6 Social Media Customer Engagement Guidelines Small Biz Should Follow

Standard

Remember in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie when they talked about the “Pirates Code” being more like guidelines than rules? We have something similar in the Social Media world. There are some things that through trial and error we’ve learned you shouldn’t do— unless you want to drive away customers, followers, readers, etc. Not rules, but pretty good guidelines.

Posting is a big one. Don’t over post. Don’t under post. Don’t post irrelevant content. Posting content is what I do for clients, so I do have accumulated experience in this area.

To arrive at the above-mentioned findings, Sprout Social surveyed more than 1,000 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram users to determine what annoys them about brands on social and what drives them to unfollow.

Then the folks at CJG Digital Marketing sifted through the data to produce the following Infographic.

6 Social Media Behaviors to Avoid in 2017 (Infographic) - An Infographic from CJG Digital Marketing

(Embedded from CJG Digital Marketing )

Main thing to absorb is that 2.8 BILLION people use social media. If you are a small business owner or an entrepreneur THOSE are a lot of customers to be ignoring if you aren’t on line— and a lot to be ignoring if you are on social.

To repeat, the six no-no’s that Sprout Social focused on are:

  1. Posting too many promotional messages.
  2. Sharing irrelevant information
  3. Tweeting too frequently.
  4. Using jargon or slang awkwardly
  5. Staying too quiet
  6. Not replying to messages

Think about it and it makes sense. You are on social media not to scream from the rooftops about how good your service or product are. You are here to directly engage with potential customers, not to waste their time.

If you need help with consistent posting of blogs, FB posts or Twitter, feel free to contact me.

Small Biz Growth– With a Little Help from Friends in the Marketplace

Standard

Small businesses in small towns across America are fighting for survival.

But, getting to know the people and small businesses of Wabash Indiana, winner of the Small Business Revolution’s Main Street $500,000 Makeover has been a heartwarming journey, filled with hope and promise when all players in the marketplace come together.

wabashcityFor this makeover, Amanda Brinkman, chief brand and communications officer at Deluxe, along with Shark Tank star Robert Herjavec, employed their marketing and business expertise to help six small businesses learn more about what it takes to compete in their local and regional markets.

What is additionally important is that you look at the website that accompanies this series. There is a breakdown of each store’s problems and solutions, complete with actionable advice that could be applied to your business. In other words: Free social media marketing advice!!!

The full details of the project are in my previous blog. Here are the eight episodes so you can binge watch. Do you see any similarities to you, your business, your neighborhood, or town? Learn from the Wabash journey; take from it what you can. Then make your story something worth sharing with others.

(Anthony M. Scialis is an experienced print & broadcast writer who coordinates blog, Twitter & Facebook social media content to create a focused & powerful customer engagement effort which will bridge the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

Finding Business Tips in the Movies

Standard

If life imitates art, what can the small business entrepreneur learn from a Hollywood movie? Jacek Grebski, Co-founder and Partner of SWARM, Digital Agency selected 18 movies for an article in Entrepreneur on line that he thought had something to say to this issue.

18 MoviesNot all are what you would think of as “business” movies. Erin Brockovich (above), 12 Angry Men, Merchant of Venice, and Lord of War are far from that model. But Grebski cleverly pulls out of one movie or another aspects such as creative problem solving, crisis management, negotiation techniques, building customer loyalty, creativity and innovation, perseverance, and business vision.

Check out the article. Do you agree or not? Do you have any suggestions of your own for movies that gave you some guidance or direction as you set out as an entrepreneur?

( Anthony M. Scialis is an experienced print & broadcast writer who coordinates blog, Twitter & Facebook social media content to create a focused & powerful customer engagement effort which will bridge the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

Why Use Video for a Small Business Account

Standard

Social Media is a visual medium. Yes, we fill it with words. But pictures, graphics and videos can capture your customer’s attention and drive them to your words on Facebook and website.

Don’t believe me? This is data from “31 Must Know Video Marketing Stats” article that appeared in a recent Social Media Today posting.

Video statsI think the numbers speak for themselves. You can see the entire Infographic on the linked website page.

If you’re handling social media in-house for your small business, not only is quality writing a concern as I have stated in previous blogs, but equally of value is a serious concentration on visuals that connect with where your customer “is” or “will be” when you wish to reach out.

According to the stats, 22% of US Small Biz plan to post a video in the next 12 months. Will you be watching your competition?

( Anthony M. Scialis is an experienced print & broadcast writer who coordinates blog, Twitter & Facebook social media content to create a focused & powerful customer engagement effort which will bridge the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

Directing Customer Traffic on Your Small Business Social Media Highway

Standard

CARE, which stands for Customers Are Really Everything was an an employee training program I went through early on in my career. It was likened to an auto manual in how we were to treat customers, the force which drove our business.

Later, there was a newer model defining customers as both external, being the people who show interest in purchasing your product/service and internal, being employees who show interest in promoting your product/service. That’s right. EVERYBODY is your customer. Get that, and you’ve won half the battle.

Customer service is not an intangible, abstract, invisible force. You can see it and hear it everyday in the way employees interact with people interested in what you have to sell. Dynamic Social Media expert Skarlet Shuplat and I will be exploring aspects of customer service in respect to social media in a back & forth between our blogs over the next few weeks.

She correctly opens with this statement “You need to be social with your fans anSkarletd followers.” And follows up with three key areas of focus:

  • Find Customers Where They Are
  • Take Feedback to Heart
  • Be Available & Responsive

To read Skarlet’s full conversation (which already started, ladies first), scoot on over to her blog at FoxFireSocial.com

Feel free to jump in with your own thoughts. Because…. as our readers, you are our customers too!

But, for my first blog on the topic of social media presence I am going to… (cue the wavy screen to simulate a flashback)… look at the mindset of business people in regards to customer treatment.

You may have noted in the first paragraph I described customers as “both external, being the people who show interest in purchasing your product/service and internal, being employees who show interest in promoting your product/service.” I did not say buy and sell. For me, customer service has been the process of dealing with interested parties before, during and after interaction — whether a sale took place or not.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Whether it is face to face, or online, your external customer’s “care experience” will be influenced by your internal customer’s attitude.

That person who walked into your store, called, emailed, or flitted through your website, might not have purchased today, but depending on the “customer experience” could be back tomorrow for something else.

Ever go into a cute little boutique store in the mall, look around and never be acknowledged by sales staff behind the counter because they’re too busy gossiping or even bad mouthing management? Ever go back?

That was a Customer Service fail.

My daughter, as a teen worked at a cool, goth store obviously aimed at active, young adults. One day an elderly (ancient by their standards I would guess) woman in a wheel chair entered the store. The sales crew, having a pity party about job unhappiness, essentially ignored her, assuming she didn’t realize the youth culture of the store and would just roll on out.

My daughter who had been doing stock, (and is a smart kid because Rachael had asked for my advice when going into retail sales) came out to talk to the lady as she was about to leave the store. Rachael explained what the store was all about and the clientele it catered to. The woman thanked her and left.

Next day she came back, asked for Rachael (my kid, beaming dad here), and proceeded to buy over $500 worth of goth shirts, pants, jewelry, etc, for her twin granddaughters who had just “graduated” from middle school and needed to look good for junior year of high school.

That was pay-off to the “Before, During & After with no sale” customer service experience.

Customers Are Really Everything. Had the other two sales staff felt better about their own “customer” experience working for the store, perhaps they would have not let the elderly woman – or any other non goth-looking client leave untouched by a positive customer experience.

The same mindset applies to customer service translated and transmitted through social media. As Skarlet’s headline asks Is Your Social Media Presence a One Way Street?
Just because you have a social media presence on Facebook or Twitter does not mean you can stand behind the counter and ignore people, whether they are paying customers or not. Every question, every comment, every shopper should be acknowledged.

Then Directing Customer Traffic on Your Small Business Social Media Highway will yield positive results.

(Anthony M. Scialis is a social media strategist focusing on blogging & tweeting as a two-step customer service effort in bridging the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

Why Your Small Business Needs Blogs— And Me

Standard

BlogsB2C companies which feature blogs on their websites generate 88% more leads per month than those that do not. This is according to HubSpot, the world’s leading inbound marketing and sales platform. Let that settle in. Businesses which generate blogs about interesting things (along with their services or products) generate 88% more leads per month than competitors that don’t.

Well-thought-out, well-written blogs work because storytelling is a powerful way to attract readers, share information, open the lines of communication to foster engagement, build understanding of potential customer needs and convert these followers into loyal brand ambassadors.

More people looking at your store shelves. More people walking into your restaurant or bar. More potential income.

When I saw that 88% statistic I had a flashback to this line from Independence Day:

10 Years Social(Copyright © 1996 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Over the years, I’ve worked in print & broadcast media. People do not buy newspapers for the ads. They buy for the news. People do not listen to radio for the ads. They listen for the music.

In other words, people seek out something that will emotionally engage them.

And I have been saying for years that people are not on social media for the ads. They are there to share and engage, because they want to be emotionally connected. Repeatedly telling them what special you have for today is a disconnect— they may come in, but they are just as likely not to come back. You may have made a sale, but you didn’t convert them into loyal customers and certainly not created an emotional connection to recruit them as ambassadors for your business.

Granted, you want to keep using Twitter as a way of driving people to your website and Facebook pages. Equally so, you need to keep pace with competitors in the Facebook auction space for ads.

But, once you have funneled prospects to your website, then what? A few seconds of looking at ads or a contest. Maybe you hook them, maybe you don’t.

Consider generating two or three blogs a week to balance out your Facebook and Twitter self promotions. Give followers a reason to check back to your website several times a week. Provide some insight on how you do something. Recall a funny incident. Promote a survey. Give some free tips. Comment about something going on in the community.

Convinced, but you don’t have the time to write blogs? You don’t have the editorial skills to cultivate content? That’s where writers (such as myself— full disclosure) can assist you. Prices being charged on various websites range from as little as $5 for a simple blog up to and beyond $1000 for a complex blog.

As a veteran community writer, I’m on the more affordable side of that price bar. If you’re interested let’s talk. Let me help you SHARE information, so you can ENGAGE your readers, UNDERSTAND their needs and CONVERT them into customers.

It’s not about you anymore. It’s about them.

(Anthony M. Scialis is a social media strategist focusing on blogging & tweeting as a two-step customer service effort in bridging the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)

Do You Know What “Social Care” Is?

Standard

Social care, simply put, is the combined efforts employers & employees make through social media to care for customers. I would venture to say many small businesses do not practice it. And as such, most of them let opportunities to attract, engage and convert slip by.

social careHootSuite had an insightful article by Dara Fontein, How to Deliver Exceptional Social Media Customer Service  filled with very interesting facts and suggestions relating to social care.

  • 51 percent of consumers said they would give up on a purchase after trying to reach customer service only once. In other words, customer service has become a no phone zone
  • On average, consumers only tell 9 people about a good experience, but they will tell 16 about a negative one. Ouch!
  • And, this is a wake up & smell the coffee item: 50 % of consumers now use social media when seeking/expecting an actual response from a company about a service issue.

Fontein writes “Social care is not only being used by young digital natives, but is consistently utilized across all ages, languages, genders, and income levels.”

So, whether you are on social media or not, customers are and they are talking about you. Social care is a way of measuring how well you are listening and how quickly you are responding to them.

To that end Fontein includes a very informative instructional video on how to monitor multiple search streams involving your brand on HootSuite.

Easy to do you say, for a big operation able to hire a social media team, but what if you are a small business like the one mentioned in a reader comment:

“How would you best manage responding in a timely manner if you don’t have the resources to do so? Many businesses seem to be a 1 person operation.”

My response is that there are social media strategists (gurus, wizards, etc, etc) who provide affordable free lance service, operating in niche areas. For example, as a writer I can contribute with blogs & Twitter engagement. My friend John is a photographer and could assist with Pinterest & Instagram.

As a small business owner you can design & develop your social care plan with such affordable free lance input. Select the social media platforms in which you feel comfortable to handle, and delegate the others.

Learn how to listen; determine when to join the conversations and when not to. It will show that your small business is social and that you care about customers.

(Anthony M. Scialis is a social media strategist focusing on blogging & tweeting as a two-step customer service effort in bridging the gap between the wants of your small business to grow and the needs of your customers to be satisfied. Follow https://twitter.com/amssvs)