Posts

The Ying and Yang of Social Media

Social media is a world unlike any other.

It’s still new to us, especially if you consider how it seems to be everchanging with each new phone update.

Life would be made much easier if only there was an extremely specific recipe to success for all small businesses on all social media platforms. A recipe that needed just a splash of engagement, a cup of killer content and a beautifully cohesive brand identity as the cherry on top. Then, BAM. You’ve got yourself a tsunami of eager customers for life.

In all seriousness though, I wish there was a simple recipe you could follow step by step that would unlock the secret to a successful social media presence… sadly there isn’t.

But, there are many methods that are proven to work that you can try out and modify for your specific business, product and audience. You can navigate your own way to social media success and create your own unique recipe to get there.

Something that will have to be figured out on this journey to a successful social media presence is where your fine line is for various topics. What is to too much and what is too little? What is smothering your followers and what is neglecting them? Where is the line between sticking with what works and boring, repetitive content?

Here are a few examples for you to consider:

  1. Over Posting and Under Posting

Finding that sweet spot in terms of how much you post is a vastly underestimated aspect of social media. It is commonplace for upstarting small businesses to believe they must post everyday (sometimes multiple times a day) in order to keep the interest of social media users.

This is false.

In fact, posting too much will likely annoy your followers who will have a newsfeed oversaturated by your content. It may negatively impact the view of your business and the number of followers you can maintain.

On the flip side, you don’t want to make your content scare so that you lose the opportunities social media provides for conversion and leads. Your acquired followers may also unfollow you if they don’t feel they are receiving the amount of valuable content they signed up for.

2. Over Selling and Under Selling

To sell or not to sell? That is the question!

This is probably the hardest area to pinpoint in terms of what is too much and what is too little on social media. Of course, it is important to promote your products and draw awareness to your website and other business materials. That is why businesses use social media in the first place, to market their brand and products.

However, too much selling can sometimes repel audiences as they begin to feel bombarded by efforts to get them to the checkout. Your business will lose its personable side.

In amongst content which promotes and sells, there should be content that is educational, motivational or prompts casual engagement with your followers in order to create a feeling that there is a person behind the brand.

I suppose you can say there is a fine line drawn between selling and building relationships. Strike the perfect balance between these two things and you’ll end up with trusting customers who are not only engaged with your product, but they are eager to support your business.

3. Finding Followers and Finding Customers

It’s true. It looks good when your social media pages have a large number of followers. Visitors to your page may be impressed by the numbers and opt to join the extensive list of followers. A large following has potential to increase engagement and the sharing of your content to an even greater audience of people.

BUT…

Obsessing over numbers should not be your objective. Finding people that will have a genuine interest and customer potential should be the objective.

There’s no harm in having a couple of empty followers (those which add to your follower count but will not contribute more to your business) but the core base of your following should be made up of people that are beneficial to your business. These people can be obtained through targeted advertisements, use of relevant hashtags and searching the follower lists of competitors.

It is up to you to walk that fine line between having a larger following that looks impressive to visitors whilst still having quality individuals that make up this list.

4. Doing What Works and Making Content Varied

On social media, you track and measure the success of your content. When a post skyrockets and does ten times better than all your other posts, it’s exciting and you feel like you’ve finally cracked the code. All you have to do is keep posting that kind of content, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

It’s important to know what your audience responds positively to and engages with but, you should endeavor to keep your content varied. Social media audiences will not tolerate copy-paste content, they appreciate variation and innovation.

Sure, if posting a “Tip Tuesday” is your thing and your audience is positively responsive, keep it up. If you have an adorable dog that your audience goes wild for, include them in a post every now and then. Take advantage of what works, but don’t let your content become too repetitive and stale —your audience won’t thank you for it.

What Is Cause Marketing And Why It Matters Now

A crisis can bring out the best in people and companies too! As the year 2020 continues to rapidly pivot consumer behaviour trends, we could all use some inspiration for businesses to find ways to adapt to the current times.

So, how do you make a shift in your business strategy to match the current consumer demands?

The reality is consumers aren’t buying products purely for logical reasons, they do so, more often than not, because of reasons that benefit society and the earth. Often, this consumer responsibility connection between a brand and the customer has a large influence on customer retention and sales success. As well as usually, outperforming other purchasing motivations such as discounts, coupons and sales. That’s why you need to incorporate cause marketing into your strategy.

Therefore, what exactly is cause marketing and how can you make it work for your business?

With the age of social responsibility among us, consumers are displaying their preferences lie more with personal values than personal gain. Today, customers are more inclined to buy with their hearts and consciences first, even if it means splashing out extra cash. Consumers are committed more than ever before to leave the world a better place, and they expect brands do the same.

And, if you choose to ignore the age of social responsibility, you do so at the risk of your company. Addressing internal problems within your company is not enough today. It’s time to contribute externally. Today’s consumers support companies who are making an effort to make the world a whole lot more pleasant and socially just. So, find a cause and promote it.

When choosing a cause to support, make sure you feel passionate about it. Companies that support causes they feel strongly about, will typically do better. If your employees can all get behind the cause, the energy will not go unnoticed by your consumers. Simply, giving money to a cause is not enough today. Consumers want to see companies collaborate with not-for profit organisations.

In today’s society consumers understand the importance of buying power to effect change. Companies are rewarded by consumers when their values align. Conversely, consumers punish companies whose values don’t.

 

Consumers seek out and purchase from companies who share a commitment to make the world a cleaner, healthier and better place.

In conclusion, consumer power has become a means of activism. Consumers put their money and their actions where their heart is. And, so should your company.

 

 

So, to leave you with some final tips on how to successfully perform cause marketing;

  • Find a cause that relates to your brand
  • Choose a cause that you are passionate about
  • Do more than simply giving money to an issue
  • Collaborate and build relationships with the non-profit of your choice

It’s Time to Get Savvy: An Introduction to Email Marketing

Email marketing is a massively underrated segment of digital marketing that, when used in combination with other marketing channels, is a goldmine of opportunity. Think of email marketing as the Robin or Dr. Watson of digital marketing; it needs to work in tandem with something else to have relevance but when it does, it is highly effective, useful and fills a vital role.

Email marketing can be used to deliver specific content directly to the interested user’s email inbox. This content can include offers, advertisements and education. To break these down further and understand the different kinds of emails there are, businesses can specifically deliver things like:

  • Brand announcements: announcing your next webinar, event, or sale
  • Product updates: the latest features of your product or offered services
  • Newsletters: a summary of your latest blog posts, business updates or your latest content offers
  • Event invitations: informing users of an event you’re attending, or an event of interest to them (e.g. an event of a business partner)
  • Social media updates: letting subscribers know of your new posts and asking them to share or like your posts (there’s no harm in asking for a little help from your followers/fans)

Keep in mind that you should switch up the kinds of emails you are sending to your subscribers. If you are tracking the response of your emails, discovering which are generating website visits or higher engagement, this can give you greater insight in to which types of emails work best for your specific subscribers. Knowing your subscribers, to know what they need and why they need it, is the key.

Before you can send an email, you of course need to know who you are emailing and how you will reach them. You can form a subscriber list by placing offers to ‘join our email subscription” on your website landing pages, social media’s or other platforms. Enticing people to join your email subscription can be achieved in many different ways, but ultimately you have to sell the benefits of joining this subscription. For example, subscribe “to receive exclusive offers”, “be the first to know when our sales begin” or “subscribe to receive 10% off your first purchase”. Once they have subscribed with their contact information, you can begin sending out your marketing emails.

Manuel vs Automated Emails:

Both manual and automated emails are important for email marketing. Manually sent emails are those that you create for specific and unique circumstances (e.g. an upcoming sale, announcements, newsletters etc.). Automated emails are those which are sent when a user performs a certain action on your website which automatically triggers an email response. Some automated email examples include:

  • Welcome: sent when a user first registers for your email subscription
  • Onboarding: can be singular or several emails providing information about your services or products and gives a rundown of what they can expect from your business.
  • Confirmation: sent in response to a user signing up for an event/webinar or completing a transaction.
  • Form response: sent when someone has completed a form to obtain access to an offer you have promoted, it will usually thank them for their engagement and will include the details of the offer.
  • Abandoned cart: if the customer has added products to their basket but has not followed through with the transaction, you can send triggered emails to remind them that they still have items in their basket and can encourage them to complete their purchase.

There is so much more to learn about email marketing, but this is a good introduction to understanding how, why and when to use email marketing to boost your business.

Final Three Tips:

  1. Your emails should be mobile friendly as 53% of all emails are being opened on mobile devices. If your formatting and content is not appropriate and appealing on a mobile device, then you are potentially wasting some of your efforts and failing to fully target half of your email subscribers.
  2. Make sure your email arrives at the time that best suits the user (consider time zones and how an email notification for someone at midnight may hurt the way they view your brand).
  3. Personalise your emails, tailor them to each user by including their name and providing information or recommendations that are constructed for them based on past behaviors.

Turning a Negative into a Positive: How to Handle Negative Reviews

Let’s be honest, we’re all human and we’ve all made mistakes. Some are the big type, some are the small type and some are the “I forgot my lip balm today” type. They can conjure feelings of guilt, embarrassment and can tinge your cheeks an unflattering shade of red. Yet, these mistakes usually pave the way for us to learn and move on.

Unfortunately, if you’re standing at the helm of a business, any mistakes that are made are a little harder to face internally and to gracefully leave behind you. This is because your mistakes are publicly scrutinised online through the accessible medium of negative reviews.

Though we wish everyone could forgive, forget and leave a review on our Facebook page praising our efforts, the reality is that sometimes we make mistakes and people will speak out about them. A negative review is far from ideal, in fact one negative review is shown to drive away 22% of prospective customers. However, the way in which you manage and respond to this review can significantly improve the perception of your business.

Respond quickly:

If you see a negative review, you should respond promptly. Leaving it is like leaving a parasite and allowing it to infect the reputation of your business. Some businesses choose to reach out privately to negative comments (through social media direct messages) to provide a more personalised, in-depth response. However, a prompt public reply should also be provided acknowledging the mistake and outlining what is being done in response. This ensures other readers know you are taking positive action and are responsive to all feedback.

Responding with haste will narrow the window of opportunity for individuals to view the negative comment in its isolated form and improve your chances of gaining new customers. Ideally, no one will see the negative comment without your empathetic, apologetic response tethered to it.

 

Don’t Delete:

It may be tempting to delete the unflattering or incriminatory words of a disgruntled customer, but this will do more damage to your reputation. You may gain new customers through the absence of the negative review, but you’ve lost a customer and any future customers they could have referred to you. By deleting their comment that they took the time to leave, you are communicating that their feedback is not valued and that you don’t intend to improve on whatever they found dissatisfying. If you delete it, you are simply adding fuel to the fire.

In the unusual circumstance of inaccurate reviews (pertaining to products or services you do not provide) or that resemble a misleading or fake review (made by competition, a former employee  or someone who has never been an actual customer), these reviews can and should be removed.

 

Empathise:

Often, you won’t agree with a review or perhaps what went wrong was completely out of your control. For example, when there are shortages of a certain product in a clothing store due to a sudden spike in demand, this is not exactly an avoidable situation. However, it is important to try and understand why the customer has posted what they did and how they might be feeling.

Imagine if someone had been saving up to buy an item of clothing and comes in-store to buy it only to find there are none in their size. Now, imagine that due to the upcoming line of clothing this item would no longer be in production. Understandably, they are disappointed. You may want to frantically explain the facts of the situation to justify the circumstances, but it is far more important to understand the customer’s feelings and show you care. You can explain without disregarding their experience, making excuses, or avoiding responsibility. This is far more likely to achieve a successful outcome.

 

Be Polite and Professional:

What’s worse than a negative review? A negative review accompanied by a rude, dismissive response. This is a recipe for a tarnished reputation.

It is imperative to remain polite and professional when addressing customers, but especially when responding to a customer who is unhappy with your product or service. This is your opportunity to make amends and prove your quality as a business and therefore, this should never involve insults, slander or flippancy.

A professional format for your response could look like:

  1. Introduce yourself/greet them.
  2. Thank them for their feedback.
  3. Apologise for the negative experience they had.
  4. Explain if there had been a misunderstanding (do not avoid responsibility)
  5. Outline what their concerns are and (if possible) how your business will change/avoid future occurrences like this.

 

Learn:

As mentioned above, there are ‘mistakes’ that are beyond your control. If a negative review brings to your attention an area of your business that could be improved (through employee development, improving phone/website service, technological developments, altering prices etc.) this feedback could be invaluable to the progression of your business. View negative comments as opportunities to learn, grow and gain insights that ensure future reviews are positive.

How to Make your Business Stand Out on Social Media

 

Social Media is one of the most beneficial forms of marketing, driving traffic and conversations to your company. But with so many businesses now utilizing social media, it’s difficult to stand out amongst so much noise. Businesses are constantly competing for attention on social media.

With that said, you have to find ways to cut through the noise and stand out from the rest. Here are my 7 tips to help your business shine on social media.

  1. Use the right Social Platforms

Rather than jumping right in and making a presence on every social platform you can think of, take your time to think about what platforms are suited to you. While cross-channel marketing will create a larger reach, each platform has a niche target audience and there’s no point having a specific account if it doesn’t market to your audience. You need to know your target audience and have a good understanding of how each platform works. Find the platform that aligns with your audience.

2. Use a content calendar

It’s not just about where you share your content- it’s also about what social content you share. Successful social media marketing doesn’t just happen by chance, there is a strategy in place. People will not pay attention to irregular posts, irrelevant content, just shares from other accounts and quickly typed in content. You need to be proactive about your social media content. This can be achieved through a content calendar. A content calendar is where you clearly map out your social media content for each day. A great tool for this is Hootsuite or even an excel spreadsheet. This will allow you to have an idea of what variety of content you will be posting, keeping you on track with your social media goals.

3. Theme your accounts

You can make your brand more recognizable and appealing by using a consistent theme across your platforms. Essentially, theming means creating a distinct look by sticking to a specific colour, filter or graphic. With todays saturated market, merely posting an image that suits your brand will not have a strong effect. You are more likely to be rewarded with brand engagement and followers with consistent aesthetics. Not only will this make your accounts visually pleasing but it will make your brand more memorable. Consumers will be able to easily identify you from just an image, colour and filter.

4. Use Interactive Content

One sure-fire way to help your business stand out is to create interactive content. Customers appreciate businesses where they can leave their feedback and feel valued. Be proactive with your target audience and engage with them. This will create personalised content, trust and inform you of your consumers preferences and behaviours. Use online tools to create interactive graphs, infographics, maps and videos. Always make an effort to reply to comments, even if it is a simple ‘thank you’. Or just simply commenting, liking and responding to your consumers posts will go a long way.

5. Create Recurring Posts

The key to creating a social media page that stands out is to keep consumers coming back, week after week. Dive into creating a reoccurring weekly post or event. This can be one of the best ways to connect with your audience, add value and express some personality.

Perhaps host a weekly Q & A

Maybe post a weekly what’s happening in Perth

What about a weekly Sunday inspiration

Or even post a weekly tip

The opportunities are endless. By creating a reoccurring posts or event, you’ll keep your consumers coming back as they’ll develop an interest in your weekly updates.

6. Be Authentic and Transparent

Do we all remember the Colgate add that stressed how important protecting the environment was to them as they left the tap running and used an unnecessary amount of toothpaste in their ad? Don’t do this. This is one example of being unauthentic. To stand out amongst so much noise in today’s world it is so important to be authentic and transparent. If you’re genuine and transparent your followers will be more willing to identify with you.

7. Pay attention to your social media analytics

And the last way to help your business stand out on social media is to always measure your effectiveness.

Why?

Well paying attention to your analytics will tell you what is working and what isn’t. There’s not point continuing to post certain content if it isn’t resonating with your audience. Based on your data, you can move forward and focus on creating more content that’s in line with what is working.

Social media is a vital part of your businesses marketing strategy. But to make your social efforts effective you have to constantly look for ways to make you stand out from the rest. Follow these tips I’ve just shared and you’ll be on your way to becoming a benchmark for your industries social platforms.