Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections
reviewed by William Kist - September 05, 2014
Title: Face2Face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections
Author(s): David Lee King
Publisher: Information Today, Inc., Medford
ISBN: 0910965994, Pages: 200, Year: 2012
Search for book at Amazon.com
I have been active on Twitter since 2008 and follow about 1500 people who are educators, filmmakers, writers, and performers. Within the last year, I noticed that I was seeing some funny tweets from Ruth Buzzi (@Ruth_A_Buzzi), a veteran television performer probably best known for her work on the classic Laugh-In program. Heres an example of one of her tweets: My trainer thinks I have one last chance at getting a really smoking, hot body: Cremation. And another: Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana. I decided to follow Buzzi and was pleasantly surprised when I saw, the next day, that she was now following me. I sent her a direct message saying how I really appreciated how funny her tweets are. She wrote back: Thanks! No pressure, but youd better be funny. XOXOXO
According to David Lee King, author of face2face: Using Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Tools to Create Great Customer Connections, Buzzi is following several of the principles of being human (e.g., face2face) on the web. She is authentically sharing herself online and communicating with her followers, sometimes directly, as in my case. As of this writing, Buzzi, has nearly 48,000 followers, even though she admits she is retired from show business and is not active professionally. She has only been on Twitter since 2010 and has managed to create a community of some 48,000 followers with whom she interacts on a regular basis. King, the Digital Services Director at the Topeka & Shawnee County (Kansas) Public Library, is a blogger himself (www.davidleeking.com) and is active on Twitter (@davidleeking), and his main point in face2face is that what Buzzi and many others have done is very possible to emulate. At a time when social networking is often criticized for driving humans apart, Kings book is upbeat and suggests that we have more of an opportunity to connect in authentic ways with others than ever before, both on a personal and organizational level. While of course nothing can substitute for true face-to-face communication, Kings book provides many examples of how social media tools might actually allow for more humanity in virtual venues than we might realize.
In twelve breezy chapters, King covers first how to be human on the web and then goes on to give suggestions for listening to followers using specific platforms (such as Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube), responding to critics, and measuring success. Kings book is intended both for individuals and for organizations that want to connect more with their communities. Today, writes King, the average business or organization has yet to embrace emerging social tools . . . If they are using these tools, they are using them primarily as a one-way broadcast medium, not as a way to connect with customers and deepen customer relationships (p. xv).
In the foundational first chapter, King sets out some essential components of being face2face on the web. Listening to your followers is the first step, and King shows how this can be accomplished just by doing some simple searches on Twitter or setting up RSS feeds (a fairly old idea at this point). Later in the book, King provides a helpful list of aggregators, both free and not, that alert the user to mentions of individuals, organizations, or topics of interest. One of the final chapters of the book has a very useful, concise overview of how to analyze responses on various platforms. For instance King describes the Facebook Insights tab that allows one to monitor as many as 20 different measures, such as the number of total likes, friends of your fans, and who is talking about your page. Ideas are also provided for analyzing followers on Flickr, YouTube, and Twitter, although King notes that performing such analytics in Twitter is more difficult.
King puts a huge emphasis throughout the book, however, on not only listening, but being authentic online. Dont try to turn your online interactions into corporate speak, he writes (p. 6). King uses some successful online personalities as examples of how to reach a high level of authenticity. Such well known bloggers as Chris Brogan (http://www.chrisbrogan.com) and Bill Marriott (http://www.blogs.marriott.com) are pointed to as successful communicators through such simple techniques as: adding questions at the ends of blog posts, using a fun upbeat conversational tone, and handling ugly responses by having a comments policy. One of Kings chapters also gives some helpful ideas on how to use still photos and videos to enhance an online presence.
Having just finished Dave Eggerss The Circle (Eggers, 2014), which paints quite a dystopian picture of social networking, it was somewhat of a balm to read Kings cheery tips. In The Circle, the main character, Mae Holland, goes to work at a Facebook-like company in California, and soon drowns (willingly) in a mandated steady stream of online posts, tweets, and comments. Her job performance is connected to how responsive she is, at nearly all hours of the day, to friend requests, tweets, and other virtual entreaties from friends, co-workers, and customers. While Maes torture is the onslaught of mandated constant connecting, other books, such as Turkles Alone Together (Turkle, 2012) have painted a more isolated, lonely social network suffering, with most of us depicted as solitary addicts.
I wont spoil the ending of any of these books, Kings work, while not all that groundbreaking, seems to be a reliefa rather level-headed perspective. It occurred to me that books such as Kings should be read within K-12 school settings. (Interestingly, The Circle is the mandated book for incoming first-year students to read this summer at my institution of higher learning.) In a time when many school districts throughout the country still continue to exist at a level of alarmism that hasnt been seen since Prohibition, Kings approach seems more of an appropriate required read, not only for business owners and organization leaders, but also for school board members and taxpayers. I would say more, but there is another tweet coming in from Ruth Buzzi: Thanks for all the nice birthday wishes yesterday. I share the date with Jennifer Lopez, coincidentally also known for her great beauty.
Eggers, D. (2014). The circle. New York: Vintage.
Turkle, S. (2012). Alone together: Why we expect more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books.