Facebook or not?
Engaging with customers, collecting feedback and discovering current and potential customers needs, would just be some on the list of reasons why companies should include social media as part of their marketing plan. This plan usually depends on the company profile, the products or services it offers and the target audience. Although Facebook (FB) is one of the most commonly used social media channels that companies use, questions like: “Is it a must to have a FB page or just a trend”, or “What do other brands post?” and “What do customers want to see on a FB page”, are still commonly asked. A December 2011 study by A.T. Kearney (a global management consulting firm) examined the FB conversations for the top 50 brands. The study found out that the majority of these brands IGNORE fan comments on FB!! 94% use the FB page as a one-way communications channel and never give the customer the chance to initiate a conversation. On the other hand different kinds of posts, such as dedicated and mainly personal posts, were the most successful in generating two way communications with the brand. The study found that 69% of the comments were in response to personal non-promotional brand contents while promotional posts only generated 11%. The result of this study leads me to some very interesting questions. For instance why top brands and market leaders don’t use FB properly and why do they ignore the comments of fans? Does that mean that they don’t see the benefits of such social media channels? I think top brands don’t really ignore FB comments but will only take note of them if the volume is high enough. Imagine the number of comments Coke Cola must get every day. There is no way they will respond to every single, individual, comment, but on the other hand if 100 people (which is a high volume) said something like “New Coke Cola tastes terrible” then I am absolutely sure they would respond! In public relations, we believe that FB is another marketing channel that companies can use. It is a one-way communications tool if brands want it for just awareness and promotional purposes and it is absolutely effective because of the huge number of subscribers, its the global reach …and so on. Strategically the best use of FB is by treating it as a two way communication medium which will engage and collect information and so give any brand an extra competitive edge. But this will only happen if the brand decides to and allocates the right resources to make it happen.