty to the Garmin brand.
“Doing” social media means more than setting up a page and letting it simmer. It requires active participation, listening, engagement, and interaction with people on their terms as well as yours.
If you don’t know what that looks like for your business, we can help set you up for social media success.