Guest Post: Why Businesses Can’t Strive Without Social Media

Few years back, businesses had to seek the assistance of external agencies such as marketing and advertising research firms in order to promote the business. However, the increasing popularity of social media networks has changed the trend. Almost all the businesses nowadays prefer to use social media networks in order to engage with their marketing campaigns. The benefits delivered by social media marketing have contributed a lot towards the above mentioned fact.

Social media marketing goes hand in hand with social media optimization. That’s because it can assist a business to achieve website optimization in a convenient manner. In other words, social media marketing can increase the visibility of a specific business website on the internet. Plenty of social media channels, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube are available for the marketers to engage with their marketing campaigns. People who belong to different age categories use these social media networks on a daily basis. As a result, the businesses find it as an easy task to run targeted marketing campaigns without any frustration.

Marketers will get the opportunity to increase the sales volume at the end of the day through viral marketing. It can also be used to increase brand awareness in a convenient manner. This method of marketing is known as viral because it is passed down from one person to another with the help of social media networks. The structure of social media network creates an ideal platform for viral marketing as well. Games, video clips, images and text messages are some of the tools that are being used in viral marketing campaigns. The success of a viral marketing campaign depends on the focus group. That’s the main reason why most of the companies prefer to hire social media marketing specialists in order to run the campaigns. The amount they spend on hiring experts can be considered as an excellent investment done towards the future.

Most of the business owners prefer to integrate social media marketing into their traditional marketing campaigns. This can assist them to develop the business in a convenient manner. From the recent studies, it has been identified that a business that spends around 6 hours a week on social media marketing will be able to get 50% more exposure at the end of the day. If they can spend more time, they will end up getting a lot more benefits. Apart from this, the business owners will be able to gain more traffic towards the website, increase the number of leads and create new business partnerships.

On top of everything, the business owners do not need to spend a fortune in order to run an effective social media marketing campaign. In fact, it can be considered as the least cost-effective marketing method available for the business owners. The benefits delivered by social media marketing are definitely worth when compared to the results that can be experienced in the long run. Therefore, any business can think about running a social media marketing campaign without a doubt on mind.

With the development of technology, social media has obtained a prominent place in the lives of people. Small business owners can obtain the maximum benefits out of this platform in order to enhance their business opportunities. This article will provide four such tricks, which any small business owner can use to take their business to the next level.

Use the correct social media account: All the social media networks have opened their doors for the young entrepreneurs. Therefore, you need to create a business account instead of a personal account. When the customers look for your company on social media networks, they use your business name, not your personal name. If you have more than one business, you can maintain separate pages for each business.

Keep all the posts on topic: All the posts, photos or tweets you update from your account should be related to your business and it is recommended to stay away from posting unprofessional content. Even though it is fun to post random stuff that you see on the Internet, it can harm your brand customers will not have a great feeling towards it. It is essential to use your creativity when posting from your social media accounts. For instance, you should think from the point of customer and compile the post according to their requirements.

Use interaction in all your campaigns: If customers have the chance to interact with your business, they will tend to use your products or services occasionally and they will even recommend your business to their friends. Since social media networks are the best place to interact with others, you should take the maximum advantage out of it and take necessary measures to talk with them. For example, you can ask questions from them related to a specific part of your business.

Put a stop to controversy: Regardless of what you post from the social media profile, make sure you stay away from controversy. It is a popular topic among savvy entrepreneurs that nothing will kill your campaign, more than posting on controversial topics. You need to stay unbiased at all the times and win the hearts of customers.

The effectiveness of these four tips are proven and many small business owners have used them to make a positive impact on their business. Therefore, all the young entrepreneurs can try them without any hesitation.

Now you have a clear understanding about the role that social media networks play on businesses that exist out there in the world. All you have to do is to start looking for all possible options that are available for you to promote the business through social media. Then you will be able to figure out all the paths that are available for you to take your business to the next level, along with the assistance of social media. The time and effort you spend on it will be totally worth when compared to the benefits you can receive at the end of the day.

 

Author Bio:

Ray Sherlock is the owner of Engage Hub, a Social Media Agency in Manchester, UK. We are a social media and influencer agency who have a passion for video, engaging content and disruptive campaigns.

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Articulate Your Business Case or Lose Customers To Competitors

We Are Out of The Hype Cycle: Digital and Social Applications Must Solve Business Issues: I know when I first started to learn about social media and digital applications, I could see how they could change business. It made sense to me. I think because I am an early adopter. I’m referring to Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption curve. There’s the innovators, who create all this cool new software. And then there’s early adopters like me, that look at those innovator’s inventions and realize the impact they can make.

Having been in this business for a long time, one of the things that I realized was that not everyone can see the value of social and digital. It’s not an intuitive thing for them. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It just is what it is. And that’s why businesses (vendors) who are in the business of selling products and services really need to take a look at their product management and product sales teams. Are they organized to sell to those that “already” get the value? That’s like selling ice to eskimos. The people who get it, already bought your product.

MY POV: Where the rubber is now meeting the road is learning how to articulate the business value that digital and social applications, products and services provide. I am lucky to hear a lot of briefings on new things. However, what I am finding is that some companies need to really look at where the marketplace is in adoption of the new technology and perhaps shift some of their marketing messaging, but even more important to look at who are the persona(s) that they are developing products and services for? Are they for the early adopters? It’s a small part of the marketplace. Or is is for the early / late majority? That’s a much larger part of the marketplace.

Early Majority Want Your Help to Say Yes: And that part of that part of the marketplace (early majority) requires something different to convince them that they need this “new” product. They want to know what business challenges does it solve? They want to be shown how someone else had a “burning issue” and this product or service solved it and what the outcomes were.

If your sales pitch is not lined up that way, you maybe missing the market on the largest part of the marketplace. Don’t take it from me; reread  Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm— it’s all about changing how you market and sell as the marketplace matures. Those who do, will find prosperity and those that don’t, won’t.

Digital Disruption Transformation ChasmWhat Do You Need To Do Now? The key is to be able to articulate the business value. What is the business issue that your product or service solves? To know that, a business has to be really clear on who they are selling to. That means they need to define various personas and know what those personas face as daily challenges. They need to map out the-day-in-the-life of that professional. And they need to do this by going and talking to 10 or 20 or 100 of them. Don’t assume anything. Then align the challenges those professionals face with the solution you offer and can show an early majority person how your new “product or service” can solve their issue better than anyone else.

References, References, References: And having customer references is key, especially early majority customer references. Why? Because early majority folks convince other early majority people to take a chance at these new technology, processes and services. They believe each other more than they believe the vendor or even sometimes an analyst.

Watch Your Language: There’s lot’s of languaging issues in the current marketing of software and products / services. Almost everyone can claim to be influencing some aspect of customer experience. And by not articulating the business case of how that product or service clearly affects the bottomline, the buyer is confused and that slows the sales cycle down.

Understand Buying Signals: Your potential customers probably won’t say anything; they might say things like, “Hmmm looks interesting. Call me in a few months.” or “Send me a brochure.” NOTE TO SELF: Those are NOT buying signals. They are polite ways of saying, “I don’t have time for this; I don’t see how this applies to why my hair is on fire; I am not sure how I would apply this to what is happening in my department or company and I certainly have no idea how I am going to explain this in a business case to get my boss to say yes.

Do The Work: Don’t make your customer do the hard work. Create those business use cases. Create scenarios that the early majority can see themselves in. Articulate, even if it’s a back of the envelope calculation, the return on their investment. If you do this, it will make all the difference in your sales cycles, in your revenue and profits and your market position. If you don’t, someone else will.

Time to relook at where the marketplace is in the maturity of the digital disruption and stop all the fanatical “speak” and get down to business. At least that’s my take. What’s yours?

@DrNatalie, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

 

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Making Social Customer Care Great Marketing

Social Customer Care

Social Customer Care, simply put, has become an expectation amongst consumers. Social Customer Care is one of the most important aspects of the customer experience. Telling your community that you’re accessible on social channels delivers a strong message. Your community and supporters are online, and it is fundamentally changing how and where constituents look for support, and how they engage with you today. 

 1-9-90 Rule: Social Customer Care Is Ruled by the Lurkers

I remember when I was first on Twitter back in 2008. It seemed like a great place for customers to express their frustration. But I could see where organizations might not see the real ROI. Part of the reason is of the 1-9-90 rule. That’s a rule that is really an approximation and it goes like this: about 1% of population post in social networks, 9% respond and about 90 lurk (read, but don’t post.) Of course the ratios change for different industries, but the take-a-way is that most people read, they don’t post.

 Social Customer Care Does Matter

This lower posting (10%) rate might lead many organizations to think they are not very many people are on social networks. However, what I learned in speaking to many consumers and even B2B business buyers is that people do look and they do read. And they form an opinion of a company based on what they see. They may not post, but they do make a decision or form an opinion about a company and how it treats it’s customers. So in actuality, that 10% that post is like the tip of the iceberg, where the affect is really on the 90%. So that’s why, for organizations of any size, listening to constituents online not only presents the opportunity to uncover and address complaints and issues, but also the opportunity to learn, improve, and engage your audience in new ways to strengthen – or build new – relationships over time.

My Personal Experience With Social Customer Care and An Airline

I remember one time when I was trying to fly to London to give a speech on customer service. The plane I was supposed to take had mechanical issues and was not going to take off for a long time. If I took that flight, I would miss my speaking slot. I saw another flight that was leaving within 30 minutes to London and went to the gate to see if I could get on that flight. They said no, even though there were seats.

I then tweeted to the airline for help. They responded within 30 seconds. They asked me to Direct Message them with the issue. Low and be hold, within 5 minutes on was on that flight that the gate attendants said I could not get on. I went up to the gate attendant’s and showed them that I was on the flight they had denied me access to. They said, “How did you get on?” I said Twitter. And they were really surprised.

Realizing that gate attendants have rules and regulations they have to follow, I got why perhaps they couldn’t get me on. But I was also amazed that a tweet could over rule either the regulation or the stubbornness of those gate attendants. And I can tell you that, that experience definitely left me with a strong opinion about that airline. And it was a positive one — because when I really needed them to come through for me, they did. And it happened through social media! (And yes I made it to my speech on time! And this episode with Twitter was a large topic of conversation at that conference…)

 Come Hear More About Social Customer Care and Marketing

In June, I will be leading a panel where you dan learn how HP, Alex & Ani and Honeywell not only provide exceptional service to their customers through social channels, but how they capitalize on these interactions as a marketing opportunity. It’s at the Salesforce Connections Conference in NYC. If you are skeptical about social customer service and how it affects the brand and can actually work to your advantage as positive Marketing, please join us!

My Recommendations on Social Customer Care:

1. Start by listening using either free or paid social listening tools

2. Determine if your brand is being talked about: It could be, no one is talking about you; it could be they are and it’s negative or positive; you’ll also want to monitor your competitors to see if people are talking about them and what’s being said.

3. Once you see if anyone is talking about your company in social networks, and whether it’s positive or negative or neutral, you can then create the beginnings of a social media customer care / marketing strategy. But it all starts with listening first. You have to know if you are part of the conversation online or not.

4. If no one is talking about your brand online, then that’s when you have to figure out a strategy to begin the conversation. If the sentiment is negative, then you have to figure out why and what you can do about it. Sometimes it maybe a product defect or poor service. Those are within a brand’s control to fix. And if it’s positive, then a strategy to keep that conversation alive and positive is also required.

Social Networking is Not for the Faint of Heart.

It’s a ton of work, it’s not free and requires strategy, processes, people and technology. And the ROI is very high. Here’s some videos that will give you more info on the business return on social customer care:

• How To Measure Social Customer Care

• How Social Customer Experience and Social Media Benefit the Entire Company

* How To Build a Business Case for Social Customer Care

What’s your point of view on social customer care and how it can affect marketing and brand reputation?

@drnatalie

VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research
Covering Marketing, Sales and Customer Service to Deliver Great Customer Experiences and Keep Brand Promises
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Crimson Hexagon ForSight™ Platform Joins Forces With Hootsuite’s Engagement Platform for Better Customer Engagement & Business Insights

Crimson Hexagon, is a provider of software for social intelligence is announcing a new app integration with HootSuite, a social relationship platform. The new integration powers social engagement for enterprises, allowing customers to gain valuable business insights and competitive analysis from online conversations.

MY POV: There’s so much data out there. And data alone is not helpful unless it can provide insights. And insights and actionable decision intelligence take the right combo of technology as well as people with the right skills to truly understand how to use these applications and tools. What’s really missing is educational systems in place to increase people’s skill sets. Hootsuite has done a great job with their University, but universities and colleges are still completely behind the 8 ball. I’m fortunate that UCLA Extension and the Summer Institute for the Center of Media, Entertainment and Sports at UCLA Anderson allow me to teach digital and social media strategy and the use of technology to scale it. But most schools don’t have real digital and social programs– yet. Business schools are way behind. There’s not a job application – even those jobs that are not directly related to digital and social — want candidates to understand and know how businesses are using social and digital.

So What’s New About This Announcement Between Crimson Hexagon and Hootsuite?

Clients who are using Crimson Hexagon’s ForSight™ platform can stream social media posts directly into HootSuite. How does this help marketers and customer service professionals? To start with they can use it to engage with consumers and take action based on deep social media analysis. The integration combining Crimson Hexagon’s monitoring technologies with HootSuite’s publishing capabilities offers an opportunity to streamline workflow and increases efficiency in social monitoring and customer outreach within organizations. In addition, the application offers customizable keyword filtering and monitoring of any brand, competitor set, or topic, lending context and improved flexibility to social media analysis.

What Is the Key Difference to Crimson Hexagon Now That It’s Connected with Hootsuite?

The key difference is Crimson Hexagon is now entering into the engagement space and enhancing what their customers see and can analyze in the feed with their advanced text and audience analytics. Crimson Hexagon customers can plug their analytics directly into HootSuite streams for real-time engagement with customers and turn social data into immediate engagement. And HootSuite’s custom filters and keyword streams empower organizations to easily identify key insights in analytics for multiple business uses whether it be in social selling, customer service or marketing.

Some of the benefits of the combined Crimson Hexagon-HootSuite app integration are the ability to:

  • Access a world-class social media data library of over 450 billion posts for real-time and historical analysis of social data
  • Engage with customers and prospects in real-time through HootSuite, add data streams to gain insights on your customers, prospects and competitors
  • Apply custom filters and analytics to your data streams, including sentiment, opinion category, gender, geography and influence score
  • Enable dynamic filtering of streams within HootSuite to view posts by keyword, handles, hashtags, date range and content sources providing the most in-depth intelligence on brand sentiment and customer opinion
  • Enable location-based customer service initiatives for targeted campaigns and engagement
  • Drive efficiency and time savings associated with post tagging and post re-categorization as part of HootSuite engagement workflow
  • Discover and compare brand and topic influencers with author scoring within HootSuite

It’s an interesting new combination of technology. The real question is — do you have the strategy and the skill sets to implement it and get a business result? Technology alone is never the answer.

Skype: drnatalie007 | LinkedIn | Google+

Catch my latest:
• Thoughts at www.DrNatalieNews.com 
• Upcoming book series: “7 Steps To Digital Customer Experience Mastery” (working title) 

SAVE THE DATE!
Constellation’s 4th Annual Connected Enterprise 
The Executive Innovation Conference | October 29th-31st

Half Moon Bay, CA | Ritz Carlton

 

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E-Book: What’s Engagement? How Data Driven Marketers Are Crushing Content Marketing

drnatebook2

“What’s Engagement?” A thought provoking question marketers should ask themselves that not only instigates but also produces varied but comprehensive answers, perspectives, and insights regarding today’s best tactics of social media engagement. Here, through our free eBook of “What’s Engagement”, you will learn how to skillfully meld your company with today’s social media to best connect with your audience. But, even more importantly, HOW do the brands effectively create, introduce, and advertise content that is both engaging and sustainable to their target audience? This question is thoroughly answered within this free eBook authored by Chase McMichael, Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, Brian Carter, and over 30 notable marketing contributors.

Get all the information you need on how to effectively utilize your social media engagement and content marketing from the free “What’s Engagement” eBook today!

What’s Engagement, more specifically, will give the most adequate tactics to:

1. Effectively utilize and prioritize your Mixed Media resources such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. See what media sites are being the most used and are the most effective to garner more attention for your company.

2. Understand the importance of catering your company’s image to your target audience, adapt to consumer needs through social media to gain valuable customer opportunities.

3. Emphasize the sustainable Storydoing Method to enforce narrative rather than solely through short-lived and baited communication (storytelling) with the product or service. This will create a more proactive community and loyalty through the customers that can be further expanded using social media. It will further positively impact other standard marketing goals such as annual revenue, budget savings, growth rate and shareholders’ views.

4. Maximize the competitive advantages that Real-Time Marketing provides in comparison to the static-editorial calendar method by actively engaging with your audience.

5. Become a Leader within your industry by instigating and kickstarting conversation.

6. Obtain the insights and valued advice from top marketing leaders of all different backgrounds for the most compelling social media engagement.

And why is all this knowledge and insight valuable to you?

Social media engagement, as demonstrated through the image above, has become increasingly relevant and important within the field of today’s content marketing as an extremely invaluable tool to utilize. This has only been perpetuated from Google as they have launched moves to evolve a higher quality of content their audience receives. From the image on the right, one can see that SEO and content engineering have essentially swapped roles in importance as the impact of the social feed in today’s media has forced companies to become more attentive to the quality of material they are putting forth.

Ultimately, “We know that quantity of the content does not matter and, instead, the type and quality of the content.” Look below for a evident example of this idea.
Here, we found from our numerous responses, that Facebook Shares is the most effective method to reaching out for an audience showing the importance that content carries.

You can find more information on this interesting aspect in our What’s Engagement eBook by simply clicking here.

Executive Success Acceleration Firm
We work with brands & software companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs.
Our Motto? Learn. Share. Grow!

@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff

Want to see how to get an ROI from Social Media? Check out these fun videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media
Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Here’s My book on How Businesses can Drive Sales on Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Want to get more info on the business use of social media? Connect with me here:
Twitter:
 @drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/natalie.petouhoff

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How to Overcome Social Media Marketing Obstacles

MediaPost released the results of the Chief Marketer 2012 Social Marketing Study, a survey of marketing professionals. While 76% of respondents are currently using social media as part of their marketing, they expressed several frustrations.

SalesForce has pulled together some takeaways and resources to help marketers overcome these social media obstacles.

It’s Hard to Calculate True ROI

At 56%, this was the biggest frustration for marketers. While social media metrics on their own do not ROI make, correlating these metrics with overall business objectives will allow you to calculate the return on investment of your social media efforts. We go over the fundamentals in 7 Steps to Measuring Social Media ROI and cover seven essential equations for social media measurement. If you have more time, check out the below webinar on ROI with and be sure to download the ebook.

It’s Hard to Link Social Engagement to Sales

When linking social media metrics to sales, you need to look at conversions or the number of people who took action as a result of your social media efforts. Create landing pages and promo codes available only via Facebook or Twitter and use web analytics to help track your referral traffic. You can also cross-reference inbound leads with your social media subscribers to measure conversation rates for your customers who follow you on social media versus those who do not. A CRM system will help you track your lead sources and how many convert to sales. For more on this, download SalesForce’s ebook, 5 Steps to Effective Social Media Measurement.

Curating Content is Too Time Consuming

While some brands and agencies have full-time teams dedicated to producing content, it is an achievable goal for brands of any size. Creating content takes time, but doesn’t need to be time consuming if you delegate your resources. We give you some ideas for how to organize your social media editorial team here. If your team is small, consider having members from other departments in your organization create or collaborate on content, whether it is a blog, ebook, or webinar. You likely have lots of employees outside your marketing team who would be willing and eager to help out. Don’t rely on your internal team alone – turn to your customers and industry influencers to contribute as well.

Read the original post here!

At Social Business Builders,
we work with brands & software companies to deliver increased revenue and decreased costs.
Our Motto? Learn. Share. Grow!

@DrNatalie L. Petouhoff
310-919-8467

Want to see how to get an ROI from Social Media? Check out these fun videos:
Video 1: Building the Business Case for Social Media
Video 2: How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

Video 3: How Social Media Benefits the Whole Company

Here’s My book on Businesses can Drive Sales on Facebook: Like My Stuff: How To Monetize Your Facebook Fans

Want to get more info on the business use of social media? Connect with me here:
Twitter:
 @drnatalie
LinkedIn: DrNataliePetouhoff
G+ : Google Plus posts
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/natalie.petouhoff

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