Sometimes, the best examples are found in the least likely of places. We spend our days as professionals reading, watching other professionals teach us how to do our jobs better. Being in the marketing field, I devote a portion of my time learning from the experts - continuing education, if you will. I want to improve my marketing skills while keeping on top of the latest techniques for my customers. But sometimes I don't flip the marketing switch off during my personal time.
Recently, I became a Facebook fan of a dog breeder - one that I am considering adopting from. Now my Facebook fan collection is an equal mix of personal friends, professional organizations, special interest groups (hobbies) and local businesses. I enjoy them all for different reasons. But the shining star of all of them is that dog breeder! Only 715 fans (which is actually impressive considering they've adopted out 266 pups to date), but I bet if you took a survey - there would be at least 95% satisfaction with their page.
Here's their 5 solid examples for small businesses of Facebook:
1. Sense of community. They have built a close-knit community where members feel comfortable conversing with, emphathizing for and sharing their passion with each other. I know I can share a funny story about my dog that may friends may find corny, but my 'dog' community would be howling (laughing, I mean).
2. Informative. The owners are keeping potential families, waiting families and current families abreast of the latest news. And very useful news - what is happening with the breeding business or puppies or even pertinent information about overall health and welfare of dog care.
3. Timely support. When anyone from the 'community' has a question or is seeking advice, they can be assured an answer will arrive within the same day, sometimes within the hour. Keep in mind they are a small operation - two of them handle loads of responsibility. But they place communication as a top priority and treat your question like it's the most important in the world. Feels good, eh?
4. Availability. Which leads me to availability. While they promptly respond to Facebook - they also make themselves available by phone, email and personal visits. In fact, they encourage you to contact them; for whatever reason, 24x7. Maybe you want to share your extraordinary day with your pup - they want to hear about it. They also enourage phone calls, emails and personal visits, which covers pretty much everything.
5. Variety. Everyone knows that constant self-promoting doesn't get you more friends. You need to be interested in others and that includes your fans. And you need to keep things fresh and honest. The breeder posts everything from silly videos, puppy updates, candid shots of 'family' dogs, links to interesting articles and amusing story telling snippets.
1. Build a supportive, happy community. One that encourages and accommodates interaction.
2. Inform - not just of your business, but from the industry and whatever interests your audience.
3. Be prompt with response. And, yes, respond every time.
4. Be available through a variety of outlets.
5. Daily specials get boring fast. People want to laugh, to think, to be moved.