In conversations with business owners who are new to online networking and marketing, one question we get when we talk about a custom Facebook page is "Won't having a Facebook page make it easier for people to post negative feedback?".
Well, in a word, yes. But just because you don't have a Facebook page (or you don't allow comments, more on that in a moment), doesn't mean that people aren't providing negative feedback about your company on Facebook.
Let me 'splain: Mark and I each have our own personal Facebook page. We also both enjoy boating. If Mark took his boat to a business for service and they left oily hand prints all over the stern, he's not going to be happy.
He might go on his Facebook page and share that "Buster's Boat Service" did a crappy job servicing his boat. He could also include pictures of the oily hand prints and tell people to avoid this. A third, light-hearted, option is that he asks his followers what they see in the blotchy oil spots and offer advice based on their responses....
...But back to Buster's Boat Service. They haven't signed up with Inbound Edge yet, so they don't even have a Facebook page. They think they are safe from harmful rants on Facebook because they aren't on there.
AU CONTRAIRE MON FRAIRE!
You see, when I read Mark's post, I may "like" it, or I may share it with my followers, who in turn can do the same. Many of them trust my and Mark's opinion. It's just like when you need to find a good painter - you ask your circle of friends and family "Do you know of any good painters?". A conversation takes place and you get a couple of names.
This conversation is exactly what you should have online with your customers and prospects. Your Facebook page is one way to share this dialogue with them. While you can change permission settings to not allow posts (we do this for some clients initially who are hesitant), we recommend letting people do so for full authenticity.
Here are the top 3 reasons why we advocate having a presence on Facebook and keeping it open to posts from followers:
- If someone is knocking you for bad service, you want to make it right. Maybe some don't care, but most of us know that good business is correcting any mistakes we unknowingly made with a customer. If you are lucky, they will post to your business page and you will be immediately aware that there is a problem and can address it. When prospects see you following up on this via a response to the original comment, it builds trust that you strive for complete customer satisfaction.
- When you do a great job, you want others to know. Most of the time, a job well done often goes unnoticed. With a Facebook page, you can let customers know you are on Facebook and encourage them to follow or "Like" you if they were happy with your service. This is one (powerful) online version of word-of-mouth, except instead of asking randomly, they notice that a friend became a fan of yours and if they are in the market for your service, they'll ask that person and check out your page.
- Online searches for a product or service include Facebook pages. Google now indexes Facebook pages, so in addition to your finely-tuned website, your page from Facebook may pop up on the top of search results. Additionally, people search within Facebook similar to how they search on Google, so even if you are new and have no followers, you can possibly show up in Facebook searches for your product or service.
As you grow more comfortable with your online conversations, you'll see that this is less about shouting your message to the world and more about having satisfied customers who will do this for you. Your product or service will improve if you aren't afraid to take part in the conversations and make adjustments.
As we'll continue to remind you about the new online stuff, first focus on the value your business has for your customers. If that's sharp, the marketing will take care of itself!
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