Time for a refresh ?

Social Media is a fast changing landscape with best practice changing daily and new Social Media Channels being launched every month.

Its often hard to keep up with how to make the best use of Social Media whilst trying to run your business.

With that in mind we are offering a half-day refresher version of our highly sucessful Social Media One to Ones (you can see what people said about them here). Our One to Ones help you find out :

How to build an audience on Twitter and Facebook
How to convert followers and likes into customers
How to develop a Social Media Strategy
How to define your marketing message
How to measure the success of social media campaign
How to manage your social media in under 30 minutes a day

You can really boost your business with Social Media Marketing its just a matter of know how and we can supply that.

Our Social Media One to Ones are held at a location to suit you. For a limited period we are offering these for a discounted prices of £95+vat per person.

To find out more or to book Contact Us .

How to use Social Media to sell.

Selling is a social activity . Before Facebook, LinkedIn and the Internet generally people bought from people in social ways.

They asked for advice from friends, they gave their opinions over the garden fence and they wrote letters to manufacturers when products failed to live up to their promises. This is why salespeople spend so much time establishing a personal relationship, not just selling their product

Technology now makes it so easy for customers to find out anything they want about your products and service – both the good and the bad. They don’t even need too simply rely on what’s on your website says. Quite often that’s the last place they look.

There’s a wealth of blogs and forums and networks where they can get an unedited take on what it’s like to buy from you. Customers are more vocal than ever (especially about the bad stuff).

We quite often talk about the threat of social media however it also brings many opportunities.

We categorise these opportunities as Social Selling.

There are buyers across the world over who want what you’ve got to sell. They have a need, they have a timeframe for purchase, they even have budget. If only you could get in front of them, they’d buy from you right now. If only. Of course, to get in front of them you need to find out who they are, where they are and how to contact them.

Prior to Social Media this was very hard and very expensive. We often talk about using Social Media to Market our business and even now to provide Customer Service (see here).

There real opportunities however to use Social Media for selling .Research conducted last year by advertising agency OgilvyOne found that in the UK alone:

  • 69% of respondents think the buying process is changing faster than sales organisations are responding
  • 93% have received no training in using social media (and 53% want help doing so)
  • 71% believe that being a salesperson will be radically different in 5 years time.

So how can you start using Social Media to sell?

There are some relatively simple steps.:

  • Make extensive use of Facebook and Twitter to see what your customers and prospects are saying and to find those looking for customer service and sales help.
  • Follow customers, competitors and thought leaders on Twitter/LinkedIn to see what they are saying.
  • Join key customer groups on LinkedIn and begin monitoring what they are saying.
  • Run LinkedIn searches for carefully selected outbound targets.
  • Endorse a prospect/customer’s abilities on LinkedIn.
  • Research prospects on LinkedIn and Twitter before an email, call, or meeting.
  • Like or comment on a prospect/client’s social media post.
  • Set up Google Alerts for competitor terms (brand names, products, key people) –see google.com/alerts.

There is a lot more to Social Selling of course so if you would like us to help you use Social Media as a Sales tool for your business get in touch for a free consultation. contact us

Why more and more businesses are using Social Media for Customer Service.

social-media-customer-service

We noticed that last year Nationwide were the first UK high street financial services provider to offer its customers 24/7 Twitter coverage, answering their questions and queries, as well as providing them with customer service information and support, any time of day or night.Much of their advertising now majors on this.You can see their announcement here

It may be a puzzle to some people why this would have any significance and some would assume this would have very little importance.However Customer service is evolving to match the rapid growth and development of new communication media, and today’s most popular social media platforms are the perfect opportunity to capitalize on that trend. When today’s customers try to get in touch an increasing number of businesses have turned to Social Media as a Customer Service tool.

The growth in using Social Media as a Customer Service tool is happening for several reasons:

1: Communication Is Immediate

When people are upset, or when they need answers to their questions, they want a response right away. They don’t want to wait 24 hours for their email to be read, sorted, and responded to. They don’t want to wait on hold for 30 minutes.One of the most effective elements of social media is its immediacy. The minute somebody makes a post on your Facebook wall or a post mentioning your brand, your admin team will receive a notification to take action.They will also know that this request is publicly visible. This is also a slight vulnerability—customers expect immediate responses when posting on social media, so if your response team isn’t prepared, it could cost you—but if you can respond within minutes of the original post, you’ll be able to make your customer very happy. This is especially effective for customers dealing with an urgent problem.You response will also be highly visible.

2: You Give People a More Personal Experience

Resourced properly Social Media means that it will be a person responding to a customer enquiry.There won’t be any automatically generated emails. There won’t be any tone-based phone menus. It’s just a question, followed by an answer.Social media also allows you to think carefully about your response and present it in a more casual, conversational tone. This way, you can retain your business identity while writing and communicating like a human, thus humanizing your business brand.

3: The Conversation Is Transparent and Highly Visible

This works both ways. For the customer, transparency is all about vindication. When customers are upset, they want to be heard, and posting on social media is the perfect way to be heard. By allowing your customers to make their complaints or questions public in this way, you’re giving them an immediate outlet. They feel in control, and appreciate the urgency companies feel to respond when the issue is made public.For companies, transparency means that other potential customers get to see how well you handle the situation. If you can answer a customer’s concerns quickly, nicely, and effectively, you’ll instantly leave all of your followers with a good feeling—confidence that your customer service is top-notch.

4: You’re Encouraging More Mentions for your Business.

More interactions on social media means you have more opportunities to point people back to your profile and ultimately your website. Your customers will mention you in their posts, making you visible to all their contacts. Even if they come to you with a concern or an issue, you’ll get visibility and an opportunity to show off your ability to quickly and effectively and correct the problem. When relevant, you can also post links to your site for more information. No matter how you handle questions and comments, you’ll be encouraging more activity and more mentions, which can also help your SEO rankings.

5: Follow-up Is Easy

Depending on how long it takes for the problem to be resolved, following up with your customer is fast and easy. If you manage to resolve the problem with a quick answer, you can immediately ask whether or not the interaction was helpful. If it wasn’t, you have an opportunity to take further action—rather than forcing the customer through another round of calling or emailing. If it was helpful, you have a publicly visible follow-up interaction that ends on a positive note. You can also make a note to follow up a few days later with a private message to make sure the customer is still satisfied.

6: Social Users Are More Likely to Talk About Their Experience

Intuitively, the people most likely to use social media are the people who like to socialize. The most active users have hundreds of followers and friends on various social media profiles, and they’re used to posting updates regularly.

How you respond to these people is significant, because they are more likely to tell others about their experience with your business. If you treat them well, they’ll share a positive experience with their extended social network—and you’ll get access to new potential fans and customers.

7: You Eliminate the Funnel

Customers hate the funnel. When customers contact you, they want to be responded to in the same medium. Otherwise, they feel like they are being ‘processed through a mechanical series of hoops, which leaves them with an alienated, impersonal feeling. Many major companies make the mistake of ushering people through one dedicated communication channel, usually a phone number or an email address, and isolating customers who reach out in any other method.

So many larger service businesses (Banks,Telecommunications and Energy sectors especially) are turning to Social Media to communicate with existing customers.Now many medium sized and smaller businesses are using it too.

Twitter in particularly has turned out as very useful tool for customer service, with users reaching businesses in a convenient way. It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, since users tend to be impatient, but if you manage to win social customer’s satisfaction, then your business should feel really grow! Its a big opportunity to interact with your customers and help spread positive word of mouth about you.

If you would like us to help you use Social Media as a Customer Service tool to market your business get in touch for a free consultation. contact us

Social Media Trends in 2015

Now the New Year celebrations have subsided its worth taking a look at what might happen in Social Media over the next year:

1. Facebook Video will continue to grow.

Video is the latest powerful trend in social media, with Facebook taking advantage of it to a full extent. It already saw a massive surge in video views during 2014, that’s why there are plans for more features.Ultimately Facebook video may overtake Youtube which would really be an achievement.

2. Facebook will focus even more intently on good content.

Facebook relies heavily on media coverage, that’s why they tend to place news links higher on our news feeds. Facebook is determined to end like-gating (the use of artificial incentives to get people to like your page), which means that it’s more important than ever to focus on good content, as a way to inform your audience and gain a bigger audience.

3. Twitter Real-Time Use

Twitter is already powerful for real-time updates, especially when it comes to emergencies and live events. I think more users will experiment with live chats, proving that your updates are fast and relevant to anything that might be happening worldwide.

4. Twitter For Customer Service

Twitter has also turned out as very useful tool for customer service, with users reaching businesses in a convenient way. It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, since users tend to be impatient, but if you manage to win social customer’s satisfaction, then your business should feel really grow! It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, you need to resource it.Its a big opportunity to interact with your customers and help spread positive word of mouth about you.

5. Instagram

Instagram got bigger in 2014 and it’s not expected to stop during 2015. Its now the third big Social Media player and you can no longer ignore it. Businesses are already increasing, taking advantage of its visual power, which means that you need to add it to your list of new things to learn.

6. Visual Quality is becoming more and more important.

Visual content is already very important, but maybe it’s time to raise the bar for the quality of content you are producing.Users are getting tired of the same old images (and videos by the time they get viral) and prefer your own perspective on any type of content.

7. Pinterest

Pinterest is still growing and is still the best Social Media network for referral traffic and it even turned into a useful image search engine alternative to Google Images.If you are a retailer selling visually appealing products Pinterest is becoming more and more important.One to watch.

8. LinkedIn articles

LinkedIn launched its Publishing Platform in 2014 and this was clearly a new opportunity for content marketing. Many users are starting to use this feature and this should be the year we see it really grow.Time to try it out.

9. LinkedIn For Company Page

LinkedIn is increasing its status as the number one professional social network if you haven’t set up a company page for your business yet then maybe it’s time to do it and boost both your presence and your authority!

10. Time For Short Videos

Video is already a huge growth area in Social Media but also short videos are becoming more crucial with newer media like :Snapchat, Vine and Instagram. These offer a great opportunity to become creative in a new way.If you learn how to use it in times of fast decreasing attention span, short videos should definitely be part of your social strategy and marketing.

There are many ways all businesses can benefit from this and other key trends so for more information contact us for a free consultation to help your business grow .

What is the ‘Sharing Economy’ and why does it matter ?

We seem to have a constant stream of change to our economic and business models with the pace of change fueled by the Internet and Social  Media.Just look at the way the big four Supermarkets have recently been caught out by changing shopping trends with the move away from big ‘all under one roof ‘ weekly shops .On a similar theme one really key trend is the so called ‘Sharing Economy’ and its really having an impact.

In simple terms its where individuals share information and services and bypass the traditional providers.For example there is a huge rise in people using the Internet and Social Media to organize home swaps for their holidays rather than use hotels.and travel companies.Another example would be the rise of car sharing/rental schemes that cut out the car rental companies.The Economist Magazine have a published an interesting article on the subject you can see this here,

There are many ways all businesses can benefit from this and other key trends so for more information contact us for a free consultation to help your business grow .

Jeff Bezos of Amazon shows us content really is king !

One of the golden rules of Blogging,Websites and of course Social Media is that interesting relevant and original content is the key to success. Good content attracts visitors and ranks well with search engines . It also keep visitors on your site longer .

With that in mind its interesting to see the news today about Jeff Bezos of internet shoppping giant Amazon buying the Washington Post an iconic US Newspaper .The question is why would any self respecting entrepreneur buy a Newspaper when the newspaper industry is dying on its feet . Many newspapers have experienced a 90% decline in circulation from their 60s heyday with half that fall coming in the last 7 years .

The answer maybe he just wants a plaything to write off tax against or promote his personal and political views. That may be true of course but more likely just part of a race to own great content and iconic newspapers attract good journalists and therefore make great content.

Newspapers and magazines are slowly but surely going up behind paywalls so the race for ownership of content is on.

Jeff Bezos is a great innovator with amazing long term vision so it will be interesting to see what he does with the Washington Post. It certainly shows us that content really is king ?

What do you think ?

To keep up to date with the latest Inbound Marketing News ,Views,Hints and Tips  SUBSCRIBE to our EMAIL UPDATES –You can also find more information on how we can help you on our Website or Contact Us if you want to know how we can help you.

Richard

How to use the latest features in LinkedIn to really grow your business.

OK its the last full working week before Christmas so its a good time to reflect on the last year and put in place plans for next year. Once thing that has really changed this year is LinkedIn.

LinkedIn continues to grow and grow. Its amazing how many business people I now see using LinkedIn so widely compared to just a year ago.

This year LinkedIn has added lot’s of new features that help marketing managers and business owners to network and develop their business and of course reach more customers and potential customers.

The really key features are now :

-The new improved LinkedIn Profile

-The new improved LinkedIn Company Page

-Follow Us

-Skill Endorsements (controversial these)

-Likes

-Sharing

-Updating

-LinkedIn Today

-Answers

-Groups

A lot has changed on LinkedIn this year and its now an even bigger source of business than ever.

I have noticed how many of my clients seem to prefer one to one tuition to a course or workshop. So with that in mind I have developed and ran a number of LinkedIn One to Ones for a variety of businesses The reaction has been great here’s what a some of them said:

Clair Wilkinson and Sandra Venables
Franchise Consultants Green Frog Consultancy

“I had a one to one training session on LinkedIn with Richard and I now really understand how amazing LinkedIn really is. I now have all the tools and techniques I need to really get the best out of a very powerful marketing tool. I wanted to know what Linkedin was used for and how it could be used to help me grow my business.Thanks to the ’50 day action plan’ I now feel really motivated to put aside half an hour a day to get the most out of it. Richard certainly knows how social media can help a business grow . I am now looking forward to finding out all about Twitter .“

Angela Dalzell
Director at MTD Residential Lettings Limited

‘Thank you Richard for the one to one training session for Linked in. I was secretly pleased that the group training had been cancelled. I found your training to be extremely informative and as you will see if you look at my profile I put your training to good use immediately. I have already received a business enquiry and hope to receive many more. Once again thank you. I now look forward to my Twitter training course. ‘

So I have a special offer for you.

The first 10 people who come back to me can book their 2 hour LinkedIn One to One with me for a special price of £60+vat (a 30% discount).

I’ll come out and see you and really help you make LinkedIn work for you.

If you would like your LinkedIn One to One get in touch here  Contact Us .

Look forward to hearing from you soon.

Richard

Google Changes the Rules !!

There’s been a big important change recently in how Google ranks websites and it affects all businesses .Overnight many websites that previously were in top three position in Google searches disappeared for page one altogether .Panic stricken web based businesses saw enquiries and sales  drop dramatically.The traditional Search Engine Optimisation Agencies have been thrown into turmoil.

Google has by far the biggest share of the search market and still dominates the way we all find the website we are looking for even though rivals like Bing and Social Media like Facebook and Twitter are catching it.

Consequently Google is always looking for ways to keep its  search results relevant so we all keep using it ! Its important that when you search for a keyword or term the results (links to websites) you see on the page are relevant to your search with authentic content .

Google makes regular changes to the way it ranks a website and on 24th April this year it made arguably its biggest change ever. The change was called Google Penguin and replaced Google Panda  (dont ask me why they called it that  !Why do Google call the latest version of their Android Smartphone software Ice Cream Sandwich for goodness sake ? Answers on a postcard  (remember them ? )).

What does all this mean for your website and how it ranks on Google ?

Well out go techniques that try and fool Google like keyword stuffing cloaking, participating in link schemes,and deliberate creation of duplicate content.

In comes ‘Content is King’ -relevant ,genuine,human and authentic with particular reference to Social Media like Blogs,Twitter and Facebook .You need to be busy and active on Social Media being authentic and relevant and make sure your website reflects this  too.If you don’t put quality information on products and services in your website, you can’t expect visitors to stick around and thats now how Google see it too !

The number of links to your website will be relevant but there is much more of an emphasis on the reputation and quality of a site that’s linking to your specific domain rather than the sheer number of links that point in your direction.  Those £10/mth for 2000 back link offers are now not only pointless, but they’re also quite dangerous.

If your concerned about the ranking of your website and the number of enquiries you are getting Contact Us for a free review and consultation .

Please feel free to comment below

Richard