Category Archives: Social Selling

4 “Not So Obvious” Reasons Good Content Curation Is Important

We all know, or at least you should, that having enough relevant, selfless, valuable content in your streams is highly important. Curating great content from sources outside of your own, in large enough quantities on a daily basis is the center of any effective Reasons Good Content Curation Is Importantsocial media marketing strategy. That selfless value provided to your audience is what tends to spark conversations, establish thought leadership on various topics and earns you the right to “pitch” your stuff.

Beyond the more clear reasons that curated content is effective and used by so many in social media, there are a few not so obvious reasons that you need to be aware of. Understanding these additional objectives when curating enough content in your streams will help you expand what you are doing and the results you can achieve.

But first, what do we mean by “good” content curation?

1) Enough volume in your streams every day, all day. For example, if you don’t have 20 posts a day on Twitter, you’re not being seen much. People aren’t logged in all day watching their newsfeeds, so you have to ensure no matter when they login on any network, one of your curated posts fly by. More about posting quantity

2) Relevant – The content you curate into your streams should be focused on the 3-5 topics that drive your audience when they’re on social media. What are THEY interested in? What drives them to click, comment and like? It’s not about you and what you do, it’s about them and their interests.

3) Unique – The curated content you post in your streams will get the best results if it’s “off the beaten path”. In other words, don’t share the same popular content and sources as everyone else. Be sure the content you curate in your streams is unique and not something your audience has likely already seen, read and shared themselves. You may also want to check competitors streams to ensure your topical curated content is unique from the sources, sites and authors that you are sharing.

So let’s get a little deeper and discuss other human responses that normally occur when your content curation is really good.

4 Not So Obvious Reasons Good Content Curation is Important

Timeline Checks – New connections that you friend or follow often first check your timeline before accepting your request or following back. When your social streams are consistently full of interesting, relevant content, no matter when a prospective connection happens to check your timeline, they will see value and accept/follow back at a MUCH higher percentage than if you don’t have good, consistent content curation in effect.

Attraction – A huge advantage to the proper execution of a great content strategy is attraction. Nailing your topical curation strategy and executing it every day, all day will result in more of your target audience finding YOU. As your consistency and strategy align, you will grow an extremely targeted community at a much faster pace.

Under The Hood – Really good content curation will spark conversations with your audience. If it doesn’t, your strategy or topics are off and you need to make adjustments to your topics, sources and volumes.

You want your audience to learn that no matter when they look, your streams will always have something valuable for them. When you’ve got it right, conversations will result. As your conversations increase, you build relationships and get your connections to want to know more about you. Most do so by clicking to view your bio on that specific social network.

Click – If you’re properly curating, attracting and engaging with the right audience AND your bio is well thought out, it can also drive your connections to click-through to your site from your bio.

Do you see the natural relationship flow that content curation done well can facilitate in your social media marketing?

Do you understand the nuances that proper social media management can achieve?

What changes do you need to make in your social media execution to leverage human behavior to improve your results?

These not so obvious advantages to exceptional, consistent and valuable content curation represent the culmination of what is called social selling. Understand the underlying human activity the typical social network user completes as a normal course of what we discuss in this post, then take the time and effort to ensure your targeting, strategy, quantity and consistency are inline to realize the additional benefits consciously.

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Filed under Community, Content, Curation, Engagement, Followers, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Strategy

Part 2 – 18 Amateur Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

More Amateur social media mistakes to avoidIn Part 1 of our series on Amateur Social Media Marketing fails, we covered some of the more common mistakes we see on a daily basis. We are continuing our series with an additional nine mistakes that you really should avoid.

Again, we want to reiterate that this post is specifically for those that are using social media for marketing. We also want to restate that there are no steadfast rules to social media marketing, just best practices.

Everything in this post is designed to educate you on things that you may want to avoid and provide you with the details as to why.

 

Here are the 9 additional amateur social media fails:

10) Inviting Followers to Connect Somewhere Else - Someone walks into your store and someone on your staff tells them, “hey, it would be great if you went to our OTHER location on 5th street.”  How well do you think that will go over with your customer? If you wouldn’t do it real life, don’t do it in social media.

Your new connection has connected with you where THEY wanted to. Make the connection valuable and interesting enough for them to WANT to visit your other connection points.

11) Not Following Others - You’re so cool that you don’t care about anyone else but yourself? #FAIL When I see a social account that has thousands of followers/friends, yet follows very few of them back, I run!

There are typically only three reasons that they do this:

a) They’ve purchased friends/followers/likes to appear important.

b) They think they are really important and it’s all about them. (they don’t care about anyone else)

c) They have no clue about social media marketing -or- relationships.

12) Mass Event Invites - So you have a new event and you want everyone to be there so you click to invite people on your friends list. STOP! It is more than acceptable to invite people to your event that you have a relationship with and/or are in the city/state of the event you are promoting, but mass inviting your entire “friends” list is a huge fail.

Would you send invitations to everyone in your address book to a local Christmas party you are holding at your home?  If you answered yes, we really need to talk…

13) Cold Facebook Page Invites - Nearly identical fail to number twelve is mass inviting people to you or your clients Facebook page. If we had a dollar for every time we had been invited to like a page for a company that is thousands of miles away from us, about a product or topic we have no interest in, or from a person that has never engaged with us in any way, we would be driving a Bentley.

Build relationships first and earn the right to pitch what you do, your other social properties and events, etc. – And for the love of everything that is Holy, target your invites to people who are geographically or demographically appropriate! (*takes deep breath)

14) Cold Group/Community Invites - Groups and communities are great for some people and niche topics, but remember that many others don’t think so. Before you invite someone to your group or community, be sure they want to be in it. Recognize that the notifications and noise that many groups generate are much more than individuals want every day. It’s not about YOU!

Build relationships with people you would like in your group and ask them if they’d like to join. Randomly inviting people to your group is such bad form and annoying to most. You’re showing your newbie again.

15) Falling Asleep - Ok, not literally, but figuratively. The best way to kill your social media engagement is to not respond when mentioned. On the same note, the slower you DO respond, the less effective you are going to be.

16) TrueTwit Validation - Probably one of the biggest Twitter newbie fails is TrueTwit. Imagine starting out a relationship with a new connection telling them that you don’t trust them and you are also too lazy to look at their bio to determine if they’re real or not. THAT’s what you are doing by using the TrueTwit app.

Read more on the fail that is TrueTwit click here

17) Klout Focused - So you got Klout game? So what… We suggest that you spend far less time focusing on your Klout score (which can easily be gamed and has no relevance to your social media marketing skill, ability or results) and focus your time on actually getting real results.

Because you have a number that makes you feel important, does not change your pocketbook. Focus on real results and the things that you should be doing to get them.

18) Cluster Posting - Since social media marketing is not your “real focus” and you’re awful busy, posting 22 pictures in a row on Instagram every morning, 14 Twitter posts that same hour and 8 Facebook posts that afternoon makes sense. At least you got your required number of posts done today, right? Not so fast.

Cluster posting as we like to call it is kind of like the person at the dinner party that never shuts up, takes over every conversation and makes everything about them. Don’t be that person. Spread your posts out across the entire day, every day. Do it consciously, with intent. You’ll lose less connections, frustrate fewer people and most importantly get way better results!

Wrapping It Up

You really need to understand the why surrounding what you are doing in your social media marketing, not just the what. Understand the effect your activity has on your connections and the things you should really avoid doing. If you are just doing something because you saw someone else do it can be a recipe for disaster.

Did you miss Part 1? Read it Here

What stood out to you in this series? Is there anything you disagree with?

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Filed under Engagement, FAIL, Followers, influence, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

18 Amateur Social Media Marketing Mistakes To Avoid – Part 1

Social media marketing isn’t rocket science, however there are an incredible amount of details, nuances and procedures that not only take time to understand, they’re changing on a daily basis. If you’re using social media for marketing, you are constantly bombarded with tools, activities and methods from thousands of people. Without knowing, we often replicate what we see others doing without regard for that persons experience, methodology or effectiveness.

This post is designed for anyone attempting to use social media for marketing. If you are a happy social networker that could care less about the marketing elements of this space, this is definitely not the post for you.

Amateur social media mistakes to avoidThough there are no specific “rules” to social media marketing, there are best practices, methods or procedures that are considered to be proper etiquette or conversely, actions that are just plain amateur. You are free to use social networks in any way you choose, but you need to understand that the activities you employ and the conduct you display says an awful lot about you, your experience, professionalism and real understanding of what social media marketing is.

One of the most frustrating things about some of these mistakes is that many that claim to be social media experts, consultants and coaches make them every single day. It never ceases to amaze us how when the inexperienced are leading the less experienced, a large population of ineffective marketers result.

In an effort to avoid furthering ineffective activity, we have put together a short list of amatuer mistakes that we see on a daily basis. Following are the first nine, which represent some of the most common newbie mistakes we see all too frequently.

Are you making any of these amateur social media fails?

1) Automated DM Pitch - We just met (connected) and you’re already trying to take us to bed? Date a little before doing beginner things like this.

2) Spam Tagging - Don’t tag people in posts that pitch your stuff or link them to your blog post. Just like in the real world, you need to EARN the right to share your stuff.

3) Group Tagging - I know you’re busy, but there’s nothing at all personal about tagging 12 people in a post to thank them all at once for sharing your post. This not only won’t build a relationship with any of them, it won’t make them want to share your stuff much longer if they’re simply grouped up with a bunch of others.

4) Keyword Spam Tagging - This is one of the biggest social media marketing fails of all. Searching for a specific keyword/phrase used in posts on a social network, then based on the keyword, tagging the account in your sales message.

Social media requires relationships and conversations. If you don’t know someone who is using a keyword or hashtag or have not yet built a relationship with them, it’s no different from sending cold spam emails. Don’t do it!

(BTW – we ALWAYS report and block for spam like this)

5) Automated Engagement/Responders - Social automation is required to be effective and efficient. However, automating “engagement-like” messages to your stream is simply amateur and everyone can tell it’s automated. It’s like being in the first century and screaming into a crowd that you have leprosy. Nobody wants to be around you.

6) Automated “Newspaper” Posts - Lazy much? Automating these useless things to your stream and tagging people in them provides what value?

Posting that something someone tweeted was so good you added it to your “rebel page”? Really? Why would I want it there and not shared or RT’d on the platform in which I posted it. If you think you’re doing anyone a favor, you should think again.

7) Automated “Top Influencer” Posts - This one seems to be used most by folks that have no strategy and really put little effort into their social media marketing. Tagging people who you never engage with in order to claim how cool, influential or engaging they are isn’t very helpful to anyone. In fact, everyone knows it’s automated and you never engage or do much else on social media anyway. We don’t recommend it.

8) Cryptic Bio - Imagine going to a live networking event and you meet someone for the first time. You ask them what they do and they avoid the question or give you a lot of cryptic gibberish. Trust is immediately in question and you will tend not to engage in a conversation with them much further.

Be clear and tell people who you are and what you do. This builds initial trust and will increase social selling opportunities that come to you automatically.

9) No Name In Bio - People connect with people, not small brands and logo’s they’ve never heard of. Now we know you are very proud of your company and want it to be huge like Starbucks or Pepsi, but you’re not yet. So treat your Twitter profile as if you are attending a live networking event. You wouldn’t put “ABC Company” on your name tag, would you? Tell people your name so they can connect with a human. Do it right and they’ll want to know what ABC Company does.

We continued with Part 2 of our post and you can Read Part 2 now. In the meantime, consider these 9 best practices and upgrade your executional efforts to things that will actually get real results.

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Filed under Engagement, FAIL, Followers, influence, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Strategy, Twitter

100% Year Over Year Sales Growth Exclusively Through Social Media – You Can Too!

Is it possible for a small startup company with little funding to succeed exclusively through social media marketing?

Can social media really achieve ROI (return on investment) no matter how crowded their industry space is?

The question of ROI, huge sales and revenue growth for an organization built exclusively on social media marketing as its one and only marketing channel is constantly a topic of discussion online. Many are now writing articles that suggest a change of focus toward less measurable things like branding, exposure or some other old school marketing lingo that simply replaces real results with a lot of flashy terminology.

100 percent sales, revenue and user growth The answer is a definitive YES!  You can get ROI and more than 100% sales and revenue growth each year. How do we know? We’ve done it. We would like to make it official.

Today Bundle Post is announcing that it has achieved over 100% sales, revenue and user base growth in less than 12 months!

Do you think we are a little excited? Of course we are. shouldn’t we be? We have not even done a single social or online ad whatsoever.

You can do this too!

So the question becomes, how does a social media technology startup that is self-funded and in one of the most crowded spaces online compete with companies that have millions in venture funding?

Below you will find six keys to an effective social media program. We also include links to more detail on specific items within each section. So let’s take a peek under the hood…

1) Start Early -

You can’t wait to start your social media marketing when you have your site, product or ducks all nicely in a row. You need to have built a community well before you launch your actual product or service if you are going to be effective launching it in social media. So you have to start early and build a community that knows you BEFORE you are ready to go to market.

Already launched, now what?

If you have already launched your company or service, you’ve GOT to work over time. Growing your community size is every bit important as anything else in social media. This has to be a constant and active part of what you are doing.

WHY?

You have to have a large enough audience to make social media effective. Think of radio or TV advertising. Although it is mass market, direct advertising and anything but social, it’s about the numbers. Social media marketing is about the numbers too, but not only the numbers. It’s also social. You must find your target audience and connect with them. In essence you need to take an active role in growing your audience on a daily basis and not just building your profiles and hoping they will come.

But this alone doesn’t make social media effective. It’s just a single spoke in the wheel.

2) Stay Consistent - In social media, there is nothing more important than consistency. Just like in sports, if a team is really good at something, but not consistently, they struggle to win. You need to be consistent will all of your social media components if you expect to see results.

Here are a few things to be consistent at:

  • Selfless Value – Share enough relevant, valuable content every day, all day that is interesting to your target audience.
  • Be Grateful – Thank people who share your posts. Do it always and do it quickly.

3) Strategy – You need to know exactly where you are going and how you indeed on getting there. Get this wrong and you’ll be in trouble. You need to get it right and stick to it! In social, we call that strategy.

Know these 5 things:

  • What is the specific and realistic objective of your social media program.
  • Who exactly are you trying to reach. (no time to be general. Think geographic, psychographic and demographic)
  • What are they interested in? (that’s what you need to post content about)
  • What brands/people have already built a following of your intended audience? (Follow their following)
  • How often do I plan to proactively engage with my intended audience DAILY?

4) Always Respond -

One of the biggest mistakes we see being made in social media is slow or no response from accounts. When you are mentioned, tagged or your posts are shared, you not only need to respond, but you need to do it rapidly. When someone engages with your brand or content you posted, they are there, right at that moment. Missing the opportunity to have a conversation is limited by the length of time you take to respond.

Ignoring connections that engage with your brand is a death sentence. Over time, they stop. Do this at your own peril.

5) Be Known For Something -

You don’t just DO social media and magically get results. Having an effective social media program involves really understanding your audience, the topics that interest them and the challenges they have that you help with. If you truly understand these things about your potential and current customers, you will know the topics you need to be known for posting about. This is called “thought leadership” in social media.

Beyond subject matters, be known for your engagement, gratitude and response. Better yet, follow our lead and also be known for your Customer Support. We are constantly and publicly acknowledged for our support response, willingness to help and hands on approach. Mimic this and make it not only a priority, but part of your company culture. You will thank me later.

6) Earn Relationships -

Before you start posting your marketing stuff in your feeds, be sure you have real, selfless value in them. A small percentage of what you post on a daily basis should be about you and what you do. The largest number of posts should be what we discussed in number 2 above. Curate content that is valuable to your audience and earn the right to pitch your wares by first doing that and responding to the conversations that result.

Building relationships is a process. Providing selfless value is the method. ~ @fondalo

Does this seem like a lot? Well, it is. There’s an enormous amount involved in running an effective social media marketing program. Your social media management, tools and workflow are the essential components that must work together effortlessly. For us and many other social media marketers, brands and agencies, Bundle Post is the glue that makes them all converge.

If you’d like a live demo of Bundle Post in action and a one on one social media marketing consultation, hit us up on Twitter @BundlePost

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Filed under Agency, Brand, Bundle Post, Content, Curation, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Management, Social Media ROI, social media tool, Social Selling, Strategy, Tools, Twitter

Social Media Conversations That Become Leads

Conversations within social media is what builds relationships. Those resulting relationships are what lay the foundations for real results like sales, revenue and customer acquisition. But the question I hear most often is “How do you get into conversations that become leads?”

Social media conversations that become leadsOne way to get into conversations is to simply start them with others. For brands this is an infinitely more difficult task given the resources required, the restrictions of certain social networks and simply time. This doesn’t scale well and therefore is often only a small part of a social strategy long-term. Starting conversations with your target audience is effective, but requires massive resources to pull it off with anything resembling return on investment (ROI).

Another and more frequently used approach to starting conversations is something I call luring.

I frequently use analogies to correlate social media marketing to things that most people already understand. I find that many comprehend some of the complexities of social media much better this way. So let’s look at social media engagement or social selling as fishing.

Lure, luring, fishing. Get it?

If you agree that “Content leads to conversations, conversations build relationships and relationships result in ROI“, then we can equate content to a fishing lure and getting a bite on the line as a conversation. The reason for a fishing lure is to attract and catch fish. Different sizes and types of lures are designed to attract different types and sizes of fish. Therefore the right content, created and curated (the lure) in your streams will attract a certain type of prospect and therefore increase the chances that they share, comment or like the content you post (the bite).

Furthering our analogy, if you don’t cast enough times on the day you are fishing, you greatly reduce your chances of getting any bites. Casting your lure into the lake only a few times will likely result in no fish being attracted to your lure. You have to keep casting, reeling in and casting again in order to increase the odds that a fish will even see your lure, let alone be attracted to it. This is why having enough consistent, relevant, valuable content in your streams is so important.

This gets even complex when there are numerous types of fish in the lake, but you’re only interested in catching a specific kind. Now you have to consider WHICH lures (content subject matter) are best to attract that specific type of fish and also how many times you need to be casting and reeling in your lure each and every day in order to get a bite. If you want to attract fish that have a higher propensity to engage with you from the content you post, focus on curating content that highlights the challenges that your product and service solves for your target audience.

5 Social Media Ways To Foster Conversations With The Right Audience -

  1. Enough Posts (Casting) – social network users are logging on and off, and switching from desktop to mobile all day long. If you do not have enough posts all day, every day, you’re likely to be seen less.
  2. Content Type (The Lure) – Whether you are curating or creating content, you need to ensure that what you are posting is relevant and interesting to your target audience. Know what THEY are interested in and post about those topics. This is what will get them to engage YOU.
  3. Crowded Waters – Just because an article is popular or comes from a popular site, doesn’t mean you should post it in your streams. In fact, I would say that in most cases the opposite it true. Sharing content that everyone has already seen, read and shared themselves is hardly an effective strategy. If your peers and competitors are fishing in the same cove of the lake, grab your fishing pole and fish somewhere else where this fish see less of the same lures.
  4. Create Lures – Along with posting curated content, you should also be creating content. Think of this as the experienced fly fisherman that ties their own flies. Know your intended audience (fish) and what they’re interested in and create content that connects their needs, challenges and interests with what you do, without overtly pitching your product or service.
  5. Leads – When you have a “fish on” (conversation started) don’t reel it in as fast as humanly possible. Take the time to expand the conversation around your contact without immediately moving to what you do. Building relationships over time is what gets results. Getting a bite and immediately attempting to land the fish is a great way to rip the hook out and lose the fish altogether.

At the end of the day, social media marketing lead generation is not dissimilar to the real world. Relationships take time and often require many conversations to build trust. Taking the time to earn that trust will open doors to discuss what you do with your connections and turn relationships into leads.

If you’re having the right conversations with the right connections, your conversations will become leads.

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Filed under Brand, Community, Content, content creation, Curation, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Uncategorized

The Drastic Difference Between Social Selling And Spam

Social Selling continues to gain popularity as a term and an action within the social media marketing space. Social selling has many definitions, but I like the one by @JulioVisko in a Social Media Today article from 2012 that says “staying connected with your prospects and build a relationship with them that goes beyond a vendor toward a trusted advisor.” The key word here is relationship, not selling, something often misunderstand by online marketers and brands alike.

Correct me if I am wrong, but we are all experiencing an increase in Social Selling VS Spamwhat I consider to be the opposite of social selling, under the guise of the often misunderstood phrase. Many newer social media applications are gaining popularity that purport to “find prospects that need your product/service and automate or suggest responses” that supposedly increase “engagement” and sales. Sounds really good, doesn’t it? Not so fast.

All, if not most of these applications are developed by gear-heads that have incredible programming skills, but little to no social media marketing experience or understanding. What results is the numerous @ mentions we are all experiencing when we tweet a specific word or phrase from brands, marketers and twitter accounts we have had ZERO engagement with. It’s simply a search for and respond with function that fills the social graph with noise, frustration and inappropriate sales messaging that has nothing to do with social.

Recently I had a Skype call with the CEO of one such technology company. The demo and call didn’t go very well as you can imagine, and actually degraded into an argument over what social media marketing actually is. This brilliant programmer’s company has tons of logo’s of major brand customers and news sites “validating” how awesome his technology is, which magnifies the problem even further. The individual argued that it is perfectly fine for brands and marketers to use technology to find “prospects” and @ mention them with a specific offer of their products, even if they have never followed, engaged or connected with the twitter account previously.

Well, I vehemently and respectfully disagree. Where I come from, we call that spam. You know, the unwanted and unrequested direct contact by a person or brand you don’t know, soliciting a product or service you did not want information about. Easily recognized in our email inbox, yet regrettably it is overlooked as acceptable by the inexperienced in social media.

What is social selling and how do you do it properly?

In a word, social selling is relationships. It is derived from connections and conversations within social networks with prospects for your products and services that start and end around building a long-term relationship. It is providing selfless value to your prospect community and earning the opportunity to “pitch” what you do.

Can you target prospects in social selling?

Absolutely you can and SHOULD! Use tools, searches and hashtags to find your target audience or prospects that need what you do, then connect and communicate with them about anything other than what you do. Show interest in them and what they do and most importantly ensure that the content you are sharing is interesting and relevant to THEM, not exclusively pitching what you do.

Social selling and spam are at opposite ends of the spectrum of effective social media marketing.

One is targeted, sustainable and long-term, one is not.

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Filed under App, Brand, Community, Hashtag, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Spam, Twitter

Customer Service “IS” Sales In Social Media – 2 Examples and 3 Tips

Customer service is at the core of effective social media marketing. The beginning of effective customer service is  listening to your customers and prospects, but more than that, it’s showing that you’re listening by responding. Even further, it’s responding in real-time that delivers the message of responsiveness, authenticity, priority and that the your connections are important. Taking it all the way to an end game, proper social media customer service actually results in sales, WHEN DONE RIGHT.

Don’t believe it? Here’s one example of the right idea that misses the mark.

(I apologize early in the post for the numerous graphics, but I felt it was important to show actual threads and engagement that depict the points we are covering.)

Example 1:

Last week I had some tire trouble. Specifically, I had a leak in one of the rear tires and had to get it resolved because it would no longer hold pressure. I tweeted about it and headed off to Les Schwab to get it handled. As usual, Les Bad Social Media CustomerServiceSchwab (on site) has fabulous customer service and quickly removed the nail and got me on my way after pointing out another issue with my front tires. With no time to have the front tire issue handled that day, I got back to the office to get back on schedule.

Later that day, another Oregon tire company jumped in to check on me via Twitter. Being a social media professional I really dig attentive brands and eagerly responded about the situation. I loved that they were watching for opportunities that make sense to make a connection, but my enthusiasm didn’t last.

They took three days to respond to my reply and dropped me like I was hot. No attempt to be better than another option close to me, offer alternatives or pursue a relationship or a sales opportunity. They just bowed out altogether.

To make matters worse, Les Schwab never responded at all. In fact their Twitter account is completely inactive and never responds to anyone. What missed opportunities to make connections with customers and prospects. What missed opportunities to stand out and get a sale. Needless to say, I will not be buying tires or having my alignment done at either of these companies.

Customer service within social media is too often NOT matching a brands brick and mortar reputation or intent. A fail any way you slice it that does not achieve social selling.

*Bonus Example:

Social Media ResponseAn article entitled “Customer Service as a differentiator” last week about our customer service was published by another one of our users and sparked a pretty interesting comment thread from one reader. They seemed to have a pretty negative and misguided view of customer service that many may share. It badly needed a response and of course we responded. Are you responding to comments on blog posts that reference your brand? You should be, as they represent incredible opportunity to show ways you are different.

Example 2:

Our brand is constantly listening AND responding online. Whenever we are mentioned as a part of a discussion, we do not delay in responding, offering assistance and showing our authentic brand. When someone expresses interest in what we do, is referred by one of our users or is having an issue, we do not take it lightly. Review the following thread to get a good idea of how this works and contemplate how you can replicate something similar in your social media marketing.

Example of social media Customer Service

Customer Service Bundle Post

The results of approaching customer service in this fashion can clearly be seen. In less than an hour we had engaged a referral and helped them not only register for Bundle Post, but also got them setup and trained! Clearly people appreciate when you respond at the time they are there and not days later. In addition, sales, customers, referrals and an incredible reputation often result.

3 tips to amazing social media customer service:

1) Respond – Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it?” In social media customer service it’s more like “It is what you say and WHEN you say.” Listening and responding quickly has many benefits in social media marketing. Two of those benefits are 1) defusing frustration before it escalates and 2) striking while the iron is hot.

When someone mentions your brand in the social graph, they are doing so when they are logged in. Responding quickly ensures the conversation can progress fluidly since you already know the person is online.  The sooner you respond to a customer or prospects comment, the greater the opportunity to be of service, resulting in a sale or a positive outcome.

2) Acknowledge – Like responding, acknowledging someone and their comment or concern goes a long way. You acknowledge by responding quickly. Offer resolutions, options and suggestions that address and acknowledge the comment the user had.

**Be sure to show empathy if it is a complaint!

3) Be Authentic – You have to really care and show it. If you or your brand does not have this real view at the core of your culture, it is really going to be challenging to show it.

As we stated in the comment thread of that earlier mentioned Bonus Example blog post from last week, “We approach our business from our experienced social media marketing perspective, combined with our real concern and relationships with our users. We have thousands you can ask if you care to. We do in fact love our users because they are all based on relationships. We aren’t some gear heads that decided to make some software for social media because it’s a hot industry.”

Customer service within social media is actually selling. Sales within social media marketing should also include a mindset toward effective customer service. Together they are powerful forces that lead to real measurable results. On their own, without working together they are often short-term or at least considerably less effective.

By @fondalo

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