Facebook Marketing: Trick or Treat

Facebook Applications - January 6th, 2012

Alright, this has nothing to do with Halloween or a Halloween contest on Facebook. But it definitely has a lot to do with the million-dollar Halloween question, ‘Trick or Treat’ with respect to Facebook Marketing. Read on…

We have all logged on to Facebook and seen wall messages from friends, asking us to take part in one facebook contest or the other. We have been asked to vote, share and what not! And some times we even hear that they won the contest and are eagerly awaiting their prize.  A few weeks later (months, if your friend is patience personified!); when you take a peek at the brand’s fan page you see that your friend has posted complaints on the page, saying she hasn’t received her gift. You also see similar messages from other users.

The brand loses a few fans in the process and if the fans are really disgruntled, they do some bad-mouthing for a while and then forget about the whole thing. It might not be as big an issue to bigger brands as it would be for the smaller ones. However, in the long run, brands big and small can do without such negative publicity.

So, here are five things brands on facebook MUST remember before going forth with a campaign/contest:

1.    Be Interesting
Generate interest. Be it wall posts, photos or videos, showcase something that will urge the user to stay tuned or return. Don’t bore your fans with details about your products all the time. Give them a breather, put in a joke or a funny picture sometime. Throw in a useful tip or recipe. Make sure to relate your content to the upcoming promotion or contest on facebook. 

2.    Respond
You needn’t reply to every lame query or comment but make it a point to give a prompt and polite reply to every valid one. There is no harm in loosening up a bit and taking part in your fan’s excitement with friendly or witty replies. Just don’t go overboard. After all, you are a brand and you have an image to live up to. And that brings us to the next point…

3.    Reflect your brand’s personality
If you are a hip fast food joint, it’s okay to say ‘Howdy?’ and ‘Wassup’. In fact, you must! But if you are a premium luxury resort, the same things will look crass and distasteful on your page. The line dividing concern and nosiness, amiability and bossiness, sensuality and vulgarity; is rather thin. Make sure you are not on the wrong side of the line. Simply put, the language you use should suit your brand.

4.    Handle negative comments tactfully
You can easily tell if a negative comment is coming from a genuinely frazzled customer or a spammer. Take comments from the former seriously. Respond promptly and never shy away from the magic word ‘Sorry’. Address their issue, direct them to a customer care number or email. And most importantly, make sure the customer care department takes it up from there! If done right, you are sure to get a ‘Thank you’ in return. Coordination should be the buzzword.

5.    Keep your promises
You can’t ‘trick’ your customers into Liking you, on facebook or otherwise. If a treat is promised, deliver it. Have your Terms and Conditions in place before you launch the contest. And make sure receiving the prize does not become a hassle for the winner. This again, calls for a coordinated action plan. Always remember, customers tend to believe negative experiences more than positive ones.

The key lies in realizing that Customer is indeed King/Queen. Treat them and they will be nice to you. Trick them and they are justified in being nasty. What do you say now, Trick or Treat?

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