It’s no wonder that businesses are confused about which social media sites to use – they are growing and proliferating all the time.
Real Business Rescue has pulled together all the latest statistics about social media use in this excellent infographic, providing an enlightening look at how brands are operating in the social sphere in 2015.
Want to know which sites are trending? Where you should concentrate your efforts? What other businesses are doing online? It’s all here along with useful data on that tricky social media issue — return on investment (ROI).
Thanks to Keith Tully at Real Business Rescue for sharing this with us.
Copyright © 2015 Real Business Rescue
Social media listening is a fundamental tool for any business owner — even if you’re not currently active on all social media sites.
The days of suggestion boxes and comment cards are long gone. Social media is now the first place people turn to praise or criticise a brand. For consumers, it has become the quickest and easiest way to directly contact a brand and get a problem sorted. So it is vital that your business is listening to these comments.
Listening on social media is about monitoring posts and conversations that refer to your brand, product, service or even competitor, in order to aggregate the data and find out what people really think about your business.
There are several platforms that can help you monitor social media, such as Meltwater Buzz, but there’s nothing to stop you from monitoring social mentions yourself.
Social listening must come first in any social media strategy. Once you have gained a sense of your reputation online, you can then engage based upon you customer needs. Knowing what people are saying about your brand allows for more proactive and reactive posting.
If you don’t want to invest in social media listening tools, setting up social media profiles and lurking online is just as effective. Using Twitter to search for your brand name will bring up all the tweets that mention your business and will allow you to gain a sense of how you’re faring online. It also allows you to check up on your competitors and see how their brand mentions compare.
Copyright © 2015 Emma Pauw, social media writer at We Talk Social.
Many small businesses I speak to are worried about using social media. It’s understandable; after all, social media puts you and your company in the public spotlight and there’s always the risk that you may get negative online reviews as well as positive comments.
Indeed, that’s usually the biggest concern – what if a customer complains and leaves a negative review? Their comments are out there in public, posted, shared, re-tweeted. Everyone can see them!
But think of this – you may well have had disgruntled customers in the past but you just weren’t aware of them. Now look at the role of social media from a different angle – if someone leaves a negative comment on Twitter or Facebook (and they will!), you have a valuable opportunity to address the issue.
This enables you to take a two-pronged attack – damage limitation by resolving the problem and turning the situation around by converting a complainer into a brand advocate.
Remember that social media also gives you a platform on which to publicly demonstrate that you care about your customers. Many people prefer to deal with complaints offline. The trouble with that is that your sincere apology and the way you resolve the issue won’t be in the public domain. However, if you do it online you are being completely transparent and you may just call a halt to droves of similar complaints being posted.
Make someone happy and there’s every chance that they will relay the good news to others, turning a complaint into positive PR and building some good brand awareness at the same time.
If I am at a networking event and someone asks me “what do you do?”, and if I reply “I’m a consultant”, they might say “between jobs, are you?”
But when I say, “I help people communicate better”, they’re interested. They ask how I do it. They see me as useful. And all because I used a different opening sentence.
How you describe yourself – your elevator pitch – is critical. It’s the first impression you give. An exciting one turns people on, a poor one turns them off – and you’ve only said a few words.
Here’s a quick question for you: What do the following elevator pitches have in common:
I can think of quite a few common elements – none that are good.
They are all:
Elevator pitches like this also trigger our preconceptions. Imagine if you and I were to play a game of word association; what do you think when you hear the words accountant, IT specialist, web designer, health and safety?
Instead, here are the two steps for an impactful elevator pitch:
Introduce yourself by talking about why people are better off after you’ve worked with them.
For example, instead of “I’m an accountant”, you might say, “I help my clients pay less tax”. Or, if this feels a little too abrupt: “I’m an accountant, so I help my clients pay less tax”.
Believe me: if you say that, nobody will say “Oh. Do you?” Instead, they’ll say something like, “that sounds useful. How do you do that?”.
When someone asks for more information, don’t respond by listing all your products and services. It’s boring. And they won’t care.
Instead, remember that “facts tell, stories sell”. So, tell a story to illustrate the “afters” you just mentioned. “I recently helped company X to reduce their tax by £Y. What happened was…”
So, in two short steps, you’ve been the opposite of the bullet points above, in that you’ve been:
I like being a consultant. But I prefer the “afters” that I cause. As do others. They don’t want to hear about what I am, nor what I do. They want to hear about the impact I have.
So, how could you – in just two sentences – instantly portray yourself as more valuable?
Copyright © 2015 Andy Bounds, a communications expert, speaker and the author of The Snowball Effect: Communication Techniques to Make You Unstoppable. You can sign up for his free weekly tips here.
I meet a lot of small business owners who still aren’t getting the most out of social media. Some say they don’t know how; some say they haven’t got time. Others say they simply don’t know what to post.
But any activity, if important to your business, will get done. It just needs to become a priority.
Here are 18 easy ways that small businesses can connect with their audience on social media:
Copyright © 2015 Eric Moeller, founder of Copy Dojo. You can find him on Twitter @CopyDojo
There are many reasons that businesses make the jump to a new email service provider; a growing contact list, a new budget or the need for new features. But whatever the reason, a switch can also be an excellent opportunity to re-evaluate your current sending processes and improve your deliverability.
If you’re thinking about switching email service providers, here is a useful checklist to make the transition as smooth as possible so you can spend less time stressing about the migration and more time on email marketing.
1. When you create an account with a new email service provider, make sure you continue to use the same sender name and address so your existing customers can recognise you.
2. On the new platform, ensure that Authentication Keys (DKIM SPF) are set up with your new email IP address so that recipients know that emails are from you and are not spam. This will ensure high deliverability, especially if you’re looking to send emails through SMTP. SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and in this context means sending emails through an email service provider using a platform such as Outlook or WordPress.
3. Migrate your contacts. You can do this manually by downloading them as a CSV file or if your email provider is supported, you can automate this process by using an integration service such as elastic.io. One important thing to remember here is to make sure you also migrate your bounced and unsubscribe contacts – this ensures you don’t spam anyone by accident and risk having your new account blocked.
4. You’ll need to protect your reputation if you’re moving IP address and domain, especially if you send high volumes of emails. This means, as a rule of thumb, that for the first couple of weeks after migrating to your new provider, you should segment your contact list and email smaller batches of recipients over the first few weeks. This way, you should avoid triggering spam alerts.
5. Also, remember to migrate the HTML email templates that you worked so hard to create. Your customers are used to receiving a certain look and feel from your emails; it’s important to maintain that identity. Again this can be an easy process as you will be able to copy and paste the HTML codes from your previous dashboard on to your new email provider.
6. With the new email templates migrated, make sure you check that all your links still work and amend those that don’t. Don’t forget to check the unsubscribe button.
7. Finally give your customers a heads up about the changes – ask them to add your email address to their address book to help deliverability and ensure they continue to receive your messages. In case you haven’t contacted your customers for a while, you may want to consider opting them in once more to make sure they still want to receive your emails.
Copyright © 2015 Amir Jirbandey, marketing lead UK at Mailjet.