Category Archives: blogging

Educate, celebrate, motivate

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

You have discovered that  content marketing is the new glamour girl of online marketing. You want to get involved but you have nothing useful to say.

content mktingEducate, celebrate and motivate. Use your expertise to educate others, who can benefit from what you know. Celebrate your peers and  friends and their successes. Motivate with stories and anecdotes about people overcoming the odds.

Any combination of those three things and you are on your way to developing a content marketing strategy.

 

 

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Filed under blogging, Content marketing

Swapping spit and other marketing initiatives

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Yesterday I talked about engage, equip and empower your people in social media. Kimberly A. Whitler has lots to say in a recent Forbes article about building a conversation.

Engaging your customers is mostly like swapping spit. It involves more than just promoting your own content. Social media is about sharing, so share what you know -publish useful tips that can benefit others,retweet others and add comments to keep the dialogue going. When appropriate seek advice and always say thank you

tweetYou create a community by sharing. And, when you share it makes members of that community far more likely to share your content too. Recommend some of your followers who also provide engaging content.

Monitor and measure your social media activities There are lots of tools -Twitter analytics, Hootsuite, Klout to name a few.

Keep track of every Twitter mention and respond to them promptly.

Keep the tone of your @replies friendly, even when someone takes a shot. Be calm and try to solve the problem. Personalize the tweeter’s name in your @replies even if the mention is not aimed at getting a response from you, and acknowledge the feelings or opinions of the tweeter.

Yes it takes some work.

Some of the best at engagement.

With more than 2.8 million followers, Adidas Originals does a great job in tracking their brand mentions and replying to every tweet that gives opinions or feedback on their Twitter posts or products.

Delta Airlines and  Samsung USA have Twitter pages dedicated to customer support.Customers receive prompt help via @replies to product queries.

Coca-Cola has one of the most popular Twitter pages with more than 3 million followers. They  make a tremendous effort in acknowledging the tweets with personalized @replies.

Nike with 5 million followers and Starbucks with almost 10 million both excel at engaging their customers  even more with @replies that are very down to earth and of a much friendly tone.

Yes, big brands with lots of staff. The point is engaging customers works. Consider your resources, get to it and measure the return.

Also have a look at Reasons Why Your Followers Aren’t Engaging with Your Tweets.

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Filed under blogging, Communications, Content marketing, social media

Where Do You Leave Your Fingerprints?

JBMG_5500aBy Jeff Bowman

Our fingerprints are a sure-fire way to identify us. We leave them everywhere, and we never give a second thought to it when we touch something. The same holds true with our businesses. We are leaving our finger prints on so many things that to trying to figure out all the places they could be is an impossible task.

Now, of course this may not worry you in the least, but it is beginning to worry me. As a strategist who works with businesses every day, and tries to find the most optimum way to gain market reach and exposure, or consolidate branding messages, I am responsible for leaving those fingerprints as well. If you haven’t yet figured it out, the fingerprint I am talking about is digital, the amount of data that is left on the internet, where today, any smart phone or tablet can access it. Like the “footprints” that were the buzzword only a few years ago, we are leaving these digital fingerprints any time we put any type of information anywhere on the web.

My fear is not that my fingerprint is using up valuable resources that will someday in the future affect the next generations, but that we are getting to a point of what I refer to as “Communication Smudge”. Just touch the screen on your device and the amount of information that we are bombarded with becomes a blur. Getting a message out becomes increasingly difficult. How do you market your product or service electronically and actually get seen? It often reminds me of Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who. Our message is like the tiny world that sits atop a dust speck on the top of a clover that Horton the Elephant finds in a field.iStock_000005044123Small

Each minute the amount of “stuff” added to the web is simply astounding, and causes the “smudge”, one message just melts into the next. A recent article posted by Neil Spencer illustrates in dramatic style what gets pumped online every minute of every day, and the finger print remains eternally. Here are some highlights:

  1. Over 204,000,000 emails
  2. 48 hours of YouTube uploads
  3. 571 new websites go online
  4. 684,000 Facebook entries
  5. 100,000 tweets.

I didn’t even mention the number of blogs, “likes” and apps that are committed to internet pipelines each minute.

Where and how it will it end? I don’t know. Your digital fingerprints are helping to clog up the system. Perhaps we will reach a point where face to face interaction will once again be the norm and business intelligence won’t come from a touch screen. Pass the Windex!

 

 

 

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Filed under advertising, blogging, Communications, Facebook, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, social media

Does Your Business Respond With RAGE?

JBMG_5500aBy Jeff Bowman

Nothing says more about a company than how they respond to customer complaints. As hard as we might try to be perfect in our business, there will always be something that someone either doesn’t like or appreciate about what we do. As we all know, most people will never complain directly to you, however they will talk to everyone they know behind our corporate backs, and that is far more damaging than expressing their concerns directly in the first place.

The thing is, that business owners often don’t want to hear complaints, they don’t encourage customer interaction and often won’t acknowledge there is even an issue. Educated consumers and social media have been changing all that!  Now the “talk to their friends behind your corporate back” means involving the masses through “internet interaction”.  There have been tons of high-profile cases where social unrest bred through internet or twitter posts have led to serious issues for large corporations.  Kevin Smith vs, Southwest Airlines , Lulu Lemon’s “exposure” grew tremendously due to the web. Maritz Research recently studied Twitter complaints and found that almost 70% went unresponded to by the company being tweeted about! That is simply unacceptable in today’s business world

Conversely, the study found that 83% of the complainants that received a reply liked or loved the fact that the company responded.Liked or loved, those are some pretty strong words! I’ll bet that those companies who responded did it with RAGE.  RAGE is my acronym for Recognize, Acknowledge, Gauge and Evaluate.

To be able to recognize that there is an issue, you need to invite conversation through social media, so that consumers can hopefully talk to you first. If they like the response, chances are they will not only like it, but respond socially in a more positive light about you.

When you acknowledge, you do it with empathy and understanding.  Put yourself in the consumer’s boots and respond in a way that shows real concern and a desire to rectify the situation.

Continue to gauge social media to determine if there is more to the issue than a few scattered complaints, as well as seeing if your goodwill is gaining you points by those who you have responded to.  Is your name popping up elsewhere or are you trending?

Finally, evaluate what happened, how quickly you responded, the importance of your actions, the outcome and if there is anything else that is warranted to be done. Try to measure the increase in goodwill that occurs after the initial interaction.

Utilizing RAGE to your benefit will help you turn dissatisfaction into trust, respect and business growth.  Turn those with complaints into your company’s evangelists and turn the social media tide in your favour.

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Filed under blogging, Communications, Customer Service, Jeff Bowman, social capital, social media, Social Networking, twitter

Words and phrases we hope never to see again.

JBMG_5500a

By Jeff Bowman

2012 certainly provided us with a great number of new words and phrases which we can use to pepper our vocabulary to show we are part of the “in crowd”, “with it” or from my generation “hip”

Words and phrases from the past that we all grew to hate such as “phat”, “say what”, “this is true” and “penultimate” will hopefully be joined by the new crop of vocational gobbledygook. I do not abhor all new “wordventions”, as some of them are used to describe things that have a real purpose or are a new process or product that require a moniker of some sort, such as a “blog” What I do have a distaste for is the words and phrases coined for fads, or those destined to have a limited “shelf life”. The “one-hit wonders” of the vocabulary world.

The 38th annual List of Words to be Banished from the Queen’s English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness has announced its honour roll for 2012. For the most part “they have hit the nail on the head” and have “aced” the compilation. Look for the dastardly dozen in the following paragraph.

Spoiler alert.  Before I kick the can down the road, and cross another thing off my bucket list, I need to ensure that my finances for 2013 don’t bring me to the edge of the fiscal cliff. I don’t pretend to be a guru on business,  however  I have a passion for following what’s trending! This year nutrition has ranked highly in the news, from Superfood to boneless wings (I thought a boneless wing was simply a piece of chicken), we are left wondering what really is good for us. Seems it is all really about job creation for someone! You can double down on that one. Oh well, YOLO!

As good a job as they have done in “growing the list”, I would like to add a couple more. As much as I despised the Macarena years ago, “Gangnam Style” has taken its place on the most irritating list in my book, certainly destined to replace “The Chicken Dance” at weddings over the next 10 years! Another phrase I hope disappears is “Disclaimer of Interest”. Perhaps because I am a hockey fan, but more likely just because we have other words and phrases that promote the same message, some with much greater intensity than others!

As 2013 begins I anxiously await the first new “outside the box” addition to the English language, until then I’ll just “sit tight” and “bide my time”.  What word or phrase from 2012 would you like to be rid of?

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Filed under blogging, Communications, Invention, Jeff Bowman, Marketing