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Using Social Media for Customer Service

19 Oct

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There are many ways that B2B companies are different entities than B2C companies, but social media usage is not one of them. Because the fact is that your prospects, existing customers and employees are all on social media, probably every single day. Social media has become an easy way to keep up with friends and relatives as well as business connections.

Depending on your industry, the social media sites your clients visit will vary. But there is a lot of usage overlap with B2C companies. One of the best features of social media sites is the ability to chat in real time with your contacts. This feature is used so much on Facebook that the site has a separate mobile app just for chat alone. Additionally, video sites such as YouTube offer product and service education opportunities that you can use in discussions with existing customers to help them solve problems.

B2B Customers are Not Just on LinkedIn

While it is true that many B2B professionals are active on LinkedIn, you can also find them on other social sites including Facebook, Twitter and some industry-specific sites. LinkedIn is a great site for content, connections and networking, but is it the best place for customer service? Probably not. Unless you are using LinkedIn for setting up a face-to-face customer service meeting, there are better places to interact.

Using Facebook for Customer Service

Facebook gives you several ways to conduct customer service conversations. You can set up a section of your company’s Facebook page to have questions and complaints answered. The key here is making sure someone is always available to answer these questions during the hours you specify you are open. Facebook is a great way to have direct contact with customers, but if you don’t respond quickly, they will be disappointed. You can connect with your customers via Facebook Messenger from just about anywhere in the world for free. As long as you have an internet or mobile connection, you can help customers solve their product issues or discover their service needs. You can also set up a section of your Facebook page for customers to ask questions that other customers answer with the ability for your staff to jump in when needed.

Twitter for Rapid Response

Twitter only has room for 140 characters; however this makes it ideal for rapid response to service issues. The entire platform is full of interactions that are short and to-the-point. You can set up an entire account just for customer service, and post the link on your main Twitter account and other social media sites. Customers can contact you easily and you can respond with a quick solution. The biggest drawback to Twitter is that the site is open for all to see, whereas Facebook offers you privacy on Messenger.

Customer Service Adds Value

When a customer knows that they can get the customer service they need consistently and quickly, they will be happy with your level of service. This customer confidence adds value to your company as a whole and can act as a channel to market new products or services to existing customers. At least for establishing initial contact, social media is an ideal way to interact and resolve customer service issues.

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B2B Marketing on Snapchat and Other Video Sharing Sites

27 Mar

 

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Too many B2B marketing experts are missing the wealth of opportunity that comes from a solid presence on social media sites with a reputation for B2C and personal, non-business content. Savvy marketers recognize that the addition of business analytics to specialized profiles on Instagram and the plethora of articles that detail the business uses of Twitter’s Periscope are more than tangential to the success of these companies; after the initial buzz and funding rounds are over, social media platforms need the business world in order to grow.

Snapchat is no exception; rather, the latest addition to the must-have smart phone app collection is finding a home with brands who want to build stories with their core audience, according to leading social media-centric business leaders like Gary Vaynerchuck.

The Statistics You Need to Know

  • Six out of every 10 users who are online are now on Snapchat.
  • 60% of Snapchat users are currently Millennials between 18-34; however, social media apps that hit the mainstream and achieve satiety will naturally begin to attract an older, more serious demographic.
  • Ads on Snapchat can routinely receive over 1 million views in a single day
  • More than 20% of advertisers plan on using Snapchat moving into 2017

Top Brands Currently Using Snapchat for B2B Business

Many brands you might not think could find an audience on Snapchat are actually leading the charge into the new platform, IBM chief among them. The seminal tech company gives its audience behind the scenes videos to humanize itself. Cisco is not far behind, with its employees taking center stage to provide potential clients with a more personal experience. Purple-haired admins and IT pros will take Cisco’s audience on tours of the office as well as the annual Cisco Crawfish Boil. HubSpot is another leading company that is using Snapchat to send the most salient parts of its industry talks to its audience.

How to Use Snapchat as a Viable B2B Platform

In order to maximize the use of Snapchat, as these leading brands are, you must create something new that is of value to your audience. The unique platform that Snapchat gives you does not lend itself to traditional content, and you should not try to shoehorn the content that you normally create into the space. You can use Snapchat to give people a seat at your table without the need for a business class plane ticket.

Use Snapchat to humanize your business. Companies that do not normally have an inroads to using humor or levity to create business now have the ability to do so. You can utilize the quirky personality of your administrative assistant or mail guy – these become tools that draw people to your message without the need to pay for a Hollywood production.

Tell a story. Snapchat gives you your own cable network for free – you can take the time to tell the stories that will put your company in the best light. Forget crushing a message into a 30-second piece that you must continue to pay for in order to distribute. Snapchat isn’t TV or radio. You determine when the messaging stops. Although each individual video disappears, this is actually an advantage. You leave your audience waiting anxiously for the next installment, and you do not have to put together another $100,000 in order to deliver it.

Snapchat is a platform that you can rely on for high distribution, low cost content creation that will engage your audience in a new way. If you can look past the stereotype of teenage pranks on social media, you will find a treasure trove of opportunity for new business.

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Crowdsourcing: Three SEO Themes We Keep Hearing

11 Nov

CoreyMorris

Guest Contributor:

Corey Morris, Director of Digital Marketing

During the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to speak at a couple of Kansas City search marketing events. The first was as a moderator of the “Better Ideas, Better Strategies” session at the SEMPO Cities KC Search Marketing Conference on Oct. 27. In addition, I spoke about “The Impact of Social on Search Rankings” at the Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast on Nov. 4.

A few SEO themes kept bubbling up at the Q & A sessions and event follow-up discussions.

First, it’s abundantly clear that the industry must be nimbler when it comes to navigating changes from Google. The company is adjusting organic and paid search faster than most of us can remember.

Second, if you haven’t kept up with the mobile friendly movement, now is the time. “Mobile first” thinking has been a topic of conversation the past few years. The initiative is now on overdrive, with Google using the mobile index for even desktop searches.

One other theme that surfaced during the SMCKC presentation was how Google does or doesn’t weigh social media in ranking websites. There’s a lot of confusing and conflicting info about this topic. My advice? It’s more important to understand how search engines work and view social content through that lens.

The two most important factors of SEO success are relevance and authority. Relevance meaning how pertinent your content is to the subject. And authority being the importance others place on your content. In other words, are they linking to and sharing your stuff?

Finally, while not a theme from the events, I always advise clients that if they want more cues on what Google is and isn’t rewarding, they should pay attention to their target audiences and the competition. By continuously working to be better when compared to peers, you’ll win in search, social and digital marketing overall.

Read my earlier post on the SEMPO Cities KC event.

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Demand Generation Tips for 2017

27 Oct

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Most of our clients are in the midst or near completion of their 2017 marketing planning. An important element we’re discussing with them is their demand generation strategy.

Demand generation is a catch-all term that refers to the marketing elements your business employs to boost audience awareness and interest in what you offer.

As you consider your company’s demand generation toolbox, keep these online elements and tips in mind.

1. User-generated content

Most people spend at least a few minutes a day on social media. Facebook is the largest social platform with an average of 1.13 billion active users in June 2016.

Remember, when users share their experience with your company or how your product provided a viable solution to a sticky problem, their social media connections – as well as others who can see their content – are paying attention.

2. Audience engagement tools

Today’s customers don’t want to stand idly by while being lectured about the merits of your products and services. They want to engage and be part of the action.

Draw your customers in and keep them coming back with interactive content. Try infographics, quizzes, polls, videos, calculators and more.

3. Easy reading

Break content into bite-size chunks that can be easily read – and shared – in a short time. Use a story-telling narrative, as well as bullets and sub-heads, so info is skim-able, and web- and mobile-friendly.

4. Maximize budget

According to Hubspot, budgets for content marketing will continue to increase in 2017. Knowing how to effectively use resources is key to boosting demand and elevating your business.

Take the guesswork out of demand generation. Let’s talk about how we can work together to develop the tools your business needs to lead and achieve your marketing goals.

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Trust but Verify

25 Oct

Questions about the Facts

Several weeks ago, a train in Hoboken, NJ crashed and quickly made national news.

The first alert I received from CNBC said, “Major train accident causes ‘mass casualties’ in Hoboken, NJ: WNBC.”

Just 25 minutes later, I received a second CNBC alert. This one read: “1 dead, more than 100 people injured in Hoboken train accident: WNBC, citing source.”

CNBC is a reputable news organization, especially among financial audiences and business leaders. I’d wager their writers are journalists with ample experience.

Tragically, one person did die in the Hoboken crash. But the first email from CNBC was based on information from WNBC that at first glance, appears to have been incorrect.

President Ronald Reagan used a Russian proverb when interacting with the country’s officials, “Trust but verify.” Meaning, I’m going to accept what you say at face value but I’m also going to confirm the accuracy with another source.

WNBC, and ultimately CNBC, likely reported exactly what a transit official shared in what had to have been a chaotic environment. But our digital 24-hour news cycle puts a premium on speed – often at the expense of quality.

After all, if CNBC was a print outlet, this error would have been less likely. CNBC would have had time to verify that one person – not many – had lost their life.

There were nearly 212,500 students enrolled in college journalism programs in 2012.

There were 305 million blog accounts on Tumblr in July 2016, up from 17.5 million in 2011. That’s just Tumblr – not WordPress or other platforms.

Why does that matter?

Trained journalists of today and tomorrow have to meet specific standards. Stories are edited and fact checked. And, the threat of getting news wrong haunts most reporters – even if it’s just misspelling a name.

On the flipside, bloggers may or may not be officially trained. Objectivity and accuracy isn’t mandated like it is for reporters at credible news organizations.

That doesn’t mean bloggers aren’t good writers. It also doesn’t mean that bloggers are okay being loose with facts. I assume most want to do good work.

But it does mean that anyone can call themselves a blogger. And, not everyone can claim to be a trained journalist.

Bloggers aren’t held to the same journalistic standards. And, they don’t have the same repercussions as traditional reporters for inaccurate reporting.

As we enter the final weeks of a presidential election fueled by hysteria, hyperbole and even panic, it only seems appropriate to reference the Gipper’s line.

Consider the source. Consider the outlet. Don’t just accept what you read online and regurgitate it as truth.

Trust but verify. Before you share, like, retweet – or repeat.

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