‘I want to shut down my Facebook page because I don’t want to deal with all of the negative comments that people have to say about my business’
Have you ever heard something like this?
Have you ever thought this?
If you’ve thought it, please, take a moment to hang your head in shame.
I’ve recently had discussions with several friends and colleagues who have shared stories of their clients wanting to remove their business from social media because they don’t want to have to address negative comments, the headache that trolls can cause, criticism from their loyal consumers, or simply because they don’t have time to address these concerns.
The very thought of wanting to ‘remove your business from social media’ is completely missing the point.
You can’t remove your business from social media.
All you can do is remove yourself from the discussions that are going to happen about your business, regardless of whether you’re participating or not.
Just because you ignore issues, doesn’t mean they’ll go away
Consumers don’t limit their online expressions of discontent, enthusiasm, or other opinions on businesses to only those with a Facebook Page, Twitter timeline, Pinterest board, YouTube channel or blog.
They have their own blogs, their own Facebook profiles, Twitter feeds, message boards and almost numerous other options for sharing their experiences, opinions, and perspectives on your business.
By not engaging in social media, you’re willingly being ignorant to these discussions and removing your ability to participate, make things right, and in some cases, defend yourself.
You can learn from negativity and apply it to improve your business
Consumers complain and spread negativity for a reason; they’re unhappy with your business. Sure, trolls exist, and some people are just inclined to complain, but most consumers have legitimate criticisms when they take their frustrations online.
Even when consumers are being negative, this is can be positive for your business. For every single person who expresses their criticism online, how many consumers are biting their tongue, vowing to themselves that they’ll take their business elsewhere in the future? It’s worthwhile to listen to what they have to say, and to view this as an opportunity to improve your business.
You can set the record straight
On occasion, there are consumers who express concerns on social media who are doing so unjustly. Maybe their negative experience was an anomaly, maybe they used your product improperly, maybe they didn’t set your service staff up for success. Whatever the issue, being able to receive these complaints also gives you opportunity to set the record straight and help those consumers out with their problems.
This will not only help the consumers you’re directly connecting with, but future consumers will be able to see these interactions and have greater faith that you are going to support your product or service, which can positively influence their purchase decisions. You might be able to avoid these issues or complaints in the future by creating record of your interactions, as a sort of FAQ or troubleshooting guide.
In my opinion, there is exactly one reason why engaging in social media could be viewed as a negative, and that one reason is that you no longer want to be in business, or no longer care about the future success of your business. This isn’t to say that the success of your business is entirely dependent on social media, but the perceived downsides are actually incredibly positive in most situations.
Have you ever been frustrated by complaints or negativity expressed on your social media properties? If so, how did you handle that situation?
If you have anything you’d like to add or discuss further, please feel free to do so in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Photo Credit: Veer
All right, here’s the no-brainer statement of the day; businesses and brands, particularly small businesses, tend to focus their efforts on social media by building and cultivating their own communities.
For whatever reason, they don’t acknowledge, recognize, or think about the fact that there are highly relevant conversations happening about their brand, category, and consumers in other places around the social web – blogs, forums, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and on. Further to this, they don’t think to inject themselves in these conversations.
The people who are engaging in these communities are exactly the type of people that businesses should want engaging in their communities. These are their customers, clients, and business prospects.
There is great opportunity in getting involved in these conversations, and the best part is that it isn’t difficult.
Here’s an easy way to get involved – COMMENT.
Chances are that you spend a fair bit of time absorbing content that is relevant to your business or brand, and leaving insightful or interesting comments can actually work toward your social media and business objectives. Leaving high-quality comments can demonstrate your expert knowledge, earn you increased exposure, and encourage reciprocation of contributions in your community.
Demonstrate your expert knowledge
Find content that sets you up to build on the points being made, contribute your own perspective, provide additional support, or otherwise add value. Highly interested community members are more likely than others to read comments and discover the value in the knowledge you are imparting, which means you’ll be engaging the exact people you should be hoping to engage.
Increase exposure amongst your target demographic
By leaving high-value comments, you’ll become known for your contributions and be looked upon as a source of relevant knowledge and expertise. With your reputation on the rise, people will seek out the source of the information you are leaving in comments, which will ultimately work toward converting these individuals to becoming followers, fans and advocates of your brand on social media.
Encourage the reciprocation of comments in your own communities
If you give a little, you can expect to receive a little in return. Sustained engagement by way of comments will earn you the attention of the people who manage those communities and can result in reciprocated commenting on your content. In the end, you’ll be helping each other with your contributions. It’s win-win all around.
Adding commenting to the list of tactics you employ to support your social media strategy can be incredibly beneficial to expand the scope of your influence on social media. You’ll be able to reach a broader audience that is also highly relevant, add value in new ways, and potentially begin to establish strategic partnerships with the managers of the communities you target with your comments.
What role does commenting play in your social media strategy?
What benefits have you experienced by commenting in other communities?
It would be great to hear your thoughts and discuss this further in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Earlier this week Facebook announced Graph Search, a tool that will allow users to search the social media site for people, interests, places and photos. Unique to Graph Search, every user’s search results will be based on the connections and interactions of their first and second-degree connections – friends, and friends of friends. This will not only keep search results relevant, but results will also carry much greater weight, versus other social recommendation and review sites such as Yelp, because of the close social connection each user will have with their personalized results.
By the sounds of things, the features being debuted via beta currently are just the start of things, and that this will become a much more powerful tool that is capable of searching a broader range of things on Facebook in future iterations.
This is all very interesting, but what will this mean for businesses and brands on the world’s largest social network?
Engagement Will Remain Key
Graph Search results will be based on the interests, experiences and content that your social graph has engaged with or shared on Facebook. Based on the bit of preliminary information we’ve been provided, it seems that businesses who are able to successfully engage their consumers by way of likes, comments and shares are going to be showing up in more search results than businesses filled with lurkers.
Fan Acquisition and Retention Will Mean Appearing in More Search Results
If you want to be discovered via Facebook Graph Search, you’re going to need to find ways to attract, engage and retain your fans. The number of potential search results your business appears in is going to be directly correlated to the size of your community. This isn’t rocket science, but it will obviously pay off to grow your Facebook community and work to retain your fans.
Shared Positive Experiences Will Serve as Trusted Endorsements
From what I understand, Graph Search results are going to be limited to your first and second-degree connections. These are people you know, people you trust, and friends of the people you know and trust. If the people appearing in consumers’ search results have shared positive experiences they’ve had with a business, this will serve as a highly valuable and trusted endorsement. Because of this, endorsements on Facebook are going to carry greater weight than other social networks such as Yelp, which show unfiltered reviews from everyone, including complete strangers.
Graph Search is coming. Even though it is in beta and will likely launch with limited search functionality, it has significant implications for your business. Prepare for its launch and likely future iterations by continuing to grow, engage and provide value to your fan base. The reward of doing a good job in these areas will be greater amplification and influence to a broader number of users. This has the makings of being a powerful search and discovery tool, that if harnessed properly, could yield amazing results for your Facebook community and business.
What are your initial thoughts on Graph Search?
How do you think the introduction of Graph Search will affect your social strategy?
It would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Image Credits: Graph Search icon via thetechblock.com and World Map via gigaom.com
When planning your social media activity, it is critically important to understand your consumers’ natural behaviour on social media, with technology, and in the offline world to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts. Hands down, the most successful activity on social media taps into consumers’ natural behaviour while adding real value.
Trying to get consumers to adopt a behaviour that is foreign to them is like pushing water up hill. You’ll be met with great resistance, engagement will be low, and you’ll be left wondering why your innovative new use of social media was a complete flop.
Natural Behaviour on Social Media
There are a number of key behaviours you are going to want to identify to maximize your social media marketing efforts. If you can get a handle on what types of content they are creating, what they are sharing with their social graphs, how they engage with brands, and what platforms they use and why they use them, you’ll be well equipped with knowledge to apply to your social media and content strategies.
Natural Behaviour with Technology
Consumers’ natural use of technology is also important to consider when planning your marketing programs. People use technology in different ways, and knowing what pieces of technology they use, why they’re using technology, their varying levels of comfort with basic or advanced functionality, times of day that tech gets used, and so forth, are very important insights to have on your targeted consumers.
Natural Behaviour in the Real World
Some of the most powerful uses of social media and technology are achieved when they serve to enhance a consumer’s life in the real world. Having a deep understanding of how your consumers live, what is important to them when they aren’t online, and identifying opportunities to enhance their lives is important insight to have.
When you gain a thorough understanding of your consumers’ natural behaviour on social media, with technology, and in the real world, there are a number of ways this information can be applied.
Following are a few examples:
Level of Involvement
Whether you’re deciding on an entry mechanic for a social media promotion or crowdsourcing content, factor in the level of involvement that your consumers will be comfortable with. For some people, uploading a photo will be second nature, for others, it’ll be seen as being a lot of work. Don’t ask people to do anything they’re not comfortable with, or won’t be excited to participate in.
Don’t waste your time developing an innovative new program for Pinterest if your target demographic isn’t already engaging on the platform. Select the platforms to engage on based on what your consumers are currently using.
Use your deep understanding of natural consumer behaviour to develop your KPIs. Commonly, I’ll see KPIs that in no way, shape or form align with consumer behaviour, and then the success of a program or content gets called into question when they aren’t met. At the end of the day, not every measure is going to be meaningful and relevant, so choose the ones that are, and measure success based on those.
Just because you’ve produced a killer podcast on a highly relevant topic doesn’t mean your consumers are going to want to listen to it. If they aren’t prone to downloading and listening to podcasts, don’t waste your time producing them. When you’ve learned what formats of content are most frequently engaged with, focus your efforts in those areas.
There is a reason why QR codes never took off. The tech is pretty cool, but they require consumers to use their mobile devices in an unnatural and cumbersome way. By the time a consumer downloads a special app to scan the QR code, or finds it on their phone and launches it, they probably could have opened their mobile browser and typed in a URL. Always think about how your target demo uses technology and what they’ll be comfortable with, and stick with that for your marketing efforts.
I always find it to be a shame when I come across an innovative new social media program, or use of technology, that I know is going to fall on its face because it is asking consumers to do something, engage or behave in an unnatural way. Pushing limits and innovating are things that I’ll always endorse, but I highly recommend spending time figuring out not just how you can innovate, but how you can do so in a way that will be meaningful, useful and natural to your consumers.
If you have any thoughts or experience on this subject that you’d like to share, it would be great to hear from you in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial
Photo Credit: Veer