We’ve all heard how social media levels the playing field, and that small businesses can use big corporations’ tactics on Facebook to their own advantage. But some of these strategies can actually ultimately hurt your small business if you try to copy them. They may be because they don’t fit your scale or they’re just terrible ideas; regardless, you should probably use caution if you try to use any of the following!
Keeping Up with the Joneses
While keeping up with the competition is something to commend when it comes to PR, many businesses confuse this with “let’s just do what they’re doing.” They see a competitor doing one thing on Facebook and even though it doesn’t quite make sense for them, they try it out anyway.
For instance after Taco Bell had so much success with their conversational tone on Facebook (and other social media), other fast food industries thought it might work for them. Some immediately switched over to this tone to see if it would work. Most realized it wasn’t a good fit and changed back quickly.
For them, it was easy to switch up and try something new. They could afford the slight bump in sales to try out the experiment. You, however, are still working on establishing your brand, and Facebook is a large part of that. Just because some new big trend popped up doesn’t mean you have to jump on the bandwagon.
Do you always take the effort to respond to every message you get? Even when there’s an angry response (or especially when) you seek it out and make sure the customer is heard, understood, and replied to, no matter what. It’s just good PR.
Naturally if you’ve been to some big business pages you know this isn’t always the case. You can post on the Facebook page all day long and never get any sort of reply. Or if you do it’s a terse answer that doesn’t quite get the point across.
Some big businesses feel like they can get away with that. They feel the business is big enough that simply having the page fulfills any “obligation” they have towards their customers. And you know what? They might be right – but that doesn’t work for you. Keep doing what you’re doing and your customers will appreciate all the hard work and real conversation.
Sometimes you get comments or questions from the public so much that it just makes sense to have an automated response. For example, if you typically get “Your product stinks!” a few times a day (hey, it happens, especially in the food industry) then an automated “We’re really sorry! Please email blah blah blah” might be a good idea.
Unless, of course, that’s turned on its head by actually getting a compliment, like what happened with Domino’s recently. A customer simply wanted to tell them what a great experience they had, and the company responded by…apologizing.
They claim it was a real human being, but come on. Even if that is the case, you can’t anticipate what customers are going to say. Take message seriously so that your customer feels special. This way you don’t run into any unfortunate instances like apologizing for good service.
Which big corporations have you seen fail at Facebook?
This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Grab three ebooks, including My Facebook Formula, a free report on Facebook and why you should be using the largest social network for your business, here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/freebooks.html