Global social networking usage continues to increase all over the world, with Facebook dominating the global landscape with nearly 700 million members. In addition to Facebook, the popularity of sites like Orkut and Renren are also growing membership and usage among members in countries including Brazil and China.
According to Socialbakers, in Norway, 2.4 million people are currently Facebook members, nearly half of the total population. Up until recent months, Facebook had competition in Norway from the social networking site, Nettby. At peak, Nettby had more than 400,000 active users, the majority of which were Norwegian teenagers. As Norwegians began to use Facebook on a regular basis, competition was too strong and Nettby shut down their site on December 19, 2010.
This may have been bad news for Nettby, but great news for Facebook and local and global brands looking to reach consumers in Norway. But what are Norwegians looking for on Facebook?
Customer service and engagement
Young Norwegians (15-29 years of age) believe that companies involved in social media channels like Facebook offer better customer service. These net-savvy millenials are looking for the quick response times and being able to gather information about their favorite companies and brands, on the very platform that they spend hours on each week. In 2010, Norwegians spent over 106 minutes per day online.
Companies like Moods of Norway, a clothing company with one of the largest fan bases with Norwegians, currently has a strong presence on Facebook with over 217,000 likes. This company has grown their fan base by creating individual Facebook pages for stores across Norway, consistently updating their Facebook page with new products, deals, contests, and photos of fans and store associates. Moods of Norway does a fantastic job using Facebook, as an extension of their website and stores, to engage and communicate with their customers as a part of a overall strategic communications plan.
Another company doing a fantastic job on Facebook with customer service and branding is Bergans of Norway, an outdoors clothing and gear company with more than 123,000 likes. In addition to the product, deal, and photo updates, Bergans uses their Facebook channel to share events and their product catalog with customers and fans. Additionally, they allow users to post comments, photos, and messages on their page – allowing Norwegians that have an intense love for nature to share their stories and experiences with Bergans products with not only their own communities, but with the Bergans of Norway community as well. Most importantly, they respond back to customers, using Facebook as the customer service and communications channel that in the long run should help with customer service costs and will differentiate their brand from their competition.
As the adoption and usage of social media grows in Norway, brands must consider Facebook as the primary communication channel with customers and fans. The key for now, is to focus on using Facebook as more than just a marketing channel, and instead a customer service and engagement tool.
Global brands like Patagonia and Apple, currently considering expansion into Norway, must remember the primary needs of these net savvy, nature-loving, customer service focused Norwegian consumers to create a community that will flourish.
For the critics out there, yes, it can be hard to correlate ROI with a Facebook presence. However, companies, especially those with products that Norwegians are most passionate about (outdoors, technology, and all things environmental) should strongly consider the value of Facebook as a customer service and engagement channel. Analyze drops in customer service calls, look into website analytics for traffic coming to your pages from Facebook, and most importantly look at how deals, products, services, or events that are posted on Facebook do against those that aren’t. The ROI will come…