Whether it’s summer time or pre-holidays, the big blockbuster movies are all released around these times. You can bet there will always be at least a couple movies with robots battling humans for world domination. Avengers, Star Wars, Terminator and the list goes on and on. We don’t even have to go to the movies to see this play out…Just jump on Twitter and watch the battle begin!
I travel a lot and always check in or give shout outs to the hotels, restaurants and services that I visit along the way. I check to see who has Facebook pages or Twitter accounts and I’m careful to use their correct usernames so they will get the message. The sad truth is, only about 5% of them reply back. I don’t hear “Thanks for staying with us” or “Glad to hear you enjoyed your meal” or “Let us know if we can help you with anything during your stay.” NADA! Silencio!
Managing your brand is harder than ever with consumers checking in, liking and ranting on your social media channels, but if you choose to open those social doors, you’d better make sure someone monitors them and there to respond quickly. According to an Edison study, 42% of consumers expect a response on social media within one hour, and 32% think it should be within 30 minutes. Today’s consumer will talk about your brand (good or bad) wherever they are and they expect you to find it. Make sure you are listening! The purpose of creating a social media platform should be to make it easy for your customers, fans, and potential customers to get ahold of you, not just to pump out more promotional content.
Here are 3 things that tell people you have automated your social media and the robots are at the helm:
When you are sending out auto-generated messages to welcome someone on your Twitter account, it smells of SPAM! Make sure your interactions with guests and fans let them know that you have caring humans working your social marketing and that you will be there to assist them with their travel or meeting plans. Sending messages like “ABC Hotel is a four diamond property with 20K square feet of meeting space” is not the warm and fuzzy message that tells people you are there for REAL conversations.
Comments sitting on your pages and profiles without even an acknowledgement. When fans take the time to comment on your content or ask a question, their expectations are that someone will be reading them and getting back to them. We call it closing the loop on all communications, regardless of how small they are. Thank people for their comments. Let someone know that you are looking into the problem or question they posted and let them know you are listening to them.
When a canned response is posted to a real question. Empathy in any situation goes a long way, and social media is no different. If someone posts a glowing review or a scathing comment, respond empathetically…respond like a HUMAN. “I’m so sorry that the air-conditioner kept you up all night making weird noises. That should not have happened” is so much better than “We at ABC Hotel apologize for the inconvenience.” Train your social media team to loosen their ties or scarves and respond with real emotion that shows you really care. This is tricky since most companies throw their social media marketing to someone in the sales or marketing department who has not had customer service training. This is a critical touch point for a business in today’s social landscape.
Yes this all takes a little more work and definitely more time, but remember, like all of the summer sci-fi movies, the humans always win!
This morning I caught the tail end of a Twitter conversation that stopped me in my tracks and fired up my keyboard. It was the creative use of the F-bomb by the ever-fabulous Erika Napoletano aka @RedHeadWriting that initially caught my attention, but the conversation is what got my fingers flying to write this post. Take a look at this stream and then we’ll chat about it. (I’ve *bleeped* the bombs out for those more sensitive in our audience.)
Because we manage the social marketing and customer service on social media duties for many brands, I was beyond disbelief with the response by United Airline’s community managers here (and there are two that are identified in this conversation for some reason, as noted by the two sets of initials after each mindless tweet). I found myself wondering if it was some eager summer intern that just wanted to impress his manager by quickly responding and now is asking people if they’d like fries or apple slices with that Happy Meal! Surely it wasn’t a professional on duty.
These responses show that someone replied to a single mention without seeming to look at the context in which the mention of @United was made, and then there was a spammy undertone to the initial response as they randomly tell Erika to check out their enhancements when she does go to one of their airports. Bad response on so many levels!
So let’s identify a few take-aways you can benefit from, outside of the pure entertainment we tend to get knowing big brands screw up too.
Set up a listening command center.
To be effective managing customer service on social media sites, you need to make sure you are paying attention when someone mentions your brand (The only thing these community managers did right in this situation). If you aren’t paying attention, and you simply log into social media accounts to blast your own content out to the world, you are missing the SOCIAL part of these tools. (check out this post on How To Set Up A Social Media Command Center)
Do a bit of investigative work BEFORE you stick your nose in the beehive.
Twitter allows you to click on “View Conversation” to see a bit of the context before you reply. Scanning a person’s profile, just a bit, will also give you a little insight that could help you know what you are getting into. Some third-party tools like, SproutSocial, maintain the history a person has had with your brand to see if they have had conversations with you in the past (especially helpful when you have more than one person managing your account), which can prove extremely valuable.
In this case, Thing 2 (JH) came on the scene and made matters worse with the “Hard to get tone of your tweet. You’re saying… what?” Basically, Thing 1 (JD) butted in a conversation at a very awkward place and should have kept quiet. You don’t have to join every conversation where your brand is mentioned. Thing 2 should have simply apologized for their team misinterpreting the message and left quietly.
Never, Never, NEVER, try and sell someone something or offer a discount when they hate you more than black olives!
It’s like having a waiter offer you free dessert after you tell him you have waited 3 hours for your meal and then hated every cold item that ended up coming to the table. The last thing you want is to stay longer for more of their crappy food. Clueless customer service people will try and sell or give something away when they don’t know how to fix a problem. Offering anything promotional at a time when someone is already talking bad about you is like getting a pedicure with salt scrub right after shaving your legs (guys, trust me on this one…it makes people scream).
Do you have other lessons that you have gleaned from this horrible customer service example? We’d love to be schooled by you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
You open your email inbox to see 87 LinkedIn notifications telling you of birthdays, work anniversaries, changes in positions, and more, just in your LinkedIn network. Do you really need to know about these, and what are you supposed to do, write notes to each one of them? Many times LinkedIn shoots out that auto-message because someone simply updated their profile and added something new. Do you still shout like a fool, “Way to go on that new position Carol!”? What about people who send YOU the “congratulations notes” because LinkedIn kicked out the automated update about YOUR work anniversary? You could be here all day replying to all of your adoring fans!
Well, if you are using LinkedIn as a business networking tool, then you treat each notification about others the same as you used to treat those write ups in the Business Journals. “Bob was promoted to Regional Vice President at XYZ.” You didn’t write to every one of them, but you may have clipped out one or two and sent a nice hand-written note telling them you saw their anniversary notice in the paper and you are thrilled to know them, or that you would love to set a time for coffee to see if there is a fit for the two of you to share business leads. (Do you remember those days? I know there’s one of you right now who still does that!)
Perhaps your Franklin-Covey Day Planner had a reminder in it about a client’s birthday coming up. Do you ever send a card? Leave a voice mail letting them know you are thinking of them on their special day? Only if you want to stand out and be memorable! You can do the same thing when you see these digital reminders on your social media channels.
When you get 75 messages all telling you “Happy Work Anniversary,” perhaps you write a single post in your status update letting everyone know how appreciative you are that you have such a wonderful and caring network of people and perhaps a nugget of reflective wisdom that you have gleaned over the years of working where you do.
The bottom line is, every single notification is an opportunity to reach out to potential clients, current customers, influencers of others who might become customers, to stay in touch. Remember, technology is just another tool to reach out and touch someone…even if LinkedIn was wrong use these little reminders to stay in touch with more people in your network and nurture the relationships. Who knows…that birthday wish could just land you your next big client!
I’d love to hear what you do with those notifications you get. Are you struggling trying to keep up with all of the beeps, pings and notifications in your world? Let us help you. Click here to contact us…even if you are laying sprawled out on the floor from exhaustion after replying to all of your notifications!
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We see them every day. Exhausted and frustrated small business owners waving the white flag of surrender on their social marketing efforts. They have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and even Snapchat, but most have been abandoned after a month or so of random posting and activity with little if any strategic focus.
With all of the available social media platforms to engage with your customers and share your brand’s message, it can be overwhelming deciding where you should be active. It’s a lot like looking at for a new home. You wouldn’t run out and buy several houses start moving some furniture in each only to leave them abandoned while you make your choice of the best location. You would research each feature you desire first, look into the surrounding area to see if it meets your needs and make sure the house you want is in a community that you can be active in. The same goes for social media marketing.
These 5 steps will help you decide where your brand needs to be active:
1. Identify the type of people you want to “live with”
In marketing we call this defining your personas, but it is simply detailing who you are trying to reach with your social media activities. If you think the world is your market, you will run yourself ragged trying to be everywhere. Be as specific as possible. What is the age of the people you are targeting. What are the concerns or challenges they face? Problems they have that you might be able to solve? What social media sites are they most active on? Where might they find your content? Write this down and keep it in front of you as you decide where you will set up camp.
2. Where are your competitors active?
Have you looked on social media sites to see which of your competitors are active there? Not more abandoned accounts, but real activity. Facebook allows you to “watch” 5 competitor accounts from your own business page.
3. What type of content will you be sharing on each social media site?
Take time to plan out the kind of content you will be creating for each site BEFORE you set up shop. You need regular photos if you are using Instagram. Lots of tips and short nuggets on Twitter. Product pictures for Pinterest, and so on. It’s not the same content on every platform.
4. Who will be responsible for writing, posting, finding photos, monitoring activity and responding to questions or comments on your social media sites?
This seems obvious, but you might need to recruit some help managing the activity that goes along with posting to social sites. Social marketing is so much more than just posting content. Talk to your team to see who can help with each activity.
5. What is your goal on each social media site?
Your goal must extend beyond just being present on a social media site. Are you trying to drive more traffic to your website? Then blogging might be a big piece of this formula so your social media posts have something to share and point people to. Is your goal to let people know about products you offer and get feedback from your community? Are you trying to magnify your influence and let people know what your expertise is? These goals must be kept front and center to keep your activities focused.
With this plan in front of you, you will be able to identify where you want to be active and you will have a better understanding of the work involved to keep your social media sites from looking like an abandoned house.