Archive | July, 2010

Why I love Tony Bianco…

28 Jul

…and it’s not just because of the pretty shoes.

Tony Bianco Shoes - from their Facebook page 'All Access Pass' album

I tweeted yesterday that I liked the Tony Bianco Facebook page. While working on Facebook I had seen the Tony Bianco page come up because a friend of mine liked it, so I thought I’d stop by and check it out later. Now I’ve seen some great Facebook pages, and I read/follow a lot of people in the industry that do some fantastic work with Facebook, but this page immediately impressed me. Partly because I’m a woman (and for full disclosure, I already own a couple of pairs of Bianco shoes). But there were other elements that I just thought took all the best practice elements of social media and fully utilised them.

Encouraging user content & feedback

This should go without saying for all consumer brand pages. If your brand has something that can be bought, consumed, used, visited… the list goes on… then the page for the brand should encourage users to interact and post content. It has been said over and over again that one of the main strengths in social media lies in the fact that people trust people like them – so the brand becomes validated if people are passionate enough about it to post photographs, stories of experiences etc. I liked how on the Tony Bianco page, even though the shoes bought weren’t even from a authorised store but eBay, the page moderator commented and asked them to post photos – it made it sound like Tony Bianco was just as excited about the shoes as the customer!

Another portal for customer service

Responses to queries about where to find a particular shoe don’t go unanswered – the page moderator finds out for you where the shoe can be found, and gives numbers to ring! I love this – one of the attractions of social media is that it offers an opportunity to provide customer service in the mediums that are already in everyday use by the customer. In fact, I see a lot of companies using the customer service function as the main launching step for their social media interaction. While social media can offer a lot more for brands and there should be a comprehensive strategy to ensure all the potential is utilised, customer service is still a function that shouldn’t be ignored. And to be honest, I’ll almost certainly use that function on the Tony Bianco page at some point to find out where I can get the heels I just fell in love with in my size.

Extra ‘exclusive’ bits & pieces

It gave me a thrill to look through the behind the scenes photos from their new range. Social media offers the chance for brands and companies to really show their customer that they appreciate them, and give them an inside first look.

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Make those customers feel valued. Make them feel like their comments matter. Too many times have I seen a poorly managed Facebook page where the company/brand thinks that they can let people chat away among themselves – or worst of all, ignore direct calls for assisstance. Running through the last few weeks of posts on the Tony Bianco page, I haven’t yet seen one comment that didn’t have a reply from the moderator. And what are those people going to do now they know they’ll always get a response? Post more, interact more. Perfect.

Fix up time - from Tony Bianco's Facebook page 'All Access Pass' album

So I lied when I said this wasn’t just about pretty shoes. It is all about pretty shoes. But I’m the exact target market for that page, and that I think is the point.

All the things they’ve done are right on the mark for me and all other women like me. It’s exactly what I want from a brand that I like on Facebook. And in that, they’ve crossed the line, gotten me to interact, and are now going to be part of my everyday experience when I log into Facebook. Whereas before I would likely see their name once a week in a shoe store I passed, I’m now going to see it daily. And I’ll be that much more likely to buy (another) pair of Tony Bianco shoes because of it. They’re just so pretty!

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The contentious issue of privacy in an age of sharing

1 Jul

I was thinking about privacy last night. Whatever form it takes, it always seems to polarize – from Facebook with their unclear privacy policy, to the protection of the names of children who are known to Community Services (bear with me, this isn’t a totally out of the blue topic).

My flatmate (who is a child protection case worker) was telling me last night how she’d love to write a blog or something similar about her experiences – but the legal issues associated with doing so make that impossible. We then got on to the the topic of how Community Services has a bad name in the media, because the only time they get mentioned is when a child dies. There is no focus on the thousands of children they have helped, or the often extremely hard conditions they work with. As my flatmate said, they need a reality show to follow them and show the public how hard the job actually is (and I don’t think anyone could deny that they’d find it facinating) – but because the children and parent’s names have to be protected this would be impossible. Just an interesting and different view on privacy.

Another thing that made me thing about privacy recently was Facebook. And no, I’m not talking about the confusing privacy settings – I’m talking about what people use it for. And who they want on there.

For me Facebook is a place for friends I’ve actually met, and that I want to keep in contact with or share things with. It’s not a place where I’ll network or add people who have similar interests to me. I have the tightest privacy settings that I can and I’m not even searchable. On the other hand I do have a unique name, so while my profile won’t come up you can get a lot of other information – but again, I keep a close eye on what that information is.

But now, the line is becoming slightly blurred. After months of encouragement, I’m finally managing Facebook pages for four different organisations – two through my work, and two as volunteer work for an Aboriginal rights not profit. Shameless plug for a good cause – the organisation is Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) and their campaigns on Facebook are A Better Way and Respect. Probably the most well-known of their campaigns though is called Sea of Hands – but this was set up on Facebook before it had pages, so it is a group with almost 2,500 fans.

Last week I got a slew of friend requests from people I didn’t know. It confused me for a few days – I’ve tested with unfriending a friend and checked that I am totally unfindable on Facebook. Then I realised that the reason for the requests was because I’m starting to try and move those 2,500 fans over to a Facebook page – but when you post on a group, you post as yourself.

So now I’ve locked down even tighter. You can only add me as a friend if we have a friend in common. I’m also going to start creating levels of privacy for groups of friends – I don’t want the people I add through work to be able to see just how much fun I had at University.

I wonder if I’m unique in my approach to Facebook and how I use it. Or if I’m silly to even try and make Facebook my only private network. The whole push to Facebook pages is based around the idea that people want to be able to interact with brands and organisations online. Is my super tight privacy policy restricting this? Do other people in my industry have the same approach to their Facebook privacy?