Category Archives: Digital Marketing

Social Engagement Series: How to Positively Handle the Negative

You have worked hard to create engaging material on your social media platforms and results are rolling in; that’s great! Remember, though, oftentimes with the positive comes a little negative and with resources like Facebook’s new ‘reactions’  coming out in the near future, business pages will need to tread lightly and have a protocol in place for how to handle tricky situations where negative feedback is involved.

The wall that is social media guards people online in a way that allows them to feel more comfortable saying things they otherwise might never be willing to say in person. It’s important to remember that even if your fans ditch proper social etiquette, it doesn’t mean your business should. Here are some ideas on how to professionally handle situations when someone isn’t exactly being a positive fan on your social media outlets.

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People often take to social media with their anger when they feel no one is listening. Before jumping the gun and responding, listen to ALL of their frustrations. An automated, robotic-sounding reply will only fuel the fire, so be sure to respond to their unique situation. Personalizing a response by addressing the person by name or restating their concern in your reply can help to bring down the heat of anger, because you are connecting with them on a more personal level. They are more likely to feel that you have listened and understand their individual situation, and are reaching out to personally help solve their problem.

Show empathy and make the effort to look at the situation from their perspective, such as in the example below. This consumer does not agree with the company as a whole, but the company’s social media representative still took the time to understand what exactly is causing their anger and explain a step-by-step game plan to rectify the situation. This gives the consumer a chance to calm down, and you have an opportunity to gain their trust in the process.

It is also a good idea to keep track of any and all customer complaints, and check those records before responding to examine the details of the customer and see if this is a recurring issue. If you can avoid avoiding asking repeat questions that may already have answers, you will save time and frustration.

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If you want to make someone on social media angrier, make them wait. If it’s an issue that takes some looking into, while this is going on you should respond in a timely manner (within an hour or two if possible), to reassure them that they have been heard and that you are actively working to solve the issue.

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The old saying ‘the customer is always right’ does not always ring true, but validating their complaints may help to move past the issue and find a solution. If you are being contacted over a complaint, they are already saying, “This is not okay, someone needs to take responsibility, and right my wrong.” This seems like Business 101, but many companies pass complaints off, which can anger ther customer even more. Apologize for their frustrations, don’t respond defensively, and avoid making excuses for the situation. Let your customer know that you are personally addressing the manner and seeking out a solution, much like this example by Joe De Sena, CEO and cofounder of the Spartan Race.

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Be sure to follow up with previously frustrated consumers, and don’t assume that you resolved their problem; take the extra step to ensure that they are now satisfied customers. For example, if you offered instructions on how to fix an issue, contact the customer when a sufficient amount of time has passed (usually a couple of days) and see how things are going. By following up you are showing all customers, even the dissatisfied ones, that you value their feedback and care that they were able to find a solution.

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A couple of final things to remember while going through this process: Never delete a comment from a customer on social media; their feedback will help grow your business, and other fans can see how well you address and handle complaints. Also, stay positive and don’t take the complaints personally – they are mad at a situation, not you as an individual, and we can all relate to being frustrated with a product or service.

When complaints are made, you won’t always know what it’s going to turn into and some things are best handled privately. If your conversation starts to spiral, it is totally acceptable to take it private and send them a message instead of letting it keep going in everyone’s feeds. You won’t always be able to make every customer happy, but you can handle the situation with the respect and professionalism that comes from proper social etiquette. Finally, remember that word of mouth is at its peak of power and one person can quickly reach hundreds or thousands when it comes to social media, so make sure your business is represented properly with every interaction. For help with successfully addressing and handling these kinds of situations on your social media channels, contact us to discuss how we can take the stress of dealing with negative feedback off your hands.

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Social Engagement Series: Facebook Contests

Are you struggling to boost engagement on your Facebook page? Contests are a proven way to grow engagement through rewarding loyal fans and creating excitement to encourage entrants to check out your page frequently to see if they’ve won. You have probably heard time and time again that photos and videos get viewers, but these do not offer the same incentive for people to share and engage with your page the way a contest can. In the algorithm-run world of Facebook, the more a fan engages with your content, the more your page content will show up in your fans’ newsfeeds. Which means that anything that will get them liking, comment, sharing or entering is a boost for your page.

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An array of different contests will allow you to target your fans and increase engagement by:

SMG-Blog-Header1Contests that are interactive and authentically resonate with your audience create an opportunity for discussion between your business and consumers. Entrants in your contest comment to gain more votes, voters comment, and the Page itself can comment to encourage participation, all of which offer more ways for users to engage and get people talking about your brand.

SMG-Blog-Header2Photo, video, and essay contests can produce valuable user-generated content created by fans, increasing engagement and providing you with original material to repurpose. For example, let’s say a magazine holds a photo contest with a winning prize of having your photo published in its next issue. Not only is this is a great way to connect with and excite their audience to enter, but it also creates an opportunity for their fans to create unique content that will be a part of their brand.

SMG-Blog-Header3Collecting entrants’ email enables you to easily build up a base of contacts to connect with in the future and share correspondence, such as newsletters, surveys, new contests, or email offers.

SMG-Blog-Header4Because of their limited timeframes, contests help to provide excitement and a sense of urgency, motivating customers as well as those coming to view entries and vote for their favorite participants to take action. Together, this can add more overall reach, exposure, and interaction to the page simply by having two ways to participate, thereby creating organic growth, increasing traffic, and driving sales.

SMG-Blog-Header5Vote contests ask your target market for their views and opinions, and people love to share their opinions! If your contest hits home with your fan base, word of mouth can thrive and help to increase interaction on your page.

SMG-Blog-Header6Social media is all about sharing. Utilizing interactive Facebook contests can get your brand page and posts shared with hundreds or thousands of people. Creating a contest relevant to your brand gets your community interested, making it easy and fun for your consumers to share. Offering bonus entries for sharing with friends motivates participants to ask for votes for their entry, creating a social web driving friends and followers to your page in their mission to find votes.

SMG-Blog-Stat2Contests can be a powerful tool for your company to grow its social community. With increased engagement a brand is able to connect, be seen, and build loyalty with their online community. We love what we do, and we have fun taking on the challenge of boosting engagement on your Facebook page, and creating contests to increase activity stemming from your fan base. Let us take care of all the details while you take care of the increase in business, and together we can grow your brand while having a little fun at the same time.

Top 3 Ways to Properly Use Hashtags

Ahhhhh, hashtags… If you or your brand have been on social media at all in the past few years, then we can only assume you’ve been confronted with the use and misuse of hashtags. Plus, in recent years, it’s been almost impossible not to see multi-million-dollar campaigns with hashtags as their main focus on a daily basis. What exactly is a hashtag? A hashtag symbolizes a trending topic (such as #SuperBowlXLIX or #JeSuisCharlie) that makes itself visible on social media by placing a good old pound sign ‘#’ in front of the topic. By using a hashtag, a social media user can click on the link created by the hashtag and see additional articles, posts and images concerning the same subject.

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Hashtags are incredibly popular for social media marketing use; however, they can be very overwhelming and confusing. This is why it is so important to use them properly – especially if you are a brand trying to obtain and maintain followers on multiple social media platforms. Take a look at our top three ways you can properly use hashtags in your social media marketing strategy.

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1. Use Sparingly – Since hashtags symbolize trending topics, it’s important to remember that in a Facebook or Twitter post, you should not go “hashtag happy”; not every word is in itself a trending topic. Limit the amount of hashtags to an average of one to three per post, depending on the length and content. For example, let’s say if you are posting about a giveaway your brand is doing during a football game, your post could go something like this:

“Don’t forget! Submit a picture of your favorite game-day traditions and you could win tickets to the Wildcats’’ next home game. #GameDayGiveaway #GoWildCats”

2. Look to Other Trending Topics – Although implementing your own trending hashtag can be forward-thinking, sometimes picking up on an already trending hashtag can make you incredibly visible across multiple social media platforms. However, you have to make sure you complement the hashtag with rich and meaningful content that will stick out amongst the rest. For instance, if you are adding to the trending topic #GoldenGlobes, you’d want to add thoughtful and critical remarks about the films and television shows that were featured, and stay away from typical or convenient remarks like “We loved to watch [Insert Actor’s Name] win an award!” This would get lost in the messy clutter.

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3. Ensure They Are Crystal-Clear – If you take away only one thing from this blog, let this be it! Making sure your hashtags are understandable is of the utmost importance. So many times we find ourselves re-reading hashtags to make sure we understood them correctly; this is because either there are too many words included in the hashtag, the letters are all in lower-case, or they are not used properly in the sentence or post. To ensure your hashtags are read properly, it is best to separate each word in the hashtag with a capital letter (for example, #BringBackOurGirls is much easier to follow than #bringbackourgirls). It is also important to keep the hashtag fairly brief when possible. For example: #LetsGoGreenBayPackers is way too long. #GoPackGo would do just fine! Remember, it’s incredibly important to re-read your hashtags before you post and make sure others can comprehend them before you deploy them on social media.

Of course, hashtags can work seamlessly in various areas of your brand’s marketing efforts. They incorporate and create trending topics in a slick, easy way that can link your brand to other brands and people focusing on similar issues and topics. If you use them properly, you will undoubtedly start to see a growth in your number of followers, shares, likes, pins, and re-tweets!

#HappyHashtagging, everyone!

The Missing Link in Your Social Media Strategy

 

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Whether you’re a small B2B start-up with a less-than-extravagant marketing budget, or a large, well-known corporation with offices all over the country, LinkedIn should be an essential part of your social media marketing strategy.

LinkedIn could be nicknamed the “professional Facebook,” a network where professionals can go to seek jobs or employees, attract new sales leads, share and read industry insights, but ultimately to interact, or connect, with others.

Whether your company has yet to build a LinkedIn page, or you have one but rarely interact with it, it’s time to think differently. Don’t let LinkedIn be the missing link in your social media strategy. Let’s review our top five reasons why your business needs a LinkedIn page.

1. Show Your Credibility – First and foremost, LinkedIn is connecting your business with other companies and professionals in your industry and community. With that said, this is your place to shine and show off to them. Show off what you’re great at (like on a Showcase page!), share your opinions, and participate in discussions that reinforce your expertise. Let everyone know how smart you are! You never know, someone who is seeking your services might be reading. For example, SMG recently announced on LinkedIn the addition of two Summit Creative Awards!

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2. Find the Talent You’re Looking for – If your company is hiring, or thinking about it, LinkedIn is great for a “first look.” Not only can job seekers reach out to you on LinkedIn, but you can also reach out to them! Since it’s easy to look up a user’s job history, special skills, and mutual contacts, your company can take a proactive approach and start a conversation with those you want to hire! For example, check out Adobe’s LinkedIn page.

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3. Deepen Your Knowledge – With the ability to follow as many companies and individuals as you would like, LinkedIn is great for following industry leaders you look up to, your favorite blogs, company updates, white papers, etc. Scrolling through your home feed, you can find content-rich articles in any industry, anywhere in the world, to broaden your knowledge, or to hear another professional’s valued opinion. We often look at Microsoft’s original  and empowering articles!

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4. Find New Sales Leads – As we mentioned before, LinkedIn is great for connecting with others, especially those in your target market. If your page is consistently offering current updates and original content, new, organic leads will start to come your way. Think of lead prospecting on LinkedIn as word-of-mouth advertising gone digital. It’s still about networking, just with a click of a button!

5. And Yes, it’s Free – Besides the special tools LinkedIn offers, like Sales Lead Generation, this social network is FREE. Free to start, free to use, free of any financial risk. So why not? Connect today!

Are you interested in creating or refining your social media strategy? We can help! When you need professional guidance on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., SMG can deal with your social anxiety!

 

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Pinterest vs. Instagram: What Should You Try First?

 

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If there is one tried and true rule all social media marketers know, it is that the more visual you are, the more interaction you start to see with your fans. This is because fans want to see what you’re made of! They want to see pictures of the clothing you design or the bike you are giving away; they want to see videos of your latest software tutorial or how to make a delicious latte with your new coffee maker.

 

Ultimately, they want to interact with your brand. That’s why they ‘liked’ it or started to follow you. Visually pleasing images and interactive videos are by far the best way to bump your engagement up instantly on social media.

 

Two social avenues that lend themselves perfectly to sharing visual content are Pinterest and Instagram. They allow a brand to share what they find inspiring, useful, or just plain cool.

 

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So which one is right for your brand? Although many brands effectively utilize both Pinterest and Instagram, it’s certainly easier and more realistic for smaller companies to start with one. When deciding which network to start with, it’s important to first think about your audience, because at the end of the day, this is designed for them to use! Take a look at this chart below to see where your audience is most likely to be:

 

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Listening to your audience is the bottom line when deciding between these two platforms. We see younger audiences go for Instagram, while older folks go for Pinterest. If your brand’s typical customer is not mobile-savvy, you should not make Instagram a top social priority.

 

Knowing your audience’s tendencies will be like finding gold when choosing which social media platforms to go forward with, especially when you are deciding between Pinterest and Instagram!

 

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