32. …and set us up a Facebook page while you’re at it.

Using Facebook as a way to connect with customers has caught the eye of yet another company. This of course isn’t new news to anyone, really, with so many brands and organizations jumping on the Facebook bandwagon without giving it a second thought. This time, however, the company is a little closer to home. It’s my dad’s company!

When my dad, owner of sports and game card distribution company The Magazine Exchange, mentioned to me that his company had been considering a Facebook page and that he had a few questions for me, I was struck with an idea! Why not put the things I’ve learned so far in Dave Allen’s class to good use? I asked if I could do a little interview with him on the topic, hoping to discover if his company really did need a Facebook page. While there are plenty of reasons for a company to join Facebook, there is probably an equal amount of reasons why one shouldn’t. Should Mag-Ex tread into the waters of Facebook? Let’s see what I found out!

1)    What problem will getting a Facebook page solve for your company?

  • Currently, my dad says there is too much information about product changes coming in from suppliers. The way it is now, suppliers email/call his company with the smallest change in a product, such as the number of cards in a case, when the product is shipping, the SRP of the product, etc. In this business, little things are being altered almost every day. Product changes use up valuable time of the sales crew, who end up calling all the customers who have ordered the product. Hobby shop owners, aka my dad’s customers, are already flooded with too much email. While Mag-Ex uses email for advertising, in the time it would take to edit the advertising with the new product information, something would have already changed again. My dad understands how busy his customers are and is very selective with how much advertising email he sends out. When all is said and done, he doesn’t want to be too intrusive but doesn’t want to burn up staff time either.

2)    Who will use your Facebook page?

  • It is mainly for the existing customer base. It can be a place for hobby shop owners to receive quick updates about changes in products.

3)    What’s the value of The Magazine Exchange having a Facebook page?

  • Hopefully, it will save the sales staff’s time and be a more efficient way to release new information. They can continue to make sales calls instead of calls to say something has changed. The Facebook page will also show suppliers that Mag-Ex cares about business with them by keeping customers up to date on different products.

4)    How will you engage your “fans”?

  • At first, my dad wasn’t quite sure how to answer this one since the idea of joining Facebook is still being tossed around at the office. Also, since Mag-Ex is more like a “middle man” between retailer and the product manufacturer, it’s rather a difficult question. He did say, however, that he would like to show customers of the hobby shops who buy from Mag-Ex that this industry of gaming is a big community. Shops that buy from Mag-Ex often hold organized play events for customers to come play games and make friends in a safe environment. The Mag-Ex Facebook page could share up-to-date information on hobby shops that are holding organized play events, thus helping to engage fans in the community.

5)    What’s the benefit of people liking your page?

  • Another way my dad advertises is by sending inserts out with all the products that are shipped. Along with the insert, there could be a coupon code that you enter on the Facebook page after you click “like.” Mag-Ex would be notified, and the customer would get a certain percent off/some sort of deal on their next purchase.

After hearing all his responses, I think there definitely would be some benefit to The Magazine Exchange having a Facebook page. Some of the ideas around it still need to be developed, but I agree that it seems like a great way to show the suppliers how eager The Magazine Exchange is to interact with its own customers. I do, however, have two concerns. My first is the time commitment. While the goal is to save time for the sales staff, I wonder whose time will be consumed updating and keeping tabs on the Facebook page. Also, one reason for not sending out all the changes through email is because hobby shop owners might not always being checking their email. This might also imply that they won’t be on Facebook to see the changes as they happen. As this article points out, small businesses have experienced both success and failure in the realm of social media.

Whichever path The Magazine Exchange decides to take, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in the future.


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