Thursday, 31 December 2015

9 Ways to Use Social Media to Improve Customer Experience

Ten years ago, less than 10% of US citizens had any kind of social media presence. Now? Over 75% of Americans have social media accounts and use Internet frequently. This explosion of social media has led to our approach on marketing a new twist.
With the rapid growth of the Internet, there comes the eventual adaptation and migration of businesses going online. One of the ways they do this is by utilizing social media, a concept that has expanded and become so complicated that it is considered its own industry of employment. It is unlikely that a business dealing with customers could approach social media from a secondary viewpoint; employing someone for the express purpose of handling the company’s social media profiles is the go-to and the recommended path to take.
Check out these 9 ways to use social media to improve customer experience. Try them out and see what happens, you might be surprised with the results!
1. Use your social media page to interact with your customers.
Many businesses, seeing the usefulness of having an online presence, create a social media pages and groups on sites like Facebook or Twitter…but only use these pages to distribute promotional material or service announcements. It’s rare for a page to interact with its customers, and it is one of the biggest “features” you can add to your company. Customers love being able to rely on having reasonable contact with a business they purchase from and social media is one of the best ways to go about that today.
2. Check up on your social media page regularly.
It’s absolutely necessary to maintain your page once it’s been made. Nobody is going to follow a social media page if there is no activity and especially no sign of presence by the business. Simply put, if you go through the effort of having a social media presence, you need to check on it regularly. Daily if possible. This allows you to answer customer inquiries promptly, deal with negative feedback, and quell spam/troll posts before they blow up and alienate your customer base.
3. Link your customer service department with your social media team.
If you’re a big enough business to have a dedicated customer service representative as well as a social media manager, it might be a good idea to link these two together. Many small businesses make this happen by ensuring that there’s a single person doing both jobs, but you can also make this come about by having both the customer service team and the social media team work together with customer inquiries. They have very similar jobs, only different platforms in which they work. It’s important that the problems or solutions one team grapples with can be easily accessed by the other team.

4. Ensure that your social media team knows what your normal employees know.
There’s nothing worse than being a customer, talking to a business’ employee in their brick-and-mortar store, going online, and then receiving completely different information from the business’ social media manager. Which person is right? You won’t know…until you do some digging. This should never be the responsibility of the customer; indeed, it should be expected that the customer receives the right information on the first try. If your social media team is authorized to comment on your business policies, make sure they actually know what they are in order to avoid confusing and frustrating your customers.
5. Respond to feedback, even if it’s simplistic or without complaint.
Just like how you should actually interact with your customers when they field complaints or ask questions, it’s still important to interact with them even if there’s nothing wrong. A simple “thank you” goes a long way in encouraging customer involvement with your business online. Likewise, if you have a specialized business (such as in the arts and crafts industry), providing suggestions to customers who are venting or otherwise just chatting on your business page can encourage customer loyalty. This leads to our next point…
6. Your social media team should be acquainted with your product.
Have you ever contacted a business’ customer service department or posted a message on their social media profile, and then realize after they respond that the employee doesn’t actually know what they’re talking about? It’s frustrating and it discourages you from ever contacting the business again. Why bother since you know more than them anyways? Make sure that anybody you assign to dealing with your social media pages knows a thing or two about what your business offers. Providing training documentation is an excellent way of ensuring they get brought up to speed quickly.
7. Run social media exclusive contests.
Many businesses post coupons, flyers, and promotional material on their social media pages. Most often, these posts are simply rehashes of what can be found in their actual physical store. One way of encouraging your customers to follow and appreciate your social media presence is to offer an incentive. Online-only coupons, contests, and more can all generate customer involvement that may not ordinarily be present. It’s a quick and easy way of getting a few extra likes and even getting a few more sales.
8. Keep personal opinions quiet.
This is seen far too often. Businesses with an online presence slip up, make a personal statement on their page, and then need to deal with public backlash. This can work out in some cases, but in most it’s seen as distasteful. This can be due to simple unprofessionalism or because the business is picking the wrong time and the wrong place for their owner or employee to get up on their soap box. Generally speaking, it is safe to assume that your customer only want to read material related to your business when they visit your business’ social media pages.
9. Keep an eye on what your customers want…and give it to them
Monitoring what your customers are saying on your social media pages is a no-brainer. You have to do it. What you also have to do, however, is take what they say into consideration when you decide what to change with your social media strategy. If a large portion of your customers are commenting that they want a certain feature or element to be added to their viewing or buying experience, it may be a good idea to implement it. It breeds goodwill with your customers and lets them know that you care about what they think.
Parting Thoughts
If you’re doubting the validity of adopting some better social media practices, just remember the story of Mark Zuckerberg. He wasn’t the first person to create a social media platform. In fact, when his creation of Facebook first entered the scene, the likes of MySpace were still on top. What made his creation so much more successful? There are different answers, but one of the big components is that he listened to his users, changed the site to consistently make it more accessible to others, and ensured that it was built on a model of sustainability. As a result, Facebook saw an exponential success rate, which made Mark Zuckerberg one of the richest I.T. billionaire in world, his current net worth is $42.7 billion dollars.
Those were just 9 ways you could enhance your customers’ social media experience when it comes to interacting with your business. Do you have any more that you feel are worth sharing? Did we get something wrong? Let us know what worked for you, especially if what worked for you happens to be something shared on the list above.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Five ways to master marketing on Reddit


After years of being dismissed as the underdog of social, Reddit now rivals major platforms like Facebook. How can marketers incorporate it into their strategies and launch successful campaigns?
In the weeks leading up to the highly-anticipated recent release of Star Wars: Episode VII, consumers were in a frenzy. Coupled with Christmas, the film led to an epidemic of Internet searches as fans sought out coveted Star Wars-related toys.
From its headquarters in London, web analytics company SimilarWeb monitored the action across 200 million devices. Among its findings: LEGO was the top digital merchandiser of Star Wars toys, despite the fact that Disney owns the film franchise. What’s more, much of the company’s traffic came from Reddit.
That’s right: next to Facebook, Reddit was the second biggest driver of Star Wars shopping traffic not only to the LEGO site, but to eBay and Disney, too. According to SimilarWeb, the trend isn’t exclusive: Amazon gets a full third of its global social traffic from Reddit, a site that received a staggering 850 million visits last month.

Most marketers are well past the “What is Reddit?” stage, but let’s do a quick recap. Founded by college roommates in 2005, the “front-page of the Internet” has more than 203 million users and 7 billion monthly page views. It has grown to become the 36th most popular site in the world based on SimilarWeb’s ranking. “It’s not a dark horse anymore,” says Ari Rosenstein, SimilarWeb’s Senior Director of Corporate Marketing. “Reddit has gone mainstream.”
Yet brands continue to struggle with how to effectively work Reddit into their social marketing strategies. “The truth is, most brands and marketers are doing Reddit in a…horrible way,” Rohit Thawani, director of digital strategy at TBWA/Chiat/Day told Advertising Age last year. And that’s a problem, because Reddit isn’t just channeling traffic to retailers and brands. It’s generating salesand gaming engagement, too.
Reddit and its users are notorious for rejecting blatant advertising, so then how can marketers infiltrate it? By respecting Reddit for the unique social ecosystem that it is, and adopting these five strategies.

1. Get involved with the community

Reddit is a social network in its truest form, designed to foster and support connections and conversations. There are few other sites where authenticity is as vital as it is on Reddit, so don’t try to advertise anything unless you genuinely share the enthusiasm of the community and have something relevant to say. Don’t just create an account; become an active user. It’s the single best way to figure out what your audience is actually interested in.

2. Deliver value

That generic ad you use to promote your shoe sale on Facebook? It has no place here. Couple storytelling tactics with category expertise to engage consumers and demonstrate your brand’s worth. Talk about your business in a way that others can relate to. Think content marketing, not social media ad – or users are sure to vote you down.

3. Leverage subreddits

No matter how niche your product, there’s already a subreddit in existence discussing it or a subject that’s closely related. Skulk about and learn to speak the language before making a move. Be human. Find a way to make a real contribution, and let subject context be your guide.

4.Think twice about posting that link

Reddit advertising options include both text and link ads, and many marketers go straight for the link. Rather than push a product link on users, which may be perceived as spam, consider waiting until someone requests it. Better still, opt for visual content like images and videos, or an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) thread.

5. Know that you’re taking a risk

Let’s be blunt: many a brand has tried and failed to market itself on Reddit. Last month, REI’s CEOtook to the site with an AMA, only be criticized by his own employees. Nissan encountered some trouble back in January when users alleged that the automaker was planting questions using dummy accounts.
Before you try your hand at promoting your brand on this powerhouse of a social site, consider the possible outcomes and weigh them against the potential returns. Depending on your objectives and your familiarity with the site, you might find it’s best to hone your strategy rather than draw the short end of the stick. If you’re lucky, you’ll still have that holiday shopping traffic!

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

28 Super Easy Tips on How to Promote Your Content


Content distribution has been a BIG topic here on {grow} and around the social sphere.
As Mark’s book, The Content Code explains, “great content isn’t the finish line, it’s the starting line.”
It seems we get stuck in that rut of spending all of our creative energy and time on creating our content, and then once we hit publish we forget that we MUST work on sharing that content.
It’s not going to share itself. I’m sure you’ve been slapped in the face lately by that cold, hard fact.
So let’s break it down, people.
Here are 28 tips on how to promote your content online.

Promote Your Content On Social Media

This is probably the first place we all go.
You hit publish and your automation tools push your post out on social. And then …?
And then you forget about it and run off to the next piece.
There needs to be more planning here. CoShedule says that having a social sharing schedule will double your traffic.
Here’s what they suggest:
  1. On publish – Social message sent when blog post goes live
  2. Same day – Initial social messages trickle out to your accounts over the next 2-3 hours.
  3. Next day – Messages are shared again on the appropriate social channels.
  4. Next week – Another series of messages are pre-scheduled and sent the following week.
  5. Next month – Even more social messages are pre-scheduled for the following month.
  6. Next _____ – Additional messages can optionally be scheduled for the three-month mark or beyond.
Here’s what I do:
  1. On publish — Twitter: I schedule this through IFTTT to go out with #new, the title, and the featured image once the blog is live, it’s also pushed to Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and G+ the day it publishes
  2. Same day — Twitter: I’ll use the Click To Tweet quotes to send out a few times later the same day, but by using the quotes versus the title these have different leads and don’t seem like I’m pushing the same content over and over (I try to have at least one quote in each post)
  3. Next week — I’ll pre-schedule reoccurring tweets over the next few days, and over the next two months from my personal handle (if it’s evergreen)
  4. Next (2) months — Again, using prescheduled tweets with different leads and different images (if there are any), my posts are hitting my personal feed for a good two months
  5. Ongoing — From here I let Revive Old Post take over, which allows our evergreen content to “live forever”
Other tips:
  • Changing your lede or lead helps the content stay fresh; try to come up with three different ways to pose one title.
  • Ask questions. For instance, for this post, I could change my lead or pose a question (depending on the platform/if I had room) to say. “Are you doubling your content distribution efforts with a promo schedule?”
  • Add hashtags to help searchers find your content.
  • Tag people and ask them to weigh in (IF you have a good relationship; don’t spam peeps).
  • Use pity quotes or stats from the article as a new lead.
  • As mentioned, use Click To Tweet to create snackable, shareable bites.
  • Reference your article — WHEN RELEVANT —  in online conversations. Again, don’t be spammy.

Promote Your Content To Your List(s)

If you have a marketing list (and you should), USE IT!
Many people share weekly newsletters or several times a month. Use this as a vehicle to share your latest post(s).
Here’s what I do:
  1. We have a monthly newsletter with themes, so I only share a post from the past month if it fits with the theme we’re working with.
  2. We have a subscriber-only blog email that delivers our blog to straight to inboxes. This is a highly segmented and highly engaged list. How? We give subscriber-only gifts, such as templates, workflows, tips and other hacks, to our list that are an added bonus for the blog post’s theme. In this email we have two places with ready-to-tweet links.
Other tips:
  • Have an RSS feed set up on your blog so subscribers can add it to their aggregators.
  • If you decide to take it a step further like we did with our subscriber-only list, make sure those links a) tag your brand b) use any branded/relevant hashtags c) are trackable. We use Bitly and Click To Tweet’s link generator to make this happen.

Promote Your Content Through Syndication

Our posts are syndicated through a few platforms, like B2Community and SteamFeed.
All this means is that certain posts (nearly all) are republished on these sites with permission.
There are many sites out there that do this for free, and some that do it as a paid service (Outbrain).
Here’s what I do:
  • Research well-trafficked sites offering syndication (B2Community) and ask to be a part of the program.
  • Vet offers from sites asking to syndicate my content (SteamFeed and a few others — which are on a post-by-post basis). In some cases, I even get paid to let other sites use my contentI

Promote Your Content Through Advertising

I’ll admit that this is my weakest area. But as we ramp up with advertising efforts for our clients, I know it’s an area I need to beef up in 2016.
There are SO many ways to promote your content … here are some of the easiest/most common:
  1. Facebook ads
    • Facebook custom audiences (show ads to your list(s)
    • Facebook lookalike audiences (show ads to people similar to those people on your list(s)
  2. Remarketing ads (Facebook or Google — ads that “follow” users with cookies)
  3. Twitter ads
  4. Instagram ads
  5. Google AdWords
I’ve seen firsthand how little you have to spend on Facebook and Instagram to get results.
Now I’m going to go kick myself for procrastinating on this …
There you have it! Granted, these 28 tips are only a starting place, but a SOLID starting place if you ask me.


Monday, 28 December 2015

5 Facebook Marketing Techniques to Get Your Page Seen

5 Facebook Marketing Techniques to Get Your Page Seen

How would you like to log into Facebook each morning to see a vibrant, thriving business page?
And what if you could make new contacts daily, tapping into all that Facebook has to offer?
You can! It just takes commitment, planning, and a little know-how.
Because no matter what you’ve heard, Facebook is still a powerful marketing tool.
It can help you take your business marketing to the next level (IF you have a smart Facebook strategy in place).
Whether you need to make a few simple tweaks to your current page or perform a complete overhaul, these Facebook marketing techniques will help your page get seen.

5 Facebook Marketing Techniques to Get Your Page Seen

Tip 1: Build Out Your Bio

Just because you build a Facebook business page doesn’t mean people are going to flock to it. There are a few things you need to do to ensure people can find you and that when they do, that they want to follow you.
Your first step is to craft your bio. Create a 150 and 300 word bio for your short and long description. Here’s a great example from one of my favorite ladies (and pages), Sally Hogshead:
See how she speaks directly to the needs of her fans? Keep this in mind as you put yours together.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Add in details about your skills, talents, awards, who your perfect audience is and how you help your clients or users.
  • And don’t forget to sprinkle in keywords. These are the phrases that will help search engines and people know what you’re all about.
  • Remember, this isn’t a time to be salesy or spammy. Think useful, helpful and informational/educational about you and your company.
  • Add information that helps fans and potential customers take that next step with you. What do they need to know?
  • Think about client needs and then position the content in your bio to meet those.

Tip 2: Write a Memorable Tagline

Your next step is to create a memorable Facebook tagline.
A tagline makes your company sticky. It brands your business and leaves an indelible mark in the mind of your fans.
Just think about how some of the most popular taglines have stuck with you throughout the years. Here’s a few of my favorites.
  1. BMW    The ultimate driving machine
  2. BOSE    Better sound through research
  3. Bounty    The quicker picker-upper
  4. Capital One    What’s in your wallet?
  5. GLAD    Don’t get mad, Get GLAD
  6. M&Ms    Melts in your mouth, not in your hands
  7. Nike    Just do it
Each one of those taglines is easy to remember and simplistic in its mission.
So, how can you come up with a clear, memorable and actionable tagline for your business?
  • Pick one that you will want to keep around for a while. Make it relevant to today, tomorrow and years ahead.
  • Choose one that is easy to remember and will make people think of you every single time they hear it.
  • Share the one thing you do better than anyone else in a succinct way.
Once you’ve nailed down your tagline, add it to your page.
  • Short description box
  • Long (extended description)
  • Cover photo
  • Logo/profile picture

Tip 3: Create a Branded Cover Photo

From your Facebook graphics to your logo, videos, and cover image – create a seamless look and feel that’s a direct representation of your company.
The best place to start? With your cover photo.
It’s one of the first things people will see and a perfect place to brand your business and tell your story.
But don’t just stop there. Use it to promote your products, share what’s happening within your business and talk about upcoming events.
Here’s a mix of industry related content to get your creative juices flowing!

Scalable Social Media

Brendon Burchard

Luna Vine Wine Bar

Jenns Trends

The Blog Squad

Now that you’re feeling inspired, make sure you change out that cover often.
Take action and head over to Relay – choose the Facebook cover template and create your own unique design.

Tip 4: Add a Call to Action to Your Page

Your next stop is the Call to Action button. Here you can direct fans to a product, service, your latest webinar or even a book.
Begin by brainstorming what that next step is you’d like your fans to take.

Now look at the 7 call to action buttons:

  1. Book Now
  2. Contact Us
  3. Use App
  4. Play Game
  5. Shop Now
  6. Sign Up
  7. Watch Video
Once you know what they are and which one makes the most sense, it’s time to get one active on your page. Here are a few ideas on how to use them from social media strategist Peg Fitzpatrick.
  • Book now *for consulting calls or intro appointments*
  • Contact Us *for brick-and-mortar businesses to grab local customers*
  • Shop Now *for any service company or to drive traffic to your Etsy business*
  • Sign Up *to grow your essential email list (this should be your default!)*
  • Watch Video *could be the gold-standard choice to tell your story*
You can see what they look like in action on Peg’s page:

Tip 5: Spice Up Your Page With Video

‘Spice’ up your Facebook Page by using video.
Make sure your videos are short, entertaining, and captivating. Your goal with a video should be to leave the person who just watched it feeling like you helped them.
You should also allow them to gain insight into you and your business.Let people get to know you!
Wondering what type of videos you should create?
  • If you’re a blogger, think about the content you’ve already written. How can you repurpose that into new media?
  • Share a useful tip, offer your advice, share words of wisdom or brighten your fans day by making them laugh.
  • Talk about an upcoming event and what your fans would gain by attending or following along on your adventure.
  • If you’re a local company, video the area, local events, holiday happenings or landmark/historical areas that connect your fans to your local business.
However you choose to use video, make a plan to incorporate it consistently. Your fans will love getting a glimpse into your day to day activities.
Look at how Unbounce is using them. Create a series out of your evergreen content and boom – you’ve repurposed old content, giving it a whole new life.

Final Thoughts

The tips above might feel easy to implement, only taking a few minutes to execute.
But while they might be simple, their impact can be significant.
Take the time today to put thought into each one and transform your Facebook page from blah and boring to branded and engaging.
Which tip will you take and implement today?

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Experts Predict Greater Use of Social Media Monitoring by Marketing & PR in 2016

Increasing use of social media listening monitoring will be one of the major marketing and PR trends of 2016.
Marketers often focus on the “talking” side of communication and neglect its listening aspect. That will continue to change in the coming year. A growing number of successful case studies, better monitoring and measurement tools, a more sophisticated understanding of data analytics, and the proven value of online listening in gaining insights into market opinion will prompt more brands to become more diligent in their social media monitoring during 2016.

More marketers will listen to social media conversations and analyze the data to reach strategic decisions, experts predict. Brands will increasingly turn to social listening to resolve customer service issues, locate user-generated content, and better understand their audiences and their needs and wants.
Brands, it is predicted, will also increasingly use media monitoring services for more thorough and timely coverage of blogs, message boards and forums, and the major social media platforms including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Major social media monitoring and measurement services such as Brandwatch, NetBase, Social Studio and CyberAlert are gearing up for substantial growth in 2016. CyberAlert’s new dashboard was recently named the best new measurement technology in 2015 by The Measurement Advisor.

Obtaining Valuable Insights

“The insights gained from social media listening can often be just as valuable as the revenue generated from social media and certainly more valuable than a flippant like from a passive follower,” Davina Rapaport, Pulse and social media manager at Maersk Line, told eConsultancy.
Amir Zonozi, chief strategy officer at Zoomph, predicts higher demand for real-time marketing as brands listen for trending conversations across social media platforms. “Brands will build larger social media and digital teams to keep up with the social listening demands,” he says.
Social media monitoring is a “must have” for social media marketing budgets, says Dina Shuqom of digital marketing agency ParkerWhite, in a Business 2 Community article. By searching for certain keywords, companies can locate specific posts and conversations relevant to their business. A concrete example: A hotel can send its promotion directly to people who tweet that they are stranded at an airport and need a place to stay.
Most companies in 2016 expect to compete based on quality of customer service, not price, according to Adobe’s 2015 Digital Trends report. Experts point out that organizations can better attain superior customer service by utilizing social media monitoring to understand their audiences and provide more personalized marketing.
PR departments are also becoming more tuned to using social media monitoring and measurement services for corporate reputation management and to assess consumer sentiment about corporate messaging and business issues.

Listening Benefits for Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations will also benefit more from social media listening in 2016, writes Jeanette Russell, marketing director at, on LinkedIn Pulse.
“For nonprofits, what’s exciting about advances in social listening is that data processing is more affordable,” Russell says. “This means that causes can use a proven strategy once reserved for the largest commercial brands.”
Nonprofits have a tremendous opportunity to recruit supporters by encouraging people to reshare their messages and identifying and understanding social media influencers. By accessing the networks of their supporters, nonprofits can increase their reach exponentially.
In 2016, nonprofits will place a priority on listening to and monitoring the content shared by influencers, she predicts. Nonprofits will adopt new workflows designed to continually listen to their audiences, providing then an “always-on” engagement program.
Bottom Line: Growing use of social media monitoring and measurement will be one the major marketing trends of 2016, most experts agree. More powerful, user-friendly tools and greater use of data analytics and social media marketing strategies, such as user-generated content, influencer marketing and personalized marketing, will drive the trend.
This article was originally published on the CyberAlert blog.