Monthly Archives: October 2013

Divorce and Social Media

Divorce

Marriages take effort. However, when a couple walks down the aisle, they generally don’t take this into consideration. The “honeymoon” phase brings amazing memories and fun moments shared together. Unfortunately, for some couples, the potential of divorce becomes more imminent as time goes on. According to the CDC, 33% of first marriages end in divorce within ten years.

So what does this have to do with social media?

Well, a successful business partnership is much like a successful marriage where all parties want to grow the business equally. Business and marriage are hard work.

It is easy to get along when things are going well but what happens when a business or a marriage is facing issues? We are going to look at the top 5 reasons for divorce in the U.S. and see how they apply to social media marketing for business.

1. Communication issues

It is true – talking and communicating are two different things. When communication shuts down, individuals may feel as if their spouse no longer cares about them, their feelings, or what is important in their life. Social media works the same way, after all, it is all about communication.  Communicating your message and values properly not only enhances your businesses’ social media presence, but it makes your audience feel as if they have a real relationship with your company.

2. Disagreements over money

The best way to steer clear of this difficult situation is to clearly discuss the topic of money before marriage. This means determining how bills will be paid and how money will be spent on extra activities and various purchases. The same is true for social media.  What is your budget for marketing? Can you afford paid ads on Facebook or an upgraded Linked In membership? You must decide what services you cannot live without and plan accordingly.

3. Jealousy and trust issues

Many couples think that as long as their spouse is wearing a wedding ring, they will no longer suffer from the jealousy issues they experienced while dating. Unfortunately, the ring rarely changes anything.  Social media audiences are fickle and will run at the first sign of mistrust. So keep your business open and honest on your social media channels and your customers should have no problems trusting you.

4. Differences in life plans

“You want three children? I never agreed to that!” So many couples enter into a marriage without first discussing their plans post-marriage. To best avoid the chance of unforeseen differences in life plans after the wedding, these issues should be discussed in great detail before the big day and agreed upon. Your social media plan should be similarly discussed and thought out with your employees.  Your message should be focused, not bogged down by a bunch of different directions.

5. Infidelity

Finally, infidelity is a huge marriage ender. The moment at which one spouse makes the conscious decision to cheat on the other is a defining day in any marriage. Similarly, your clients and audience can feel slighted by your deviation in your core goals and ideals.  Customers want to know that they are working with a company they trust and agree with personally.  Changing the way you handle your business can make your audience feel as if you haven’t been true to them or what you’ve promised to offer when the relationship was started.

Remember, customer engagement is your priority and social media is the key. So here’s to a long, lasting partnership with your audience, may it be ever fruitful.

Avoiding Social Media Reputation Meltdown

reputationYour business’s reputation has always meant a lot, but now in the social media age it’s becoming harder and harder to maintain.  Companies that have otherwise maintained a good reputation with consumers have engaged in total public meltdowns on social media platforms. Why does this happen? What can you do to avoid tarnishing your own reputation on your social media pages?

Don’t Reply to Everyone– You cannot reply to every person that is critical of your business, period.  You can try to deal with customer complaints and negative experiences as best you can, always with polite and helpful responses.  Don’t give in to the impulse to respond to every comment defensively, but instead keep engaged in customer conversations in a proactive way.

Don’t Respond to Trolls– Internet trolls are people who seem to exist only to cause discord and negativity.  They actively try to encourage arguments and anger to illicit attention.  Recognize these people when they are commenting and don’t give in.  Responding to trolls just adds fuel to the fire because they are not looking for a solution to a problem.

Don’t React Immediately– Everyone’s gut instinct to criticism is to get defensive and angry.  Avoid this.  Take some time to think and stop-negativityplan your response.  Ask others to read your response to make sure it’s appropriate.  Sometimes the best response is silence. If you are addressing a negative review or concern, do what you can to be positive and helpful.  If you can help turn a negative customer experience into a positive one, your brand will be stronger for it.

Don’t Insult People– My grandfather was a big fan of telling me “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.  I still try to remember this as an adult and it very much applies to social media.  Once something is on the internet, you can be guaranteed it will never go away.  Negative and insulting comments toward customers/fans will not only blow up the situation, but make you look really bad.  It doesn’t matter if the commenter insulted you and your entire family, keep a level head and don’t engage in a poop slinging contest or you will come away looking like the bad guy.

Learn When to Leave It Alone– When facing negative feedback, it’s important to know when to give up.  Sometimes people just want to vent and cannot be helped.  Sometimes responding only makes things worse if you don’t have solutions to the original grievance.  People will leave you alone if you don’t feed into negativity.  Take criticism as learning experiences and try to avoid making similar or worse mistakes in the future.

Managing your business reputation can be a challenge, but if you follow these tips to avoid social media meltdown, it should be smooth sailing.

 

Facebook Hashtags are for the Birds

Facebook.HashtagIf all of social media is a like a huge party where everyone is talking at once, hashtags are like signs telling people where to go to join a conversation that is relevant to certain topics.  Facebook, a social network built on real, person to person connections, is more like a dinner party with the people you know. Unfortunately, Facebook is still trying to get into the huge party but seems to find itself out of place. At it’s core, Facebook is not really well suited for hashtags, which are designed to help break into public conversations on networks like Twitter and Instagram.

Hashtags are a way to give your content an extra boost of visibility to anyone who is interested in your subject matter.

Sites like Twitter and Instagram are not built around a users real identity, a stipulation that Facebook is fairly strict about.  Tweets have a shelf life of approximately 3 minutes and most users only look at their feed, whereas Facebook posts are tied directly to who you are and are easy to back track through.  This idea of near anonymity on Twitter helps makes the hashtag the only real way to connect with other people that you don’t know.

Very little communication on Facebook is meant for people that the users don’t know, making the user of hashtags relatively irrelevant.

Also, hashtags on Facebook are still subject to privacy settings, meaning that if you use a hashtag, only the people allowed to view your page can see it.  Facebook has spent years telling it’s users to be careful about their privacy because of the personal nature of the profiles, so it only makes sense now that platform wide hashtags don’t work the same way as Twitter.

Additionally, Facebook is not subjected to the limited character count of Twitter, so the metadata hashtags provide is not as useful in helping define posts. Hashtags connect tweets and Instagram posts to other posts like it, something that again goes against it’s primary function.  Some research suggests that using hashtags on Facebook actually hurt the engagement of the posts they were used in.

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The study, done by Edgerank Checker, only measured pages, not profiles and how users were clicking them. For businesses, this means it’s detrimental to your overall engagement to use hashtags because users simply don’t click them.

Ultimately, it comes down to people versus thoughts.

Facebook is for peer to peer connection and Twitter is a platform designed to share short thoughts.  So for now, Facebook can stick to being what it’s good at and leave the #hashtagging to Instagram and Twitter.

Losing Twitter Followers? We Can Help!

twitter-featured1When it comes to Twitter, you want to a lot of followers just like you want to follow others, but are there some things that turn people off?

Just having followers is also not enough, because it really comes down to the quality of your fan base.

However there are some things you should avoid when trying to maintain a valuable audience:

1. Not Enough Information

Twitter allows you 160 characters to fill out your bio information, so use it. Space is finite on this “about you” section so make it really count.  People will be seeing this information when they are deciding whether or not to follow you. Make sure your statement says something relevant about your business.

2. No profile picture

One of my major deciding factors about following someone is if they are using the default profile picture.  Someone that can’t bother to put up a photo usually does not get a follow back because they either don’t know what they are doing or they are a spam account.

 3. Your Account is Private

Unless your account is marked as public, people who may be interested in following you will not be able to see what you tweet about.  If someone can’t get a feel for what they are getting into with following you, they are more likely to pass.  Make your account public to get the most traffic.

 4. CAPS and #Hashtags

You don’t want to annoy your followers, so avoid using all caps to make your post stand out in the feed.  If your content is good enough, people will engage with you, so don’t resort to teenage antics to draw attention.  Also, the character limit is set to 140 with tweets. Make sure you aren’t using more than half of that for hashtagging or people will think you don’t have the content to fill a whole tweet.

 5. You have no Focusthinker-twitter

If your sole goal is to get followers and all you tweet is “Follow Me” or #followback, you will rapidly lose your audience.  People want substance and content that is engaging, or else they will get tired of you, as well they should.  Focus on putting out information that is useful and relevant to what your audience is interested in and what you have to provide them.

 6. You Don’t Follow Back

Following a legitimate account back on Twitter is like giving a handshake.  It acknowledges that you notice when you have new followers and appreciate the new fan.  Stay on top of your new followers to make sure you don’t miss any opportunities.

7. Never Engaging

This should go without saying, but take the time to respond to messages, mentions and comments.  People follow accounts on Twitter that they have a connection with, so encourage that by reaching out to your fans and let them know you are listening.

8. Not Tweeting Regularly

Stay active or the dead air could cost you.  The best accounts to follow are the ones that are sharing fresh content often, but not so often that they flood the feed.  There is a fine line between under-tweeting and over-tweeting so be sure to be aware of how often you are speaking to your followers.  Again, keep the content engaging and steady.

9. No Original Content and Too Much Repetition

Retweeting relevant tweets is a good way to stay engaged in the conversation on Twitter about your industry, but only retweeting and not posting original content yourself can hurt you.  Your followers want to know what YOU have to say, not just other people that they may already be following.  Keep your content relevant to your interests and those that share them.

10. Not Making Sense

This is another thing that should go without saying, but re-read anything you are about to tweet before you tweet it.  Does it make sense? How will your followers respond? Will they know what you are talking about? Always proofread to prevent confusing anyone.

11. You Are Always Selling Something

Obviously it’s important to your company or brand to have a following on Twitter because it increases your visibility to potential consumers.  However, you don’t want to annoy your follower base by ALWAYS trying to sell your products.  Instead, approach tweeting as a way to inform your audience about their interests as it relates to your products. How-to videos, links to more information, and pictures of products in use are much more likely to engage your audience than constant sales pitches.

12. Bad Follower to Followed Ratio

Following way more people than follow you shows people that you are either too aggressive or unpopular.  Following way fewer people than follow you tells people you aren’t very engaging.  Keep this number more balanced to reflect an active and watchful account that is interested in audience involvement.

twitter13. Your Content is Disproportionate to Your Following

Have you ever seen an account that has several thousand followers but no tweets? A name without content may gather you followers at first, but why should people stick with you if you have nothing to offer? Similarly, having only a few followers and thousands of tweets tells people that you oversaturate people.  A good rule of thumb is having no more than 2 tweets per follower, for example if you have 10,000 followers it’s okay to have 10,000 tweets.  Keep your tweets in check and make sure they are adding something valuable to the feed of your followers.

Ultimately, there are no set rules to getting and keeping followers on Twitter or any other social media site.  The best way to maintain a healthy social media following is by taking an organic approach.  Consider the value of what you put out there and how it will be received by those who share your interests.

For great social media management, the best tool you have is your ability to listen and respond.  Good luck!

Why You Need Social Customer Service

using-social-media-customer-serviceMillions of customers are choosing social media over other communication channels to voice their opinions and concerns to companies. It’s become so prevalent that businesses no longer ask whether they should respond to these issues or not, but how.

Social customer service is now a fully established requirement for customer support. Over half of 18-24 year olds use social media for customer care and half of social customer care users engage several times a month.

Most consumers believe that social media is the next tier of customer service.

However, many still find it hard to see the differences between social monitoring, social marketing and social customer service. The truth is that social customer service is a wholly different creature –with unique practices, strategies and benefits that go beyond social monitoring. Here are some key ways your business can benefit from social customer service:

  1. Organic Customer Endorsement: Establishing a constant, customer-centric, presence through social media is important because customers are more likely to share their experiences and recommend your brand to their friends when you reach out to them. Many studies show that customers who have a positive experience online are four times more likely to endorse the brand than those who don’t. Being present and active before customers engage with you is a way to exceed their expectations and create a positive impact in their experience.
  2. A Boost in Customer Value: Social customer service increases customer spending. It’s simple: customers who engage with your company through social channels are likely to spend 20-40% more than those who don’t. Thus, providing quality interactions can be a highly competitive differentiator within most customer oriented industries. 88% of consumers will be less likely to buy from you if you have unanswered questions on your social media platforms. In this sense, using social media for customer service helps you stand out as a customer-centric company and is a great chance for you to set your offering apart in the minds of consumers.
  3. More Efficient Customer Service: According to recent reports, the social customer agent can manage four to eight times shutterstock_80975242-350x232more high-value interactions, compared with a traditional, voice-based contact agent. This is an important figure, especially keeping in mind that 70% of consumers who use social media for customer service will do so again, if satisfied with their experience. In short, investing in social customer service just makes good sense.
  4. Preventive Protection of Brand Reputation: One of the the biggest causes for social media crisis during the past decade has been poor customer experiences. 97% of consumers say they are affected by other customer’s comments on your page and 83% say they have abandoned a purchase after a poor customer service experience. Being present at the earliest warning signs of an online crisis is the best way to protect your brand against a reputation meltdown. In this sense social customer service is the only active and engaging way to address dissatisfaction and negative emotions surrounding your brand.
  5. Possibility for New Business Opportunities: Unlike traditional channels, social media allows agents to engage with an increasing number of users. This allows them to create a positive impact on new customers, not only by broadcasting things like latest offers, but also by providing advice for purchasing decisions. All of this can be done while also retaining existing customers and deepening the individual relationship with them.

Proactive outreach is a fine art–one that offers a great opportunity to stand out positively against the competition.