Tag Archives: engagement

Marketing your brand in the digital world

Facebook turned 10 this year, we’ve all seen our friends ‘movie’ summary (confession – I did also participate and publish my walk through memory lane) and it seems that we are (mainly) all pretty comfortable in Facebook land amongst friends. What about the other social media forums? Twitter, Google+, Instagramme, Pintrest, Blogs, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and others? Do you use them in your own social life?

If you do, have you thought about how you can use these forums for your business?  Well, the first question to ask is: do these platforms fit in your digital marketing strategy? Not all platforms will suit your brand or business so you need to explore which platforms best suit your business and marketing strategy. You should also have a very good idea of which platforms your intended audience is using.

Research  – who are your potential customers (and your current customers), which media platforms are they using, what kind of engagement do they offer.  Digital Insights have created an info graphic based on research by ReachLocal which list eight types of social media followers ranging from Casual Liker, The Ranter to the Loyal Fan (part of that image has been used in the feature image of this blog). For the complete list descriptions, please follow the link: digital insights. You may already recognise these ‘types’ as customers of yours and already have strategies in place that provides the proper communication to them. Expand this to your digital media strategy.

If, for example, you think that Facebook is where your potential audience is and where you will get the most engagement, then it may be worth your while to investigate paying for Facebook advertising, but do note, this is not where you will make a sale, it is where you will bring your brand and product to the audiences attention. Once you have their attention, you must provide the relevant content to continue and expand their engagement plus direct them to the location of where you want your potential customers to purchase.

Facebook has started their page Facebook for Business, which is an indication that they as a company see business brands on Facebook as a viable option. This page promotes the use of Facebook advertising to promote your business. It is very easy to manage an advertising campaign via the Facebook apps and see your returns (likes, engagement, people talking about) in your insights section as well as traffic directed to your website in google analytics.

 Twitter also have paid promotional spots and again the purpose of these spots should be to increase your brand awareness in the Twitterverse.

Social Media blogger, Jeff Bullas has written many articles about social media, engagement, and content. Here is one of the more recent articles, which discusses the social media trajectory. Business 2 Community Google+ posted the blog article; Is This The Social Media Marketing Tipping Point? and has some very relevant points to take note of.

Two stand out points for us are:

  1.  Grow your social network now
  2. Create the best content you can

Growing your social network. Get your name / brand out there. After deciding which platforms suit you best (look beyond Facebook and Twitter), let your customers know that you have a digital presence in their arenas. Use the links to your sites in newsletters, your website and signage around your location. Add the links to invoices or receipts, your email signatures, everywhere that you communicate with your customers.

Follow the media influencers in your field, interact and engage with them. Gain their confidence in your product and brand and they will retweet (RT), share or talk about your brand / product.  Media influencers usually have many followers / fans and a great audience reach. As always, you must provide relevant content to get the engagement with your brand.

Create the best content you can. Creating the best content does not mean that you have to have the very latest graphics or video production but it must have relevance to your brand or product, have some meaning for your intended audience. Use the best images you have, keep your text direct – calls to action (like, share, enter, answer, etc). Encourage the conversation, if someone comments – reply, even it is just to say ‘Thank you’. Share your audience’s pictures if they post to your site. Favourite a tweet, follow a Pintrest board if it is relevant to your brand. Encourage your customers to provide content e.g. how good your product / service / location is.

Bringing us back to the same message – content, relevance and engagement will keep your conversations going in your digital world and create brand relationships with your customers.

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Feedback and Conversations

Feedback. Negative comments. Positive reviews. It seems that all of our digital media can revolve around good or bad comments on our sites.

What happens when you directly (i.e. face to face) receive a compliment or acknowledgement of  a job well done? You usually thank the person and continue your conversation. It does not matter how public the place was  that the compliment or acknowledgment was given

What happens if you receive an insult, negative comment or otherwise bad feedback in the same situation? Do you laugh it off, get angry and reply in kind, or swallow your reaction and walk away? Some of your reaction will depend on where you are when the comment is made. Are you in a large meeting or social setting, in your office, or in a one to one meeting? The more public the location, the more defensive you are likely to be. Defensiveness is commonly expressed through aggression, humour, denial, passivity and probably a range of other emotions.

Comments received in your digital media forums are all very public locations, open to everyone and have the potential to be seen by a vast audience (potential customers).   Positive comments and feedback are easily accepted, thanked and shared to your customers, team members and associates. They are quite often used for customer testimonials. Negative comments and feedback are ones that a business owner may instinctively want to hide / delete or ignore.

Some forums,for example, Trip Advisor, do not give a property the luxury of removing a negative review, however one sided the owner may feel the review is. But, and this is  important, you can respond. Your potential customers will read the review and will also most likely read your response. If you have responded appropriately and fairly, then your potential customer may not dismiss your property out of hand, you may get another chance.

Website, Facebook, Twitter comments can be easily removed but again, it may be better to respond to those comments to provide a balanced view of your business. It allows your potential customer to see how you handle good with bad.

How do you respond? To put it simply, as politely as you can – this is a public forum and everything, yes everything, you say will reflect on your business. The format is the same as any complaint handling procedure.

  • Acknowledge the complaint / comment
  • Thank them for bringing the item to your attention
  • Tell them what you will do to or change to ensure that there is not a reoccurrence of the issue
  • If the comment refers to something that cannot be changed e.g. bad weather or the journey, then a combination of humour and polite facts can be used to answer the comment. You, as a business, cannot change the weather, the road, their transport method or whatever the ‘problem’ was. Acknowledge the comment and move on
  • If a comment refers to something that is not likely to change e.g. decor / fixtures/ fittings, then you need to have a well practised response that fits with your overall marketing strategy
  • Offer the customer a means of contacting you outside of the public forum
  • Follow up, make this as personal as you are able, let them know that the thing you have said you will do, has been done.
  • Invite that customer back to experience the change /s made in your business. You do not necessarily have to provide anything free, it will depend on the initial complaint, your response and what your business feels is suitable recompense (if anything).

Profanities, personal attacks, or other inappropriate posts (identified as trolls) should be removed immediately. These type of posts are nuisance posts and have no place in your digital space. Persistent ‘trolls’ should be reported to appropriate administration of the media application. It is best not to dignify these type of comments with a reply.

Responding to your feedback and comments are yet another way of keeping the conversation going with your customers and potential customers. It is relevant because this is what your customers are concerned about, it is relevant because your potential customers want to be assured that you acknowledge and respond to problems.

Responding to your online feedback and comments extend your customer service and continues the engagement with your digital community. Your customers know you and your business better and should lead to higher trust levels of you and your business. In a nutshell, this is what your digital marketing strategy should be all about – relevance, engagement, connection, and building trust; guiding your customers to confidently purchase from you and recommend you to their networks.

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