January 29, 2016
If you have a business Facebook page, as I know many of you do, then the new features that Facebook has rolled out are definitely something you want to be aware of. You may have already noticed these changes when logged in as your page admin, but let’s take a few minutes to talk through what’s going on and why this is valuable to you as a small business owner.
The reality is that if you have a business Facebook page then your customers and the people who interact with your page aren’t just coming to see pictures of your latest and greatest culinary goodies or hear about your business’ upcoming farmers’ market locations. If you are on a specific social media platform for business reasons then people expect that you will also answer customer service questions, complaints, and comments. As a good business owner, you also undoubtably already know that responding quickly to any questions, be it coming in from phone calls, emails, or – for example – Facebook, helps build customer trust in your products and services. But how do you, as a small business owner, make sure you’re staying on top of everything?
Facebook recently added some new features to business pages that are actually a first step towards mimicking customer service software platforms. (As an aside, it’s worth noting that most big companies now prefer to talk about ‘customer satisfaction’ rather than ‘customer service’ because the goal really is to have a customer leave happy rather than just get the customer off the phone/email/social media channel).
One new feature that Facebook has added is that now if someone messages your business or comments on a post, you will be given, on your admin page, a little bit of insight into who that person is – based on information they’ve made publicly available in their Facebook profile. Yes, I agree that this feels a little bit creepy but the truth is that this is all basic demographic information that anyone could see if they logged onto that person’s page even if they weren’t friends with them. The only additional piece of information is that Facebook will also tell you how long they’ve ‘liked’ your page so you can see if this is a new or longtime fan.
The benefit to seeing this information is that you may choose to change how you respond to ensure that you are making your answer as applicable as possible to that person. The goal is to be personal and real and knowing a small amount about the person may help you achieve that (again, I realize there’s an ick factor that some people have with this and I’m not arguing for or against that – simply stating what the tool can do and how you can use it).
My favorite new feature is a simple one but it ties back to that ‘personal’ piece we were just talking about. Now, alongside message streams that will show the back and forth you have with someone, you can also add private notes that only the admin – or anyone logged in as an admin to your page – can see. Why do I love this? Because sometimes you’re going to end up building relationships with your customers and they may, over time, share information with you. Perhaps ‘Sally’, who originally messaged you about your hot salsa, mentioned that she loves flamenco dancing. You could make a note of that and then when you happen to hear that there’s a great flamenco band coming into town, you could send her a message and tell her she should check them out.
My dad, years ago, told me that before the computer age, it wasn’t uncommon for great leaders, salespeople, and business people to keep 3×5 notecards with personal notes about the people they met. There are a number of software tools out there that do that now for businesses but this is the first step I’ve seen Facebook take in that direction. Again, the ability to keep little notes that you can quickly refer back to, rather than trying to scroll through all the messages you’ve ever received from all your customers, to remember who loved flamenco dancing, can help you create a stronger, more authentic, and more personal connection with your customers and prospective customers.
As a small business, the greatest power you have is your ability to personalize your product and your company and building connections with your customers one person at a time.
*As always, this is not a paid or promoted post for Facebook. Just a tool within FacebookI thought you’d find interesting. Don’t believe me, do a search on this site for Facebook and you’ll find plenty of positive and negative articles about the site!
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