Tag Archives: twitter

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.


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Filed under Content marketing, Customer Service, 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.

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Filed under blogging, Communications, Content marketing, social media

Lost in the new world of advertising

By Stephen Rhodes

More and more, I hear clients talk about being lost when it comes to the latest trends in marketing, meaning, of course, social media.

It reminds me of the mid 90s when many small businesses migrated to the Internet because…well because they thought they had to be hip. Many jumped on board without much consideration for why they were among the newly converted or how it would help their business. “We gotta be there,” was the mantra in many boardrooms. Some are still trying to figure it out.

The same thing is happening today with social media. Businesses are setting up Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Flickr and even YouTube accounts without so much as a …how will this help our business grow?  “We gotta be there” is still the clarion call.

Advertising hasn’t changed much in 100 years. It’s still about  attracting attention, engaging minds, triggering  emotions, and changing the way people think. If you can do that you will generate sales.

What has changed is the delivery methodology.

If you want to influence behavior there is a spectrum of tools including direct mail, newspaper and magazine ads, commercial websites, radio and TV, and, of course, social media – the new darling of marketing.

The key is knowing which tool(s) works best for you. And not all tools will be effective for your business. I have a client who can track new sales every time we deliver a direct mail piece to a group of targeted clients. The key word here is targeted, often lost among the “I gotta be hip” crowd. But the point is, direct mail works for him, and he can see (measure) the return on his investment.

First and foremost is understanding your customers. Who are they and how can you reach them is the pivotal question. What do you have that they want. (the what’s in it for me question) Can I build an ongoing relationship and how can I capitalize on that to build an even bigger customer base.

These are questions you should ask every day.

Don’t get me wrong. Social Media is the future of marketing and communications. Building your own group of followers, a community of customers, all engaged and part of your business is a powerful opportunity to communicate a targeted message.

But take a measured approach. Who is your customer, what message do you want to deliver and what is the best way to get it there? Some things never change.

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Check your marketing pulse

By Stephen Rhodes

Sometimes we think that doing what we always do will yield better results. Often, doing what we always do yields the same results and if you are not happy with those results you need to change things.

Here are five things to think about as you enter a new calendar year.

1. Review your past year for what did and didn’t work.

It’s simple, if you measure the return on your marketing program. Have a look at what worked and what didn’t. Common sense should tell us to stick with the things that are working, and try new things in place of those that are not. Don’t beat a dead horse.

2. Develop a program to measure success. Survey, measure results, ask your customers.

Ok, so you couldn’t complete the first assignment above 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. Look at new ways to create a dialogue with your customers. Twitter perhaps.

Some business owners are afraid to talk to their customers and that’s why social networking tools like Twitter are unattractive. Developing an ongoing dialogue with your customers can help you retool the business on the fly, responding specifically to needs identified by your customer. Try it, it’s addictive. Talking to your customers is a good thing.

4. Find bloggers in your industry and subscribe to their musings for new ideas.

You are not alone in your sphere of influence. 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. You can subscribe through a reader or simply have the material delivered to your email inbox.

5. Set out a measurable plan for the year and check the pulse monthly.

Don’t wait until December to find out that 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. Better you do this in March than November. Be nimble, monitor your business and adjust accordingly.

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Face time and the whites of their eyes

By Stephen Rhodes

It’s easy to get caught up in the hurley burley of Web 2.0, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

When sitting at your desk,  looking for creative ways to invade the online world with your message, it’s sometimes easy to forget that these great tools can’t replace good old-fashion face time when it comes to generating business.

Wikepedia actually has a definition for Face time:

an interaction or contact between two or more people at the same time and physical location. Face time therefore occurs in real life and contrasts primarily with interaction or contact which occurs over distance (eg. via telephone) and/or electronically (eg. via email, instant messaging, e-commerce or some other computer communication.”

Wow, a little clinical, but a good reminder that it involves people in close proximity. Face time has in fact entered the vernacular because there are an increasing number of people who don’t do it, relying instead on some electronic engagement for business communications.

So, if you build your business around the Web, Twitter and Facebook and never actually see another human being, is it still a business? I guess that depends on your standard of measurement. I have never met anyone at Amazon or Chapters-Indigo but I buy lots of products. I buy on the strength of referrals from friends I do trust. “There’s a great book you should read….”

However,  I can’t imagine buying professional services without first meeting someone face to face.

For me, spinning messages online to 1100 followers is not  the same as pitching someone in person.  Did their eyes flicker, did they bite their lip, are their arms crossed? Did they look happy, sad, or  indifferent?

Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I still like to see the whites of their eyes.

What do you think?

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