Tagged: social customer service

4 Ways to Get Customer Testimonials

testimonial-01Your job as a business is to win over the trust of potential customers who are not quite ready to do
business with you. Customers are like hoodwinked children. They are cynical and defensive about anything they hear or read. However, if a friend, or someone they know and trust, tells them something, they are inclined to believe it without question.

To make a prospective customer care about your business, you need to show them how you can make their life easier or better. Then, you need to follow through and prove it. The conventional way to prove a claim is to present positive testimonials, endorsements, or media articles and mentions about your business.

You probably already praise your business. However, statements you make about yourself just don’t have the same impact as statements that come from others. Especially testimonial-03happy, satisfied customers.

To convince a cynical potential customer – someone that may not be sure about becoming your customer – you need to let them know your current customers think you’re great. There are ways you can generate proof your business is sound and performs exceptional work.   What follows are four ways to help generate positive testimonials from your customers.

  1. Ask

The simplest way to get positive testimonials is to ask. Do this as a part of thanking your customer for their business. Send an email, or follow-up letter to each of your customers that says something like:

Testimonial-request-USE IN BODY

When your customer responds, you have your testimonial. Collect them all and use excerpts of the best lines that exemplify why others should do business with you.

  1. Create unique experiences

A few years ago, fishing hat manufacturer Tilley sent customers a letter congratulating them on purchasing one of their hats. The letter included tips on caring for the hat and made a pitch for some of their other products.

testimonial-04On the back of the letter was an “Insurance Certificate.” Should the hat become lost or stolen, the
certificate allowed a half-priced replacement hat. This unique promotion made the buying experience different. While a half-priced replacement may not work for all businesses, consider if an “insurance” idea is right for your product or service.

So why do something like this? When you have the opportunity to deliver unique experiences to your customers, follow up! After the sale, email your customers for their thoughts about doing business with you and the buying experience. Their responses become your testimonials.

  1. Recruit volunteers

If you are introducing a new product or service and have a Facebook, or other social media group, use your community to find willing testers during your launch period. Offer a pre-determined number of testers a half-price or even a free service in return for their permission to use their comments as testimonials.

It is important to remember to return the favor when you are asked to test a new product or service. Be sure to offer written comments than can be used as a testimonial for the product or service.

  1. Build relationships with credible experts

Ever read a recommendation for a new book? In the publishing world, authors often get influential people to recommend their books. This gives potential readers positive comments about the book from high-profile people.

testimonial-02So how do you approach a credible expert, someone who may get many of these requests? The smart way to approach this is to always be cultivating relationships over time. Always offer your assistance and always offer to be useful in general long before you ever conceive of your product idea.

If you are building meaningful relationships with others on social media, it should be easy to ask for input from experts. You can always find local experts to recommend your product or service. You could even ask the mayor or other well-liked city officials to try your business in exchange for permission to use their written recommendation as a testimonial.

You can also hire an expert to try your product or service. As a part of this agreement, use the expert’s name and testimonial when promoting your product.

Always ask for feedback

When you openly communicate with your social media audience and encourage their feedback, you can end up with some great testimonials. Keep your testimonials in one place so it is easy to draw from them when you create content.

If you make collecting customer comments a priority, eventually you’ll have thousands of potential testimonials and endorsements to choose from when you need to dispel doubt in the minds of cynical and defensive customers.

Shortcuts to Avoid in Social Media

042313-shortcutShortcuts are something that are used in almost every facet of life. Be it keyboard shortcuts or a quicker way to get home from work, people like to do things the easiest way possible.  We have automation tools that allow for advanced programming of Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and even Instagram.  But where do we draw the line between convenience and practicality?  Does automation of posts deserve the bad reputation it has? We personally feel that automation has it’s place, but it require supplemental monitoring to make it effective.  Here we are going to go through some social media shortcuts that you should avoid with your pages.

1) Pre-Scheduling for Events

This seems like a no brainer, but you should avoid scheduling your posts in advance of a real time event.  If, for example, you have programmed tweets talking about a specific driver in an upcoming race, it could backfire on you if something about the event changes. The driver could be injured before the race or the weather may cause a delay.  Stick to posting real time updates on events if you cover them to prevent this from happening.

2) Auto-Replies

One on one communication should never be automated. Whether it’s thanking someone for following you or answering a message, you should always do these yourself. There is no better way to turn off a new follower than to send them an automated thank you.

3) Posting the Same Message Across Multiple Networks

This is where automation gets the most flak from critics.  A lot of times when using automation tools to schedule messages in advance, you can schedule the same message across multiple networks. For example, you may send out a message as a tweet and as a Facebook update.  Unfortunately, this is pretty noticeable to followers. After all, it’s still a little weird seeing a lot of hashtags on Facebook if you are cross posting from Instagram or Twitter.  We recommend tailoring each message you send out for the network you are posting on.  What makes for a good tweet may not translate that easily to Google Plus and so on.

4) Sending Connection Invites Without Personalizing

For networks like LinkedIn, you can send a message along with your invitation to connect.  There is a standard message already in the template, but you should take the time to make it personal. People will know if you just sent them the boiler plate message, so make sure to put your own spin on it.  Explain why you want to connect or how being connected to you will be beneficial to that person. Don’t risk looking like a spammer with the standard message.

password5) Using A Simple Password

Most people use the same password for everything. Be careful of doing this, especially with an easy password. Social accounts get hacked all the time for one reason or another, so stay on top of your accounts with solidly difficult passwords.  Also be sure to change them every so often to keep your accounts as secure as possible. The process for getting your accounts back after they’ve been hacked can be difficult and sometimes not possible. Better to be safe than sorry in this case.

6) Buying Likes

Did you know that some companies offer ‘likes’ for a price? These businesses create thousands of fake accounts to generate likes for their clients. Facebook has caught onto this scheme and actually punishes pages that do this by limiting their organic reach.  Avoid buying into any scam that is supposed to bring you likes on your page, it will end up doing more harm than good.

7) Only Retweeting/Sharing

Retweeting is good for networking and spreading other’s messages if they are in line with your brand. The same goes for sharing on Facebook.  Only retweeting and sharing, however, shows your audience that you don’t have anything original or unique to offer. Use the retweet and share buttons sparingly so as not to oversaturate your followers. Otherwise why should someone follow you when they can get the message from the other source?

8) Inviting Every Friend to Like Your Pages

Annoying your friends with constant invites to like pages they aren’t the targeted market for will actually hurt your reach. You want to make sure you are reaching the right audience for your brand with your ad campaigns.  Stick to trying to gain a following of appropriate customers.

tagging-on-facebook9) Tagging Irrelevant People

This is probably one of the worst things you could do with your social pages. Under no circumstances should you tag people in an update that have nothing to do with your message. Get permission from anyone you want to tag before you associate them with your company and only then tag them if they are relevant.  You will get more exposure by tagging, but it will backfire if it doesn’t make sense.

These are just a few things you should avoid with your pages. Social media management isn’t easy, but if you make sure you aren’t taking the wrong shortcuts, you will do just fine. Good luck and happy posting.

 

Big Brand Facebook Tactics that Work for Any Business

Well-Known World Brand LogotypesThe most challenging part of social media management is staying active and engaging. Big brands like Oreo, Nike and Target have dedicated marketing departments that spend all their time coming up with great fresh content. Following the cues of these brands is something any business, no matter how small, can do.  We are going to go over some of the ways these companies keep their fan base coming back, so that you may be able to make your pages more engaging.

1) Holidays and Events

Heineken held a Instagram scavenger hunt content ahead of the U.S. Open Men’s final for a chance to win tickets. Fans had to search for clues in a mosaic of Instagram photos that would ultimately lead them to nine pairs of tennis tickets. In order to prove they had found the next clue, users had to comment on the correct photo with the codeword “#SHHH.” You can host promotions or games through your own social media channels the same way while capitalizing on an upcoming event or holiday.  Reward your fans for participation and they will continue to engage with you.

2) Crowdsourcing

Facebook and Instagram are great places to ask people for content. By asking your fans for their input, you can easily generate new content that is centered around your customers. Again, reward your fans for their input by acknowledging them and showing appreciation.  Someone take a picture of using your product? Feature their photo on your own pages as a shout out. People really appreciate being noticed by brands or companies that they use, so share the love with your fan base.

3) Fun

Humor is a great way to humanize your brand. It shows that your company can have fun and wants to share that with others.  Skittles and Old Spice do a very good job of engaging fans with nonsensical humor. If you can make your fans laugh they are much more likely to share your content and possibly let it go viral.

70-20-104) 70/20/10

Almost all the major brands that have successful social pages follow the rule of 70/20/10. That means the 70% of their content is information that is valuable to their followers in some way. This can be tips, tricks, contests, Q&A chats or anything else that does more for your customer than it does for you.  20% of your content should be shared from other sources to show that you acknowledge other companies, brands or even your fans. Share articles written by industry publications, or user submitted photos and videos. The last 10% of your content should be self-promotional. This is where you show off your products and services.  Apply this rule to your content and see it take off.

5) Customer Service

Daily upkeep of your social pages mostly includes responding to fans. Liking or encouraging good comments, answering questions and handling complaints is something that should be done often. This humanizes your brand and shows that you are active and involved with your followers. Take the time to respond to everything you get and make sure to tag the relevant people.

6) Consistancy

Quite simply, you should make sure that there is at least one post every few days on all of your social networks.  If you focus on just a few, it’s ok to post every day.  The most important thing is that you are consistently making posts so your fans know your page isn’t dead.  Take care not to over post or you’ll risk driving away your audience.

7) Storytelling

Video is a great way to tell your brand’s story. Oreo is definitely a brand who has utilized video to it’s fullest extent. They generally keep their videos simple using stop motion and viewer submitted content to engage their fans.  Your videos don’t have to be long or big productions thanks to Vine and Instagram Video.  These networks are free to use and are easy to navigate.  You can also use hashtags to categorize your posts and get your message out to a wider audience.

Four-seasons8) Capture the Seasons

As the seasons change, capture the feel of each one.  Fans know you are current and thinking about something other than your business if you play into the seasons of the year. Tie your brand or company into your messages. Change your profile picture or cover photos to keep with the changing times.

There are many ways to keep your audience engaged like the big guys do if you are willing to get a little creative. Play around with your posts to see what resonates most with your fans.  It’s all trial and error. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There really is no wrong answer on how to best connect with your followers.  Take risks and you may see them pay off in the long run.  Good luck and happy posting!

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.