When you start any social media page, you are opening yourself up to two-way communication between yourself and your audience. The public has the ability to share comments about your business with friends and others in that network. Eventually, no matter how hard you try to please everyone, there will be that one person who is incessant on posting negative things on your page. Don’t worry, this is not the end of the world. In fact, depending on how you handle this situation, you can turn a cranky customer into a lifelong shopper.
One thing that we see on corporate sites all the time is the bland, generic answer that is almost like the computer is talking, not a customer service or PR rep. Do not respond with a cookie cutter answer that is impersonal and – to be honest – mildly offensive to the consumer. The last thing you want to do when a customer gets upset is coddle them with a generic response. Imagine if you went into a brick and mortar store, upset about service, and the salesperson or store manager simple pulled out a cue card from behind the register and began reading a scripted prompt, asking you to call an 800 number or email the corporate offices. It would be a slap in the face.
If you are a professional in the public relations or internet marketing field and you are managing social media pages, you should be embarrassed if your company is responding this way. How hard is it to respond to the customer complaints on an individual level?
Doing this on Facebook or Twitter is especially damaging because now potential customers can track your conversations and decide if they like the way you handled the situation. In addition to that, the person who has complained can also share these comments with friends and respond to them in an unsavory manner. Don’t treat your customers this way. Send them personal messages and always assume that the customer is in the right – even if they aren’t. Responding with scripted answers makes your customers feel unimportant and will lose your company business.
One of the biggest problems that many small businesses have with social media is gaining the loyalty of fans. “How do I get more likes on Facebook?” That’s a question we hear on a daily basis. There are plenty of intense conversations on the relationships built on social media networks and how people interact with businesses through them, but creating a fan base is easily done. We are going to break it up into two strategies: the conventional method and the unconventional method.
There are obviously tried and tested tricks that companies use every day to get themselves more friends. Here are three basics that most people use when first trying to gain a bigger following:
- Put buttons on your website that link directly to your Facebook, Twitter, etc. pages. These will help guide customers who are already visiting your webpage to your social media pages. This is also an industry standard that most successful businesses are already utilizing, so you want to do this to keep yourself current.
- Another great tool is putting these buttons right into the signature on your e-mail, especially if your job title includes anything like the phrases “marketing” or “public relations.” This will give a direct link to people who you are in touch with on a regular basis, including current and prospective clients.
- There is one tactic that is so simple, if you aren’t already using it you probably don’t even have a Facebook page. Get everyone in your office and five of their friends to like your page. It’s called a social network for a reason! This is a digital word-of-mouth that can result in business and financial growth. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who could benefit from using your products and/or services.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are some outside-the-box tips for the creative company that isn’t afraid to use new tactics to score new followers. We want to profile three tips that you can accomplish easily, not ways to go on extensive social media campaigns. These ideas are simple to implement but you’d be surprised at how many businesses don’t use them:
- Make an aesthetic presence with your social media pages. Use graphic design to create beautiful pages on Tiwtter, Facebook, YouTube etc. that match your brand and give fans something cool to look at. Update your cover photo on your Facebook timeline so that it is creative, interesting and will inspire people who visit your page to like it. This is a great way to be visually stimulating for your audience, and when your page looks unique, you have a better chance of capturing the attention of your clientele. Check out these creative timeline covers and these Twitter pages.
- Interact with people by having a contest or poll. Ask your followers questions and give them a forum to share a little bit of themselves. There is nothing more exciting for fans than the ability to have their 15 minutes of fame with one of their favorite brands.Look at the way Realtree Outdoors® uses their Facebook page and brand identity to excite fans and build a stronger following.
- Add a touch of personality to your pages by posting photos and videos of the staff or company events. It’s always a great way to increase your following and followers love when there is a way for them to directly relate to your brand. It also shows that you are interacting on a personal level, building the trust that a consumer will feel with your brand. We recently had a day when we brought our dogs to the office and we posted pictures that got a good response from our fans.
By now, most of you have (hopefully) developed social media pages for your site — whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Keep yourself from falling into the dark abyss of businesses that develop social media pages and then forget to post, leaving a bleak and dismal page that makes it look like you have no friends, no followers and no hope.
Post on those pages!
There is nothing worse than a growing company, trying to form a following that completely gives up on itself before it’s had a chance to develop lasting relationships with those people who are genuinely interested in their company. The fans that you make on Facebook, those eager for content that follow you on Twitter and scroll through your updates on their smartphones every morning – those are the people that are going to use your products and give you return visits on your webpage. It’s not only sloppy, but unprofessional to create pages and not post content. These are free tools for you to use when reaching out to your audience. If you don’t have time to post or are having trouble thinking of what to say, hire someone to do it for you!
If you are plan to do your own posts and videos, the best way to ensure that you don’t fall asleep behind the social media wheel is to develop a schedule and stick to it. Maybe you post every morning at 10am after you get into the office and get settled in for the day or perhaps you want to post something newsworthy on Mondays and something entertaining on Fridays. Whatever your posting schedule is, make sure that you have mapped out a plan that will give you a support system for managing these pages.
Something else to consider is creating a vault for your posts, writing them in advance and having them at your fingertips when you want to post them. This is helpful for a lot of busy small business owners who can use their free time to plan ahead so that they aren’t tied down during the work week with content development.
Finally, make your smartphone your personal portal to posting. There are plenty of apps out there designed to make updating content a mobile venture. If you have to travel, post from your phone so that you can be on the move and not miss your posting schedule. Keep at it, stick to your schedule and there will be content there for fans when they find you.
Many of us will go out this next week and find gifts for mom, grandma and other family members that we recognize on Mother’s Day. However, few people realize that Mother’s Day and the days leading up to it, if marketed correctly, can be some of the biggest revenue days of the year. The beauty of this holiday, however, is that it is one that flourishes within the world of e-Commerce.
This survey done by shop.org, which is owned by the National Retail Federation, says that 31.7% of consumers who celebrate Mother’s Day and shop online will be spending more this year than they have in the past, while only 17.1% of consumers who do not shop online for Mother’s Day are planning to spend more. The survey shows data that in every shopping category offered, online shoppers will spend more this Mother’s Day than regular shoppers.
So what is your business doing to tailor to this trend? Here are three tips to help get you started:
1. Use social couponing to spread the word. Shoppers have been clipping coupons since their inception, and the creation of social coupons such as Groupon and Living Social have taken this practice to the next level. Local businesses across the country partner with these coupon giants to create Mother’s Day packages to make it easy on the consumer and special for mom. Check out some of their gift ideas here.
2. Develop new keywords. Customers are going to be searching for local and national deals on the web, so make sure your site is prepared for the searches to come. You can make a page especially for your Mother’s Day specials, or include content on your homepage — just be sure that whatever you are doing has location-focused key words or Mother’s Day keywords to drive traffic to your page. When searching Mother’s Day gifts, you can be sure that shops like ediblearrangements.com will be optimizing their sites for those searches. Getting high rankings on a page like that takes serious time and resources, but getting on a local page is feasible to do in time to catch the holiday shoppers.
3. Market through your social media. Aside from using social coupons, use your Facebook and Twitter to advertise for Mother’s Day. The people who are following you or liking your page are already fans of your product or services, so marketing strongly to that niche is a no-brainer. Again, Edible Arrangements is on top of things. Something as simple as changing your cover photo to remind fans of the upcoming holiday will help spark interest in your product and help drive traffic to your e-Commerce site.