5 Retailers That Impress On Facebook

Check out social networking best practices from five B2C companies.

Debra Donston-Miller

December 9, 2011

4 Min Read
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There are lots of do's and don'ts for businesses exploring the use of social networking for marketing and support. During this holiday season, we thought it would be interesting to check in on five business-to-consumer companies to see what lessons and best practices they can offer in terms of getting social on Facebook. We'll take a look at other social networking platforms at a later date.

1. QVC

QVC, with its television and online presence, has taken Facebook to another level. During select QVC shows, a dedicated person hosts a related forum on Facebook and the feedback is shared during the broadcast. This brings the social to shopping-by-TV and demonstrates the power of social media integration. In addition, from QVC's main Facebook presence, customers can go to the QVC hosts' Facebook pages, leveraging the cult of personality around television celebrities. Of course, most companies don't have built-in, known personalities, but that doesn't mean you can't develop some level of personality and personal engagement by building the brands of your organization's stars (especially those who shine at social media engagement). Much of QVC's Facebook content is open to anyone, but a great deal is essentially gated--you have to like QVC to get access.

2. Best Buy

Best Buy does a lot of things right on its Facebook page, especially in terms of content. Deals of the day, slideshows, video, and targeted subpages such as Mobile and Music make the Best Buy page a destination and not just a "like." Best Buy gets a lot of complaints on its site, about everything from products to its holiday advertising. Complaints are responded to quickly. It looks like there is only one guy--"Jesse"--in charge of engaging with customers, although it may not really be one person responding. In any case, "Jesse" delivers more than just canned responses, and indeed often engages with dissatisfied customers on an ongoing basis (instead of just responding one time more for show than for actual support, as many companies seem to do). Best Buy also gets points for knowing its Facebook customer--for example, providing a Farmville collectibles section.

[ Get your fans engaged in the conversation. See 20 Tips For Boosting Facebook Engagement. ]

3. The Home Depot

The Home Depot makes it worthwhile not only to like its presence on Facebook, but to visit it periodically, as you would a traditional Web page. Who doesn't want to share photos of their most recent do-it-yourself project? The Home Depot page provides a platform for such bragging rights, and Home Depot staff often comment on the photos. In fact, Home Depot does a good job of customer engagement in general, running contests and polls, posing questions (that tend to get dozens if not hundreds of responses), and responding promptly to customer kudos and complaints. Further, the responses are not canned (or at least don't sound canned) and are "signed" by the person who is communicating on behalf of Home Depot. Home Depot also gets points for its vast video collection. Some videos simply promote products that are on sale--not the best use for the medium--but there are some good how-to's available, as well. It would be nice if the videos were labeled a little more clearly, though.

4. Walmart

Let's face it: Walmart has its work cut out for it on social media. It isn't exactly the most widely loved retail establishment around, and its Facebook wall reflects that. Walmart seems to have taken the tack that it will respond to reasonable complaints and ignore inflammatory statements and accusations. Like Home Depot, Walmart gets points for personalizing its responses to customers and responding in a timely manner. It also extends the Facebook communication paradigm with a monthly forum feature called "Nice Save" where customers are challenged to, for example, share their ideas for holiday gifts under $10. This gives people a reason to go to the site and provides a positive level of engagement. Walmart also provides a means for customers to search for their local Walmart and then offers a localized version of the page.

5. Target

Target's Facebook presence seems a little basic. It provides everything you'd think it would, but not much more. Its updates are informative and often witty, so customers likely won't be sorry they liked Target on Facebook. Target responds with lightning speed to issues customers bring up on the site, giving the customers who complained, as well as anyone auditing the site, the feeling that Target cares about its customers and any problems they have. Target also offers more vertical subpages, including Target Baby and Target Style, which allow the company to better, er, target their promotions and engagement.

Is your company antisocial? Our latest research shows that business-oriented social networking platforms aren't living up to their promises of better communication, collaboration and productivity. Download the report here (registration required).

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