Why Facebook Matters for Your Store

Posted by Tiffany Buley on Monday the 9th of July, 2012

Is Facebook really important? Is it worth it to be there if someone could potentially write something negative about us? Do people really base their purchases on social media?

These are some questions that I get when talking to prospective customers and even sometimes friends asking about what I do.

And my answers to these questions: YES! YES! and YES!

I’m going to take a little time today addressing some of these questions.

I’ll start off by saying when I want to know about how a company actually is, I often hop on Facebook and give them a look. I look at what they have posted, but when I’m evaluating them, I’m looking more at what fans have said on their page. Did they sing their praises? Did they air their grievances? If it’s negative, how did the company respond?

I take all of this information to help me form my opinion and decide whether or not I want to use their services or buy their product. Facebook is such a fluid platform, changing daily. It takes a lot less work to write a comment or review on Facebook than to go to Yelp or something similar, and it gives me insight into their customer service before ever going there.

Facebook is important for your businesses for a wide array of reasons, but I’ll touch on just a few here.

  •  Through Facebook, we get to connect with your customers almost daily!
  • We can easily informing them about events and show them new product!
  • Your customers have a platform to sing your praise!
  • New customers or friends of customers can get to read the great things said about you!
  • We can have fun with your customers and keep them thinking about you!

I’ve been reading a book called Engagement Marketing written by the CEO of Constant Contact, Gail Goodman. I think she has a great perspective about what it means to be successful in social media. You don’t need 10,000 fans or 100 comments. Facebook has been called a game changer in marketing by a lot of people.

“What’s the real marketing game changer? Age-old word-of-mouth marketing strategies made publicly visible by social media sites.” (Engagement Marketing, 2012)

This is so important because like I said it gives your customers the opportunity to influence potential customers without necessarily knowing them personally. And if they do, even more so.

According to Wildfire, a major social media campaign company shared some numbers from recent studies of social media users:

  • 78% are directly influenced by branded posts when making purchases
  • 74% use social media to encourage friends to try new products
  • 80% try new things based on friends’ suggestions via social media

And Constant Contact shared this finding in a June 7th webinar:

  • 36% of people trust advertisers while 81% trust recommendations or online opinions

That gives social media some huge influencing power. And of all the social media sites–Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, FourSquare, Google+, etc. Facebook is the still by far the largest platform. Additionally Facebook users are typically more active, meaning they spend more time on Facebook than other uses spend on the other social media sites.

As far as worrying about if anyone says anything negative about you, simply put, don’t worry. Worst case scenario, if someone writes a negative comment on your page, you can delete it.

Addressing whatever the issue though is, in my opinion, the best thing you can do. And it can actually make people think even more highly of you. I’ll give you a prime example. Here in Seattle we had a big snowstorm/ice storm this past winter. It really messed up the flights going in and out of Seatac for about 5 days. Alaska Airlines took a lot of flack from people online at first because they had to cancel quite a few flights. And we all know how grumpy people can be when it comes to traveling.

People took to Facebook to ask questions, complain, or praise the company. And I’ll tell you what, even though I wasn’t flying anywhere until a couple of weeks later, I was checking their page just out of curiosity to see all the commotion. They had two people assigned to the page–David and Elliot. They manned all the responses. There wasn’t a single complaint that they didn’t try to address. Whether the issue was their fault or not, they were making people feel heard.

By the end of it, there was a whole host of comments and posts thanking them for their help. For me personally, their positive response to the negative comments (whether or not they could actually fix the situation) made a lasting impression. That attitude is consistent with my experiences with them and so I am very faithful customer to this airline.

So, here I am 7 months later, using social media to praise this company. And so I guess I’m proving my own point. Their Facebook activity cemented my feelings about the company. I’ve told this story many times now. I’m out there influencing the people I know–all because of their Facebook page.

Give people the platform to talk about how awesome your company is and have fun with them and you can a have a lot of success with social media.