How NOT to use Facebook for marketing

First up I have to confess that I’m no marketing guru, but rather, I’m on my way to become one. lol. Even though without extensive knowledge, I do have a little bit of common sense to identify what should NOT be done.

Facebook (generally all social media tools) has revolutionized the way people do business. It is no longer a unidirectional information flow from the company to the customers – information now flows bidirectional and sideways amongst consumers themselves.

What’s more, a Facebook fan (one that ‘likes’ your Fan Page) can bring in $3.60 worth of publicity and $136.38 worth of revenue per year. Now add in the number of people that a Facebook fan can influence (both to love or to hate your brand), that’s a pretty huge cost to incur if a company mess up their social media marketing with Facebook.

So what is the key purpose of using social media for your company?
To build relationship.

This means that all that we know about being people-oriented, building trust and having mutual respect ALL come alive.

And thus spamming, rudeness and the lack of respect will definitely have detrimental effects on your brand. I’ll illustrate this with my personal experience.

Once upon a time, a social media wizard wannabe (SMWW for short) received a friend request from L.Toys (who is a brand that sells baby toys using a friend account instead of a Fan Page or Groups). Now SMWW does not know who owns L.Toys, does not have photos of herself carrying adorable children and certainly neither is she pregnant (although sometimes she does feel pregnant with food after a heavy buffet meal).
Nonetheless, she accepted that friend request. Later in the evening, a photo was posted. There was no accompanying words to introduce whether the items in the picture are gummy bears, rubber bears or hidden camera disguised as a bear. 
Now SMWW takes it as spam. However, SMWW is a supporter of entrepreneurship and she may have friends who will be interested in buying either gummy bears, rubber bears or camera disguised as a bear (which she will have absolute no interest to know who of her Fb friends will want the latter and for what purpose. Eeew)
Please click on the above picture to understand what happens. Kinda lazy to copy-paste them out. :D

Oh well, soon after the interesting and insightful reply SMWW received from L.Toys, L.Toys removed the whole post after SMWW’s next comment. The insightful comment also caused SMWW’s blood pressure to rise a little, so she decided to post a fb status to warn other companies who like to spam walls not to do it on hers.

And she went to sleep. The next bright and sunny day, SMWW log on to her fb account to find this new wall post. It still doesn’t add value to me and it has a sarcastic tone to it.
For that reason, L.Toys is out and this case study is in.

So what went wrong with L.Toys?
1. A proper account was made instead of a business page
A fan page can add tabs that can generate activity amongst the fans. You can also choose the landing page for non-fans or to streamline whether you want to see the activity contributed by the fans or by the business owner. What’s more, I think you can avoid looking at unnecessary updates on your feed from the people in your network if a fan page was made. Also, Facebook provide useful insights of the demographics of your fans, so it helps you to understand the male-female ratio, age groups and where you fans are geographically located.

2. Wrong target group/Spam
Like I’ve mentioned, I don’t have a kid, have no pictures of children (at least for my display picture) and not pregnant and these details of mine are open for public viewing. Despite all the privacy issues, consumers continue to put up their personal information (sidetrack: sometimes I feel like telling these privacy advocates that the best solution I recommend for utmost privacy is…NOT TO PUT THEM ONLINE. Simple method that works so well.) and it lies in the hands of the marketer to identify who belongs to their market group.

Although youths will be needing wheelchairs about 70 years down the road, its marketing suicide to market wheelchairs to them now.

Since the beginning of internet times, spams are loathed upon. So I’m not going to touch more on the spam part.

3. Poor ‘crisis’ management
When I comment on the post, I wanted to let L.Toys know that I don’t approve this behavior of theirs, although I can tolerate this once. The evil side of me also wanted to see how L.Toys response to me as most people will delete spam rather than to confront it. HAHAHA, and I got what I wanted: a mismanagement.

The good thing about the internet is that it allows you time to think through your thoughts before you click publish. If someone make me angry in the streets, I may blow up immediately on reflex but the internet gives me enough time to vet my response before venting it onto the internet.

“Is this response inconsistent with my beliefs? Does this have negative impact on my reputation?” are the thoughts that run through my mind when I get mad while being online.

Apparently, L.Toys decided to forgo this privilege and publish a quick but extremely thoughtless reply.

4. Downright rude
“Specially for grumpy young ladies” was obviously L.Toys’ final comment on me being an unhappy, intruded Facebook user, and this is downright rude. You don’t expect to build a relationship with someone you just spat on and you bet I will not spread a good word about your company/products.

Alrighty! After this stern message on what should you not do, I’ll leave you guys with a good news – if you don’t know how to use Facebook for optimal marketing effectiveness, you are not alone. :P


Elisha Tan is the Founder of TechLadies. TechLadies is a community for women in Asia to connect, learn, and advance as programmers in the tech industry. Elisha is also the Developer Programs Regional Lead for Asia Pacific at Facebook.


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