Posts Tagged ‘customer engagement

17
May
10

The “Be’s” behind your social media brand

7 Steps to More Effective Facebook Fan Pages. 5 Tips to Develop a Twitter Following. 11 Sure-Fire Ways LinkedIn Generates Business Leads.  8 Rules for Building Brands with Blogs.  Do these type of headlines sound familiar?  Do they get your attention?  I confess to sometimes writing them myself.

Unfortunately, we often pay more attention to tactics than our voice.  Too bad because your voice in social media is your brand equity. 

Social media marketing is different from advertising, sales promotion or direct marketing.  It’s a conversation, not a monologue.  It won’t work if your constituents don’t believe you always have their best interests at heart.  Just try to tell someone to “Buy This Now” and see what happens.

So it’s not what you need to make someone do.  It’s how you have to be.  Here are 16 Be’s for finding a social voice that works for your brand.

  1. Be helpful
  2. Be willing to ask for help
  3. Be informative
  4. Be of value in teaching someone something new
  5. Be willing to share
  6. Be able to ask others to share in return
  7. Be positive
  8. Be forthcoming
  9. Be inspirational
  10. Be a good listener
  11. Be able to carry on a good conversation
  12. Be honest with your audience
  13. Be able to express a point of view convincingly 
  14. Be able to respect those who do and don’t accept what you have to say 
  15. Be willing to give before you have to get
  16. Be yourself 

The list is as long or as short as the authentic qualities you have when you relate to others.

So the next time you see someone or some business brag, boast, bring nothing to the party other than an endless stream of press releases and company news either in a blog, tweet, comment or through a bit.ly link, feel free to remind them of this advice.

Do you have any “Be’s” of your own?  Send them my way.  I’d like to hear so we can keep a running list together.

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04
May
10

5 reasons blogs pay off

A frequent comment from businesses and people new to blogging is:  I have a website, so why do I need a blog?

Here are 5 reasons blogs pay off.

  1. IMPROVED BRAND IMAGE: Positive perceptions of  a business or company increase +36% if there is a blog either on or linked to the website. That’s because consumers view you as accessible, transparent and willing to help (source: Nielsen) .
  2. BETTER SEARCH RESULTS: A blog is a major asset for better search results, especially since you can link your blog to others (and visa-versa), a primary characteristic search engines use for determining relevance. For example, my name, Rob Petersen, is pretty common. In searching the name, this site, BarnRaisers, comes up 4th, ahead of a famous magazine publisher and a former running back for the Philadelphia Eagles (sorry, I’m not them).
  3. STRONGER RELATIONSHIPS: 95% of people never read more than 5 pages or spend more than 5 minutes on a website (source: comScore). If your company or brand website has more than 5 pages, consumers are likely to get to know you better through your blog than the chance your website can beat these odds.
  4. RETURN ON INVESTMENT: “Open source” blogging platforms are very good now and keep getting better.  To reveal a little about myself, seven months ago, I built this site with a little sweat equity and $7.50.  Given the platform capabilities, I also made it the company website and put 5 tabs on top to tell the story of our business (with great respect to comScore). Although it also took knocking on dozens of doors (well, dozens of dozens) to secure initial assignments and there was  time, travel and other business expenses, blogs played a critical role delivering the necessary ROI to  start and build a business.
  5. SHARED OBJECTIVES:  Blogs and brand websites share (at least they should) the same business objectives; that is, to drive leads, provide useful information, be helpful, convert consumers, complete desired transactions (e.g. create inquiries, sign up subscriptions, make a purchase) and keep your audience coming back to build your brand. Can any business have too much of that?

I go to blogs, before websites, for inspiration, ideas and help.  Bloggers I admire keep me in the know and have graciously helped me, either directly and indirectly, be a better communicator, business person and blogger.  I also feel like I have a relationship with someone which is always preferable.  Just a  dozen of the many I turn to are:

  1. http://www.chrisbrogan.com
  2. http://sethgodin.typepad.com
  3. http://mashable.com
  4. http://www.marketingprofs.com
  5. http://www.bloombergmarketing.blogs.com
  6. http://www.tomhcanderson.com
  7. http://www.marketersstudio.com
  8. http://mackcollier.com
  9. http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com
  10. http://www.n2growth.com/blog
  11. http://conversationagent.com
  12. http://altitudebranding.com

A blog I also admire for its business acumen is http://www.singleservecoffee.com

The blog’s creator has smartly identified a topic that is also be a niche business in a big, crowded, competitive category.  The brand name/URL establishes category authority and comes up #1 on search engines for “single serve coffee” and “single serve coffee makers.”  The blog reviews products, has relevant ads (that generate revenue) and sells single serve coffee makers and accessories direct to consumers.  On the site, there is also social community on the subject.  The ROI must be extraordinary.

Does this help you see the value of blogs?

12
Apr
10

The net promoters era

What are net promoters? Consumers who rate products on the internet?  Mommy Bloggers? People who Tweets about brands on Twitter? Fans on Facebook? Hold that thought.

For students of relationship marketing and CRM, net promoters are the driving force of Fred Reichheld’s book, The Ultimate Question. Fred studied and surveyed the customers of 100’s of companies and came to a singular conclusion: The most admired and profitable companies are the ones with the greatest percentage of net promoters – people who enthusiastically answer in the affirmative the question, “How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?”

Fred developed the Net Promoter Score (NPS).  The NPS is the percentage of people who are “promoters” of a company minus the   “passives” and “detractors” (NPS = P – D).  Reichheld’s work is known for its statistical significance and high correlation with business success.  In 2006, the companies with the highest NPS were:

  • USAA (82%)
  • HomeBanc (81%)
  • Harley-Davidson (81%)
  • Costco (79%)
  • Amazon.com (73%)
  • Chick-fil-A (72%)
  • eBay (71%)

By 2008, Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, in Groundswell, delivered research showing 80% of people rate and review products favorably on the internet and their social networks. If companies with an NPS of 80% rank among the highest in Reichheld’s work, Li and Bernoff’s research is particularly good news for businesses and brands.

It means companies that use interactive ratings are reviews are likely to have a higher NPS, be more admired and have greater profitability. Li and Bernoff’s research also showed:

  • 76% of customers use online reviews to make purchases
  • 96% of sites that have them say they are an effective merchandising tactic
  • Only 25% of e-commerce sites have them now

So, from Reichheld’s, Li’s and Bernoff’s viewpoints, we’re in the “net promoters era.”  If your company isn’t taking advantage of it, shouldn’t it be?

25
Mar
10

7 social media tips to build brands

The U.S. Small Business Administration is giving social media workshops at UCONN campuses this March and April.

52% of people in the U.S. work at businesses with 20 people or less.  Small businesses have led the country out of every recession.  Many believe, including comScore, social media will be a big asset this time around.

Since I’m one of them, I’m grateful to contribute along with Mike Rogers of Brainloaf,  http://www.brainloaf.com and other small business owners (featured below) that have used social media successfully.  Here are 7 social media tips to build brands.

  1. Strategy trumps technology: A business strategy and social media strategy are the same thing.  In using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, apps etc., ask yourself how these amplify the business strategy and increase customer engagement and trust in your brand?
  2. Set measurements and expectations first: Don’t believe anyone who says you can’t measure social media.  You can know more about buying behaviors on the internet (e.g. where customers come from, how long they spend with you, what they do and where they go) than in your store.  Plus Google Analytics and bit.ly links are free.  If you’re not convinced, David Berkowitz has a great presentation on 100 measurements at: http://bit.ly/pmadb
  3. Social media takes time: Small business owners, understandably, have lots of priorities.  Manage what you can handle.  Customers come first.  Social media is going to be around for a while.
  4. Live with the ups and downs: What you want is a following and fans.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It doesn’t happen the way you thought it would, but, stick with it, and it does happen.  Enjoy the journey.
  5. Not all social networks are equal: In every case I’ve seen, some social networks do better than others depending on the unique nature of every business.  For AJ Bombers, a burger joint, it was Twitter, acting as a virtual host, and a video from Chris Brogan.  For a utilitarian product like Blendtec blenders, it was unconventional product demos from Founder/CEO, Tom Dickson.  You can learn from their experiences below and expect it will happen for you.
  6. Have your online house in order: If you follow tips 1-5, you will experience increased traffic.  It will go to your web site, the most important asset in any social media program.  There’s an old saying:  Nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising.  Today, nothing kills a good social media program faster than a bad web site.
  7. Believe in your product: Joe Sorge, owner of AJ Bombers, who now has a book, #Twitterworks (http://twitterworks.tv),   spoke in a video call from Milwaukee.  Joe says his Twitter page, AJBombers, has increased weekly sales +25%.  What was most important to his success?  “If I didn’t believe AJ Bombers made the best cheeseburger on the planet, social media wouldn’t have accomplished a thing.”

If you’re in the area, the next workshop is April 27th at UCONN in Stamford from 6pm to 9 pm.  Details will be at:  http://bit.ly/bW22Ml

12
Mar
10

Shhh! 10 social media secrets for maketing with women

I had the privilege of being on a radio show panel with some great people.  The topic: “How Social Media Gains Trust and Advocacy in Marketing with Women.”  Since women make 85% of buying decisions and are faster adopters of social media than men, it was a timely and interesting topic.  The radio show was “Real Women on Health” and the panel was:

  • Toby Bloomberg, Founder, Bloomberg Marketing, a strategic marketing and blogging consultancy and Forbes’ Top 20 Women Bloggers
  • Kelley Connors, President of Real Women on Health!, a multi-channel community with a radio show, top-rated women’s health web site and significant affiliate partnerships
  • Tom H. C. Anderson, CEO of Anderson Analytics, a market research consultancy, and chairperson of LinkedIn’s most active networking group, Next Generation Market Research
  • Rob Petersen, President of BarnRaisers, an online marketing solutions company using social media and proven relationship marketing principles
  • Cassie Holm, National Strategic Alliance Director of Real Women on Health!, was the moderator

Everyone took the opportunity to learn from one another.  Here are 10 tips to gain trust and advocacy with women using social media.

  1. Invite in: Women are 3X less likely to care about the size of their network than men.  Size may not matter but being shown personal attention does.
  2. Understand who you’re talking to: 74% post pictures of family/friends and 71% talk about what they’re doing now as opposed to 60% and 58% for men.  Take advantage of the opportunity and get to know them.
  3. Listen and respond: Listening is a fundamental skill but, equally important, is proof you did.
  4. Set guidelines and expectations: You can’t read body language on a social network.   Security and privacy are big issues.  Create a comfortable environment.
  5. Be transparent: If you’re not part of the group and “trolling” for business purposes, you are very, very likely to be found out so be open about who you are.
  6. Talk rather than target: When women are online, 50% are connecting with family and friends, reading someone else’s blog or posting a comment.   They’re socializing so shouldn’t you?
  7. Respect values: Dove ran a campaign on Facebook, “12 going on 20.”  It asked young teens to describe what mattered when they were 5, 10 and 15 and how it influenced them today.  It’s a great example of how social marketing showed respect for values.
  8. Engage rather than sell: 60% or more are uploading picture or watching videos when online.  Work as a co-creator, not a marketer.
  9. Social media = social networking + social issues: It called “social” media for a reason.  Make the most of both of them.  Your audience will appreciate you did.
  10. Give back – it’s part of the culture:  You get back more when you give.  That’s what we’re trying to do.

You can also hear the podcast at http://bit.ly/avmz1d.  Or let us hear from you.

10
Feb
10

You don’t need a social media strategy

the view outside

We’re taking a pounding today in the Northeast from the snow.  It’s good weather for blog writing, especially on the topic – you don’t need a social media strategy; you need a business strategy.

AJ Bombers is a bar and grill in Milwaukee WI and a good example because:

  1. BACKGROUND –  Everything you need to know is in YouTube video from Chris Brogan 2 blogs down
  2. SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS – 75% of their customers are from Twitter
  3. BUSINESS STRATEGY – Social media comes out of the business strategy
  4. RELEVANCE – The principles apply to all businesses and haven’t we all dreamed of owning a successful restaurant?

BRAND POSITION.  It starts here, a promise a brand makes with its customers distinguishing itself from the competition.  I’ve never been to AJ Bombers but I know enough to write their brand position.

AJ Bombers is a place with great atmosphere where you always feel welcome and never find better beer, burgers and bar fare at a better value, anywhere.

BUSINESS STRATEGY.  How to put that promise into practice and make a profit.  From studying their web site, videos, social networks and PR, AJ Bombers’ business strategy is:

  1. Mi Casa es tu Casa.  Welcome customers encouraging them to write their name or Twitter addresses on the wall.  It adds to the atmosphere, shows we want to get to know you and keeps relationships alive.
  2. Put money into the product, not the marketing. Serve single, double and triple patty burgers at very reasonable prices and sides like Gi-Normous Fries.  Need I say more.  By contrast, keep the web site very simple with 5 pages (a personal “best practice” of mine since 95% of people never read more than 5 pages) and the ability to order food and buy merchandise online.
  3. Show care with exceptional e-manners. Thank, keep informed and fix a problem, if one occurs, through consistent e-outreach and quick responsiveness.  Twitter is a natural.  It’s interactive, fun and extends the great atmosphere in the restaurant online.

And the people at AJ’s don’t miss a beat.  I’ve tested them and they respond to every e-mail, Tweet, Facebook post and blog entry, almost instantly.  This is very important in the caring and social media department.

AJ Bombers’ owner, Joe Sorge, spends a lot of time on Twitter and has learned to play it like a fiddle.  But, first, he had a business strategy.  Now, if I could only figure out where the name came from.

22
Jan
10

Worst practices

It’s a bloggers prerogative to vent, occasionally.

Toyota makes great cars but their customer care in financial services is the worst.  I’m a Toyota advocate.

We have a 2007 Toyota Highlander.  My son, a sophomore at Rochester Institute of Technology, decided to buy a car with his own money.  He decided on a Toyota Corolla.  I’m a proud and grateful parent but, when billing problems occurred, I was not proud of Toyota Financial Services.

Here are “worst practices:”

1. 800 NUMBER – We’re here for you…maybe. The 800 number for questions is on the bill but they don’t mention the number only works from 8 am to 8 pm.  If you call other than these times, you get a pre-recorded message about “debt relief” and get disconnected.

2. CALL CENTER – Have a great experience on our terms. If you persist (obviously I did), you get a “User Experience Number,” a call center where Toyota says its goal is to give every customer a “positive experience,” with NINE automated prompts to listen, remember and think about.  Isn’t a positive user experience with nine prompts a contradiction in terms?

3.  SURVEY – Only tell us how great we are. After listening to the nine prompts and completing your call, you can take a survey.  Toyota emphasizes again they want you to have a “positive experience.”  I finally got to a real person to explain my situation and take the survey.  They thanked me for the call and hung up.  I guess to make sure Toyota has a “positive experience.”

Most significant, we are being double-billed with late fees and left with the impression – we sold you the car; now, we don’t care.

Companies boast about “best practices.”  But what if they go astray?  I don’t believe our experience was intentional.  It’s the result of committee decisions to serve too many agendas to save money at the cost of caring for customers.

Hey, Toyota, wake up!  Don’t treat people like this and think we won’t speak up, especially when it’s a blogger prerogative to vent.

Care to share your story on “worst practices” and make the (business) world a better place?




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