I’ve looked at a lot of facebook fan pages for a lot of different brands and found one theme in common. A total lack of engagement.
There are page after page of brands, big and small who are not engaging with their customers, fans, and advocates. Don’t even think of asking a question, even something as important as where can I buy it? Because you won’t get an answer. But there is one page that is doing it right and it’s most likely the last place you’d expect- AT&T.Full disclosure I’m a customer of AT&T but not in any other way connected with AT&T, they don’t pay me anything in any way. Of course if you work there and wanted to fix my bill for 2010 I wouldn’t object. AT&T has taken a lot of heat recently about the very successful Verizon Maps commercial series. They’ve reacted with a commercial series and simultaneously launched their AT&T Communications Page on Facebook. I doubt that the two are related but they occurred at about the same time. What AT&T is doing that every other brand should emulate is they are engaging the users. When someone asks a reasonable question they get an answer. Even when others aren’t so reasonable, see the example below:
Even when people aren’t quite so polite AT&T responds:
And you’ll notice that what I predicted in my first blog post about the AT&T Facebook account is happening- that is the advocates are coming out and defending the company against attacks. Notice the two people who responded to Mike above, they are advocates defending AT&T. I’ve seen this behavior before and expect it will continue. Here is what I said back on 12/16/09:
I think in the long run AT&T will come out on top with this Facebook outreach if they have the fortitude to stick with it and take the slings and arrows of outrageous competition. Over time, the fact that they are willing to listen will bring out their supporters and advocates. I’ve seen it before in social networks where the brand doesn’t need to defend themselves because their advocates will do it for them. But it takes some time to build up the social capitol for that to happen.
The AT&T Facebook Fan Page-Analysis and Prediction
It appears that AT&T has built up their social capital rather quickly with their excellent responsiveness. The AT&T responses are peppered with customer service reps email addresses. And it appears that many people are involved. This seems to be a well coordinated and orchestrated effort by the company to try to make a difference using Facebook.The account is very active with comments constantly being added. The variety of questions and responses range from “how do unlock my XYZ-123 type phone”, which is answered with another personal email for the customer service rep who knows about these phones. To “how much will calls cost me in Cairo Egypt?” Which is answered with a link to a site that tells you exactly what will work and how much it will cost. All in all, this the most impressive Facebook Brand page I’ve had the pleasure of running across. My congratulations to the AT&T team for putting this in place and making it work at 100+ year old bureaucratic company. I think this will go a long way in helping to mend the damaged public relations they are suffering now.