Tagged: relationships

How to Respond to a Social Media Crisis

crisis_managementSOSDo you know what to do in the event of a social media crisis? How do you defend yourself and your brand online? We’ve covered how to prevent social media meltdowns before, but now we will cover what to do when it happens to you.

Remember that your brand reputation matters, online and off, so it’s important to know who your critics are and where they are coming from.

Are they an upset customer? How about a competitor? Or is it just a troll who is seeking attention but no real solution?

First and foremost you should act quickly.  Avoid sitting on your hands waiting for answers and do your best to respond quickly and appropriately to any concern or criticism.

Next, take charge of the situation and assure your fans that you are in control of the crisis.  You will put people at ease by not only addressing their concerns quickly, but letting them know you have a good grasp of the problem.

You should be prepared to handle the reality of the situation and deal with the facts.  If someone is critiquing your product or a customer experience they had, allow them to vent but also try to rectify the problem at hand by engaging with them.  Dealing with the crisis as it arises will show others that you aren’t just trying to let it blow over.

To avoid any misconceptions, use all of your company resources to communicate what has happened and how you are going to fix it.  Encourage dialogue before others have a chance to spread negativity like wildfire.  Again, engage with the critics and nay-sayers before they accuse you of ignoring the problems they have.

reputationLastly, you should make sure you deliver on what you promise to do.  If you are handling customer concerns, do what you need to do make them happy.  Allow people to come back and say that you handled the crisis well instead of poorly.

There are many large and small companies that have made mistakes on social media, so don’t beat yourself up when they happen.

Remember that mistakes are part of learning and the experiences that don’t break you make you stronger.  This is especially true of crisis situations.  Make these moments your time to really shine and handle anything that comes your way.  You will be happy that you did.

How to Do an Instagram Scavenger Hunt

instagram-contest-usopen-cropDoing a user scavenger hunt on Instagram is a great way to not only get awesome audience engagement, but to differentiate your business as an organization that knows how to use social media successfully.

Not to mention, it’s a fun way to generate great content.

Instagram is one of the best visual social media platforms, so use that. It can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it.  Depending on the audience reach and potential involvement, it generally makes things a lot easier to manage if you keep the rules simple. Here’s one way to develop a scavenger hunt with limited hassle that boosts your social media presence across multiple platforms.

  1. Establish your rules and prizes. What is needed to win? You could choose a list of things that need to be photographed to win. Make sure you include a way for you to find the images like tagging your user name and using a event specific hashtag.  Also, you have to give people a reason to participate.  Small or large, people love free stuff. Prizes can range from actual goods to a shout out or mention on your page.
  2. Figure out a way to distribute clues. This is where the cross platform social media usage comes in.  Plan out specific times or days when you will put the clues out and decide which platform to use.  Facebook and Twitter work well and will give your new fans a reason to follow your accounts.  Keep in mind that too many Facebook posts can turn off fans that aren’t participating, so if you are going to have a lot of clues, maybe stick to tweeting.
  3. Promote, Promote, Promote. If you want to have a good contest, make sure the word gets out about what you are doing. Create a cool graphic or several to put out across all your social channels leading up to the actual challenge.  Visuals are a lot more eye-catching and memorable than plain text. If you are centering around a specific live event, put out flyers or post cards with the information so people have a paper guide.  Engagement starts before the hunt is on.
  4. Monitor and Pay Attention. A scavenger hunt is exciting and should be a fun experience for your company.  Enjoy watching the submissions that come in and pay close attention to who’s achieving your goals.  If people are having a hard time meeting specific rules, make it easier by altering them or giving extra help with clues.  Hunt’s where no one wins are not only embarrassing, but discourage potential new fans from liking your company.  Stay timely with choosing your winners. If it’s first come, first serve, make sure you know who’s first by staying on top of submissions.
  5. Award prizes and thanks your participants.  This seems like a no-brainer, but people enjoy being rewarded.  Feature your winners or even non-winning submissions on your website or social media pages.  Your brand will benefit from the exposure as well as the gratitude. Photo scavenger hunts are an excellent source of content centered around your brand and image, so use that to your advantage.

 

Companies big and small are experimenting more with exciting and unique ways to increase engagement across social media channels. Research what works and what doesn’t.  Success marketing campaigns are often simple but effective.

Don’t be afraid to walk off the beaten path and make your ideas your own.

You may be surprised by how popular your campaigns become.  Good luck!

Understanding Your Social Customer in 3 Steps

social-media-audiencesThe most daunting part of social media marketing for small business is understanding your audience.

After all, they are your customers and potential new leads.

Getting to know your fan base is the most important key to figuring out the best way to reach them with content that is engaging.  Here are a few tips to help demystify your marketing targets.

1. Find out where they are

It may seem obvious, but you should know which social media platforms your customer segment uses.  If you notice more fans active on Facebook, focus on putting great content into the news feed. This doesn’t mean to disregard other social networks because they could surprise you with new leads.  Go to where your fans are and show them your best.

2. Match the Network

The majority of social network users have at least two accounts on different platforms.  Which networks are used very much depends on what the user is looking for, like turning to Twitter for news and Pinterest for recipes.  Each platform is provides a unique experience, so tailor your approach to match the tone of the community.  Focus your content on the most relevant topics in your industry and target your audience.

sharing3. Sharing and Purchasing

Most social networks offer metrics and analytics now because of the rise of social media marketing for business.  For networks that don’t, other platforms have developed services to monitor metrics for you.  These simple tools allow you to see what of your content is getting engagement and how.  It’s like handing you the keys to what works and what doesn’t.  Social media drives roughly half of online and in-store purchasing.  Half of social media-related purchasing takes place within 1 week of engaging with the purchased item. Find out what your audience is looking for and give it to them by simply asking.

Ideally, after you ask questions about your customers’ interests, you will compare that to your metrics and plan your marketing strategy from there.

Understanding your customer requires listening and responding to make a connection.

Building these relationships takes time, but if you know what you are looking for it should be a breeze.

 

 

Facebook Marketing for Business

500x_facebook_macro_0Facebook is the largest and most used social networking platform out there, so it’s no wonder that your business’s presence there is important.  Tons of research has been done by marketing agencies to find out what works as content and what doesn’t.

Does sponsoring stories make a difference?

We’ve already covered why Facebook hashtags don’t work well for the platform, but here are some tips on what you should keep in mind when tailoring your content.

1. Mobile

Over three quarters of Facebook users are mobile.  The Facebook app is one of the most popular apps for across all smartphones. This means that slightly less than 100 million people log into their account through their mobile devices.  Make sure your page is optimized for mobile use. Your entire timeline is not visible, so pin your best content to highlight it.  Encourage people to check in at your locations or events and ask for reviews.

2. Paid Ads

Promoting your Facebook posts with a paid ad or sponsored story has been shown to significantly increase reach.  Keep in mind that paid ads do not draw as much engagement as non-promotional content, so stick to sponsoring stories that drive brand awareness and increase your customer base.

NegativeFeedback3. Negative Feedback

Negative feedback hurts your overall post reach.  Users can hide your content or unlike your page if they are given a reason to.  For most post types, negative feedback increases when paid ads are used.  Figure out what your audience prefers and share content they will enjoy.  Ask questions to show you are engaged with your audience on a personal level and care about what they have to say.  Mix up your posts and experiment with paid and unpaid versions.  Check your page Insights at least weekly.

The most important thing to remember with all social networks is that it’s about conversation.

Monitor how your brand is perceived and keep actively engaging with your audience.  Learn from your mistakes and never stop trying to be better. If you follow these tips, you will stay on top of your Facebook game.

Building Relationships in Social Media

social-media-billboardMost social strategies are mapped out with specific business objectives in mind such as brand awareness, customer care or sales. But regardless of specific business goals, there’s a central component to any successful social program: building relationships.

Relationships are the motivation and driving force behind social media.

Connecting with others and finding value in these relationships is why we as consumers use social networks in our daily lives. The companies who find valuable ways to build relationships win share of voice, loyalty and ultimately, new business. The catch is that these relationships aren’t built overnight. They must be nurtured over time by consistently creating great social experiences for your customers.

Social isn’t about “quick wins”, but rather approaching each social interaction as one step in an ongoing journey to building lasting relationships. Striving to make each social moment great is what creates likeable brands.

While the road to building lasting relationships is long, here are three crucial elements all social brands can implement to change their relationship status with consumers.

1. Be a trusted connection by listening first, and never stop.Social-Media-Listening-Image-two

We don’t stay friends with people who only talk about themselves and we don’t want to engage with brands on social that do the same. As valuable as it is to get the word out about your brand, listening is essential to building relationships with customers. It provides brands with insight into their audience, their likes and dislikes, and what they can expect from you on social channels. In addition, listening for any negative customer feedback allows brands to always keep improving and ultimately give their customers what they want.

2. Fuel conversation by responding and engaging.

In today’s connected world, when customers take the time to engage in conversation with your brand, they often expect your company to take the time to respond back. As a result, brands can no longer get away with being unresponsive on social channels. Responding to, and engaging with, your social customers signals that your brand is invested in each individual relationship. Acknowledging negative feedback provides an opportunity to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one. Engaging with customers to answer a question or send appreciation can instantly turn a good experience into a great one.

storytelling3. Become a storyteller by sharing and inspiring stories.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways we as people communicate. A great story captivates and engages emotionally, leaving people inspired to share. Social brands can now tell their story – and stories of their customers – easier than ever before. Sharing a customer anecdote can ignite community-wide excitement, and revealing the faces and voices behind your company can connect customers with employees on a personal level.

Every brand has a story to tell – be it customers who have overcome obstacles, humble beginnings or a glimpse inside the lives of leadership. Tapping into emotions and giving people a reason to share your story is one of the most effective ways to build word of mouth and deepen customers relationship with your brand. Unlike with traditional media, social offers the ability to tell new stories instantly and with little cost.

Creating great social experiences that build lasting relationships is no small task.

It requires dedication and we are only scratching the surface of what it takes to make these meaningful connections. Take the time to nurture your social media relationships and they will pay off.

Social Trends for 2014

It’s clear that social media is here to stay, but many businesses are still slow to adopt a strategy on how to best utilize it for marketing.social-media-trends-for-2011  New social networking platforms continue to appear and the existing ones, like Facebook and Twitter, continue to evolve to keep up with the changing market.  We have analyzed the current trends in social media and have made some predictions for next year so that you can be ahead of the curve.

1. Investment in Social Media is a Necessity

It’s already been clear that your business should have a presence on social media, but in the coming year it’s absolutely necessary.  Integrating social media into your marketing plan is key for generating leads, referrals and brand recognition which in turn leads to higher revenue. Brand awareness, word-of-mouth advertising, improved search rankings, and direct customer interaction are just a few of the key benefits from having engaging social media pages.

google-plus-3602. Google+ is on the Rise

Google+ already has the second highest number of monthly users behind Facebook, and that user base continues to rise.  It’s proving itself to be more than just another social network, with the integration of higher SEO rankings for Google+ pages, improved social signals and a more personalized search experience for users. Also, with the new Google Authorship, You can link content you publish on a specific domain to your Google+ profile. Businesses that are having trouble keeping up with multiple social networks at once could turn to Google+ as their main outlet because of all the benefits associated with content search optimization.

3. Image is Everything

We cannot emphasize this enough, but image centric content is key in generating engagement on social media platforms.  Many studies show that users are much more likely to click on posts with images or videos than just text-based content.  Coupling important information with eye-catching images or graphics is a great way to stand out in the news feed, so do it.

4. The Rise of Micro-Videoinstagram-vine

Vine and Instagram have revolutionized real-time video sharing in social media. With a max of 15 seconds for Instagram and 6 seconds for Vine, users can create short pieces on their smartphones to share instantly with their fans. We’ve already talked about the many benefits of using these services for small business marketing, so it’s only fair that more and more companies will be jumping on the video bandwagon.

5. LinkedIn Will Become a Major Player

LinkedIn has always been the #1 social networking site for business professionals, boasting nearly 240 million users, but now with the launch of its Influencers program, it will become a source for content creation and curation.  This program allows for selected “thought leaders” to share original content directly with LinkedIn users. Where LinkedIn was already a great source of information, now it will provide insight from some of the best minds in business.

Looking ahead to the future is not easy, but if you keep these trends in mind going forward with your social media plan, you should be ahead of the curve.

 

Using Hashtags

hashtags

In the tide of social media feeds it can be difficult to keep your posts above the waterline.  Thus, the Hashtag was born in 2009 on Twitter as a solution to this problem. The best way to explain a hashtag is a way of grouping information together. Since 2009 many other of the most popular social networking sites have adopted it’s use as well.

The main problem with hashtags is that many people don’t understand them.

To someone new to Twitter, putting the “#” in front of words looks like nonsense, but don’t avoid using them.  Connecting your content with others using the hashtag ensures it’s getting to the audience that is interested.  Use hashtags that are already being used in your industry as well as a few of your own to join in the community of dialog.

Another benefit of using hashtags is connecting your business to people you don’t already know.

You will appear in the stream of the hashtag which can lead to new resources and opportunities.  Relevant posts tracked through hashtags help build your audience and community. They help people sort through the clutter to focus on what they truly care about, so make sure you are giving it to them.

Being consistent with the use of your hashtags and sticking to them increases visibility.  Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t take off right away because exposure takes time.  Reshare other’s content, keeping the original information, hashtags and poster but add your own hashtags as well.  Associating your spin on shared content not only lets people know you are participating in what others post, but you have something to add.

If your hashtag is interesting, it will generate activity. twitter

Participating in live conversations on Twitter, tracked via hashtag, is a great way to get your name and brand out there. Many live events has special hashtags so that event organizers can track what people are saying about it and provide feedback.  Schedule conversations with your audience and enjoy hearing what your fans have to say.

Being afraid of making mistakes on social media should not deter your from experimenting with new ways to generate content.  Hashtags are a simple way to branch out and connect to others, so use them.  Be be aware, there is a fine line between participating and overuse. If done correctly, hashtags could help elevate your brand to a new level.

Standing Out with Unique Content

uniqueUnique is a word that’s thrown around a lot now a days, but I’m not sure it applies to everything that it’s used for. The competition for content marketing in social media is fierce because you not only have to worry about your direct competitors, but also all other marketers. We are gonna go over some tips to help you develop unique content around your brand that should make you stand out from the crowd.

1. Perpetual Content

The very first step in making your content unique, is constantly churning out quality posts multiple times per week (or per day depending on the platform). Competitors can’t really copy you if you are putting out your distinctive content on a regular basis and engaging with your fans.

2. Vary Content Platforms

All marketers re-use content across multiple platforms, but give thought to what you are sharing and why you are using that format. Don’t pigeonhole yourself into always doing the same things with your content.  Some platforms are better suited for visual media than others, so keep that in mind as you are recycling your best bits of information.

3. Surprise People

Always wearing the same thing to work get’s pretty boring, right? The same idea is true for your content. Do things your audience Social-Platformswouldn’t expect from you.  Surprise product giveaway? Awesome! Covering a new topic? Go ahead! Share content from others that is interesting to your fanbase, even if it doesn’t directly relate to your business.  Give people a reason to recommend your pages to friends.

4. Take a Stand and Stay Relevant

Provide useful information to your fan base about changes in your industry and how they might effect business.  Obviously you want to avoid negative positions, but you can be objective about the things that effect your customers directly.  Do a video or blog post on the changing landscape of Facebook or an industry specific source. Your fans will appreciate the insight and information you provide.

5. Keep Tabs on Your SEO

All the work you put into your content will be for nothing if it’s not showing up in search results.  There are many services that help you monitor your SEO, for both your social media pages as well as your website.  Keep up with both to ensure that your content is visible to the world.

Creating interesting, special content for your business shouldn’t be a chore, so approach it with excitement.  You are getting your business name out there.  Make sure what’s associated with you is what you want people to see.  Stay fresh and engaging, and you will have no trouble being a content superstar.

Why?

whySocial media marketing has become a must for business.  Period.

With so many people in the pool, it’s easy for your pages to get lost in the crowd. Making unique, engaging content is not only difficult, but tricky when online reputation means so much. Many business owners find themselves asking “how do I market myself?” or “what do I post and where?”, but these are not the most important questions when it comes to your business.  For marketing purposes, as well as just good business practice, the most important question is “Why?”. Why are you creating content? Why should your audience choose you? Why should they listen? Your “Why” is what makes you special. It is the basic building block of your business and should be the foundation for your social media strategy.  Knowing the higher purpose of your business helps guide decisions and give you focus to your content.

Once you answer your “why?”, the next point should be “how?”

How do you accomplish what you are here to do? How are you different from your competitors? These basic facts can essentially make up your entire social media plan.  Choose the best platforms for your message and tell the world why they should care.  Living your brand’s “why” and “how” ensure’s that not only is your content focused but genuine.  Who you are talking to, your audience, can tell if you are pushing content for the sake of it.  Genuine content develops genuine interest from consumers.

Your company cares about it’s customers and social media is the perfect channel to express that.  You are giving relevant information Hand holding a Social Media 3d Sphereand listening to feedback.  Communication matters for your business so make sure you are communicating to the people who are in your niche.

You can’t be all things to all people with your business, so cater to those who are or may be interested in what you do.

Stick to the platforms that are most effective for your market.  Not all brands are suited for Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.  Remember to ask yourself “why” when it comes to the channels you choose. Why use Facebook over Google+? What are the advantages of each platform?

Clear-Sense-Of-Purpose

If you dig deep into your brand at the beginning of your social media adventure, you should be able to develop a comprehensive strategy that satisfies your audience as well as yourself.

Don’t be afraid of letting people really get to know your brand and what it stands for.  Above all, be true to yourself.