Who’s minding the store? Or, when it comes to Facebook, who is in charge of that all-important point of customer interaction for your organization?
More often than not, resource-stretched organizations will assign Facebook maintenance to an intern, or perhaps an eager volunteer whose primary qualifications include “always online” and “don’t remember a time before the internet”. With over 1 billion active users, Facebook is an important component in your marketing toolbox that should be addressed with the same care as your other marketing investments. Consider these points:
- 34% of companies have been using social media for customer support for at least two years
- Facebook’s subscribe feature offers a way to get updates without reciprocal sharing and allows longer messages to users than Twitter (although Twitter continues to grow and should also be considered in the social media arsenal)
- Facebook allows quick, free, no-coding-required pages that can act in the same way as traditional web sites. Tagging, recommendations, and word-of-mouth become powerful tools to drive visibility. Of course, Facebook owns the engine (so comply with Terms Of Service) and, I would advocate, integrate social media with your more traditional web site.
On a personal note, I have utilized all the above. Barnes & Noble has a dedicated staff to address customer service through Facebook and resolved an issue for me. I subscribe to various arts organizations to get their latest updates on performances. And, if I cannot find a traditional web site, or if I’m already on Facebook, I will search for an organization there.
It matters. The speed of response matters. Other users will see the concerns, questions or complaints posted to your page. If you have the wrong person looking after the store – it can spell disaster. For example, recently, I saw a notice for a volunteer position and contacted the person who made the posting. We agreed on my involvement and months later, I found out that person had no authority, terrible follow-through, and no business managing the business. All could have been alleviated with proper information and someone with authority paying a bit more attention to the page.
So what can you do – particularly as a small business or nonprofit or arts organization?
- Make it a priority to think about your social media strategy,including Facebook.
- Ensure you have someone managing your page who has the correct information, understands how to communicate with your organization’s “voice”, is highly responsive, and who has been given authority to deal with customers/audience.
- Integrate your online presence (Facebook, Twitter, web site, etc.) so that your audience finds consistency with your messages, tone of voice, and – yes it happens – basic information (correct contact points for example!)
Facebook is an interactive site, and a front line for dealing with your patrons. Don’t turn off a potential donor, volunteer, or supporter with mismanagement. Lost opportunity cost can be fatal to the survival of nonprofits.