Companies risk Facebook brand damage

Firms running the risk of angering Facebookers by ignoring them
Kerry Butters

November 8, 2011

Facebook pages are an effective marketing resource for many companies who want to increase trust in their brand, but a new study has found that many businesses risk harming their brand by ignoring customer requests which are posted on the page.

The biggest culprit of this, the study showed, is Amazon UK, who failed to answer any queries submitted via Facebook at all.

Conversocial produces software designed to help companies manage pages, comments and posts on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

They carried out an investigation into how businesses interact with their fans and customers on the Facebook platform.

It found that whilst some retailers, such as Top Shop, replied to queries within the hour, others were too slow or failed to reply at all.

Amazon’s page in particular provided no real fresh content and was littered with third party spam, as well as ignoring customer complaints.

This is something that could potentially damage a brand as on social media sites, all comments and feedback are viewed by a large audience.

Therefore if a business fails to respond or replies in a negative fashion, then it can be seen and discussed by many. Unlike email complaints which are generally kept under wraps, this showcases company failure.

Facebook marketing is a two-way street and Conversocial say that companies who fail to recognise and address this are risking their brand and should not have a social presence.

Whilst the report shows that many companies are afraid of engaging with their customers on a more personal level, it is essential to the success of the page that they do.

Addressing complaints and comments in the public domain may seem like a daunting prospect, as does the management of a page, but when complaints are properly dealt with, it can do less damage than ignoring them.

Disabling the wall is also counterproductive and will only result in frustrated customers who will hijack comments and status updates in order to register their displeasure.

The study found that when complaints went ignored, many consumers then went out of their way to post the complaint on various comments more angrily in order to elicit a response.

It was also found that when companies forced their users to reply on posts, as they had disabled the wall, this reduced the marketing value of the original post.

The unique marketing opportunities presented by Facebook pages also require a different approach on how companies interact with customers.

It was found that customers preferred to feel that they were speaking to a real person and a less formal style was required when replying to customer queries.

In order to ensure that companies enjoy all of the opportunities that Facebook pages can present, businesses need to pay as much attention to the medium now as they do email and phone calls.

For large companies, management software can help them achieve this, as can a dedicated department or member of staff to manage the page.


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