Retail TouchPoints: Facebook Best Practices Improve Customer Interactions and Brand Reputations
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.
Although many retailers are utilizing Facebook with hopes of spiking customer loyalty and increasing purchase activity, others remain skeptical of social media’s current and future effect on consumer behavior.
In the webinar titled ‘Facebook Marketing: Strategies for Turning ‘Likes’ Into Loyalty,’ Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst for eMarketer, and site writer/analyst Kimberly Maul, provided tips for retailers hoping to make the most out of their commitment to Facebook.
Many social channel users become fans of a brand in order to receive exclusive deals and offers. However, Ms. Aho Williamson explained that deals and promotional offers do not necessarily serve to improve consumer loyalty. "Offers are a double-edged sword," Ms. Aho Williamson said. "They get people in the door, but according to ExactTarget, they’re the fourth-most cited reason why people unlike a brand. They got what they needed, and then they’re gone."
Indeed, while Merkle’s View from the Digital Inbox 2011 found that 57 percent of Facebook users became a brand fan to receive exclusive deals and offers, 62 percent of Facebook users say a top benefit of becoming a fan is to receive brand news, and 61 percent find gaining information on products to be the main perk.
To that end, many retailers are struggling to determine when and what to post on their Facebook pages.
To address this, Ms. Aho Williamson suggested that retailers should strive to ask questions, develop different discounts for different campaign goals, respond to questions/concerns quickly and reward fans via Facebook to increase page activity.
Backing up her point, Ms. Aho Williamson pointed to Buddy Media’s Strategies for Effective Facebook Wall Posts: A Statistical Review, which revealed that brands experienced a 27 percent spike in engagement for posts containing no more than 80 characters, and increased interaction by 18 percent for items posted on a Thursday or Friday versus other days of the week. Furthermore, the ExactTarget study titled Subscribers, Fans and Followers: The Social Break-Up showed that 44 percent of Facebook users "Unliked" a brand because they posted updates too frequently, while 38 percent said content became too repetitive.
Using Facebook strategies and campaign examples from Adobe, Chef Boyardee, Discovery Communications and Carlisonic, the two compiled four best practices for companies eager to optimize their Facebook page:
- Let fans create the community: Retailers should allow Facebook fans to interact freely, rather than trying to force interactions with an abundance of questions and status updates.
- Know what topics and issues are important to your customers: Companies should take the time to observe how fans interact with each other and react to the brand, and develop online promotions around their behaviors.
- Short-term promos need long-range planning: Although special deals and coupons can increase the number of company "Likes," retailers must continue to nurture relationships with customers and develop status updates that contain valuable and relevant information.
- Link and integrate Facebook pages to maximize interactions: A company with multiple brand pages should create unique ways to synchronize them and drive fan conversions across the entire company site.
Discussion Questions: Which of the four best practices laid out in the article do you think is most important? What recommendations would you give retailers looking to get the most from Facebook?