Tag Archives: customer

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 How To’s of Customer Targeting, Acquisition And Retention In Social Media

In a report released earlier this month, “Over 85% of US marketing executives cited acquiring new customers and increasing retention as the top two 2014 marketing priorities.” After reading this, I asked myself when isn’t that the top two priorities of most executives? Isn’t that why a business is marketing to begin with? But I digress…

Customer Targeting Retention & Acquisition in Social MediaThe report further outlined that Executives said that “getting or holding target customers’ attention, as well as finding their target audience online, were the top two major challenges.

I find it interesting how larger brands and agencies find these things so challenging. They have the biggest budgets, the most resources and yet still navigate the online marketing world as if it is print or television. In today’s social networking world, finding your target audience couldn’t be more simple. Holding the attention of target customers is really just as easy, if in fact you are doing it properly.

What small, local and medium businesses lack in the form of resources and budgets, they more than make up for in common sense, nimbleness and the ability to effectively execute quickly. If and only if you understand one simple truth about digital marketing in today’s world…

It’s NOT about YOU!

The reason most of the big brands see the issues outlined in this report and challenging is because most have yet to recognize this fact. Big brands often solely self promote their wares and create a persona of “too good to engage” to their audience. A quick scan of most brands social media feeds and mentions will uncover huge communities that are attempting to engage with their favorite brands and those same brands ignoring the comments, mentions and engagement by the very target customers they say they are trying to find and hold attention with. Is it really this difficult to understand?

Acquire and Retain Customers:

If your priority is to acquire and retain customers, engage them. Make them feel wanted beyond their pocketbook. If you ignore your audience, they’ll not be your audience for very long.

Get Attention:

If you want to get the attention of your target customer, create and curate content that they are interested in. It might not have anything to do with your industry, product or brand. Meet them where their interests are and make your feeds be about them, not you.

Find Your Audience:

If you want to find your target customer, simply search for the people that are your target, connect with them and show interest in who they are. There’s no place this is done any easier than Twitter. I have said many times that Twitter is the hub of social media marketing.

The Wrap Up:

In an age where Facebook organic reach is declining to ultimate zero and the need for real results from social media marketing and other online channels are increasing, marketers need to adjust their “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. SMB’s need to better recognize the opportunities readily available and gain the knowledge and executional capabilities required to capitalize on them.

Twitter is your friend, learn it and execute it well to grow your targeted community. It is one of the only social networks that enables you to easily find and connect with your target audience easily.

Facebook now requires you to pay to reach the audience you already invested heavily to grow. Recognize this and either establish a budget to do that or maintain your presence there, but get better elsewhere.

Above all, look at your social media connections as more of an intimate one-on-one relationship, rather than an audience for your advertisements. If you stop ignoring your community and respond to their mentions, seek to converse with them about what they’re doing and curate recent relevance based on their interests, you will earn their respect and gain their interest in what you do.

 

 

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Filed under Brand, Community, Content, Curation, Engagement, Facebook, Marketing, Results, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Twitter

Be A Maitre d’ Of Social Media Marketing

Maitre d' Of Social Media MarketingI can’t recall the source or specifics, but I recently heard a story on the radio involving a restaurant and a Maitre d’ that is embedded in my thoughts for time and memorial. Not the specific details, but the over-reaching premise and point of the story that directly connects to social media marketing and customer service. The story crossed my mind again this morning, triggered by a television commercial that was on in the background in my office. I decided to make the story the topic of this post.

The Story:

A couple came into the high-end restaurant that was known for their steak. The gentleman had really been craving a good steak, so he and his wife decided to go out. The Maitre d’ seated his guests at a table and proceeded to give them the royal treatment, helping with chairs and napkins. Taking the couples order the waiter meticulously detailed every instruction for their meal and went off to secure its creation with the chef.

After getting the couple their drinks, appetizers and salads, the moment of truth arrived. The waiter delivered the most beautifully prepared steak the man had ever seen.

As the aroma filled the man’s nostrils, the Maitre d’ asked if there was anything else the couple required. The simple gentleman looked up at the highly polished servant of culinary excellence and politely asked for some A1 steak sauce. Without so much as blinking, the Maitre d’ immediately snapped back with, “right away sir”.

After a short period of time, the Maitre d’ rushed over to the couples table and opened a bag, revealing the A1 steak sauce the customer requested. Slightly out of breath, the Maitre d’ calmly pronounced “Your steak sauce sir.”

The gentleman looked up at the Maitre d’ and said, “why are you out of breath?” To which the Maitre d’ replied, “I had to run 5 blocks to the grocery store for your steak sauce.”

This restaurant didn’t even have A1 steak sauce and the Maitre d’ went and got it!

BE The Social Media Maitre d’

What did you learn from this story as it relates to social media marketing? I got a lot from it. Here are some things that stuck with me.

1) Stand out – Stop doing the same thing everyone else does. Stand out from the crowd in new and unique ways that deliver value to your audience.

2) Value, not price is incredible – Providing value in your streams, content and actions is what matters, not the price of your product or service.

3) Selfless is an action – Stop looking at what is in it for you and be selfless in your relationships in social media. Do this right and it will come back to you in so many ways it’s immeasurable.

4) Don’t belittle, just help – The Maitre d’ could have easily made this guy look and feel like a loser for wanting steak sauce, yet he didn’t. He did what was needed to help the man get what he wanted/liked. Most importantly he did it without belittling the man.

5) Be memorable – In everything you do in social media, do it in a way that your prospects, customers and connections never forget you. Make a memorable impression, over and over.

6) The customer isn’t always right – We could all argue that ruining an amazing, expensive steak with A1 is almost inexcusable, however who are we to say how someone else likes their food. Follow the example of keeping your opinion to yourself and just helping, therefore making them FEEL as though they are right.

7) Immediate action – Don’t wait, don’t think, don’t even ponder. Take action toward a customers need, NOW.

8) Serving others is the highest reward – No need to embellish this at all.

There are many more things that could be added to this list, but these are the main points I wanted to impress upon you, as they impressed upon me. As you continue your week, remember this incredible Maitre d’ as you engage with customers, prospects and connections in social media. Let your actions speak loud, your customer service stand apart and value trump your profitability.

disclaimer: I tried my very best to find the actual story, but despite my best searches, (I even tried using Google instead of my Bing) I was unable to locate it. So I apologize for not providing credit to the originator, but I tried to stay true to what I remembered and made a valiant effort to find it.

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Filed under Community, customer service, Marketing, Relationship, Restaurant, Results, Social Media Marketing

The Most Important Thing A Social Media Agency Can Do For Clients

So you’re a social media marketing agency and you are managing account for your clients, and you are wanting to take the results to the next level. You have set up the accounts, are regularly and frequently sharing valuable content in the various streams and are of course engaging and building relationships. Now you may even be asking yourself a few important questions like;

Social Media ResultsWhat is the most important thing you should be doing to maximize the reach for a client’s social media?

How do I implement it once I know?

Sound familiar? We thought so. We have been there. Previously to becoming a social media software company, we were a social media agency. We dealt with this question frequently and discovered that as it relates to retail client’s, there is one specific thing you can do to make a clients social media marketing more effective, more quickly. What is it?

Teach the client’s staff to understand and leverage their face-to-face contact with customers around social media.

Today’s consumers are incredibly connected online through social media, and an ever-increasing part of that connectivity is through mobile. Ensuring your client’s staff understands this and teaching them to recognize and utilize “in store” opportunities that further the overall social media marketing effort is essential. Using the staff to magnify and multiply the social media exposure is important for a comprehensive strategy that delivers.

Here are some key points to follow for best results:

1) Group Training –  If at all possible do a group training that brings all the staff that has consumer contact together in one place at one time. Be careful to only explain the basics of social media marketing, and not get into the deep details. You just want the group to have a decent understanding of it.

Going too deep into social media marketing will often cause the team to lose interest, get bored and take way too long. Keep it simple and short.

If your client location is not local to you, schedule a Google Hangout or Skype call with the client when they can have their staff together in a room for you to train all at once. Recording the training for use with new staff members can also be very helpful.

2) What You’re Doing – Be sure that the staff understands what the general strategy of the social media program is all about. They should know what you are doing for the client so they can answer basic questions when in a conversation with a visiting customer.

3) Spotting Customers – Teach the staff what to watch for when customers are in the store. Train them to keep an eye out for customers using or carrying smart phones and tablets, etc. If someone has a smart phone or tablet, they are likely a social media user.

Be sure that you cover the things likely to be asked of them about the client’s social media and give them some opening comments or questions they can use to bring it up. Things like:

- Are you guys on Facebook?

- Have you checked in on Foursquare?

- Are you following us on Twitter for our specials?

Prior to doing the staff training, work with the client to establish some kind of discount program for likes and follows, enabling the staff to incent customers to like the company page, follow and mention on Twitter, check in on Foursquare, etc. If the client is agreeable to the incentive program, be sure to have the details for the staff when you do the training.

4) Client SM Accounts – One of the most important things the staff must know off the top of their heads is what the client social media account names are. Make sure to go over all of the networks the client is on and the exact account names customers can use to find them.

Adding signs on the doors and at check out counters with the social media account names will not only aid staff in remembering, but also remind customers that the client is there.

5) Handouts – Prepare handouts with the bullet points that you covered in the meeting so they have something to reference once you leave.

6) Make It Personal for the Staff  **MOST Important**- If there was one thing we learned as an agency going through these steps with a client, was that making it personal and beneficial for the employees to do these things is imperative. In other words, have an answer for “what’s in it for them”.

Example: If the client is a restaurant, help the staff understand how they can make bigger tips by talking about social media with their customers. Give them examples of how they get bigger tips when they connect with customers about sports teams and how social media users are often even more fanatic than sports fans. Making the human connection with a customer about social media can result in bigger tips. If the client is some other kind of business, work with the client to create contests for the staff that enables them to win small bonuses or store credits, etc.

The point is, make it personal and beneficial for the staff to get on the social media marketing program.

Getting staff involved in the right ways with on site customers will make a significant impact on the overall social media marketing effort you are managing for them. If you do it properly, it will make your agency’s job much easier and the community growth, engagement and revenue results considerably larger and faster.

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Filed under Agency, Community, Facebook, Google, Marketing, Mobile, Results, Smart Phone, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Strategy, Twitter

Social Media Content And The Social Selling Process [INFOGRAPHIC]

Content is so incredibly important in social media marketing. Many marketers and sad to say social media agencies don’t realize the true impact it has on getting to the all important return on investment results that are often missed. Social media content is a crucial part of the “social selling” process as well, so I decided to put together a little infographic on a process we use to show how content starts everything!

Social Selling InfographicOf course every business and industry is different and some of the steps and details will need to be adjusted for your specific brand. The important thing to note is that content drives the social selling process. Content is what starts conversations with your target audience.

There are few important steps I want to point out:

1) Content – Where it all starts. You need to know the topics your audience are interested in, then find and post articles, news and information that is valuable to them. You need to have enough of that content posted throughout the entire day, so that whenever your audience is online, one of your posts is seen.

*the quantity of posts per day varies from social network to social network. For example you would post much more frequently on Twitter than your personal Facebook page. You would post much less frequently to your company Facebook page than your personal Facebook page. Then of course there is LinkedIn, Google Plus etc…

2) Conversations – These are what build relationships. No matter whether you are a BtoB (Business to Business) service company, or a local restaurant, people tend to do business with people they feel they know and like. Since conversations build relationships, this is key to the social selling process. The content you are sharing should be so relevant, interesting and valuable to your audience that they like, comment and/or share it. That opens the door to a thank you and a personal or business question or conversation.

*be sure to focus the bulk of your conversations with those that are prospects for your product and service. Spending time in conversations with a dad in Ohio, when you are a local beauty shop in Texas doesn’t further your sales efforts. That doesn’t mean ignore those that are not prospects, just use common sense and your time wisely.

3) Explain – When a follower asks about you or what you do, you are now in selling mode. This looks very different from one business type to another. Give a short answer and always include a link to your brief video, marketing piece or webpage that you have previously designed for this specific purpose.

Be sure to only do this with someone you know is a prospect for your product/service.

*be prepared with posts that are already written to cover the various questions you might get and edit them specifically for the person you are speaking to at that moment.

4) Next Step – Do you know ahead of time what the next step is or should be in the social selling process? If you are a restaurant, do you have a special to hand off to someone to get them to come in? Does your BtoB service company have a demo procedure you can immediately plug into with the person? Do you schedule time on your calendar for soft invites for “Let’s talk” or “we should talk” options right at that moment?

Know exactly what your options are and what works, then drive down the appropriate path with each relationship as the conversation lends itself.

5) Ongoing – Whether or not the person/company becomes a customer after going through the social selling process, you will always want to go back to monitor and engage. If you have established a relationship and know they are a prospect for you, monitor their activity for opportunities to share their content and/or engage in additional conversation. This goes for those that become customers and those that do not. I can’t stress this enough.

As you review the social selling process inforgraphic and the details I have outlined here, you should be asking yourself a few questions.

  • Is the content we are sharing interesting to our audience?
  • Are we getting frequent comments, likes and shares from our community every day, all day?
  • Is the engagement we are getting from prospects for our product or service?
  • Do we know which followers/fans in our community are our prospective customers?

If the answer is no to any of these four questions, your content strategy, topics, frequency and targeting is most likely off and needs considerable adjustment. Additionally, appropriate social CRM solutions should be immediately employed to enable you to better focus time and efforts on the right conversations with the right people.

P.S. – Don’t SPAM!  That is all… :-)

By Robert Caruso
@fondalo
http://fondalo.com
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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Filed under Community, Facebook, Fanpage, Followers, Infographic, Marketing, Monitoring, Relationship, Social content management, Social CRM, Social Media, Social Media Content, Social Media Marketing, Social Media ROI, Social Selling, Strategy, Twitter, Uncategorized

Amazon Web Services – Averting Disaster

It’s not too often that a massive online company goes the extra mile for a small customer. It is not often that I write about such a case because again, it’s a pretty infrequent situation in my experience. This all changed over the last two weeks for me as I dealt with Amazon Web Services over an issue with our system hosted in their cloud.

Some background:

As a startup social media software company, we needed a data center/hosting solution that was highly scalable for growth, yet was not cost prohibitive. Although often extremely complicated, their powerful solution is utilized by many top social media software companies, making it something we decided to deploy ourselves. Being a SAAS (software as a service) product, Amazon’s infrastructure, hosting and overall solution made a lot of sense for Bundle Post.

As I alluded in the background, AWS capabilities are immense. Along with that, you need to be a bit of a rocket scientist or have said team to setup and manage their highly complex solution. There are many services and functions that must be turned on, set up, added and/or changed. To be clear here, rocket scientist I am not! Needless to say we had some communication issues internally related to some of the AWS systems and services that were turned on by team members and never used. This can be no big deal in many circumstances. In ours it meant a 1000%+ increase in our monthly costs with Amazon, unbeknownst to me. If you want to have your heart stop as a startup CEO, getting your budget wacked by over 1000% is a good way to do it.

Now typically a company of Amazon’s size would respond by saying too bad, you should know better. They didn’t. In fact before I had realized what happened after someone on their team noticed the massive change and reached out via telephone to check in. Although I was unable to speak when they called, it got me checking, so I discovered the issue, resulting in a service contact from me asking for help.

Without getting into all the details, the customer service, fanpage and Twitter teams were incredible. They not only communicated and met the issues head on, they proactively kept me informed during the entire process, even before I felt the need to check in and find out the status of our issue.

Customer Service lessons to learn from the Amazon WS team:

1) Noticing problems before your customer does and reaching out to avoid bigger ones is huge!

2) Responding quickly to customer issues minimizes the overall issue.

3) Showing concern and sympathy for your customers situation puts them at ease.

4) Update your customer throughout the process even before they need to check back in.

5) Look for opportunities to change a bad situation into a customer loyalty change and PR boon!

Very impressed guys, VERY impressed!

Robert M. Caruso
@fondalo
Founder/CEO – Bundle Post

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