Businesses and organizations have been trying to find a way to gauge the opinion of their client base for years. With the help of social media it is now possible to engage with prospects, clients and fans and find out what exactly they like, need and want. This is immensely beneficial for organizations like developers, city planners and civic industries where the public opinion is important in shaping the design plan since most of these organization want to make sure the product they are designing and spending money on is one that will be appreciated and utilized by the public at large. Also, social media can really help gain more public opinion because it allows people to engage in their own time. Attendance at public meetings has dwindled over the years especially in non-controversial projects but with social media organizations can still gain perspective without having to worry about holding numerous public meetings.

Such is the case with many of the clients that Wember has worked with. Being in the business of Owners Representation and Project Management, Wember has had the honor of working with a plethora of organizations that provide for the community. From libraries and schools to public city park planning, Wember understands the importance of designing what the public wants in these types of locations. They launched a Facebook page for the Erie Community Park Phase II to gauge what the public wanted in their phase II park design and also encourage participation in upcoming planning meetings and events. What Wember found was an overwhelming participation from the Erie community. The community expressed everything from ideas and concerns to asking questions. Within one week of actively participating on the Facebook page The Erie Community Phase II Facebook Page had over 50 fans and now, one month later it has 100 active fans. Everyone has participated in the discussion and there is now a better understanding of what the public wants. Furthermore, Wember has been able to discuss and combat many objections and explain many of the details that would not be possible if it were not for the active community engagement on the page.

The lesson that organizations can learn from this is that social media is more than just a marketing tool. It is truly a powerful tool that helps businesses communicate in a two-way conversation with their client base. It provides an inexpensive way to gauge public opinion and save resources from spending on expensive surveys or traditional market research.

So, if you are interested in utilizing social media outlets like Facebook to learn more about what your consumer base is looking for then here are five tips to do so:

  1. Use Facebook. Facebook offers a fantastic platform for engaging in conversation and getting the best out of public opinion. Simply create a Facebook Business Page and invite your clients to join in the conversation.
  2. Focus on building the community. The best way to retain and grow your fan following is to consistently engage in the conversation with your fans. This means sharing quality content, asking the right questions and many times forgoing the sales pitch. When it comes to social media you should follow the 80/20 rule: 80% value added and conversation driven content and 20% promotional.
  3. Use Facebook Ads. Facebook offers a fantastic and inexpensive ad platform that will help you to target your audience and grow your Facebook Business Page following. I would suggest starting small and be highly targeted both by keywords and by geographic location.
  4. Ask for their opinion. Do not be afraid to ask your fans and followers for their opinion. You may not always get the answer you want to hear but even negative feedback is helpful. Not to mention if there is an overwhelming consensus about a particular subject you will know that you should spend time developing those ideas or tweaking your products and services based on that input. You can also utilize the new Facebook Questions tool to poll your fans and get overall opinions.
  5. Stay Active. This is an important tip because many times organizations will start up a group and then they will stop interacting with the people on the page. Try to be an active participant and not just a page that auto feeds content in or never post or responds to fans all together. If you want your fans to interact with you, you need to be the example and be active yourself.

It is important to understand that you simply cannot please all of your fans and followers, however you can participate in the conversation and improve your services, products and offers based on what you learn.

About the Guest Blogger:

Kelly Noble is the Director of Stellar Media Marketing, a online marketing firm based in Denver Colorado. Specializing in online marketing solutions from social media and search engine optimization to website design and beyond. Learn more about Kelly Noble and Stellar Media Marketing at