Over the past month, I’ve spent rather a lot of time on Facebook. And no, before you begin to question my work ethic, I’ve not been enviously flicking through friends’ holiday photos nor hunting down coupons from food manufacturers. Instead, I’ve been checking out the Facebook pages of consulting firms as part of our research for our latest report.
What quickly became very apparent is that consulting firms, in the main, are failing to build relationships with individuals – individuals who have emotions. Ekaterina Walter , social innovator at Intel, is qualified to comment on using Facebook effectively, having taken Intel (not an obvious brand for engaging with individuals) from 0 to 18 million likes: “We get too hung up sometimes on the definition of B2B or B2C. The reality is that on Facebook we are people connecting with people. Facebook is an opportunity for us to connect on a personal level and through that to humanize our brand.”
How does Intel create that personal connection? In Walter’s words : “We try to do our best to serve the most appealing content and to engage our customers in various ways. We offer entertaining programs, utilize custom images quite often as our fans love visuals, we share videos, do fun trivia, geek out by posting messages in binary code, ask open-ended questions, say thank you and happy holidays and address any questions or concerns that our fans might have. We are in this to build long-term relationships and love engaging and growing our passionate community of fans through transparent and fun dialog.”
Using Walter’s guiding criteria, we looked closely at 20 posts across 26 Facebook pages owned by consulting firms. Videos? A handful. Fun trivia? None. Open-ended questions? One or two. Thank you or happy holidays? Er…, no. Addressing questions or concerns? Nope. Any sense at all that this is about building long-term relationships, about engaging and growing a passionate community of fans through transparent and fun dialogue? Not a lot.
One way of making consulting firm Facebook pages more engaging would be to get more input from actual consultants. From our work with consulting firms, we know that there are lots of engaging, interesting and experienced consultants out there – consultants who could quickly produce content that Facebook followers would find engaging and interesting. We’re not sure whether consultants simply aren’t asked, aren’t trusted to share their thoughts in such a public forum, or don’t see the benefit of doing so. But for organisations whose business relies on building relationships between individuals using a channel that’s all about connecting people, a large injection of personality is definitely called for.
There’s more information here about how consulting firms are using Facebook – both to deliver thought leadership and build relationships – and what they could be doing differently.