Category Archives: social media

You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours

By Stephen Rhodes

Back scratching is at core of social media. That is, mutual back scratching.

Most small businesses that I have met are still scratching their head over the use of social media. Many are there because they feel they need to be but haven’t yet figured out that these tools – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn- are not just billboards to advertise their wares.

Three Happy Polar Bears with Santa's and Captain's hat

Eventually people will tire of your self promotion and stop reading your posts. To be effective in any of the social media platforms, you must share not only your own content but also that of people following or liking you. It’s about dialogue and not monologue- providing people an opportunity to talk to each other over shared values, emerging trends, business opportunities, even quality of service.

Online reviews, and referrals can carry enormous weight.  So, be sure to acknowledge praise when you get it and  most importantly, respond quickly and efficiently to any customer concerns or problems.

To do that you need to be scratching a few backs.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Content marketing, Customer Service, social media

Insanity is a root cause of business failures

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

A friend of mine reminded me recently that Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Yet we often  think that doing what we always do will yield better results. If you feel yourself descending into the abyss consider these few suggestions.

1.Is what you are doing to market and promote your business really working? Measure the return on your marketing investment. What works and what doesn’t? Don’t be afraid to change approaches, even midstream.

insanity2.  Survey, measure results What? Was number one a challenge because you don’t measure the success of your marketing  program.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you need to understand what is working and what isn’t, so track sales related to a specific campaign and compare those results to the cost of running the campaign. If it costs more to run the campaign than …I think you get the idea.

3. Talk with your customers Don’t be afraid to talk with your customers, that would be face to face or even on a telephone.  Or use Social Media to create dialogue. Consider a blog. Share your expertise.  Talking to your customers is a good thing.

4. Find other experts in your industry You are not alone. There are experts everywhere online and you can subscribe to any number of blogs that could be useful to your business. Go to Google blog search (http://blogsearch.google.com/ ) and search for your areas of interest.

5. Check the pulse regularly Don’t wait until it is too late to discover your business is under-performing. Set out a plan and check monthly to ensure you are on target.  If you have three months of under-performance, you need to make a change. Be nimble, monitor your business and adjust accordingly.

Leave a comment

Filed under Managing, Marketing, social media, Uncategorized

Emoticons to explain what you really mean

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Last week I said word of mouth is still the best marketing tool available and how Social Media made it exponentially easier to engage customers in the conversation.

Have you ever had a weird response, sometimes nasty, to an email and on re-reading understood how someone might misinterpret your intent?

IMG_0058Enter the emoticon.

Thirty-three years ago Sunday , a professor at Carnegie Mellon University invented the emoticon. Scott E. Fahlman, along with other members of CMU’s computer science community, used online “bulletin boards” to share information, make announcements, and chat, Fahlman recalled in a post on Carnegie Mellon’s website.

There were also a bunch of posts trying to be funny, Fahlman writes. But the members of Carnegie Mellon’s computer science community had a hard time deciphering sarcasm from more serious posts.

“If someone made a sarcastic remark, a few readers would fail to get the joke, and each of them would post a lengthy diatribe in response,” Fahlman writes. “That would stir up more people with more responses, and soon the original thread of the discussion was buried. In at least one case, a humorous remark was interpreted by someone as a serious safety warning.”

To keep this from happening, some of the group’s members decided they needed a way to mark jokes separately from more serious posts.

“After all, when using text-based online communication, we lack the body language or tone-of-voice cues that convey this information when we talk in person or on the phone,” Fahlman writes.

His solution: using 🙂 to indicate jokes and 😦 to demarcate serious posts.

Of course, it has arguably evolved since then with an emoticon or emoji for every possible sentiment.

Sometimes it’s just easier to pick up the phone. More productive too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Communications, Marketing, social media, Uncategorized

Up Periscope

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

I know, you just figured out how to use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and then along came Pinterest.

Well there’s a new kid on the block and it could have interesting implications for business.

Periscope, the live streaming video mobile app purchased by Twitter in February of 2015, has been the talk of the town since its official launch on March 26.

PeriscopePeriscope enables you to “go live” via your mobile device anytime and anywhere. The app enables you to become your own “on the go” broadcasting station, streaming video and audio to any viewers who join your broadcast.

Matt Mansfield at Small Business Trends says “Periscope is an app that truly takes advantage of its mobile platform incorporating notifications and location as well as social sharing (on Twitter of course), live discussions and feedback. A Periscope broadcast in full swing is a truly interactive event:”

If you use Twitter and have the gift of the gab, or can entice others to gab about your business, this may be a great storytelling tool. You need a Twitter account and the app downloaded to your Android or iOS device to get started.

Personal Branding Blog has some suggestions

Insider Videos

Display your knowledge by inviting your Twitter followers to see a live video of you demonstrating how your product is made, walking them through non-secure areas of your work site or even sharing a product demonstration.

Live Q&A Sessions

Invite followers to submit questions during your live broadcast. Similar to the “insider video” concept, encouraging questions on the spot is a great way to showcase your industry knowledge and your ability to communicate effectively with clients and peers.

Hold Focus Groups

Are you in the process of developing a new product or service? Periscope enables you to take advantage of live feedback instantaneously, possibly saving you both time and money. Ask users to vote on color choices, give feedback on a prototype and so much more!

Professional How Tos

Build your personal brand as an expert by offering in-the-moment how-to videos. While YouTube is currently king of the how-to, Periscope offers users the ability to ask questions and for clarification on the spot. YouTube cannot do that!

See the whole blog here.

Like all Social Media tools, you have to evaluate which is best for your business. So don’t forget to measure the results.

Leave a comment

Filed under Media, social media

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under blogging, Communications, Content marketing, social media