Have you asked, “How can we use social media to build our business?” If so, this is part of the problem. This sounds like you want someone else to make it happen. Figure it out and apply it to your old business. Too many of you are USING social media for your business, when instead, you need to learn to BE MORE SOCIAL!
While your marketing team is busy setting up an Instagram account, scheduling a Blab show, and crafting a promotional piece about your brand for Facebook and Twitter, your front desk clerk gives a blank stare to the guest who just asked how to redeem the Foursquare offer.
While guests are sitting at a table waiting for their food to arrive, they are on Facebook or Yelp checking in, snapping pictures, and letting people know where they are eating while your wait staff doesn’t even know you have a Facebook Page and no one in the management team has ever used Yelp.
This is a problem.
Your customers are several years ahead of your business and most of your team in the social and digital tools they are using and we are still talking about “using social media.”
Why is this? Why do some people remain curious and pick up new technology easily, and others claim to be “too old to learn it?” Does your business make it acceptable to remain ignorant about the new digital world, when that is exactly where your customers live and SHOP?
A social business thinks differently.
A social business knows that everything today is shared, whether through a post or a picture, a review or a video…all featuring YOUR BRAND, and the consumer wants to participate. Whether your employees are in sales, marketing, housekeeping, or front counter, they should understand how your business is using social media and encourage them to join in. The sad truth is, about 1:3 individuals will become irrelevant or unemployable in the next 5 years because they refuse to learn to use the new tools of the day! Don’t be that ONE!
Here are 7 ideas to become a more social business:
Add a module into your new hire training called “what it means to be social here” and have current employees (including the leadership team) go through it first.
Challenge your executive teams to experiment with the tools they want to the marketing team to get results with.
At team meetings, focus on one social tool and have everyone take out their phones and try it.
If anyone on your team sees a guest or customer trying to snap a photo, whether in a group or alone, your team member will ask if he or she can take it for them to get everyone in the shot. Follow up with “Be sure to tag us on Facebook or Instagram! We love being social!”
When a customer or guest compliments you for outstanding service and even says they will fill out your survey cards, hand them a card with your social review sites on it–Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc and a short reminder that “Your feedback and comments are valuable to us and to our success. We would LOVE a short comment from you. Thanks for being social with us!”
Have a training session on taking better photos with smartphones! Bring someone in and do a fun lunch-n-learn session on how to capture those sharable pics throughout your organization. Don’t let another company fundraiser or community event go by without walking away with several great photos to share with your online community.
Place a visual reminder at tables, counters, and anywhere else your customer might be sitting or standing while holding their mobile devices, letting them know you would love to stay connected with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Ok, it’s your turn. We’d love to hear your ideas. What else can organizations do to BE MORE SOCIAL?
I am disgusted, after a phone call I just had with someone who wanted us to “make his Yelp account disappear.” Some of his comments were, “I don’t have time for this technology and social media stuff, and neither does my staff.” “I just want to pay you to take down the negative comment. If you won’t do it, I’ll find someone else who will.” I was picturing him holding a fat envelope full of money and muffled noises coming from the trunk of his car and I checked to make sure my phone wasn’t being tapped. It probably wasn’t the best time for me to go into my motivational speaker mode, telling him that “today’s digital consumer has a lot to say and now the tools in which to tell the world. We can choose to ignore the progress that technology has brought us or we can embrace it and find ways to improve our businesses and join the party.” Well, aside from that being totally unethical, you just cannot remove a negative review or shut down your account. The customer is in control here.
This man was angry that a customer could write a negative review on Yelp for everyone to see, and even more angry that he felt he had no control when it came to how to deal with “these people.” The reality is, most consumers are two or three years ahead of most businesses and unfortunately those laggard businesses are run by people like this Mr. Hoffa I was speaking with, who refuse to embrace the new and make the necessary changes to continue connecting with this digitally savvy consumer.
Your sales pitches aren’t working any more. It is the voice of these consumers that will bring you business or turn it away. Businesses that embrace these new tools, use them to engage, show they are listening, build loyalty, make improvements and involve the customer in bringing new services and products to the market, and so much more. So whether you are working in a progressive start up, a laggard business, or you are the laggard yourself, we are going to look at a few keys to help you make the most of these tools and embrace the digital consumer and all of their over-sharing ways to build your business!
Here are 5 Keys to Master Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Other social Review Sites:
Claim or Unlock your business.
Anyone can post a review, thus creating a page for your business if one does not exist. When you claim the business (on Google Local, Foursquare, Yelp, and even Facebook), you are given some control. Before a business is claimed or unlocked, you cannot comment back to the reviewer. There are other features, like posting photos of your business that are more appealing than perhaps the one snapped on the go by a customer, or adding important contact information, directions and even a video showing potential customers who you are and what you are all about. So key #1 is definitely to claim or unlock that business!
Beef Up That Profile
Like I mentioned above, you want to load your profile with as much information about your business as possible. Make sure there is a link to your website or even to your Facebook page or blog. Add photos that highlight your business in a positive light. Fill out the sections that ask about you and what makes your business unique or special. Be sure you have your correct phone number and address listed so people on their mobile devices can simply click on them and get directions or dial you up for a reservation. Don’t leave any blank spaces.
Be Proactive on The Sites Where Your Customers Are Active
Don’t wait until a negative review is posted on one of these sites to get involved. Be proactive, do a few searches on the sites to see if your competitors are on there. Search for your industry (i.e. Attorneys in Timbucktu) and see what comes up. Being proactive, you can post updates and run specials that will entice people to choose your place of business over your competitors. Also don’t assume that your business would never be reviewed on a site like Yelp. We asked our social community what businesses they had reviewed and here are some of their answers:
* Doctor’s Offices
* Funeral Homes * Car Dealers * Realtors * Radio Stations * Universities * Photo Studios at Target * Video Studios * Haunted Houses * Grocery Stores * Hotels * Airlines * Laundry Mat * Dry Cleaner
Manage Your Accounts and Respond Promptly
Whether someone posts a rave review or a nasty-gram, let them know you have heard them. Sites like Yelp will caution the business owners to not be defensive or dismissive of a negative review. Offer to help or fix a problem as soon as you are made aware of it. This will show the reviewer that you care and it will also show future customers or viewers that you are here to make things right when they go wrong…and everyone knows there will be issues. It’s how you handle them that counts. When someone compliments your team or your business, let them know that you are going to pass along the great feedback (see Rockstar Randy’s response in the review below). Train your team (or get training for everyone) on how to respond to negative feedback. These three steps will serve you well: Thank people for bringing the problem to your attention(they could just silently go away and tell everyone), express that this is not how you do business (don’t act like this happens all the time with “Yea I know, we have high turnover here…”), and assure the customer that you are going to make it right (bottom line, that is really what people want to hear). To ensure you respond promptly, be sure you have your correct email address in the profile and turn notifications on for new reviews posted. Here’s a great response from a rockstar restaurant owner after a positive review was posted:
Instead of being angry like Mr. Hoffa, look at the feedback provided and use it to make improvements or reinforce what you are doing. Share the reviews with your team (like Rockstar Randy did above). Don’t let defensiveness get in the way of making improvements. Try to look at every piece of feedback from the customer’s perspective and once you make an improvement, you might want to drop a note to the person who left you the comment and share how their feedback brought about change!
If you’re like Mr. Hoffa and yous guys don’t have time to mess wit da social media stuff, have your people call my people. We can do the work for yas. We won’t make it go away, but we will manage ads, encourage your current client to post a review and even handle the dirty work of responding to the not so nice guys and work to turn them into raving fans! Then we’ll show up at your place with our bats to straighten out your team! I mean…we’ll provide you with feedback on how to improve each month.
Are you a YELPER? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the social review site revolution! Do you have questions for us? We’re here to help.
In this episode of Community Manager Best Practices, Misty Fuqua-Mercado debunks 3 myths that many of us (including me) have regarding getting all of our social marketing activities done each day. Misty manages 3 accounts and uses multiple platforms including, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ all while juggling a busy family and much of the time while her husband is over seas protecting our country. Enjoy this video.
You walk into your office as the phone begins to ring. You answer the call as you click on your email icon and messages start pouring in. Half-way through your inbox, you realize you hadn’t scheduled anything on your social media sites …again. This is the third day in a row, and so you promise yourself that you will throw something up on your pages and profiles during the lunch hour, when things slow down a bit. The problem with this is… it never slows down.
Effective content marketing takes more than throwing a post up now and then to let visitors know you are still around. And for those who ask, “How many posts and tweets do in need to post each day, for it to be enough?” I say you are going about this all wrong. That’s like asking how many questions do I need to answer from my customers today, or how many times must I speak to guests in my hotel lobby today? First plan what you want to say and how you will answer common questions and then go out and start conversations.
Here are 3 Strategies to Help Tame the Social Media Beast:
1. Take time each month and then each week to plan what content you want to get out.
Do you have events coming up that you need to let people know about? Is there a focus or theme for each week that you will tie your content into? Do you have a blog post to write or one that is written that you need to promote on all of your social sites? Will you run ads or a contest on one of your social sites? What questions do you want to ask your communities to gain insights into your products, services or industry? You’ve now got a worksheet full of content … Now it’s time to schedule.
2. Take time to schedule your content to drop at optimal times.
You know you are busy throughout the day, so scheduling your content ensures you will have well planned and well crafted content dropping at the optimal times for your communities. Using a tool like Hootsuite, Buffer or other third party app, allows you to schedule content to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook and others. You can schedule your content out for the week or for the entire month if you wanted to. Think about your audience as you determine the best time to post. if you are a realtor or restaurant and your audience is local, you know the time zone your customers are in. If you are a financial consultant that has most of your clientele on the east coast, then you take that into consideration. If you are targeting those heading out to work, drop your content early…perhaps 6:30-7:00am for LinkedIn or 7:00 for Facebook and Twitter. If your target audience is stay-at-home moms or dads, target that, finally got the kids out the door, sweet spot, time. Lunch time and early evening might be another ideal time for your content to gain viewership. Here is a great post that provides more data on the best time to post. Once the content is scheduled, you can get to your other tasks….but don’t forget to check in.
3. Make time to chat and walk-about each day
Just because you put content up on your social media sites, doesn’t mean you hang the “Gone Fishing” sign on the door. You need to make time each day to pop in, comment on the discussions that you started, or respond to questions. Take a quick “walk-about” and scan the posts others have put up and leave your comments or likes. Reply or ReTweet a few posts and then close it down before your day gets sucked away. If you do this two or three times a day, it will not pile up and become a big chore that you have to get to at the end of each day. This social bear will be tamed in no time.
Would you like a free template for the content strategy sheet that our team of community managers uses? Download your copy here and start taking the time to plan and be more strategic with your content. You will start seeing greater results than the drive by, chuck-a-post approach. I’m sure of it.