Here’s How Businesses Are Using Social Media To Get To The Top

Social media has plenty of uses. Recently, we’ve started to see it being used more and more in the business world. So, I thought I’d write a short piece on how businesses are using social media to get to the top:

Social Media Marketing & Advertising

Most businesses will primarily use social media for marketing and advertising purposes. Social media marketing is one of the top marketing techniques around right now. People are noticing how successful it can make their marketing campaigns.  As seen here websitepromoter.co.uk there are agencies that offer social media marketing services. The purpose is to give you as big a presence as possible on social media. This includes upping your follower count on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+. Every main social networking site you can think of. If you amass a large following on social media, it puts your business in a good position. You’ll be more well known, and the public will start to recognize your company more often.

 

Social media advertising is all about using adverts on social media. Yes, you could probably guess that based on the name! It’s a very popular method of advertising one’s business. Why? Because there are, literally, millions of people on social networking sites every day. Displaying adverts on Facebook or Twitter is a tactic destined for success. On Twitter, you can also promote your tweets so more people can see them and follow you. But, you can also have adverts placed that seamlessly blend into people’s timelines. Facebook is similar; you can promote your business page or get your adverts shown on people’s Facebook timelines. Like I said, it’s a very effective way of advertising your business to a mass audience.

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(Image provided by Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/e9Hsgr)

Customer Service & Engagement

Another huge way that businesses use social media is for customer service purposes. There’s nothing wrong with providing all your customer service over the phone. Some companies still do this, but social media provides you with another option. It gives you a way to communicate with customers and answer any queries instantly. In fact, loads of big businesses have accounts set up purely for customer service. These are accounts consumers can talk to, and they’ll help them out ASAP. It’s a fast and convenient way of dealing with any customer issues.

 

People like this type of customer service because it’s quick and easy. They don’t have to spend ages on the phone trying to get through to an advisor. All it takes is a couple of seconds to tweet or post a comment, and you’re sorted. Of course, there are a few tricks to providing customer service on social media, as seen here www.zendesk.com.  It brings me onto another mini point here too. Businesses use social media to engage with customers. It’s a fine way to open up a channel of communication between both parties. Businesses can keep their customers updated with any goings on and news.

 

Now you can see the main ways in which businesses are using social media to get on top. It’s further proof that social media isn’t just a place for teens to mess about and abuse celebrities. A lot can be done with it if used in the correct manner.  

 

Best Practices for Customer Service on Twitter

Ben MartinTwitter has become the go-to medium for customers looking to provide feedback or solve problems, brands must adapt their Twitter strategy to better serve their customers. Below you will find a check list that best-in-class brands have adopted to better handle customer service requests and maintain positive sentiment about their brand.

 

1.Dedicated handle
Brands who have adopted dedicated customer service handles have an easier time managing customer service requests for both the dedicated handle and for the brand’s main handle. With a dedicated handle, brands can ensure that customer service requests are being taken care of in a manner consistent with the brand’s overall customer retention strategy. A dedicated customer service handle can help your brand separate a wide range of customer service requests from other types of mentions so you can effectively monitor your social customer service process. In addition, it can be a great way to naturally gain followers. Through proactive monitoring and engagement, you have the ability to build positive sentiment around your brand, which will help increase your audience size and encourage engagement.

2.Dedicate team and the right tools
When a customer service handle isn’t staffed the response time increases dramatically while the response rates decrease. Knowing when most of your customer service requests come in via twitter can help you determine the best time to staff your customer service accounts. There are several great tools that can monitor your most active Tweet times.

3. Canned answers + resources
Having responses on-hand can help reduce your response time and help increase response rate, as your customer service representatives have more sophisticated resources available to resolve issues. In addition, outline where you’ll direct different types of customer service requests, whether you ask for more information from your customers, direct them to email, direct them to a webpage, or solve the issue in a direct message.

4. Rules of engagement and primary handle guidelines
If you’re debating on whether or not to set up a dedicated customer service handle, you’ll want to determine how to handle customer service requests that are directed to the primary handle. You’ll also want to monitor mentions of your brand name in the event that Twitter users aren’t following, or aren’t aware of your brand handles. Effective monitoring can help resolve customer issues before they start – helping to keep sentiments positive around your brand handle. Not only that, let your followers know (daily) when your customer service handle is staffed. This will help to reduce posts when that handle is not staffed and or set expectations of response time

5. Promoting your handle
When you’re setting up a dedicated customer service handle, consider where you’ll promote the handle – for example, you may want to link your handle via your customer support page, so that users have a range of options to contact your customer service representatives. You may want to also find a way to link your main handle to your customer service handle (for example, in your brand bio) so that users who visit your profile are aware that you’ve got a dedicated customer service handle.

6. Reducing your response time
This is one way of letting your followers know that they are important to your business. In addition, it’s a proactive way to address negative word of mouth that may affect the sentiment generated around your brand.

7. Responding to as many mentions as possible
Responding to a majority of requests is a great way to keep your followers happy, and engaged. If your brand responds to as many mentions as possible, your users are more likely to mention your brand handle more often, which means your handle has the potential to reach followers who may be outside your reach.

CONCLUSION:
Understanding the rules of engagement for customer service on Twitter is a crucial step to managing your overall customer service strategy. As more and more users turn to Twitter to ask questions, give feedback, praise or complain about a brand, brands need to be proactive in managing their brand image – by showing customers that they’re listening, and that they care. Since Twitter is a word-of-mouth platform, these steps are essential for any company looking to increase their business in the digital world.

Listen “sales”, – There is no such thing as Social Selling!

No doubt this statement will bring the wrath of those “social selling” experts who have arisen over the last few years.
Don’t get me wrong – there is an incredibly powerful and commercially viable way of selling by leveraging social platforms, so let me explain.

First, I have a problem with the phrase “social selling”, mostly because it gives the impression that if you jump onto a social media platform, you will immediately be able to sell something. You won’t, at least not straight away. Using social platforms as an additional channel requires a strategy and one that teaches you to move from a day trader to a long term investor and builder of relationships. Yes you may be stumble upon an update that says ” I need to buy [your product], please contact me” but this is an exception and not the rule.

I also struggle with calling a sales person a “social seller”. Does this individual now only sell on social platforms, or more importantly are they a seller who not only utilises the traditional methods of selling but also blends in the benefits of using social tools to add tremendous value to those traditional face to face and telephone meetings?

Social selling does not work when detached from traditional sales methods. I want to share a strategy that will enhance those traditional methods and if done correctly may even negate the need for cold calling.

Now that I have sorted out the jargon lets look at how the commercially viable Social Sales teams do it. The rule is; create the social wrap.

Below is a suggested approach to blending your traditional methods of selling to enable or influence a purchase decision. Here are my five tips:

1: Build your brand.

2: Contribute to discussions.

3: Network

4: Provide relevance through thought leadership.

5: Practice the law of reciprocity, always.

Build your brand.

Building your brand is key and should be the foundation of any great sales person. You are researching your clients and gaining insights to their personality, interests and business synergies. It would be naive to think that your clients are not similarly checking you out. Right now the strongest platform to convey and market your expertise is LinkedIn, but that platform may not be the only one! Yes you are in marketing now, the marketing of your value and credibility.

Contribute to discussions

Participating in discussions is not just about listening to what your clients are saying or understanding what they are listening to. It is about adding your point of view to the conversation. Don’t sell your product; instead offer advice, strategies, coaching on things to consider, how to guides. Add value to a discussion, and in so doing become the authentic helper.

Network

Network and connect with people. Whether you met face to face or virtually, if you feel that reciprocal value can be achieved then invite them to be part of your network. Top tip; always personalise the invite, because not doing so shows a lack of professionalism and integrity.
Utilise your network. Earn social credit by connecting people to others that will add value and benefit them. By doing so you will increase your network in size.
Also use your network to influence, for instance Twitter is business networking on steroids. Surround your self with people you want to influence and provide them great content, relevance and value.

Provide relevance through thought leadership

You need to understand your network. Two important question you could ask yourself are: What types of information would they benefit from? Where and when are they seeking it? This will help you ascertain which platforms will benefit you the most. Consider blogging, as this will become a huge asset to your branding and thought leadership. As your network increases in size so will the diversity and quantity of your content.

Practice the law of reciprocity

Trading favours is a huge part of doing business in the social world. If you are already utilising your network and introducing people to others, you are already practicing this law. Read more at Wikipedia 

So those are my top five tips for creating a social wrap.
It is all about building a brand, sharing your expertise, offering your helpfulness and building relationships and influence that will enable you to sell more using social media.

Share your best practices and tips below on how you are using social tools to help sales. And don’t forget to practice the law of reciprocity now

Twitter Manners [Infographic]

Most of us have taken to utilising common courtesy when it comes to Twitter etiquette, while others feel there are many unwritten laws. This post is just some thoughts of mine that I hope helps you in your journey of this platform. Please add your examples in the comments…..

Use your profile to tell people who you are, what makes you tick and add an image of you, never something else. Before you start Tweeting let people know who they’re listening to. When someone discovers your carefully written and deeply valuable first Tweets, they’re going to come to our profile to learn more and decide if they want to follow you. If you’ve got the default icon and no info they may wait until later. Except there is no later. They’ll forget you.

Choose who you follow carefully. Look for the value add to your life, both from a personal aspect and business synergies. This is about building relationships that will in time, I promise,  bear fruit.

Do not feel that you have to follow everyone following you. As I mentioned above its about value and relationships. Take time to understand who they are and if they fit into your goals. It will take time to un-follow, if they do not. In this scenario I utilise lists, thereby screening a persons content before being added in my main stream, this may work for you too.

Only direct message when absolutely necessary, do not DM someone saying “Thanks for the follow, check out this whitepaper”. When this happens to me they loose me as a follower immediately. If you really do have a fantastic white paper tell me in public and I just might re-tweet the link.

It’s not about you, you, you! Share your Tweets about people you admire (If you don’t have any find some. ) Send out links to blogs, web sites or Tweets from people that are just as smart as you. Better yet, even smarter.

Don’t keep all the good stuff you find to yourself. Add value. Share information through links. Add a very short and clear description so we know what to expect when we get there. When you write a Tweet make sure there is room for it to get re-tweeted. That means leave at least 20-40 characters at the end so when someone re-tweets it to their network they don’t have to shorten your Tweet.

Say please and thank you. Always thank people for re-tweeting or mentioning you. It doesn’t have to be a reply, it can be a direct message or even an e-mail or a phone call. Let them know you appreciate their time and sharing your Tweet with their network.

Give credit to the source. If you have found a great article find the author on Twitter and say something like “Awesome post from @chrisbrogan. Same thing with re-tweets. Give the Tweeter credit, either say RT @markwschaefer and then quote the tweet verbatim, I for instance choose to get the information to the reader quicker and take to adding “via @markwschaefer” at the end of the Tweet.

Be personal, but remember you’re in public. Don’t say things you’ll regret and never in the heat of the moment.

Be transparent. If your Twitter persona is for a corporation or your looking for a job, let people know either in your profile or by your tweets. The more open you are about who you are and why you’re on Twitter the better.

Be open minded. When you create your new Twitter network of pals think out of the box. Listen carefully for people talking about things that interest you in other niches. If you only talk about one subject with people they get bored with you. Branch out. Talk about your hobbies and follow people doing things you always wanted to do. Someday you might get the opportunity to do something through one of your new buddies.

What other hints and tips do you have to share with the world.

Smoke Signals! – Are you listening to me?

If your on LinkedIn and regularly visit, you will be familiar with the home page and the stream of updates from your network. A great way of keeping in touch, listening, sharing and engaging where appropriate.

It is a great opportunity to share something that grabs your attention, with others and to say “Great article, thanks for sharing” or “Here is my opinion”. Not only does it notify your  network they also show in the poster’s network. Visibility to others is KEY.

Take this example today – an interesting debate on customer services from Rob Wilmot. I liked it and by doing so shared the article to my network. I also wrote a comment directly on the post.

Whilst my first degree connections are all interesting people, providing great content, I want to know what my second degree and sharing and posting. Did you know you can?

Pop into LinkedIn and go to Signal – you can find it under the heading of news. Now you have the chance to see those smoke signals that have always proved a challenge to get to.

You can even play around with the settings to pick out “seniority” or even “company”. You can save them for future perusal. So add your likes, your comments, get your self visible to people you want to get through to. Earn the right through social capital to have that coffee.

Do you currently use this? What success’s have you had? Did you know you could do this?

Executives Flock To LinkedIn

Corporate leaders are shying away from Twitter, Facebook, and other consumer-oriented sites and embracing LinkedIn and specialty business networks, according to the Society for New Communications Research.

Decision-makers are using social media as knowledge and communication networks, primarily visiting these Web sites to access the wealth of available thought-leadership content, according to a report published Thursday by the Society for New Communications Research.

In the second annual New Symbiosis of Professional Networks Study, SNCR polled 114 executives across 10 countries, most of whom were key decision-makers at companies ranging in size from fewer than 100 to more than 50,000 full-time employees.

Interestingly, executives have decreased their use of all social networks other than LinkedIn, the report found. Almost all — or 97% — of those surveyed used LinkedIn in 2010, compared with 92% in 2009, according to the study, released Thursday. By contrast, Twitter use dropped to 33% last year vs. 40% in 2009; Facebook usage fell to 20% compared with 51% the year prior, and Plaxo decreased to just 5% from 14% a year ago, the report found.

“Hundreds of other networks were mentioned, many by only one or two respondents,” wrote SNCR fellows Donald Bulmer, VP of global communications, industry, and influencer relations at SAP, and Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks.

Today, 55% of executives surveyed participate in three to five social networks, slightly up from the 50% who were involved in that number of social media sites in 2009. Eighty-four percent of respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with online professional networks, the report found.

Apparently there is room for specialty social networks that focus solely on particular issues or vertical markets. Although most executives polled participate in large professional networks such as LinkedIn and 65% are active in open social networks like Yelp and Twitter, 48% of respondents said they were involved in “midsize or specialized membership-specific industry, roles, or interest-specific groups online” and 26% said they “prefer to engage with a smaller peer group in a private and confidential exchange.”

These professional social networks have become a trusted environment for relationship management and decision support, the study said. In fact, 60% said one benefit of participation was increased competitive brand monitoring and performance; 60% said it was to establish or increase their professional network.

Professional collaboration is changing from a small professional exchange into an interaction with content in more public ways,” said DiMauro, in a statement. “The consequence of sharing content online is enhanced influence.”

Networks also give executives access to information they otherwise could not get, said many respondents. Eighty percent of respondents are able to accelerate decision processes and information or strategy development by participating in online communities, according to the study.

“Business professionals are changing how they collaborate as a result of online professional communities and peer networks,” said Bulmer, in a statement.

Not surprisingly, almost all — or 97% — of executives log-on to social networks via a PC or Macintosh. Mirroring the consumer world, a growing number of professionals now visit these sites using mobile devices: In 2010, 59% used a mobile device compared with 44% in the prior year, according to the study. More than half, or 52%, used an iPhone; 37% used a BlackBerry; 15% relied on an Android; and 15% used an iPad, the report said.

To keep up with their colleagues, the world, and their business, executives check-in frequently, with 43% logging on more than three times per day, according to the study. More than one-third log-on once a day, and only 2% said they check-in occasionally, the report found.

Article Courtesy of By Alison Diana InformationWeek