Monthly Archives: January 2016

The Secret(s) to Social Media Engagement

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social media thumb up with icons of likes and engagementsYour company social media pages are used by your customers for all different kinds of purposes: for information (content marketing anyone?), entertainment, research, discount shopping. Whatever purpose, once your customer or potential customer has “used” your social media page, they’ve moved on.

Or maybe they haven’t.

For sure, many of your customers do move on. But there’s an opportunity—a missed opportunity in many cases—to get their attention on social media, and take a potential customer to a loyal and engaged customer. How can you tell who they are? Here are the classic signs of an engaged customer:

  1. They respond by liking , favoriting, or commenting on your posts.
  2. They leave online reviews.
  3. They refer your services.
  4. They share your posts (the ultimate engagement).

Gaining engaged customers isn’t a simple, one-size-fits-all formula (if only it was), but it is under your control. If you have employees, you should make them aware that it’s under their control too.

Engagement isn’t just built on social media.

Your engaged social media customers are not just cultivated exclusively through social media interactions. Obviously, it helps, but engaged customers are also loyal customers because of your in-person, phone, and email conversations.

Provide excellent customer service.

We’ve wrote about this before in our recent post about the rules of excellent online customer service. Treat every encounter like it’s a first date. Respond to your customers promptly during business hours, and deliver the same service you provide to customers that walk in or call you on the phone.

Give them value.

Once someone has liked or followed you, what are you doing to keep their attention? Are you giving them information that’s entertaining, can answer their questions, and that they want to share with their friends? This is a two part strategy: provide relevant content and media (i.e. photos, graphics, video, etc.), which statistics show can get you significantly more engagement. Know what your customers want, and deliver.

Find your voice.

What sets your social media page apart from your competitors? Being sweet and cuddly in person doesn’t count online; find your unique voice and use it in all your marketing materials.

Make them want more.

Social media marketing is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Provide regular, relevant information for optimal social media results—or hire a company that can.

7 of Our Top Tips for Companies New to Online Marketing

Online Marketing Pyramid Has Blogs Websites Social Media And Email ListsYou’ve heard all the online marketing buzz terms: social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing…and you’re ready to jump on board. You’ve heard about the results that other companies are getting using the internet and you’re ready to start using all the online marketing tools to market your company.

But are you really ready?

The world of internet marketing is not as intimidating as it seems, but it is an unknown that won’t yield results if you blindly jump in. On top of that, it’s also always evolving and changing as technology advances. So where do you start? We’ve compiled a list of some of the top tips we’d give to anyone ready to start using these valuable tools—in fact, we’ve given them to our own rookie clients.

Know what you want to achieve.

Don’t jump into online marketing without a goal. Your goals could include increase website traffic, online conversions, customer engagement…your goal is specific to your business. Once you’ve set your goals, create a calendar that matches your promotions and audience.

Target your efforts.

Online marketing is all about starting a conversation with your audience. Know who you’re talking to, and how they want you to talk with them. Select a voice that fits the demographic of your audience and your industry, and use that voice in all of your materials. Next, choose the online channels where your audience converses so you don’t waste your time throwing a million proverbial darts without hitting very much of the target.

Don’t treat online customer service different than in-person service.

If someone comes into your store, or calls you on the phone, you answer their questions promptly and courteously. Treat the service you deliver from your website and social media the same way, and follow these six rules for delivering excellent customer service.

PLEASE integrate all your marketing.

Online marketing may be the big unknown, but it’s not a stand-alone effort. Treat your online marketing efforts like you (hopefully) are treating all your mail and radio ads: integrated with one consistent voice. For example, if you are putting together an ad for the local papers, post those same deals on social media. Don’t worry about your audience getting the information too much; today’s customers receive their information from different channels. Your job is to be on all those channels with coordinated information and one clear, consistent voice for optimal brand awareness.

You have to commit to online marketing, and stick to it.

Online marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Once you jump into online marketing, expect to allocate time to writing quality content, scheduling strategic social media posts, answering messages, and locating high impact images. Online marketing results occur from regular work, so don’t give up. If you don’t have time to keep up, outsource your efforts and give the company the necessary information they need to market your business.

Don’t use social media and content marketing as another advertising space.

You don’t get results in online marketing like you do in advertising. Internet marketing is more subtle. You’re trying to build trust, and you’re not going to get that by screaming at them. Instead, entertain them (if appropriate). Build a relationship with them. Give them information. Answer the questions they ask on the phone and in person. Provide customer service.

You don’t have to do it all.

There’s no shame or blame in handing your online marketing efforts over to the professionals. Contact a company that can supplement or manage all your online marketing efforts. Use our do’s and don’ts of outsourcing to get the most out of your marketing company—and to achieve the online marketing results you’re always hearing about.

The Question You Should Ask Before Writing Any Content

Businessman sitting at table and screaming in megaphone on laptop while content marketingSometimes the most basic knowledge you know is actually very advanced.

I was reminded of this the other day.

I was discussing content marketing with a colleague. We were talking about his ideas for his new website blog which he was very excited about. Every sentence he started with, “People should know…”

Honestly, his comments made me cringe even though I admired his enthusiasm. The basis of content marketing is to build trust—a goal that can be accomplished by knowing who your audience is, and writing for them.

If you write every piece for your audience, you’ll accomplish this. But if you take a “people should know” and “I need to tell them” approach, you have to be careful not to write AT them. When you’re writing, ask yourself “what do they want to know?”

Do you see the difference?

A well-written content marketing piece isn’t what you want them to know, but based on what they want to know, and how you can help them. It seems like a small difference, but you get the best results when you write for the searcher’s intent—the reason they’re reading your piece in the first place.

Know your audience’s pain points, and write for them. Choose topics they want to know about (we’ve given you ideas for your posts in our recent post), and answer their questions in your content. If you can’t do that—and there are managers that can’t—hire a marketing company with professional writers that can.  If you can do that every time, you’ll provide a form of customer service that your customers appreciate, and in turn you’ll build their trust (and sales). So put down the content marketing megaphone—you and your audience will appreciate it.