Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Use Facebook the right way!

Just because you have a business, idea or event doesn’t mean it needs a Facebook page or twitter account.  Yes, social media is here to stay, and if you want to get into the game these days, you’ll be missing the boat without utilizing these tools, but you have to use it correctly or it could have the opposite negative impact driving consumers away as opposed to bolstering your sales or support for whatever you are peddling.

We’ve all seen the Nike, Reebok and Ironman Facebook pages and twitter accounts.  They are huge and were huge before twitter was a glimmer in someone’s eye.  These platforms only served to solidify their brands and get them out in front of the public even more.

But, what about the other “businesses” and entities that serve the public, look to support themselves or might even be non-profit.  They need exposure.  They need attention.  They need you to buy their products, support them or live in their community.

Take for example Olathe, Kansas.  Yes, being an Olathe homer has it’s advantages, but they are seriously after the media game.  They want to run a smart city, want people to live in Olathe and want you to know about it.

They have Facebook and Twitter accounts along with email newsletters and print media.  They hit you coming and going.  In 2012 their Olathe Link external newsletter was awarded the National Association of Government Communicators Best External Newsletter.  They were also recognized as one of America's top-ranked digital city governments (125,000-249,000 population) according to the 12th annual "Digital Cities Survey."  For a complete list of awards, click HERE.

I recently noticed an issue at a traffic signal and the congestion the ill-timed lights were causing in a certain direction.  Having plenty of time to lament about this, I took to my FB phone app and found the Olathe government page and let them know about the situation.  I tried to get some details in there without being overly belligerent, but upon reading it, one could tell I wasn’t thrilled.

Much to my surprise, the same day I got a response and a request for more information.  Within 3 to 4 days, the timing issue was fixed and I wait no more than two light cycles to make a commonly traveled intersection where it took 5 to 6 before.  I’ve now added 20 minutes back to my life not sitting at a light to get across one street.

If you take a look at their FB page, 90 percent of the posts are responded to.  Each response is without malice regardless of the poster’s intentions.  They accept gratitude were due, they offer suggestions where appropriate and best of all, they take action from honest inquiries.  They have effectively utilized Facebook as a tool to increase customer (residential) satisfaction instead of using it to post links to entertaining articles on the web.

I know next time I have an issue, I’ll be posting on their wall and expecting a legitimate response.  In this day and age of huge corporations with Facebook pages that do not respond to wall posts, Olathe stands apart in the service industry and that materializes in the retention of residents and the addition of more as the years go on.

Good work Olathe.
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