Tag Archives: Business

Latest Insight on Social Media & Customer Service Practices

I have often written about the importance of internet marketing.

Today, if you want to find new customers, expand your business or grow your reputation, the internet is the place to be. By utilising the power of online copywriting, blogs, article marketing and social media, you can drastically improve your company’s exposure within the marketplace. Still not convinced? Well the lovely people over at Pingdom have generated a list of mind-blowing internet numbers for 2010.

When dealing with customer service operations, move carefully. Remember knowledge management? Ten years ago, the discipline was all the rage in business circles.

The imperative: As the dot-coms boomed, personnel began coming and going without warning. Crucial information was “exiting the building,” because it never got captured, forcing organizations to start from scratch when rehiring, thus putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

A social analytics startup claims it can isolate tweets that are potential sales leads.

Launching in beta on Tuesday, Viralheat‘s Human Intent simplifies lead generation by helping businesses pinpoint social media users on the cusp of making purchasing decisions.

Human Intent aims to eliminate the need to manually read and parse through large amounts of tweets and other social updates to determine potential sales leads. Instead, users set up keyword searches and the product automatically sorts through social updates to identify those that express potential purchasing intent.

Change typically percolates for a long while in the distance somewhere, then sidles into the periphery of the mainstream but doesn’t catch on all that fast, and then, eventually, what was “change” a while back starts to gain steam and become accepted. In other words, change is often slow, as most processes are.

What are the motivators and drivers that make us engage with social media with such generous endeavor, escaping from the clutches of  TV to instead, check your Facebook or Twitter site, to post photos, write articles, make comments on blogs and shoot videos and post them on YouTube, all for “free”.

Social Media has provided us with the ability to measure how much attention we are getting online and therefore we now have the  ”Quantification of Attention” that has never been measured so broadly and deeply. This attention seeking behaviour drives website and blog traffic.


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“Social Media Marketing Strategies for Restaurants”

The financial crisis is likely to hit the fine dining industry very hard. Already there have been reports of exclusive London restaurants slashing their prices in order to maintain a steady flow of clientele and therefore subsequent cashflow. Competing on price, however, is never a wise, or usually profitable, strategy, so dining establishments need to look for alternate ways to bring in the customers. One easy way is to develop a social media strategy to connect with your customers and create a community of regular diners.

While every restaurant should develop their own strategy in order to connect with their key demographic the ideas I put forward here should offer you an insight into how to go about it. The tools I’ll be using to implement the strategy are easy to learn and use. In fact you may already be using them, but not necessarily in the most advantageous way. Also the tools are either free or cheap so you should see a good return on your investment (ROI) in a relatively short period of time.

The core of the strategy is to open the lines of communication both from you to the customer and from them to you. This allows you to inform them about what you offer as well as allowing them to offer feedback about what you’re doing well and what you can improve upon. This later part essentially allows you to use your customers as a free, perpetual, up-to-the-moment focus group. Once you’ve opened up the lines of communication there’s then an opportunity there to create a community, which brings benefits like brand loyalty, reliable and trusted feedback and word-of-mouth marketing.

Though the big restaurant brands are the whales of social media, there is plenty of room in the long tail for the smaller, independent restaurant. Why? Because local is the new organic, and you can’t get local from Outback Steakhouse or Subway.  There’s no sense of place at the chain restaurants–the value that they provide is consistency across countless locations and close proximity to major highways.

So what about those smaller, independent restaurants that embrace their local clientele and cuisine?  My advice:  play up your local connections for all they’re worth. Tout your support of local organizations, growers, producers, and artisans. Promote neighborhood events that drive traffic near your store, and coordinate your social media efforts to support your organizational goals.

Social media marketing and the businesses that utilize it have become more sophisticated. More small businesses are beginning to understand how to best leverage online tools to build a community and recognize that engagement and interaction are the foundations of social marketing, but most don’t know what’s next.

What follows are five advanced strategies for small businesses that may already have small online communities and understand how to create an online presence, but don’t know what to do next.

Did you ever notice that the best local restaurants are the ones you never see advertised?  That’s because successful local restaurants wouldn’t see a high ROI on print advertisements.  They see a much higher ROI by focusing on their values. 

Hometown Heroes have 3 things in common

  1. They know their customers.
  2. They care about their customers.
  3. They evolve with their customers.

Here are 10 ways you can know your customers, show you care about your customers and evolve with your customers by using social media.

 

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“Examining Starbucks Social Success”

Marketing is becoming more digital and stores and brands that primarily rely on offline marketing such as newspapers, television and other mass media and continue to ignore the importance of  the digital world will find it increasingly difficult to engage with their customers and will be overwhelmed by competitors that understand that for most businesses the future is web and social online engagement, even if it is not an online store.

The challenge for bricks and mortar companies and stores is “thinking” digital and online and “immersing” your business in it.

Digital immersion does not come naturally for offline brands as it hard to develop that mindset when you are not a technology company or unfamiliar with the web and its fast moving channels.

Starbucks are arguably the worlds leading social marketers having been ranked #1 in online engagement, #1 on Facebook and the #1 Tweeted brand (until OldSpice came along I’d say!), this presentation by Alexandra provides insights on how Starbucks paved their way through social and the creative opportunities that it brings through empowering fans and helping the global community. One of the key points I pulled out of this presentation is around the importance of the content surrounding the conversation, lots of people preach it’s all about the conversation, but let’s not forget that being able to back that up with tailored, meaningful or fun content is what helps to complete the experience…

Starbucks has over 705,000 followers on twitter and over 5,428,000 fans on Facebook. You could say that they’re doing something right on the Web. What is it about Starbucks’s social media strategy that makes it so successful?

5 Key Aspects Influencing Starbucks Huge Success.

  1. Starbucks on twitter
  2. Starbucks on Facebook
  3. Starbucks on YouTube
  4. My Starbucks Idea
  5. Starbucks Blog entitled “Ideas in Action

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“Utilize CRM to Leverage Your Business and Maximize ROI”

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a widely-implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes—principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service, and technical support. The overall goals are to find, attract, and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold, and reduce the costs of marketing and client service. Customer relationship management describes a company-wide business strategy including customer-interface departments as well as other departments.

The three phases in which CRM support the relationship between a business and its customers are to:

  1. Acquire: CRM can help a business acquire new customers through contact management, selling, and fulfillment.
  2. Enhance: web-enabled CRM combined with customer service tools offers customers service from a team of sales and service specialists, which offers customers the convenience of one-stop shopping.
  3. Retain: CRM software and databases enable a business to identify and reward its loyal customers and further develop its targeted marketing and relationship marketing initiatives.

Customer relationship management is high on the corporate agenda. Recent research carried out by Business Intelligence reveals that six out of ten companies have already started out on the CRM journey, and a further quarter are planning to do so. Improved customer profitability, life-time value and increased sales are just some of the benefits.

But CRM is more than customer satisfaction or a new SFA system, more than developing a new website or call centre. Being customer-centric is a while new way of doing business. It could completely transform the way of doing business. It could completely transform the way your company operates and will have major implications for people, processes and technology. Planning for and managing change in these three key areas is crucial – neglect any of them and your CRM programme will hardly get off the ground.

If you have been tracking conversations around social media for business, you have undoubtedly come across people talking about Social CRM. If you are anything like me, the first time you heard it, you probably rolled your eyes and said, “Ugh, another social media buzzword!” And while I do take issue with the jargon itself (and will discuss that later), Social CRM is a central concept that businesses need to understand deeply and integrate fully, in order to serve the social customer.

Social CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.

For many large organizations — particularly those that have been through a series of acquisitions — managing customer relationships is not a matter of whether they have a CRM system, but how many.

Take, for example, Synopsys Inc. a maker of electronic design automation (EDA) technology for developing systems on chips. It grew its revenue from $500 million to $1 billion by acquiring more than 40 EDA companies in roughly 10 years, and with it came 17 different legacy CRM systems.

“When we had a new acquisition it would just add to the list of systems,” said Ani Bhutkar, group director of corporate applications for the Mountain View, Calif.-based company. “Halfway through the spree of acquisitions we [realized that we needed] a master system that things would integrate into.”

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“The Importantance of Developing a Social Media Strategy For Your Business”

social media how toAccording to the 2010 Social Media Marketing Report , 67% of marketers plan to increase their use of social media channels including blogs, Twitter, and Facebook.

As more companies integrate social media into their marketing and communications plans, emphasis needs to be on creating a social media strategy.  Without a strategy, you’ll undoubtedly be sucked into a social media time sink.

So how exactly do you develop this strategy?

It’s easy.  Here’s a practical approach to developing a social media strategy for your business.

  1. Determine Your Goals and Objectives
  2. Research, Research, and Research Some More
  3. Create a Digital Rolodex of Contacts and Content
  4. Join the Conversation to Develop Relationships
  5. Strengthen Relationships
  6. Measure Results
  7. Analyze, Adapt, and Improve

I found this PowerPoint particularly interesting due to its broad focus on the importance of planning a  Social Media Strategy and leveraging your business through new Social Media Marketing Tactics.

Do you have a social media strategy for your business? Can you articulate what a social media strategy is? Don’t feel bad if you answered no.

What’s missing from most social media strategies? The correct answer of course is the strategy.  Strategy may be one of the most misunderstood and misused terms in business, probably because every business expert has their own definition.

What is the missing ingredient in most strategies I’ve seen? Actual strategy.

However, before I can really show you what a strategy is, it helps to understand what a strategy isn’t.

What a Strategy Is NOT

  1. Strategy is not a plan
  2. Strategy is not a timeline
  3. Strategy is not a goal
  4. Strategy is not what tactics you will use to achieve your goal

Perhaps the confusion is a result of the fact that many of the above elements are included in the overall strategy document or presentation. However, skipping or skimping on the actual strategy piece is never a good idea.

The Key To Developing A Social Media StrategySocial media is starting to take hold with brands, companies and organizations everywhere. While there are still stragglers, and it is probably incorrect to say most companies are getting with the program, a good number of them are. What we’re seeing in these organizations is a maturation process. Brands are done testing the waters, playing with the tools and saying, “We Gotta Facebook Page!” like it’s the corporate equivalent of an iPhone or Kindle. Companies are now approaching social media with communications strategies in mind — How can we effectively use these social tools to reach our audiences?
 
But therein lies the next challenge for those responsible for the social media planning for organizations. Regardless of the pedigree – public relations, corporate communications, marketing, customer service, research, etc. – today’s social media task masters are probably still operating from the traditional corporate mindset or training. First, you define your audience and your goals and objectives. Then you develop talking points to convince that audience to complete the action that fulfills the goals or objectives. Then you measure, report; rinse, repeat.

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“Save Time and Money with Social Media Strategy.”

It’s easy to plan a squeaky clean social media strategy for your business when it’s on paper. But executing all of the day-to-day tasks involved in that strategy can be a different story — and a giant, tangled mess — without implementing processes to manage it.

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools and strategies that can help community management teams communicate with each other, stay on the same page, schedule posts and cooperate with other departments.

Before you launch your strategy, consider how you will manage the execution. These six steps can help get you started.

Companies large and small are rushing to understand and get involved in social media. But most of the agencies and consultants who are being paid to establish social media campaigns for corporations are afraid to tell their clients three things they don’t want to hear. Hear what Mashable believes to be most important about social media strategy.

I found this powerpoint especially helpful. It explains social media strategy by recapping the business case for social media, addressing pitfalls of social media marketing and providing a roadmap for a social media strategy.

What platforms should I be using  to promote my blog or company?

  1. How many channels will I select to achieve my goals?
  2. Should I stick with what I know or what should I push the boundaries and test something new?
  3. What channels should I use to to communicate to my target markets?
  4. What are the messages I should send out?
  5. What listening tools should I use?
  6. What apps should I use to increase my efficiency?
  7. What analytics tools are the best for our situation?

By now, most companies see the value in engaging with their current and potential customers via social media channels. As you attempt to manage your brand and interact with consumers, you should be aware of both the opportunities and potential pitfalls that you could face.

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