Monthly Archives: August 2011

Do you know what people are saying about you online?

When was the last time you Googled your name? If you have to think about that, you haven’t done it recently enough.  So take a moment to open a new tab in your browser (that’s CNTRL+t if you’re on PC) and Google your name!!  What about your company name? Have you searched that?

It is important to search the internet to see if people are talking about you or your brand so that you can respond. It amazes me to no end that I see conversations all day long on Twitter about brands and the companies are not responding to these comments! On Facebook too. These are warm leads sitting on a silver platter being delivered to you!! Even if they’re negative comments, that means you have the opportunity to respond to these comments and turn a dissatisfied customer into a happy one!! Where else do we have the luxury of doing this?

Do you have time to go to Google every day and search your name? I sure don’t! Here’s a little secret… go to http://Alerts.Google.com and enter in your gmail (or email address mapped through Google Apps) and set up alerts for your name, your company name, your industry, areas of interest to your clients, etc.  Google will email you a digest of the search findings based on a whole Internet search daily, as they come in, or weekly, depending on your choice!

*hint* If you’re looking for content to post on social sites, this is an excellent way to find articles, blog posts, etc. to link to! Ex. if you are a chiropractor, set up Google alerts for chiropractic, spine, holistic health, etc. You can always delete alerts that aren’t serving you well.

 

Do you use Google Alerts? If so, we’d love to hear about the other uses you have for them or what you like most about them! Let us know, comment below!

Twitter for Business Marketing: 7 Tips for Success

Twitter for Business Marketing; 7 Tips to Success 

Twitter is a powerful business tool that is one of the least understood social media resources. The good news is that it offers a unique way to get in touch with people on a more flexible and diverse platform than most others. The question is: how to actually garner that business? The largest pitfall of social media is that effort and content are generated and sent out into the ether, never to be heard from again. Here are some strategies (beyond “post things”) that companies that are known for their social media presence use to break into this “Tweeting” thing.

  1. Follow. Overall, your goal is to have more followers than people you follow, but chances are you are not going to start that way. The best way to break out of cyber-space solitary is to start getting in contact with people who are relevant to your business (consumers of your product/service and potential power partners). Don’t start following everyone—find those individuals and businesses that provide complimentary services to your own, and follow them. Which brings us to number two…
  2. Engage. Reply (@), hashtag (#) content in order to generate traffic through your twitter page. The more familiar your name, the more likely fellow business people are to engage with you as well. The goal is to become a subject matter expert and a name people look for when a question or new topic comes up. Ideally, your content will intrigue and inspire customers so that they want to know more. Don’t push the business, always provide value. Seek out people who are mentioning your brand and/or your industry, and to interact with them regularly.
  3. Generate Social Capital. Share others’ content (retweet!) Help others who are in complementary businesses/niches by spreading their word and facilitate reciprocal exchanges. This is the feel-good portion of social media. It shouldn’t be all about you/your brand.
  4. Promote. Often times, people are fairly knowledgeable about the range of their options, and are looking for a tie-breaker to make their decision easier. The best way to promote yourself is to continually express the benefits that your services/products provide (not just the features!) Occasionally, if you have a product or service for which you can offer a promotional deal, it is good to do so, but not too much so as to devalue your brand. Starbucks does this really well, they offer promotional deals like that say, for example, Come in on (date) with your mug and get free coffee! Even people who don’t usually drink Starbucks are more likely to stop in on that day, and hopefully to return after.
  5. The 411. If your business has time-sensitive products or information, Twitter is a great way to get customers the instant low-down. We’ve seen it used for mobile food truck location updates, for featured coffee roasts, and even for live-time swim team updates. Customers and clients love it because they feel like they’re getting the hottest live information. You will love it because customer interaction and interest will be almost instant and always relevant.
  6. Respond. Take the time to reply to every tweet directed at you/your brand. Put some thought into your responses; let every recipient know that your company cares! When a customer finds a company that does take the time to speak to them, the trust will come easier, increasing the chances that customer will return in the future.
  7. Problem-solve. The great thing about Twitter is that if someone has a problem, it’s likely that they’ll talk about it online. Yes! Rather than ruining business relationships in a completely inter-personal sphere, such online discussions give businesses the chance to respond, apologize, and remedy the issue. More than fixing a potential PR disaster, taking the initiative to solve customer’s problems shows a level of care and dedication that is still rare. Those wanting explore more of the social media culture of customer service should pick up a copy of The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk. You won’t be disappointed!

Overall, it is important to remember that the more people feel that they are interacting with people, the more likely they are to form trusting, enduring relationships. The tone of posts is important in establishing Twitter as a point of contact within the organization or company, rather than a marketing strategy. Therefore, the more humor and personality you can put into your posts and comments, the more effective they will be.

Building Brand Influence Through Social Media

I believe that there are 5 key areas that can be used as guidelines to generating quality, varied, engaging content. Too often we set out to post on social media and we get stuck in a rut – same stuff, different day. These 5 areas are designed to get you out of the social media content rut. The first one: Build Brand Influence

Building Brand Influence – creating a positive and deliberate impression of your brand in the mind of the customer.  You should communicate key elements of your brand personality (company culture), philosophies, and brand image in your content. Post pictures, links, and videos as often as possible (these rank higher and are more likely to show up on the News Feed of your friends on Facebook) that reflect your distinct culture. If your brand is you, consider posting information about your personal values – ex. One of my personal values is integrity… because… etc. What is one of your personal values and why? Be sure to ask questions as much as possible. Success on social media is greatly measured by Return on Engagement. Get people to participate in a two way conversation!

This is where your business culture (or your personal values) come into play. Do you have a fun, dynamic, playful business culture? Well show that by creating and posting funny videos. My friend works for Rudy’s Organic Bakery in Boulder and at Christmas time, they had all of their employees participate in a 12 days of Christmas video series on Facebook that was hilarious! If you company is more straight-laced, make sure you show who you are in another way. Maybe you’re a law firm that specializes in estate planning; chances are a podcast series may be the best way for your company to establish brand influence as thought leaders.

Remember, if you are in the businesses of real estate, financial planning, mortgages, law, or other professional services, the brand is YOU. So, branding yourself appropriately and remaining true to that brand is extremely necessary. Lida Citroen, a Denver personal branding expert has written a wonderful book on the how to’s of self branding Buy Lida’s Book. This is advice she teaches CEO’s nationwide how to do for tens of thousands of dollars. I highly recommend this $18 investment in yourself!

As always, be consistent with your social media efforts. The only way you’ll see ROI is if you have an effective strategy (developed by a professional- don’t try this at home!) and you stick to it! That means being active on the sites your strategy has set forth! Expect 6 months to see direct ROI results… rinse, and repeat!