Guest Post: Being on Facebook Does Not Make You Social

Facebook LikeThe mantra of today’s social media mavens is that you have to be on Facebook.

Some will tell you that to market your widget, you have to get involved on Facebook and be a part of the conversation. That works wonderfully for many companies. If you sell pest control,however,  there might not be  that many people that want to talk to you on a daily basis. They don’t want to talk to you unless they have a problem. And therein lies the crux of the problem. For a lot of companies out there, both B2B and B2C, social media marketing may not be right for you.

I did a highly un-scientific study recently to discover how people interact with brands on Facebook; I asked my kids. (“Kids” is a relative term, they are late-teens and early twenties.) I asked them “Which brands do you interact with on Facebook?” The

question alone taught me a valuable lesson because what I got back was blank stares. When they visit Coke’s Facebook page, they don’t consider that “interacting with a brand;”  to them it’s more like “visiting Coke’s Facebook page”. Lesson learned…most people do not speak “market-speak”.

To the point though, what I found was telling. My sample group of two did not visit a Facebook page, post on a wall, or in any other way “interact with” a company. If they visit Coke’s Facebook page it is because they are being offered something, not because they want to talk to the bottle.

On the other hand, things like sports teams are a favorite for interaction on Facebook. Fans don’t interact with the team itself but with the community of followers around it. In every case we discussed, the communities or fans developed off-line, not as a part of a social media strategy, and they use tools like Facebook to converse with each other.

My take away from my little study in brand/consumer interaction is this: being on Facebook doesn’t automatically make you “social.” If you are a cupcake shop, locals are going to like you or not. If you post a discount coupon on Facebook or announce a special on twitter, people will respond. They may not want to talk to you as a brand, but they will respond. To make your brand social, start off-line. Don’t put up a sign in your shop that says “like us on Facebook;” give them a reason to like you in real life. Start conversations with your regulars, give extraordinary service, pick one customer and do something extra special for them each day. Give people a reason to talk about you, not a place to talk to you; that’s the real ROI of social.


Today’s Guest Post was provided by CalEvans. Cal is a professional programmer, writer and speaker. His passion in life is helping people do great things with technology. His latest book, “AvoidingaGoatRodeo: Howtogetthewebsiteyouwant”, does just that.

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