Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Social Media for American Oil Chemists Professionals: Is Your Business Likeable on Facebook?

John Wayne Zimmerman (eRocketFuel Social Media, Inc., USA.) was a speaker at the AOCS 103rd Annual Meeting & Expo Forum Session "Communication and Computer Technology in the Workplace". He is presentation was very well received and he was kind enough to follow up with this guest blog post. Thank you John for writing and thank you for reading.

The core of Facebook marketing comes down to really one question: do they like me? It may sound simple and elementary, but that is a basic human question, and is at the heart of what makes social media so powerful. That question gets answered in the number of fans you have and how much they engage with your fan page.

What makes a likeable business? The question that a consumer will ask regarding your business on Facebook is this: will this company care more about making a profit than my well-being?

Great products and services help influence people to like businesses but it’s the people behind the business that really make the business likeable.

Think about the scientific sector. Do people like science based companies? Standing on their own, that likeability may depend on the products you are creating, but fans can become evangelists of your company if you take great care of them and show them you are a company that is authentic and compassionate. It is the greatest opportunity that social media provides.

Consider what it was like in the 70’s and 80’s when someone entered a family-owned business on Main Street. The attendant at the counter was likely the owner, and when someone entered the store, they were treated like they were the most important person in the world because - they were. The owner’s livelihood depended upon the customer’s patronage. So, they got to know their customers and what they needed and what was important to them. At the heart of it, the companies that do the best in social media treat their fans in this same manner.

 Here are some ways you can create raving fans and ultimately create trust with them:

- You can congratulate fans for any successes they may post, offer a genuine thank you when they show appreciation to you, a happy birthday, or happy anniversary.

- You can supply fans not only with a short answer to their question, but a link to a page on your website, blog, or video that talks more in-depth about the topic they asked about.

- If a fan has posted a question, and you don’t know the answer, ask all of your fans the same question to see if the greater audience might know.

By developing relationships with your fans online, you will get to know them and that will make the difference in creating loyal fans.

Keeping It Real 

Be authentic. No one likes to be treated in a patronizing or pretentious manner. I see this happen on Facebook all the time. The voice of your business on Facebook is one what people will follow and see every day.

Don’t be dry when you respond to comments on Facebook either. Encourage your employees to show some personality online. Give them the freedom to connect and bond to that individual who just reported they were having a problem.

Let’s say a customer is having a rough time and posts this on your fan page:
Customer: “I’m having a really crappy day. Your site sucks. I haven’t been able to access my account all day long and no one has gotten back to me since 9am this morning. It’s now 5pm. I hate your company. "
Have you ever seen or experienced this type of response?
Business: ”I’m sorry to hear that you are having an issue with your account. Are you sure you are typing in the right password? Please call our customer care center and we’ll be happy to get to the bottom of your issue. Hours are M-F, 9-5pm.” 
Would this response empower, or further anger that customer? Put yourself in their shoes.

Here's how I recommend responding:
Business: ”I understand crappy days, it’s been a crappy day here too with the site going down and no one has been able to access their accounts. Email me your phone number and I’ll call you right away. I’ll personally handle this for you and make sure you get taken care of.” 

Can you see the difference? The first one is very canned and corporate and the other is very personal and social. Put this into context of how you might handle different situations with your customers. What are they calling or writing about? How can you serve them in a way that is most impactful?


You should know that your Facebook Fan page is mostly for your customers. The purpose of the page is so fans can communicate with a community of users who are interested in your business and voice their praises and challenges.

Here are some ways to get focused on fan empathy:

Let them know what you can do to help.

A fan posts that they used a competitor of yours and their problem is now worse than ever.
Business: ‘Yes, we agree that they are terrible.’ Wrong. 
Business: ‘I’m sorry to hear that. Let’s connect and I’ll get this resolved for you and anyone else that might have the same issue’. I’ll even offer you a discount for your trouble. Right! 
Address each message as soon as you can to maintain a good standing with your fans.

It Takes Time and Commitment 

Getting people to Like your Facebook Fan page is going to take some time and constant effort. It won’t necessarily happen overnight.

Make sure you give yourself a realistic time period, at least three months or more, before you evaluate the performance of your Facebook marketing. With consistent effort, you should be rocking out to Facebook marketing in no time and converting fans to paying customers.

 It’s also going to take a strategic plan, the right training for your team, and being immersed in Facebook marketing to really make a difference. Using these tools in this article will definitely make a difference. Consider hiring a social media company, or having your employees take a training program like “Facebook Mastery,” a program my company offers to get businesses started the right way on Facebook.

Remember to stay agile. Facebook is constantly changing, and so are the needs of your customers. Stay present and adjust when needed.

Have fun with this. Think of Facebook like a really fun party where all of your favorite people are present at your house. Be a great host and when they go home for the night, you will be the talk of the town, and they will be loyally yours.

About the Author: 
John is a founder/Chief Rocket Scientist at eRocketFuel, a marketing agency that guides businesses through the new world of social media marketing by defining social media strategy, social media training, and offering full social media management. He is also the author of The Complete Idiots Guide to Facebook Marketing. John has owned several successful businesses and has trained over 25,000 professionals on social media marketing in the last year.

 John can be reached at +1 630-618-6105 or email him at

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