Clara Shih’s recent release, The Facebook Era: Tapping Online Social Networks to Build Better Products, Reach New Audiences, and Sell More Stuff, is about now; this moment in time when Social Media is transforming the way we do business.
If you’ve been waiting for a manifesto to help you get your arms around Social Media, this book is for you.
We’re honored to feature Clara on Impressions through Media in a Q &A. Welcome, Clara!
DH: Based on discussions I’ve had with small to mid-size business people, I often hear one of the reasons for their resistance to creating a Facebook Business page, is that their business isn’t being “talked about” in the way larger companies are ( such as the ones you describe so aptly, e.g. Victoria Secret, Starbucks, Sanrio.). In other words, why would a customer want to come to their Facebook page?
CS: Businesses need to be where their customers are and communicate through the channels preferred by customers. Increasingly, customers are on Facebook and relying on Facebook as a source of information. The Facebook Page is an online presence representing your company, just like a website is. There are two main advantages to having one. First, loyal customers have an opportunity to publicly endorse your product or service by becoming a “fan.” When they do so, this fact gets broadcast out to their entire network of friends, which generates some free word-of-mouth marketing for your business. Second, prospective customers seeking to learn more about your product may seek out your company on Facebook and see which of their friends is a fan before deciding to visit your website.
DH: What would be the single most important piece of advice you would you give to the small business owner and mid-size company, for facilitating discussion on their Facebook business page?
CS: Start with your business goals. Is your top priority to attract new customers, upsell existing customers, or improve customer satisfaction? Based on your priorities, seed your page with good content, including video, news, and interactive polls to drive the desired call to action. Rather than recreate the wheel, reuse assets developed for your website. Chapter 9 – Establish Your Presence offers a step-by-step guide to building a successful Facebook Page.
DH: The idea that social networking tools can help product managers transform customers into “participant-partners” is a very compelling reason to use social networking. What tips do you have for businesses to help them create optimal partnerships?
CS: Customer participation can be a highly effective way of achieving real business results while reducing costs. Prior to social media, it was often too costly, too difficult, or just not possible to provide opportunities for all but a handful of customers to participate at any given time. In the Facebook Era, giving customers a voice and inviting participation are not only possible but now expected. In my book, I talk about three ways where customer participation have yielded really great results for businesses large and small, while making customer participants feel like important and valued members of the community: