Working as I do with professional firms I’m often asked or challenged on the true effectiveness of twitter and other social media platforms. For the purpose of this blog I’ll focus on twitter as it is the most frequently quoted cause of confusion, frustration and anxiety.
Yes, I did mention anxiety. Managing partners, Managing Directors, VP’s & CEO’s are more than aware of the phenomenon that is twitter but few can put their finger on what it is doing for their business.
In the beginning it seemed simple. Create an account, charge the marketing team with tweeting about the wonderful services on offer and sit back and wait for the results. And wait they did, the wind whistling through the trees whilst tweeters tweeted in an increasingly desperate fashion hoping upon hope that someone would tweet back.
Aware of competitor firms growing large follower networks and seemingly becoming the popular point of contact the business owners call the marketing team to account. “Where’s our ROI?” “Show me a spreadsheet of time and cost vs return.” “Why do Bloggs & Co. have five times the followers of our account?”
In a panic and under pressure the marketers fail to deliver the key financial justification for continuation and are forced to concede defeat.
Ok, perhaps an extreme example but the story will have a ring of truth for many. The demand for results, analysis and business owner frustration that the firm is failing to match others or capitalise on this new medium is a very common experience.
What is the answer? It’s not as simplistic as suggesting that having an account and sending the occasional tweet will eventually deliver results but time is a factor and it takes more than you might think to build a truly effective twitter channel.
Here are a few suggestions for those grappling with twitter and losing the fight;
Managing the expectations of the management team and business owners is all important. It can be hard trying to convince an analytical driven leader that they need to invest resource in something that can be quite so hard to quantify. As a marketer I fall into the camp of wanting to measure marketing activity and in all circumstances you should strive to analyse the impact of your efforts. Twitter apps are available to measure any number of actions but don’t get lost in analysis. Keep the focus on the big picture of building the business brand and connecting with your network.
Traffic visiting your website through tweeted links will be one clear indication of reach as will comments or feedback from network members.
As I’ve referred to before by way of analogy, twitter is very much like a broadcast channel. Decide on your audience the type of output you want to produce and the viewing figures you’d like to generate. Remember very few of us would want to tune in to a channel that is 100% or even 50% advertising so keep the balance fresh and entertaining.
If you would like more specific help with developing your social media strategy or simply making your existing activities more effective please drop me a line.
David Laud – i2i Business Solutions LLP e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
We all know it’s logical to keep in regular contact with our customers; it’s so much easier to cross sell services and products to an existing customer than generate a new one and sell to them, but how many of us actually do it effectively?
There’s an argument to support “less is more” with customer communication certainly when the reaction to direct mail, e-mail, texts or tweets can generate more negative than positive feedback when poorly executed.
Recent examples of this poor execution – the bombardment of literature from supermarkets to purchase their credit card, one reason not to use their loyalty card. Another, the apparent lack of geographic understanding from a major motor brand who are trying to connect me to their showroom over 200 miles away when they have an outlet in my town. An example of competing branches of the same business. That’s postal junk but worse than that these days is the over abundance of junk e-mail. Bad enough when spammers pepper your in-box with unwanted, unfocussed annoyances but it’s somehow ten times worse when a company you have a connection with abuse that relationship by overdoing the selling and ignore your unsubscribe requests.
Even if you’ve blocked unsolicited calls to your home companies believe they have the right to call you up at weekends and sell you anything from insurance to charitable donations and don’t act upon your requests for them to stop.
Turning back to the process and our responsibility – our job as marketers is to think about the customer experience, appreciate the multiude of messages they receive each day and not try and battle for airtime, eyeballs or ears in a clumsy manner more likely to turn them off rather than on to our offering.
We do need to work at a communication strategy that resonates with our customers, understands their position and speaks directly to them. This strategy and its implementation will take time, consideration and no little effort on our part but is absolutely worth it.
An oft touted stat says that it costs six times more to win a new customer than to sell on to a past or existing customer. That may have some truth, specifics will depend on the sector you’re in but it is an over simplification that can overlook damage that may be done just lumping out messages without a plan.
Certainly the opportunity exists but is dependent on a series of very important factors:
1. For the best possible chance to have a successful customer campaign you need to have in place a carefully thought through communication strategy and plan with specific objectives.
2. A detailed database of customers who’ve granted permission for you to continue to communicate.
3. An ability to create tailored communications to each customer. Nothing worse than a “Dear Sir or Madam” letter, you’re supposed to know them.
4. Systems that track the effectiveness of communications, email, social media post or in person to ensure action can be taken when you receive positive or potentially negative responses.
5. The creation of content which is ideally suited to the needs of the target customer i.e. newsletter sharing tips on entertaining and educating children for families where there are young children or an offer of a discount at your restaurant for those celebrating a special occasion having a note of customers date of birth or anniversary and referring to it in the communication.
6. Keep up to date i.e. systems to capture and improve data on customers to include their social media account details.
Having been successful in acquiring a customer we shouldn’t assume that they will buy everything we have to offer or even come back as a repeat purchaser of the same product or service.
The most important tip is to be original and focussed on the customer. If offering a discount make it meaningful, if giving advice make it relevant to their circumstances.
If you would like to discuss how to create an effective communication strategy for your customers drop me a line at email@example.com or Click Here
David Laud – i2i Business Solutions LLP
We all know the old estate agent adage that demands we put location above all else to get best value for your bricks and mortar. That also holds true for some of the fastest growing trends in social media.
Our location is something of great interest and value to marketers who are looking to push geo based messages and offers to potential or existing customers. There are a number of apps and mechanisms for geo marketing communications from Bluetooth proximity messaging to Facebook and now to smartphone applications.
When I first looked at Foursquare, (iPhone App) I must admit I really wasn’t sure it was for me or my business but…..as with other new media you really do need to try before you leap to promote, criticise or deride these platforms.
Whilst “feeling my way” with the location based app I can see immediate opportunities for business and consumers. I’d be surprised if there isn’t a location based marketing project or two brewing in most of the UKs top consumer brand companies. But the U.S. has taken and run with the technology to enable mobile access to a wide array of products and offers whether the shopper is at home or at the local high street shopping centre or retail park.
If you haven’t done so already I’d recommend having a look at the Foursquare app, go beyond the fear of being tracked by “big brother” as you retain control of who sees where you are and you don’t always have to make check-ins public. If you run a business reliant upon customer footfall I’d suggest looking at the possibility of offering discounts or special promotions for users of apps such as FourSquare.
A couple of simple suggestions – coffee shop offering free cup of java if you spend £1 or more on any other item, restaurant offering 20% discount for regular visitors. With Foursquare the most regular visitor to a specific location can earn the title of Mayor, this can result in a little competition for the awarded role but in my experience and research this is somewhat limited. In fact I’m not entirely sure the “Mayor” tag works but that may just be me. It limits the possibility of reward to regular visitors to just one person and I’m not sure many of your visitors would really battle to take on the Mayoral title – far more likely to want the special offer their membership could deliver. My solution would be for the proprietor to become Mayor and through “tips” and “special offers” announce your offer. I’m keen to hear of examples that have made the Mayor award work for them. One example in the U.S. at the end of last year – fast food outlets “Silver Mine Subs” ran a competition on FourSquare offering the Mayor of their specific outlets a free medium sub every week for a year. The cost of this campaign – approx $300 but the publicity generated will certainly have counted for far more than this outlay. But I’m back to my Mayoral issue and the fact that only one person being Mayor can seriously limit the scope of an offer or campaign.
In any event Foursquare provide their registered businesses a range of promotional options and these include:
Despite flaws in some of these apps they are certainly capturing the imagination of consumers and marketers alike. This is no surprise as traditional forms of marketing are falling away with Directories, TV, Radio and Press advertising revenues all falling. The key is to connect with the consumer in way that makes them feel in control of the process, “special” and
deliver experiences and offers that they want to share.
Our physical and virtual location matters and has a value. For marketers it opens a whole new world of opportunity with a multitude of methods to interract with our target audience, get it right and rewards will be loyal and regular customers. The key for business owners will be to understand the trends, the opportunities such technology and apps provide and adapt business strategies to communicate effectively with their target audience.
Now, time to check in……
David Laud FCIM, Chartered Marketer firstname.lastname@example.org