Tag: Twitter

The Changing World of Customer Service (and why you should Tweet)

By Sue Brady

It’s no secret that social media is playing a bigger role than ever when it comes to customer service. Customers expect responses fast when they tweet to a brand. In fact, 78% of consumers who tweet a complaint, expect a response within one hour. Twitter even removed the 140 character limit for direct messages. Now brands can direct message responses to customers and use the space they need.

From time to time I attend the Content Marketing World (aka @CMIContent) Twitter chat – #CMWorld. A Twitter chat is an organized gathering of folks who are interested in an announced topic. The format is usually 8 – 10 questions that are posted one at a time to the crowd. CMI chats host their chats and include a subject matter expert in the conversation. They cover great topics relevant to me. If you’re curious about something, it’s a great way to gain insights (and no one needs to know you’re there!).

Last week’s chat was about social media and customer service, with @jaybaer. I thought I’d recap some of the content that was shared because it was so good.

The first question to get us rolling was: How has social media changed the game for customer service? Here are some of the responses:

@mikemyers614: (social media) means the lights are always on and the “phone” must always be answered. We’re all 24/7 now.

@dmboutin: brands are accessible where people are already spending their time, instead of a 800 # in the fine print

@sgoldberger12:  Social Media Has Amplified It. Those Who Engage Expect Quick Answers. Customer Service Is Ever More Important.

@ardath421  (social media) means that customer service needs to be served up wherever the customer wants it

@LeadPath (social media) allows us to respond at real time to customer concerns and feedback. It lets us engage with our customers

On the topic of how B2B is different from B2C in social media:

@LeadPath  With both B2B and B2C you need to remember you’re talking to customers.

@mewzikgirl:  the advancement and immediacy of response/resolution in B2C has changed expectations, and B2B has to grow and adapt

The key thing to remember is that you are still talking to people, in both B2B and B2C.

On whether you should answer all questions posed to your company in social media:

‏‏@dmboutin: Yes. Look at cost of customer acquisition & retention then tell me addressing all concerns isn’t worth it

@Magnani_Dot_Com: The user doesn’t see all the messages being answered, they simply see theirs going unanswered.

‏@LUCYrk78:  It’s 100% realistic. You make the time and team to ensure customers are listened to. It’s today’s expectation.

@netvantage:  Realistic, no, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

‏@CTrappe “Thanks for your tweet” is not that great of a #custserv response.

‏@flinds: An effort should be made to all address complaints on SM, even if just to tell them to email. Being noticed goes a long way.

There were many suggestions on dealing with negative comments online.

@mikemyers614 said: Removing or editing is a dangerous thing. Chances are if one person says it, 10 more are experiencing it. Deal with it. Fast.

Jaybaer wrote: Respond to every hater, both the Offstage Haters (phone, email) and the Onstage Haters (social, review sites, forums).

Jay recently published an excellent book on this very topic called “Hug your Haters: How to Embrace your Complaints and Keep Your Customers. Great information for those who struggle with this topic.

He adds: But my best tip is the rule of Two. Never respond more than twice online. Take it offline.

I wrote a post a while back on dealing with trolls. That might help too. You can read it here.

And on handling positive comments, the common answer thread was to turn those commenters into brand advocates by acknowledging them, retweeting them, doing something nice for them, asking them if you can use them as a recommendation. What others say about your business is so important. 90% of customers are influenced by reviews!

 

 

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Do You Know Where Your Teenager Is (online)?

By Sue Brady

cartoon social tools - must say FreeDigitalPhotos.net
source: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So much has been written about the ‘demise’ of Facebook and how it’s losing traction with the younger set. Facebook’s audience is changing but that doesn’t mean it’s about to crash and burn. I often hear: The kids just aren’t using Facebook anymore. But is it really true? I did some digging and read a number of articles to really understand what’s been happening to the Facebook numbers. I discovered that yes, teens are leaving Facebook, but Facebook is far from dying. Teens are just turning to other tools.

Piper Jaffray released their semi-annual survey in October, 2013 where they saw a shift from the prior survey done in April, in preferred social media among teens. In the April survey, Facebook was preferred over Twitter with 33% siting the first, and 30% the second. The October study showed a large shift with 26% preferring Twitter, followed by Facebook and new to the top of the list, Instagram, each at 23%. You can read the full article here.

In the US, compared to three year’s ago, overall Facebook users have increased by 23%. The 55 and older crowd has been the biggest reason for this increase. In the last three years, that age group has grown from almost 16 million to 28 million users. And in the same period of time, teen users aged 13 – 17 have declined by 25% while young adults aged 18 – 24 have declined 8%. But somehow that doesn’t feel like the full story. Is it really just the younger crowd moving into older age groups, and not being replaced by the new young teens? It sure seems that way. The largest group on Facebook by pure numbers three years ago was the 18-24 crowd followed by the 35-54 year olds. Now, the largest group on Facebook is the 35-54 year olds, followed by 25 – 34 year olds (source: iStrategy Labs). Facebook’s audience is aging because teens, new to social media, are making other choices.

There are implications for advertisers. Advertisers can still reach a potential teen audience of almost 10 million kids, but that’s 3 million less than they used to be able to reach, and that number is not likely to improve in the coming years.

So where are the teens going for their social media fix? At the end of last year, it was announced that Twitter actually overtook Facebook as the most important social media tool among teens. And there are other, newer social media players too in this rapidly changing landscape.

girl on fone
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Twitter. With 243 million monthly users, Twitter is gigantic. According to AllThingsD, 28% of Twitter’s unique desktop viewers are between 13 and 24 years old. When you look at mobile users, 25% of Twitter users vs 19% of Facebook’s are between 18 and 24 years old.  And, Twitter’s global audience aged between 15 and 24  is over 3 percentage points higher than Facebook’s  (32% to 29%).

Snapchat. Snapchat is the mobile app that allows you to send pictures that are viewable for 1-10 seconds and 15-second video clips can also be sent for a one-time viewing.  Snapchat boasts 30 million monthly users in the US and a full 55% of them use it everyday (source: Business Insider). There are 400 million snaps sent per day, worldwide. (source: Craig Smith, Author of Digital Marketing Ramblings). Its growth has been explosive. Snapchat’s primary demographic is the 13-25 age group, though the 40+ crowd is starting to adopt it as well (source: AllThingsD.com). According to Pew Research, 26% of cell phone owners aged 18-29 use Snapchat. Snapchap is only just starting to allow advertising and it’s not yet known how successful that will be.

Instagram.    Owned by Facebook, Instagram is also a photo and video share app, but the photos and videos don’t disappear.  They boast 150 million monthly users (source: Craig Smith, Author of Digital Marketing Ramblings). 43% of cell phone owners aged 18-29 use Instagram. 18% of those aged 30-49 use Instagram (Pew Research). Snapchat only has 5% of that age group. Like Snapchat, Instagram has been slow to get into advertising, but is definitely planning on monetizing the platform with ads.

WhatsApp. WhatsApp, the mobile messaging tool, has been picking up new users at the rate of a million A DAY. They boast 450 million users to Facebook’s 1.2 billion (worldwide). Their growth has been fairly amazing.  And guess what? Facebook recently announced that it’s buying WhatsApp for a deal valued at $19 billion. Not much is known about the demographics of the WhatsApp users, though in general mobile messaging services have high usage among teens and tweens.  The WhatsApp user base is strong in India, Europe and Latin America.

Facebook is alive and well and making acquisitions to make sure it stays relevant with a variety of age groups. But there’s no question the Facebook audience base is shifting. Perhaps the teen-set isn’t happy that mom and dad are following their pages, or perhaps that age group has just gotten tired of the platform and favors faster communication tools. Whatever the reason, Facebook remains a social media giant.

social media montage

Why Earned Media is Important

By Sue Brady

There are three types of media: Owned, Earned and Paid. All three of these media types may play an important part in your marketing strategy. ‘Owned’ media refers to channels that you control such as your company Facebook page or blog. ‘Earned’ media is in essence word of mouth. When someone shares your content, that’s earned. ‘Bought’ is media you purchase, such as an ad or event sponsorship.

Today’s focus is on Earned media. You can read about owned media here.

Earned Media is the best kind of media because it carries with it an implied endorsement. It’s social proof when someone shares your content. But that also makes it the hardest media to garner. It’s easy (well, doable anyway) to write your own content or to pay for an ad to appear, but Earned media requires more work. A reader needs to feel compelled to distribute your content to their network.

Some Earned media examples include:

  • A shared Facebook post from your brand
  • A retweet of a company post
  • A review of your product
  • A quote from someone at your company included in an article.

This example showed up on my Facebook feed today because a friend of mine checked in using her Yelp mobile app when she arrived at this restaurant. Wow, looks tasty and I’m hungry…

Yelp Restaurant ShareWhy is this important? Recommendations matter. In a survey by market research company Lab42, 69% of those surveyed said they ‘liked’ a brand because a friend did.

How can you make your content shareable?

  • Make sure your content is relevant to your audience
  • Post your content where your audience is likely to find it
  • If you are making a special offer, keep it brief and easy to read and understand
  • Encourage users to write reviews and share them with credit to the writer; ask for retweets or shares
  • Write tweets using the # and asking for the retweet. Both enhance the possibility of sharing.
  • Retweet others, share other content on Facebook, share articles on LinkedIn. You never know when that favor might be returned.
  • Use pictures in your Facebook post; according to KISSmetrics, posts with photos get 53% more likes.

I’ll have ‘earned’ your mention if you liked this article enough to share it with your network. So please share!

5 Free and Easy Tools to Schedule Your Tweets

By Sue Brady schedule tweets icon

Everyone is busy so I’m focusing on these time saving tools to help you schedule your tweets. Scheduling tweets is useful for a few reasons, both for business and personal users:

  • If there is a certain date/time that you want to remember to tweet a specific message, you can schedule it in advance and forget about it. It will appear on your Twitter feed at the time you’ve appointed.
  • Let’s say you peruse content in one sitting and come across a number of things to tweet. Rather than overwhelm your followers,  you can space out those tweets by scheduling them to appear at specific times.
  • If you’re running an ad campaign and want your offer or message to appear at specific moments, this can be easily accomplished.

There are a few free products that allow for this functionality and they are very easy to use. Most importantly, in each tool when you first sign up, make sure your time zone is accurate to ensure your tweets will post at the time you actually want them to.

Tool #1: ads.twitter.com

This tool is from Twitter and was added in October of last year, first as a business tools for advertisers, and later available for anyone.

Step 1: Go to ads.twitter.com. If you are logged in on your Twitter account, you’ll automatically be able to get into the tool as you. If you are not logged in, you’ll be prompted to do so.

Step 2: Select the ’Creatives’ tab from the top of your page.

Twitter schedule bar

Step 3: Click on the ‘Compose Tweet’ box or icon on the top right of your screen.
Step 4: Click on the “Scheduling” tab and select the date and time for your tweet; click the button (lower right) to ‘Schedule Tweet.’

Compose a tweet

Scheduled tweet

Tool #2: FutureTweets

Here’s another fast and easy (and free!) tool.

Step 1: Go to futuretweets.com
Step 2: Log in using your Twitter account (authorize the app when asked) and check your time zone settings.
Step 3: Type in the tweet you want to schedule and click ‘schedule.’ Make sure the clock is set to the right time. If you change your mind, use the delete symbol to delete your tweet, or the pencil icon to edit it.

Futuretweets schedule screen

Futuretweets scheduled

Tool #3: Twuffer

Twuffer (in beta) is another very easy and free scheduling tool.

Step 1: Go to twuffer.com and if you are not already logged into twitter, authorize the app to do it for you.
Step 2: Type your tweet in the top box and click ‘Schedule Tweet.’ If you look on the ‘scheduled tweets’ tab, your tweet will appear.

twuffer tweet screen

Tool #4:  TweetDeck

Tweetdeck, another Twitter product, has a great deal of functionality, including the ability to schedule tweets.  Here’s how you use just that piece:

Step 1: Go to tweetdeck.com and sign in with your twitter account or sign in.
Step 2: Click on the blue tweet icon on the top left of your page.
Step 3: Type in your tweet and click the schedule button.
Step 4: Choose the appropriate time and you’ll see it come up under your tweet.

tweetdeck schedule tweettweetdeck schedule tweet2

 Tool #5: Later Bro

The last tool is called Later Bro. This tool allows you to schedule both tweets and Facebook posts.

Step 1: Go to laterbro.com and sign in with either your Twitter or Facebook account. You will be prompted to add both accounts.
Step 2: Once you authorize the appropriate app, you’ll be prompted to check your settings.
Step 3: Type in your tweet or post, indicate on which service you want it shared, and click the Schedule button.

laterbro pick fb or twitter

All of these tools offer nice dashboards and various analytics. Test them out and let me know which one you like best!

Facebook for your Business – What Comes After Setup?

Part 3 in the 3-part series of what should happen after those Social Media accounts are set up.facebook By Sue Brady

I’ve covered Twitter (read it here) and LinkedIn (read it here), and now I’ll cover Facebook. With over 500,000 active million users, Facebook is an important tool for your content strategy.

As usual, you need to start by solidifying your goals. You can then craft your content strategy around those goals. Your overall Facebook strategy might be to humanize your company, to position your company as a thought leader, to engage your customers or to show yourself as a company involved with the community. Maybe you want a particular piece of content to be widely shared, or your goal is to generate feedback on your page. Most ultimate goals focus around customer engagement in some way. Whatever your goal is, keep it in mind as you make all of your decisions for your Facebook page.

Some basics things to think about:
1. You’ll need to decide how frequently you want to post, but if you have nothing to say, best not to post anything that day.  A reason often cited for why a fan ‘unlikes’ a page is because the company posts too much.

2. Decide how much time you have to devote to your page. Some business-to-business (B2B) companies feel they don’t need a Facebook page at all.  Facebook can play a role in  B2B, just a different one from business-to-consumer (B2C) companies.

3. You already can see that Facebook is a very visual medium. Here are some statistics from KISSmetrics that show the value of posting with pictures:

  • Posts with photos get 53% more likes
  • Posts with photos get 104% more comments
  • Posts with photos get 84% more click-throughs

Nike post 2

4. KISSmetrics also states that posting with a question generates 100% more comments than statement posts. Get users to engage with your brand by asking questions!

Business-to-Consumer

Facebook is a natural if you are talking directly to your customer and brands use Facebook in a variety of ways. Most important to your strategy, know your target, know your goals and design your content around both. Consumers like to connect with brands. And brands like to put on a human face.  Facebook is a great place to do that. Be honest in your communications and make sure they reflect the tone you want your brand to take.

GAIN FANS

  1. Don’t be shy about asking your personal network to ‘like’ your business page. It’s a great way to get started and generate some immediate buzz and activity on your feed, and helps you to gain exposure to their networks.
  2. Also ask your network to ‘share’ particular posts. You will generate more shares by saying specifically in your post: Please share this.
  3. Advertising. I know a relatively new company who went from a fan base of less than 1,000 to over 5,000 fans in three months. They did it by buying Facebook ads that offered a cents off coupon for their product. Period. They had been on Facebook for around 6-months before they started buying ads. They fielded the occasional customer comment during that time but they couldn’t generate the traffic they wanted. Once they tried advertising, they were able to generate a much wider base. Now they are enjoying much greater customer engagement, with fairly frequent posts from customers on their page. Facebook has some easy to use methods to help you maximize return on your advertising. This post is a great read on the subject.(Little known fact from the folks at Hubspot: you can test your messaging in advance of running your ad by creating unpublished posts, known as dark posts. Dark posts appear in the News Feed but not on your timeline. This article tells you how to do it.If you aren’t sure how to get started, here’s another gem from Hubspot explaining the options.

OTHER THINGS TO KNOW
1. It’s no secret that a big reason consumers like brands is because they are hoping for coupons. In a survey by market research company Lab42, they found that 77% of those who had ‘liked’ a brand saved money as a result. Tweet that stat! In the same study, 69% said they ‘liked’ a brand because a friend did.

2. Understand the Facebook Algorithm. Facebook’s goal is to keep users interested, and to do that, they show content they think a particular person will be interested in seeing. It’s important to understand this because it impacts how your posts will be ranked. How is rank determined? Through an algorithm, formerly known as EdgeRank. EdgeRank was created as a way to prioritize stories in a user’s news feed and referred to the concept of ‘gaining an edge.’ The key elements have remained the same over the years, although according to Facebook, they now use over 100,000 factors:

  • Affinity Score – This is based on an action the user took, his ‘closeness’ to the person posting, and how much time has passed since the posting. Commenting on someone’s posts, or ‘liking’ those posts, increases a fan’s affinity to a brand. Think of it this way: liking a brand’s page gives the brand an edge.
  • Edge Weight – Edges are weighted based on the effort required on the part of the user. For instance, leaving a comment has more weight than leaving a ‘like.’ A video view has more weight than leaving a comment.
  • Time Decay – This refers to the length of time that has passed since an edge was created. As time passes, it loses value. However, if a story is very popular, even if it’s a few hours old, it could be bumped to the top of a feed.

You can read more about EdgeRank here.

3. Promotions. Promotions are a great way to garner fans on Facebook. But there are rules that have to be followed. The rules around promotions continue to evolve, so make sure you are using the most current set. For instance, it is now okay to use the ‘like’ functionality as a way to collect entries. Here’s a summary of the <current> Facebook rules as of August, 2013. You also must follow local and national rules imposed by the government (check with your lawyer!).

Business-to-Business

There are a few ways B2B companies use Facebook.

  1. Human Resources. A common reason a B2B company has a Facebook page is for future employees. It’s a place to gain some insight into the corporate culture and learn a little bit about the company in a more casual way.
  2. Putting on a Human Face. It’s not unusual for someone to reach out to their friend base to gain information on a product or service they might be contemplating for their business. If a recommendation is made on Facebook, it’s a natural response to click over to see that company’s page. It’s also a great place to interact directly with your customers. And remember, it’s Facebook…photos are important.
  3. Leads. Tough in a B2B environment, but to gather more leads some companies will offer a white paper or something else of value for ‘liking’ their page. The user exchanges their email address for information they want to read. As a business, it’s still a person who buys your product, and Facebook can help you to connect. You can also indirectly create leads by posting pictures of an event or something of interest. The key here is that every post can’t be a sales pitch. Think entertaining and/or educational. You can also buy ads on Facebook to reach others who are not yet your fans (see the Advertising section above under Business-to-Consumer).

Final Thought

Be prepared for trolls. Trolls are users who frequently post negative comments on your page. They may feel wronged by your company or just have nothing better to do. You need to have a plan for how to deal with this. In addition, it’s important for management to be aware they are likely to see some negative comments on the company Facebook page. Let them know you have a plan.

Happy posting!