The Internet, as a medium, has opened the doors to a wide range of communication possibilities with customers. The interactive characteristic of the medium also makes it possible for a customer to publish his response to a vast audience. Social networking sites, particularly Facebook, which is getting increasingly popular around the world, have given customers an equal opportunity to communicate as loudly as you about your brand, in a public forum open to the whole world.
On the brighter side, there is a great opportunity to acquire direct and unadulterated feedback from customers, without the need of expensive and time-consuming surveys and research processes. Directly redressing customer queries on the medium itself can help increase brand loyalty. However, as a brand owner, you need to realize the speed and potential of the medium to do good as well as harm.
Facebook Opportunity for Your Brand
There are enough reasons for a brand to be on one of the most happening mediums. A significant amount of conversation that happens on Facebook, or for that matter on other social platforms like Twitter, carries references to brands, with customer's attitude toward these clearly seen through them.
The fact is that whether you are there on Facebook, it is very likely that someone or the other from your customer base may be making a mention about you. Your brand presence during such a situation is important to either thank the customer for any accolades or gracefully respond and address any grievances posted by the customers and win back their confidence in your brand.
On a proactive note, sustained brand presence on Facebook also helps you create your own band of customers, including those interested in you. This gives you one point access to disburse any firsthand brand information in a single click, without spending a dime more.
Today, brands – both big and small – have a presence on Facebook. Some of them use it with more innovation than the rest.
Brand Pitfalls on Facebook
Traditional marketers are used to broadcast, which is an extremely formal means of communication, where customers voices are barely heard back. Coming from this background, many a time, marketers find it difficult to adjust and converse in the language demanded by social networking sites, which are much informal in nature.
There have been instances where brand owners trying to enforce rules and guidelines of discussion on Facebook fan pages have faced the immediate wrath of users, which had an adverse impact on the brand.
The lesson from this is very clear, the brand must try to avoid any pitfalls on Facebook; marketers must know the responsiveness and energy levels of the users and be one among them, rather than one above.
Word of Caution – World of opportunity in Facebook
For every scary story of a brand goof up on Facebook, there are many cases of success, where even small household brands have grown in popularity through effective use of the medium.
Two golden rules to be followed while using Facebook, which can yield good results in the long run, are as follows:
Do not be a big brother – be a cheerful friend to your customers. The big brother attitude, which worked fine in traditional media, can kill your brand on Facebook. Any showdown of brand arrogance or one-upmanship is given a bitter response by its customers in the same medium. For a brand to succeed, it has to be a friend, who is fun to speak with.
Do not advertise, converse – Blatant advertising, or use of social networks for incessant spamming with interruptive advertising, is a sure recipe for disaster. You will find your brand page getting isolated on Facebook.
There are many ethics to be followed on Facebook and social media, which can be easily grasped through active participation in the medium itself. A company must ensure that its trained representatives have marked presence on Facebook and social networking avenues as true online custodians for the brand. For many companies, it also makes sense to engage an agency that is experienced in handling brand reputations on Facebook and online avenues.