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Some businesses losing friends and followers

By Paul Nelson  |  Posted Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:20am


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Imagine seeing 100 customers walking through the doors of your business. Now, picture 95 percent of them never coming back. BuzzBooster Marketing Advisor Shahar Boyayan says that's essentially what's happening to businesses online.

Severing ties because of too frequent communications
  • Facebook - 44%
  • Twitter - 52%

"Ninety-five percent of people that ‘like' a (Facebook) page never come back to that page," Boyayan said.

Aside from the percentage of people who will never visit that Facebook page again, there are those who are actively unsubscribing from getting any messages from a business. A recent survey from ExactTarget shows 90 percent of consumers will unsubscribe from a company's social media site because of "boring and repetitive communications."

Boyayan says many companies are looking at their Facebook pages or Twitter accounts the wrong way.

"They try to go after numbers, having a lot of people either on Facebook or Twitter, whatever they try. But they don't focus on getting attention with their audience," she said.

She says a business may have thousands of followers, but if you don't have their attention, numbers won't mean a thing. So how can you keep your "friends" and "followers" interested in what you have to offer?

It's called "social media" for a reason

Boyayan says too many company leaders want to use Twitter and Facebook as free ad space. They want to control the message and not allow anyone else to modify or add to the message in any way. That doesn't exactly fly in the world of social media. If you don't allow for some sort of social interaction, you'll be perceived on the same level as spammers who use robots to send out preprogrammed advertisements without any interest in hearing from your clients.

One easy way to encourage this interaction is to ask questions to the people who like or follow your site.

"That triggers the sharing and the conversation more than just ‘like my page,'" Boyayan said.

Leave negative emotion out of it

You may not like everything your friends and followers might have to say. But you need to remember to keep your cool if that happens.

"In some ways, if you're a business owner, really there isn't ‘personal.' Everything is ‘business.' Sometimes, people have a really hard time wanting to accept that," Boyayan said.

She says a bakery owner she heard of lost sight of that. A customer didn't like something that was said by bakery workers and complained about it on one of the shop's social media sites. The official response on the bakery's site was cordial and apologetic. But the shop's owner reportedly used their personal Twitter account to find the account of the woman who complained and cussed her out. As you can imagine, that led to a big PR headache for the bakery.

Show your personality

"Another mistake that people do is they look at those places as platforms only to promote themselves, and they don't realize that's not enough," Boyayan said.

True, Facebook and Twitter are good ways to promote the deals your business has to offer, but Boyayan says customers want to know a little about you aside from your business. Let your friends and followers know about some of the things you like to do, what movies you enjoy or what books you read.

Just try to keep it upbeat. For example, if you just went through a divorce, Boyayan says it's fine to mention that you're having a bad day or you're sad about the proceedings. But if you spend a lot of time bashing your ex, that might turn a lot of people off.

Also, there are some subjects you should probably avoid talking about altogether. She says a lot of people get too riled up by discussions over subjects like sex, sports, politics and religion. You never want to create a controversy over your statements when there doesn't need to be one. Naturally, there are exceptions to this rule. If you're a religious leader, it's natural you would talk about religion. If you're a political blogger, you'll have to talk about politics. But, if you're a shopkeeper and you go into long rants about how evil and stupid Republicans or Democrats are, you're going to alienate a large group of potential customers.

Be a storyteller

In a world full of facts and figures, you need to find a better way to promote your business other than saying things like, "Half-off if you order now!" Boyayan says you'll keep more people interested in your product if you can tell a story instead of reciting numbers.

E-mail: pnelson@ksl.com

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