Essential Social Media Do’s and Don’ts for Every Business
Are you making the most of social media to grow your brand?
If not, you should be. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. all offer an effective way to interact with customers directly, attract new buyers and increase visibility.
More than one in three consumers surveyed admitted to using social networksto source more information on businesses or products.
But there are certain do’s and don’ts to consider if you want to see real results with social media. Here are some of the best.
DO Interact with Followers
One of the most important factors for any business on social media is to interact with people. A lot.
Just one or two responses to questions or comments isn’t enough. You need to stay on top of this and take advantage of interaction opportunities as they arise. Even if all it takes is a quick thank you or a link to a product or service on your site.
Leaving questions or comments unanswered will frustrate whoever posted them and make other users think your brand undervalues your audience.
DON’T Neglect Branding
Take the time to make your business account look professional. Users may assume it’s fake or question your credibility if they see no images, logos or information.
This may be a customer’s first encounter with your brand. You need to make a good impression and sell yourself as a legitimate company.
Add photos of:
Include contact details, opening hours and more too. Give prospects all the information they need to get in touch.
Think about what you want to see when browsing other companies’ social accounts for inspiration.
DO Embrace Different Media Formats
Images, videos, text, GIFs and audio should all appear in your posts. Mixing your content up on a regular basis keeps it fresh and exciting.
Users will start to get bored of your social activity if they see the same types of content again and again. With so many businesses competing for attention on social networks, you can never take users’ boredom threshold for granted.
Social media posts containing videos tend to earn 48 percent more viewsthan those without, and Facebook racks up more than eight billion video viewsevery day. Even if you just take viewers on a quick tour of your office, warehouse etc. or introduce your team, videos are much more likely to net more attention than text or an image alone.
Just make sure to keep them brief. The longer your videos are, the less appealing they become.
DON’T Try Too Hard to Get Attention
You might be tempted to ask followers to share your business’s posts and comment on them, especially if you’re struggling to get traction.
But appearing desperate for visibility won’t win you any fans. In fact, followers may become frustrated by your requests and block you.
You need to find ways to encourage users to share your content and interact with your posts. And this leads us nicely into the next tip …
DO Host Contests and Giveaways to Stimulate Interest
People love to get something for nothing. It’s a no-brainer.
Take advantage of this by running contests on your social media accounts. Offer prizes followers genuinely want and make entering the competition easy.
One great example of a brand doing this right is Funko, which hosts regular giveaways on Twitter. Followers can take part just by retweeting the relevant post — this gives them a real incentive and involves almost no effort on their part.
But the big benefit for Funko is the sheer number of retweets each giveaway post receives. Thousands of users share them in the hope of winning a product (usually vinyl figures) and boost the brand’s visibility at the same time.
DON’T Use Social Media to Vent
Be wary of using social media as a way to complain about other businesses or customers. And certainly, never bemoan the lack of interest your social media activities generate. Your brand will come across as being petulant and desperate for attention.
Make sure whoever runs your social accounts understands the damage one ill-conceived post can do to your business’s reputation too. They may be having a tough day or feel irritated by their work, but they should never use your business account as a way to get something off their chest.
DO Be Sparing with Sales-focused Posts
You can and should use social media to promote your products or services. But do so sparingly.
Bombarding followers with a stream of heavy-handed posts showing items off won’t do your brand any favors. People are likely to hide your content or unfollow you, and you could see your engagement drop in a big way.
Focus on offering informative, valuable content and interacting with followers more than selling.
DON’T Lie or Overlook Mistakes
Transparency is fundamental for any business looking to retain customers’ trust. That means if your brand makes a mistake or acts inappropriately, you have to own up to it.
Lying about it or trying to pass the blame makes your business appear dishonest. People might lose trust and take their custom elsewhere.
Admit when employees or managers have done something wrong. Apologize. Explain what actions have been taken and how the same mistakes will be avoided in the future.
Take social media seriously. It’s not always easy to reach your target audience and build a following. It’s not always easy to stay on users’ good side either.
But with enough time, effort and creativity, you can make social media work for you.
At Reputation Mart, our expert team is here to help you make the most of social media and grow your brand. We’ve worked with countless businesses to expand their reach, build interest in their products / services and achieve positive results.
Want to know more about our social media marketing service? Just get in touch today!
How to Get Real Instagram Followers for Your Business Fast
Any business with a Facebook or Twitter account knows how hard attracting new followers can be. It takes time, effort and creative thinking to stand out from every other company in your sector vying for prospects’ attention. And we’re talking real followers here, not bots or spammers with nothing valuable to contribute.
But winning real followers on Instagram is harder. Much harder.
Even global brands with a huge customer base tend to attract fewer real followers on Instagram than they do on other social networks. Let’s take Virgin Atlantic as an example, one of the world’s biggest airlines catering to millions of travelers each year.
On Twitter, Virgin Atlantic has 601K followers — but only 407K on Instagram.
Both big numbers, but there’s quite a difference.
Delta Air Lines, on the other hand, boasts 865K Instagram followers but an impressive 1.52M on Twitter.
And if even leading airlines struggle to match their Twitter numbers on Instagram, just think how much harder it is for small enterprises.
But don’t worry there are a few actions you can take to get real followers — fast.
Work with Influencers
Influencers make a big difference to companies’ visibility on Instagram. Take the Kardashian / Jenner dynasty, for example. It’s believed Kim Kardashian may earn more than $300,000 for sponsored postsrecommending specific brands, though it could be even more in some cases.
Obviously, trying to forge an alliance with celebrities so high up the food chain is totally out of the question for small businesses, but you could still investigate other avenues. Influencers can help raise brand profiles across all sectors, bringing you to the attention of hundreds, thousands or even millions of real people.
But researching, finding and setting up deals with influencers isn’t easy. It demands a lot of time and energy — two things you simply don’t have if you operate a skeleton crew or even a one-person show. And then there’s the matter of money: the bigger the influencer, the higher the price.
Keep all these factors in mind before committing to working with an influencer.
Get Involved in Trends
Instagram users can search for topics of interest with hashtags. This makes it simpler for your business to increase your posts’ potential visibility, but you can’t just leave it at that.
You have to get involved in trends to really make an impact. Look for the most popular topics and try to interact with other users in a way that’s relevant to your brand. You want to reveal a little of the business’s human side, boost engagement and still drive traffic to your site.
But keeping track of trending topics and contributing to conversations or movements is an ongoing commitment. If your enterprise lacks a social media marketer dedicated to handling your accounts on Instagram, Facebook etc., you could end up missing out on invaluable engagement opportunities.
There is a risk, though, that spending hours and hours marketing your business on Instagram each week takes your eye off the main goal: running your company successfully. You need to find a way to balance your social media management and your responsibilities to the business.
Use the Right Hashtags
Staying on the topic of trends, using the right hashtags in your Instagram posts is essential to stay at the top of your marketing game. You can use up to 30 hashtags for every image you post — and you need to take advantage of them all to increase your contents’ reach.
The most effective posts, though, use the most relevant, current, trending hashtags. You need to stay up to date on what other businesses in your sector do to make their posts more likely to attract new followers, including the type of hashtags they use.
You can always learn from your competitors, whether they’re bigger or smaller than you: see what they’re doing right and wrong. Are they adding plenty of hashtags but with incorrect spellings (a bad mistake that implies sloppiness and reduces the hashtag’s effect)? On the other hand, are they using impactful hashtags that help them recruit new followers every day?
Tracking the most influential, popular and effective hashtags can be difficult if you’re new to Instagram or simply can’t find the time. Ideally, you need an expert to stay on top of your Instagram account, keep your posts as effective as they can be and win new followers consistently.
Create a Unique Style
You have to stand out on Instagram. Let’s repeat that for emphasis.
You HAVE to stand out on Instagram.
There’s just too much competition out there for you to blend in.
Developing your own style of visuals and tone of voice goes a long way to making your business’s Instagram content unique. But there’s a lot of work involved before you can actually get there.
Think about what’s appropriate for your brand and your target audience. One of the first rules of launching and growing a successful enterprise is knowing exactly who you’re targeting. That’s just as true here.
Creating a style that’s too quirky for your fairly conservative audience will only alienate them, and even cost you followers in the long run. But adopting a style that’s too bland for your cool, creative demographic will have the same effect.
This is a complex process and may be a delicate balancing act for certain businesses whose audiences span multiple demographics. Making too many mistakes while you try to nail down the perfect approach could lose you followers faster than you realize — and they may be hard to win back.
Trust the Experts
Getting real Instagram followers fast is possible, but it can be incredibly tough if you’re new to the platform, the challenging world of business or if you’re overworked and under-resourced. Running a growing company is difficult enough at times without the added pressure of trying to master one of the world’s most competitive social networks.
That’s why trusting a team of experts to create an effective strategy for your enterprise is the smartest choice. You can save precious time and money by avoiding costly mistakes — Reputation Mart’s specialists have helped many businesses grow their social presence through well-researched, well-designed, well-executed campaigns suited to their budget.
Want to learn more about how we can help you? Get in touch now!
How to Engage with Your Customers on Social Media
Social media is an invaluable customer-service channel for businesses of all sizes, across all industries.
Research shows 1 in 4 users follow companiesthey may buy from on social media, and close to 40 percent are following their favorite companies. It’s a fantastic way to stay connected with your existing and potential customers, manage your reputation and ultimately grow your brand.
However, if they follow a number of different brands on Facebook, Twitter etc., their feed may easily become clogged with posts promoting different businesses.
That’s why you have to make yours stand out from the crowd and work hard to maximize engagement. How can you do that?
Avoid Shameless Self-promotion
While it’s tempting to keep sharing images of your latest products or tell the world you’ve sold your millionth item, too many self-congratulatory posts can alienate your followers.
Make sure you’re taking an interest in your audience, your industry and what people want from your brand. Ask them questions, both relevant to your services and more general. For example:
These are just a few ideas that demonstrate how broad your questions can be. While some may go unanswered, particularly for smaller businesses with a growing customer-base, you’re demonstrating that you value followers’ input and want to hear from them.
Respond Sooner Rather than Later
When people respond to your questions or posts, it’s vital that you respond. Even if a follower is criticizing your products / services or complaining about your brand quite aggressively, don’t just ignore them.
Why? Because others will see when you’ve failed to respond — and it suggests your business puts no value on customer feedback. Get involved with comments on your posts and show your audience you care.
If someone is putting your company down in a way that could scare potential customers away, ask them to send you a private message so you can take your discussion away from public visibility. This is a professional move that reduces the risk to your reputation and enables you to focus entirely on the individual, rather than juggling multiple users.
Maintain a Consistent Style
Maybe you’re quirky. Maybe you’re serious. Maybe you have a lighthearted tone.
Establishing a brand style for social media is key, and it should match that of your entire business. It would be incredibly inappropriate for, say, funeral directors to share humorous content on their Facebook page and trying to joke with followers asking about their services.
If your brand is based around a fun, dynamic personality, bring that to your social accounts. Let followers see the human side to your company, and always be honest.
Whatever tone you adopt, just make sure it’s consistent: don’t let it change from one post to another. Otherwise, you could confuse, frustrate and alienate your followers over time.
Don’t quite know how you want your business to ‘sound’ on social media? Look at your competitors or companies you wish to emulate. What kind of language do they incorporate into their posts? How do they engage with followers?
Stay Active and Regular
If users visit your Facebook page or browse your Twitter feed and see no recent activity, they may feel your business isn’t worth following. After all, what value does it offer them? Why should they waste their time browsing through old posts?
Upload posts, share content from your own website, get involved with industry developments and more. Take an interest in companies specializing in products that complement your own, interact with influencers and don’t be afraid to take part in trends that could help attract attention.
However, keep it positive — never court controversy. This could backfire and cause significant damage to your reputation.
One effective technique is to create a publishing schedule, so yourself and your team know exactly when new posts are necessary.
Be Generous with Visuals
Images are essential for your social media posts. Why?
Because research shows that Facebook posts including pictures achieved 87 percentof all engagements.
Posts with strong visuals attached will stand out more than text-only ones as followers scroll through their feeds, and if they’re eye-catching enough they can inspire the user to stop. If they like what they see, they could share it with their friends and put your brand in front of more people than you might have reached otherwise.
Make sure your images are relevant and original. Avoid stock pictures people will have seen at countless websites already — you will appear cheap and lazy. Try to create professional photographs or illustrations that jump out of the screen.
Avoid Spreading Yourself Too Thin
Big brands can juggle multiple social networks: they have the budget and the resources to maintain a strong presence.
But if you’re a smaller business, you’ll have limited capacity and may be restricted to just one or two networks instead. You have to be able to stay active on each and build a real relationship with followers.
This is much trickier to do if you’re spread too thin. Being present and able to interact with minimal delay can help you maintain a solid reputation. Consider hiring a professional team to monitor your reputation and help you keep your audience happy.
Engaging your customers on social media is crucial to build and sustain interest in your company. At Reputation Mart, our team has you covered: we’ll send you real-time alerts by email whenever someone online refers to your business.
This is a terrific way to prevent your brand’s image being represented poorly and stay on top of customer reviews / feedback. (both positive and negative)
Want to know more about how we can help? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch!
10 Social Media Tips for Small Businesses
Believe it or not, more than 3 billion people across the globe use social media.
With such a vast audience, small businesses can take advantage of social media to really build their brand and expand their reach. However, actually knowing how to use it properly is critical — or else you could be wasting your time altogether.
Below, Reputation Mart’s social media experts have put together some pro tips to help you get started.
#1. Study your strongest competitors
What are your leading competitors doing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? How are they engaging their audience and driving traffic to their site(s)?
Taking inspiration from your biggest rivals in your niche will help you get a concrete idea of what to do and what not to do. For example, what kind of articles, blog posts, news stories and videos do they tend to share? Which generate the highest number of shares and comments?
Take notes and try to emulate the best examples in your own social media campaign.
#2. Know your limits
There are more social networks out there than you can realistically handle, unless you’re a global giant with a huge team dedicated to running your accounts. Even then, being part of more than a few may not be necessary.
For small businesses, knowing your limits is vital. Start with just a couple of social accounts and take the time to build these up. Focus on engaging users and establishing a solid group of followers. Otherwise, if you take on too many networks and try to maintain an active presence on all, you’ll spread yourself too thin.
#3. Research your target audience
Do you know where your ideal customers are likely to be hanging out online? Are your buyers more prone to spending hours scrolling through their Facebook feeds or is SnapChat more their thing?
Invest in researching the social habits of your target audience and channel your resources into the most relevant network. This makes it slightly easier to reach prospects most likely to convert, rather than trying to appeal to those who might be elsewhere.
#4. Focus on entertainment rather than constant marketing
Of course, you want to promote your small business and build your brand. But if you keep filling feeds with an endless slew of promotional materials, people will lose interest — fast.
You have to pay attention to the kind of content your target audience responds to and try to incorporate this into your strategy. People use social media to be entertained and perhaps learn more about the world, rather than seeing the same thinly-veiled ads again and again.
#5. Embrace the power of visuals
Posts containing images are more likely to get shared on social media. Text-heavy posts are less engaging and easier to scroll past, while visuals make a bigger immediate impact.
Make sure you use dynamic images as often as possible and try to keep them original. People are used to seeing the same stock photography again and again, so if you need to rely on them, at least choose ones that are less obvious. There’s plenty of beautiful stock images out there.
When posting videos, try to keep them as short as possible. The longer they are, the harder it is to sustain viewer interest.
#6. Be responsive on all types of engagement
It’s essential that you post responses to people’s comments or mentions. If you let both good and bad interactions with your brand go neglected for too long, you could end up damaging your reputation.
Whether it’s a question, a positive comment or a complaint, respond to it as soon as you can. Even if you don’t have time to get back to all users posting positive things, simply ‘liking’ or ‘favoriting’ their comment can be enough. They’ll appreciate that you’ve at least acknowledged them.
#7. Run competitions and polls
Hosting competitions and polls is a terrific way to encourage more engagement. Make the entry criteria simple and offer a tantalizing prize, whether it’s a bundle of free products from your brand or a discount with an affiliate.
Many competitions on Facebook and Twitter ask entrants to like and / or share the post, along with placing a comment. This is a simple, effective way to get your posts appearing on more feeds, potentially reaching prospects who wouldn’t see your content otherwise.
#8. Boost engagement and reach with hashtags
The humble hashtag has blossomed into a key player on social networks, primarily Twitter.
Whether hashtags are used in games (such as ‘changing a movie title with one letter’) or to promote worthy causes, they’re incredibly effective tools. You have to make sure you keep them concise, though, as longer ones are harder to read.
Avoid using too many in a single post too — this can look a little desperate or suggest you’re not really sure what you’re doing.
#9. Get involved with trends and show a sense of humor
Don’t be afraid to show your human side on social media. Yes, you’re running a business and have to remain professional in your interactions with followers, but people want companies to be more transparent today.
Get involved with trends and be willing to create posts designed to do little more than raise a smile. You just need to make sure anything you post is appropriate and unlikely to cause offence.
#10. Stay active on all fronts
Part of the reason small businesses have to keep their number of social media accounts low is that it’s much easier to stay active.
Social accounts that have been left untouched for weeks, months or years never look good to customers, especially if they want to reach out to you. Try to stay as visible on your priority networks as possible.
Any small business can take inspiration from these pro tips, but Reputation Mart’s experts will help you take it much, much further. We’ll boost your small business’s visibility and engagement to grow your audience, no matter what your niche.
Want to learn more? Just get in touch!
Top 5 Benefits of Social Selling
No business can afford to be without social media today.
At the most basic level, a social presence equips you with a platform upon which to advertise your products and services. However, simply using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to bombard followers with explicit sales-focused content is typically a fast track to being ignored.
Brands have to be a little more sophisticated in their social media marketing. It’s all about building a connection with prospects, engaging followers and expanding your reach in an organic way to achieve sales goals.
Still, some businesses — big and small — have yet to realize the full potential social media offers for ongoing growth. If this sounds familiar, you could be holding yourself back and missing out on real rewards.
Take a look at the five benefits of social selling below to find the inspiration you need.
#1: Build valuable relationships
Unfocused selling isn’t enough anymore.
For a long time, countless businesses used cold calling as a key sales technique. However, as anyone who has received unwanted phone calls from a company again and again will know, they do little to secure your custom.
This revolved around trying to connect with as many people as possible in the hopes that at least a small portion of contacts would take an interest. Social selling may be targeted at large numbers of people, but it’s nothing like cold calling.
You can use social networks to find conversations related to your business, your industry or your products. You can identify prospects who may be looking for the goods or services you supply and begin reaching out to them in a slow, steady process. Your first point of contact with them can be more personalized and relevant, rather than throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.
This may be answering a question about your business or products they have asked their friends / followers. It’s a small, simple step but can start to build a strong relationship.
Always make sure you converse with prospects in a personable way, rather than structuring everything as a blatant sales pitch. Provide valuable responses and engage with them at a human level.
#2: Manage your reputation and encourage trust
Online reviews and public feedback provide consumers with a voice. One unsatisfied buyer can share their experience with others and cause instant damage to your reputation.
If prospects research your business and come across enough of these, they may choose to take a punt on a competitor instead. More and more customers are using social networks to make complaints and negative feedback, and you cannot afford to ignore them.
That can be tempting when you feel people are essentially attacking your brand, but failing to respond will do more harm than good. Prospects researching your business will see that you have done nothing to satisfy those people and suspect you have something to hide.
On the other hand, a company which regularly engages with people, answers questions, apologizes for lapses in good service and generally treats their customers with respect is likely to be viewed in a more positive light.
As research is a key part of the customer’s journey, you should never underestimate the power of a good social reputation. This makes generating leads and attracting sales a little easier.
#3: Retain customers for years to come
Retaining satisfied customers is more cost-effectivethan attracting new ones. Delivering exceptional service and maintaining close ties with buyers is essential to keep them coming back in the future.
Your brand should stay in touch with any customers who have praised your products or services on social media. Perhaps they shared a picture of an item when it arrived and thanked you for improving their life. Maybe they run a business and specify how your services will enhance their performance in years to come.
Whatever the nature of their praise, your team should seize the opportunity to build a lasting relationship.
Thank them for taking the time to let you know about their positive experience, and invite them to ask any questions they may have about the product / service. Reach out to them again a little later to ask if they’re still satisfied with their investment. Offer them a discount on future purchases too.
Prospects who see past customers are satisfied with your brand’s performance will feel more trust in the company. This can be pivotal during the research phase of their journey.
Sharing content that helps buyers get more out of their purchase — such as tips, maintenance advice etc. — will encourage brand loyalty too.
#4: Social communication is easier, less formal and free
Customers who have questions, complaints or suggestions may dread having to pick up the phone to call a business directly. The prospect of being put on hold or bounced from one call center agent to another is enough to make them ask ‘why bother?’.
That’s not to mention the cost of a call to what may be a premium-rate number.
Communicating via social media is a much faster, informal and — crucially — free option. Buyers and prospects can reach out to you or other customers just by opening an app on their device.
This cultivates more interaction and gives you more opportunities to engage.
#5: Enhance the overall customer experience
Social selling allows companies of all sizes to enhance the entire customer experience.
This plays a key role in fostering ongoing relationships, building brand recognition and keeping customers engaged with your company. A positive experience is enough to make buyers view your products and services as more valuable than your competitors, even if they are paying a little more for yours than others.
In fact, 86 percent of consumers will pay extra for goods if the overall experience is better. That’s a huge number.
Focus on giving people the information they want on social media and provide them with valuable content that suits their interests. Even if significant time passes between purchases, they are likely to still follow your brand, share your posts and recommend you to others.
Want to learn more about how social media marketing can help your brand grow? Give us a call today!
How Social Media Impacts Your Online Reputation
Social media matters. Even if you try to avoid it in your personal life, your business must be represented on the major social networks.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networks have billions of users across the globe. Consumers of all ages and demographics use them on a daily basis, and countless businesses are actively engaging with them through text, images, and video.
If you aren’t, you’re falling behind, and your reputation may be suffering.
So just how does social media impact your online reputation, and how can you use it to your advantage?
Be Inspired to Be Better
Word of bad behavior or gaffs on social networks carry real weight with consumers and can bring negative attention to your brand within hours.
For example, United Airlines made the news in 2017 when a paying customer was dragged off one of their planes because it had been overbooked. The violent video went viral, and the situation only worsened when the CEO was found to have little grasp of the incident’s horror.
In a case like this, social media showed the world a glimpse of United Airlines’ corporate attitude and values that was truly ugly, and people voiced their disgust by the thousand. It was inevitable that someone would record the incident on their smartphone and share it with others, but United Airlines did little to ease people’s fury.
Social media should make you more aware than ever that everyone has a voice today. One consumer who experiences appalling service (or flat-out indecency, as with United Airlines) now has the power to tell millions of others across the globe to boycott the business in question.
How can you avoid such extreme repercussions? Concentrate on making sure your company’s protocols, processes, and training allows no room for incendiary behavior. At the least, you reduce the risk of damaging your own reputation. At the most, you will help it get better and better.
Also, social media results tend to appear high on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Any results carrying negative information on your brand will be eased lower and lower down the page, reducing the risk of consumers seeing bad reviews before visiting your warm, welcoming social accounts.
Of course, as we established above, bad customer experiences can find their way onto social networks and catch fire quickly. Your page may be bombarded with questions and demands for a response if your business acts in a way it shouldn’t – visitors will encounter this and may form an unfair opinion.
Keep Up to Date with Your Reputation
Another perk of social media is that it lets you monitor what people are saying about your business.
You may not be able to track every comment on every network, but you can still see enough to gauge public opinion. It’s vital to respond to people as and when you can, to help manage your reputation.
Nothing makes a business appear unprofessional and uncaring than a string of unanswered Tweets or Facebook posts on their page. Consumers lodging complaints, asking about upcoming products, demanding information on late deliveries, and generally sounding off can be enough to paint quite the unattractive picture of a business within seconds.
You need to stay on top of your social accounts as best you can and engage with followers whenever possible. Even if they are saying something negative, your response can prove essential in winning them over. You need a strategy in place to handle comments and feedback, no matter the language used, no matter how angry the writer obviously is.
Allowing yourself or anyone else from your company to respond without thinking, based on emotion rather than good business management, can be a terrible mistake. Even if you cannot think of a suitable way to address it immediately, it may be best to leave the comment without a response for a day or so – this would be far less harmful than an enraged rant.
We can help you setup the right tools to monitor mentions of your brand, and let you know whenever your brand is mentioned on social sites, forums, news pages, and more.
Following on from responding to negative comments and feedback, you need to interact with people writing positive things too.
Saying thank you, sharing their kind words, or simply replying with a sweet emoticon can all show your business in a good light. It proves that you listen to what people have to say and value their input or custom.
Still, a positive, well-written, contemplative response to a criticism can bring good attention to your brand out of bad, too. It’s vital to be apologetic and address how your business will attempt to fix the problem caused.
You need to remember that other people will see any interaction you have on social media (unless it’s through direct messages), and even simple but positive comments can boost users’ opinion of your business. They may take a look at your account to investigate your products or services, and possibly follow through to your site.
Another key factor to consider is the tone of voice you use, and how engaging it is for your followers. You need to show consistency in your language and style from one post to the next, otherwise people may be confused. Social media can help you cultivate a strong brand personality and boost your appeal to your target demographic, so use whichever tone best suits your market.
Never underestimate the power of social media as a business tool, no matter how big or small your company is. Startups with one employee can build a wider audience through a well-managed social account, while the biggest corporations can be dealt major blows by their poor choices.
Call us today and we will help you create a social media strategy that incorporates the points discussed above, and you can help to make sure your online reputation remains strong for years to come.
How Customer Service via Social Media Channels Can Improve Online Reputation
Want to improve your organization’s online reputation? The answer may lie in improving your organization’s customer service via social media channels.
Whether it’s praising a company for a great service, venting frustration about bad service or seeking a response for help for a particular service issue, more and more consumers are turning to social media channels.
A study conducted by Research Now and commissioned by Twitter found that 61% of users surveyed see Twitter as the right environment to discuss customer service queries with brands. Forty percent of companies in the retail industry had recently used the platform for customer service; 33% for travel and 28% for telecoms, according to the study.
In another study focused on telecommunication brands, Twitter in partnership with TNS found that those who had received a response from a brand had almost 3 times higher brand preference than those who hadn’t received a response from a brand. The Twitter study also found that consumers are willing to pay an additional $20 or more to travel with an airline company that responds to their Tweet in less than 6 minutes.
According to Twitter, delivering great customer service via its platform “drives and builds customer loyalty”. The company said that 96% of users who turned to Twitter for customer service and had a friendly experience with a brand would buy from that brand again.
Social Media Servicing vs. Social Media Marketing
A study by J.D. Power showed that consumers see social media channels of businesses as a means to engage in customer service. The study found that 67% of consumers have used a company's social media site to engage in customer service (answering specific consumer questions or resolving problems), compared with 33% for social marketing (brand awareness and affinity).
A study by the American Express (PDF) found that consumers are increasingly impatient to wait for customer service via phone or in-person (at a retail store, at a restaurant or at a service provider's office).
The American Express study showed that 1 in 5 or 22% of consumers are only willing to wait less than 5 minutes on hold when they contact a customer service center by telephone, while average consumers are willing to a maximum of 13 minutes. In person, consumers are also willing to wait an average of 13 minutes for customer service help. The American Express study also found that over 1 in 5 or 23% of consumers have utilized social media to get a customer service response.
"Social media and social networking are no longer in their infancy. Social media continues to grow rapidly, offering global consumers new and meaningful ways to engage with the people, events and brands that matter to them,” Nielsen and NM Incite said in their Social Media Report. “The recent proliferation of mobile devices and connectivity helped fuel the continued growth of social media.”
The Nielsen and NM Incite report found that 33% of customers prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone.
The Research Now and Twitter study showed that consumers expect brands to respond quickly to their queries. The study found that 24% of users consider speed as the most important attribute for customer service on Twitter, while a quarter agreed that it’s important. Seventy-one of Twitter users expect a brand to respond to their query within an hour of Tweeting, according to the study.
“Twitter is about what’s happening now,” Twitter in the blog post "Customer Service on Twitter and the impact on brands" said. “That means when it comes to customer service, users expect brands to respond quickly.”
The Future of Customer Service: Chatbots
Responding to consumers’ queries on social media channels is time-consuming and needs more manpower. Many of the queries of consumers are also repetitive. To remedy these issues, brands have engaged chatbots. A very simplistic chatbot is the one that answers your call whenever you call a company’s hotline number. Think of the “Press 1 for …. Press 2 for …. Press for…” response.
Chatbots have come a long way. Their capabilities now go beyond simplistic responses. Facebook, for instance, launched in April 2016 the “bots on Messenger” – a platform that allows businesses to deliver automated customer support, from answering commonly asked questions to selling goods and services via Facebook Messenger.
According to Facebook, in just over two months after the launched of the bots on Messenger, over 11,000 chatbots were launched on Messenger and over 23,000 developers have signed up for Wit.ai's Bot Engine – platform offered by Facebook for developers to create customized chatbots.
For example, it’s now easy to request an Uber ride via Uber’s chatbot on the Facebook Messenger platform. There’s no need to open the Uber app. To request an Uber ride, you simply search “Uber” on Messenger, start a conversation, tap the car icon and then you'll be able to see a fare estimate along with your driver's name, vehicle make and model and license plate number.
As of November 2017, Facebook reported that 2 billion messages are sent and received between consumers and businesses each month via Messenger (including both automated and people-initiated) and there are 100,000 monthly active bots on the Messenger platform.
Facebook said 53% of users who message businesses via Messenger say they are more likely to shop with a business they can message. According to telecom company Globe, using a chatbot on Facebook Messenger provides meaningful and efficient customer service. The telecom company said it successfully increased employee productivity by 3.5 times and reduced calls to its hotline by 50%.
Given that Facebook Messenger has a wide reach, developing a chatbot for your company via the Facebook Messenger is worth considering. Your organization’s customized chatbot can create real-time and scalable customer service experience that feels personal for your customers. This modern way of connecting with consumers comes with a price though, including Facebook fees and the cost for the developer who’ll develop your organization’s customized chatbot for Messenger.
Here is how to Increase Web Traffic through Social Media
Worried that your organization’s website isn’t getting enough traffic? The answer may lie in social media platforms.
According to a report released in the 1st quarter of 2016 by analytics firm Parse.ly, social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Reddit, StumbleUpon – drove more traffic to news sites (46%) than search engines (40%).
An earlier report from content marketing hubShareaholic showed that the top 8 social networks (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube) drove 31.24% of the overall traffic to sites for the 4th quarter of 2014, up from 22.71% for the same period in the previous year.
Facebook is the dominant source of social media traffic.
According to Parse.ly, for the 1st quarter of 2016, the lion’s share of the traffic to news sites from social media came from Facebook (41.4%) and bulk of the traffic from search engines came from Google (39.5%).
According to Shareaholic, for the 4th quarter of 2014, one-fourth or 24.63% of the social referrals to sites around the web came from Facebook. Shareaholic, which tracked Facebook’s traffic referrals from 2011 to 2014, noticed a 277.26% increase, from only 6.53% in 2011. Behind Facebook, Pinterest came in as the 2nd top social media referral site (5.06%), followed by Twitter (0.82), StumbleUpon (0.50%), Reddit (0.15%), Google+ (0.04%), LinkedIn (0.03%) and YouTube (0.01%).
Unlike Parse.ly which focused on news websites traffic, Shareaholic sourced its data from diverse sites, including food, sports, parenting, tech, design, marketing, fashion and beauty, religion and general news.
According to nonprofit medical practice and medical research group Mayo Clinic, its top social media referral site to mayoclinic.org in the first quarter of 2017 was Facebook which accounted for 78% of the traffic from social media, followed by Twitter (7%) and StumbleUpon (6%). Mayo Clinic added that in the 1st quarter of 2017, Facebook was also its dominant social media referrer for appointment requests.
Penetration Rate of Social Media, Facebook in Canada
According to statistics portal Statista, as of January 2017, nearly 37% of the world’s population had an account on at least one of the social networks. In North America, approximately 66% has at least one social media account. In Canada, over 20 million people are expected to have a social media account by 2018, Statista projected.
According to Statista, global internet users spend an average of 118 minutes each day surfing social networks, while Canadians spend 107 minutes each day accessing social media from any device.
As with the rest of the world, tech giant Facebook is the most popular in Canada in terms of penetration, with three quarters of Canadians having an active account on this platform. Facebook is also the most visited social network via mobile, Pinterest taking the 2nd spot and Twitter taking the 3rd spot.
User base of Twitter in Canada is projected by Statista to grow from over 3.3 million in 2012 to 7.6 million users in 2020. The professional platform LinkedIn has the highest penetration rate, according to Statista, among residents in Alberta and British Columbia.
Given that Facebook has 1.32 billion daily active users on average and 2.01 billion monthly active users as of June 30, 2017, and given Facebook’s value as the dominant source of social media traffic, here are some strategies that you can use to drive Facebook traffic to your organization’s website:
1. Take Advantage of Facebook Links
In the About page, photo and video descriptions, comments (where relevant), make sure to include links back to your organization’s website.
It’s essential to include links back to your organization’s website in all social media pages of your organization, including Facebook, as social media sites are favored and have high ranking in search engines, including Google. If your organization hasn’t done much to the website, for instance, failing to regularly update the site via blog posts, and your organization has other social media pages, when people search your organization via search engines, links to these social pages show up higher than your website.
2. Provide Brief Quote or Excerpt from Blog Post
When posting links to blog posts, provide a brief quote or excerpt to give the readers a heads up what to expect when clicking on the link. Pick a portion of the blog post that best describes the topic. Use this as a way to entice the reader to click on the link to the blog post.
3. Post Frequently
According to Facebook, based on an experiment that it conducted with 29 media partners, increasing post volume by an average of 45% over a week resulted in a 76% increase in outbound clicks, 47% increase in fans and 10% increase in likes per post.
4. Upload Videos with a Call-to-Action
According to Facebook, more than 4 billion video views happen on Facebook each day. Post videos on your organization’s Facebook page. Be sure to add a call to action to your video to drive viewers to your organization’s website.
5. Use Facebook Ads
It’s a good practice to supplement your Facebook strategies with Facebook ads. Over the past few years, there has been a drop in “organic” or non-paid Facebook post reach. Your organization has no control on who views your Facebook posts. More often, this social media platform gives priority to posts that organizations paid for to be promoted. As it’s becoming increasingly hard for non-paid posts to get the needed exposure, the better option is to make use of the Facebook ads.
The focus must be driving traffic from social media platforms, not to social media platforms like Facebook. Remember that the role of your organization’s social media pages is only to supplement your organization’s site. This site is your very own – your organization has complete control over it. Your organization’s social media pages, on the hand, are only “rented”. Driving traffic to your organization’s site, not to social media pages ensures that if one of these social media platforms were to change its business model today or close its business, your organization still has a venue to engage with your audience.
When you need help generating more targeted web traffic, connect with us and we will be more than happy to help.
4 Benefits of Social Media for Nonprofit Organizations
Social Media Evolution
Social Media Evolution
There was a time in history when social media was considered as only useful to a certain demographic. Remember Myspace or Friendster?
Over the years, accessibility and the desire to feel connected with people with similar backgrounds and interests give rise to the growth of tech giants like Facebook, enabling social media to evolve into a platform that appeals to the masses.
According to statistics portal Statista, Facebook – the social media platform founded in 2004 – currently sits as the number one social network with 2.05 billion monthly active users as of August 2017. The statistics portal, meanwhile, reported that the number of Facebook users in Canada reached 18.2 million in 2016. This number is projected to grow to 19.6 million in 2020.
YouTube, the video-sharing platform owned by Google, is the second most popular social networking site with 1.5 billion monthly active users worldwide as of August 2017 according to Statista. Photo-sharing platform Instagram sits at 7th place with 700 million monthly active users as of August 2017; blogging service Tumblr sits at 9th place with 357 million active monthly users and microblogging service Twitter sits at 10th place with 328 million active monthly users.
Nonprofits and charities are the early adopters of social media. The 2010 study conducted by Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Eric Mattson of Financial Insite Inc. revealed that charitable organizations in the US outpaced the business world and academia in their social media use. The study showed that 93% of the top US charities have a Facebook profile, 87% have a Twitter presence and 65% have a blog.
The study called “2016 Global NGO Online Technology Report” (PDF) by Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good showed that nonprofits and charities in North America have been the early adopters of social media. As of 2016, according to the study, 97% of nonprofit organizations have a Facebook page; 85% have a Twitter profile; 71% have a LinkedIn profile; 63% have a YouTube account and 46% have an Instagram profile.
The Public Interest Registry and Nonprofit Tech for Good study also found that 34% of nonprofit organizations in North America assign the social media management responsibility to development, program, administrative, and/or executive staff; 33% assign the responsibility to a communications staff person; 27% depend on a full-time or part-time social media manager and 6% depend upon volunteers.
March of Dimes is an example of a nonprofit organization that leverages the use of social media. It has a presence on several social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Here are 4 benefits of using social media for the nonprofit organization that you run:
1. Venue to Engage Your Organization’s Current Supporters
Social media platforms are good venues to have meaningful conversation with your existing donors, volunteers and members. Start the conversion with them by sharing real stories about successful projects or the people that your organization helped.
The 2013 Millennial Impact Report (PDF) by the Case Foundation found that more than 60% of the millennials (born between the years 1979-1994) like it most when nonprofits share stories about successful projects or the people they help. The study also found that 75% of millennials like, retweet or share content on social media.
Another way to strike a conversation with your current supporters is by posting content that educates the public about the issues your organization addresses. For instance, your organization can share links to studies or news stories that support your organization’s mission. Real and educational stories that your organization posts allow your donors, volunteers and members to converse with your organization as well as converse with each other.
2. Venue to Increase Supporters
Social media is a good venue to grow your organization’s supporters, also known as “friend-raising”.
A study conducted by Georgetown University’s Center for Social Impact Communication and Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (PDF) found that “slacktivists”, popularly referred to as individuals who passively “Like” causes on Facebook but are not truly engaged, “may be more active – and valuable – than previously thought.”
The Georgetown University and Ogilvy study found that individuals who “Like” causes on Facebook are more likely than non-social media promoters to participate in the following key activities:
“The presumption was that these individuals [slacktivists] were replacing more ‘meaningful’ actions with simple clicks and shares,” said Denise Keyes, Senior Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Center for Social Impact Communication. “But what we found is that they’re actually supplementing – not replacing – actions like donating, volunteering and planning events.”
“The key takeaway is that many of the activities that slacktivists are more likely to undertake have this element of influence,” said Jennifer Wayman, Executive Vice President and Director of Social Marketing at Ogilvy Washington. “They are more likely to share what they’re doing with their networks, and there’s real value inherent in these relatively small actions that should not be underestimated.”
3. Venue for Fundraising
It’s inappropriate to bombard your social media supporters with constant postings about your organization’s fundraising campaigns. Occasionally though, it’s proper to do so some fundraising activities via your organization’s social media platforms. It’s important to supplement these online fundraising campaigns with non-online fundraising activities.
4. Venue for Call to Action/Community Organizing
Social media is an effective tool to mobilize individuals to volunteer or take part in an event. On February 12, 2009, the Twestival (Twitter + festival) – serving both as a fundraising activity and call to action – brought together Twitter users to raise money for the global water crisis. The activity was able to raise over $250,000 and brought worldwide public awareness about the global water crisis issue.
Should My Business Have Its Own Facebook Account?
If you are an entrepreneur, you may be considering whether or not your business should set up its own social media accounts.
If you are, we can't blame you!
After all, Facebook had 1.86 billion active users at the end of 2016 — up from 1.59 billion users one year earlier.
With that many users, it's tempting to create an account for your business.
But should your business have its own Facebook account?
Let's take a look at some things to consider as you come to that answer.
Benefit to My Business
Arguably the most important consideration for your business is how having an account for your business will benefit you and your customers.
While the number of Facebook users is staggering, it doesn't mean it is appropriate for your customer base.
Consider the target market for your product or service. Is this demographic someone that has a personal account and uses it regularly?
If not, creating a Facebook page may not accomplish what you want. After all, one of the main reasons you are considering creating an account is likely to reach people. If you aren't doing that, what are you doing it for?
Take a realistic look at the brand you are developing. Ask yourself whether using Facebook falls in line with your brand image.
Time to Monitor
Another important aspect of having a Facebook account for your business is the time it takes to monitor it.
If your business' page takes off, are you prepared to react to it? This can be a time-consuming task and will take you or another employee away from other things.
Do you have an employee that is well-versed in the trends of social media to monitor the page efficiently and effectively? Not every business owner does!
For example, one of the ways a business account can be useful is through customer reviews and feedback. But if you can't allow time to review these and react to them, it may do you more harm than good.
Incentives Through Facebook
Accounts are free to set up, which is a nice way for online marketing on a budget.
But it's free to the extent that Facebook doesn't cost you anything. As a business, you are still devoting manpower towards monitoring and upkeep of the page.
One thing to consider to off-set some of these costs is how you can utilize your Facebook page to create incentives for your customers.
Some businesses offer coupons for "liking" their page. Others offer certain discounts on different days of the week, which helps to build traffic on your page for consumers bargain shopping for your product or service.
Should Your Business Create a Facebook Account?
While at first glance, creating an account for your business seems like a no-brainer, there is a lot to consider.
You need to evaluate how your account will benefit your business. Will it be something used by your customer base? Can it help broaden your product's target market?
You also need to take into consideration the time commitment and need to be active on the page so that it is up-to-date.
If you opt to create an account for your business, brainstorm ways to keep traffic flowing on your page. Incentives like weekly Facebook-only coupons or sweepstakes might be a way for you to do just that!
A Facebook account can help your business in many different ways but considering these things on the front end will help you make your decision.
ReputationMart.com - passionate digital marketing team.