Can you pacify the angry customer in social media?

I often hear and read discussions about the tone in social media and about companies that are scared of engaging on social platforms, because they are nervous about what will happen if somebody writes something negative. There is no doubt about it: social media is the weapon of choice, when customers want to complain. Especially Facebook is big. There is a new generation of consumers who realize that complaining does work….

Should we be scared of the new channels of complaint? Or should we face the music and see where it takes us? I think companies need to face the music, because they can benefit more from some negative publicity than from not being a part of social media.

Can you prevent all attacks? Probably not. But you can prevent some – and even turn some attacks to your advantage by following a few simple guidelines:

Accept that not everything written about your company in social media will be positive – and that you will not be able to turn all disappointed customers around (but always try!).
Listen constantly. You have to know what is being said about your company – at all times.
When you screw up, admit it!
Empathy matters more than apology. If a customer complains e.g. in a Facebook feed, don’t just apologize. Empathize. Let the customer know you understand his or her feelings.
Focus on the customers: their needs and their opinions – they are the reason your company is running!
And always use a proper and friendly tone of voice. No matter how heated the discussion might be and how annoying the customer is, make sure your language is always signaling that you are the customer’s allied.

At the end of the day, what matters is that you give your customers the attention they ask for. Great customer service can often make even the grumpiest customer happy.

Can marketers help change the tone of voice in society?

In my opinion, the tone of voice between people – both grown-ups and kids – has become harsher in recent years. This is why I really like a campaign launched by the cell phone provider Call me. The basic message of the campaign is “Talk properly”. I recently had the opportunity to hear about the campaign at an event arranged by IAA Denmark (International Advertising Association), where Anthony Lim, Sales- and marketing director at Call me, presented the campaign.

The campaign came to life after Call me had done market research that showed that 77% of Danes thought that the tone between people had become more harsh. Call me and a small agency worked together to use this commercially – and what started as a campaign ended up being a movement! Call me had people contacting their sales department asking if Call me was the “Talk properly”-company and when getting the reply, they said “Great, I want to sign on”. Other results speak for themselves:
Net growth of customer base: 175%
Improvement of loyalty: 24%
Preference improved 260%
Number of Facebook fans rose by 500%
Doubled the number of customer referrals.

I personally love the campaign – not just the message but also the way it was executed with the commercials for TV, campaign-site, and happenings at schools where the campaign was used for educational purposes. So yes, I do believe that marketers can help change the tone of voice in society.
You can watch one of the commercials here:

It is in Danish, but the message is so clear that I am sure non-Danish speaking people will get it right away.

Enjoy!

Visual matters in 2013

One of the trends I see for social media in 2013 is an increased emphasis on the visual aspect of social media. One reason why this is getting to be more and more important is that fact that company page posts get a better rank in newsfeeds when they come with pictures. At the same time, the social platforms based on visual content like Instagram, Flikr and Pinterest are gaining popularity.

So how do you make sure you get the best effect from the pictures you post?

Quality pictures/illustrations, original pictures/illustrations, funny pictures/illustrations
(without compromising your brand’s esthetics!), relevant pictures/illustrations….. If your budget does not allow using a pro photographer or someone who can draw, there are plenty og reasonably priced stock photos/illustrations or you can take your own pictures (- if they a a bit fuzzy you can easily give them another look in Instagram or, if you have those skills, in Photoshop).

You can of course also hire a social media consultant with graphic skills and a talent for spotting the right images (wink, wink) 🙂

I will definitely be following this trend and will be posting more insights as they turn up.

It’s finally here: The share feature on Facebook mobile

It’s been quiet on this blog for a while, but not quiet at the office. There are loads of things going on in online marketing and social media. Every day brings new inspiration, new features – and therefore lots of new opportunities. One of my favorite recent features is the Facebook share option on mobile – now your messages can really get around the world in no time.

I was really happy when I downloaded the Facebook update on my mobile and got the new share feature. Why? Because the number of mobile users, and thereby possible product ambassadors, is huge.

According to Facebook, there are 604 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products as of September 30, 2012. In October the total number of users of Facebook reached 1 billion, so 604 million is A LOT. The best way of reaching many Facebook users through the newsfeed has, for a long time, been by adding a picture to your updates. And many, if not most, marketers have done just so. Until recently all those mobile users couldn’t share that kind of content. Just think of how many opportunities have been missed!
Therefore: Hooray for the mobile-share-option.

And, now, go share!

Should you be marketing your product or your social purpose?

Do you have trouble seeing why you should be using social media marketing? If so, maybe you are marketing a product that just isn’t very engaging. Social media marketing might still be a good solution for you.

Last week, I participated in an IAA workshop on Social Media Marketing with speaker Mike Moran. There were many great tips for people working with social media marketing, but especially one point took my interest and that was deciding whether to market your product or your “social purpose” on social media.

The reason why this is interesting is that not all products will get you a lot of engagement in social media. If you look at brands such as Coca Cola, M&Ms and the like, social media – e.g. a Facebook Page – gives you great opportunity to entertain your fans and to communicate with your customers, thereby strengthening your brand. But if you sell e.g. insulation material, that might not be very engaging. I’m not saying it can’t be, but it probably won’t. In that case, what you ought to do is to market your social purpose – in the insulation case it could be a fanpage about saving energy. Instead of talking about insulation material, you can engage people in saving energy – which could be by getting new insulation in their houses.

What I’m saying is that in many cases, it can be easier and more rewarding to get people to engage in your purpose rather than your product. So, think about it before you start your social media campaign!

By the way, if you don’t engage with your customers the right way from the start, you might end up with (best case) bored fans or (worst case) people who have a negative attitude towards your company and product.

Are you involved in theft on the web?

One of the hot topics in social media right now is the use of Pinterest and the misuse of rights to images. Very few people think about the fact that pinning pictures can be a violation of copyrights and might lead to prosecution. Are you in trouble? Read on and find out.

Just a few clicks, and you have let the world know that you just LOVE that new Corvette – or that new pair of Nikes – or the cute Easter bunny – or a great architectural wonder somewhere in the world….. Our love for sharing our likes, interests and feelings has now spread to Pinterest, the online pinboard.

When signing up to Pinterest, you agree to not violate copyrights, but do you think about this when you start pinning or are you carried away in a pinning-rush like most people?

It can be hard to find out whether or not an image is a “go” or “no go”, so the easy way to do it is to only pin your own content. Pinterest’s terms of service do actually require that you either hold the copyright to each image you pin, or have permission from the copyright holder to do so. Many Pinterest users are, however, apparently not aware of, or choose to ignore, this fact. But if you want to stay on the right side of the law, I recommend that you exercise caution.

Working in marketing, I see big possibilities for businesses using Pinterest. Take a clothing company – with great pictures, it is possible to show a whole new collection out there – and spread the information all around the world in a few hours. Some businesses have decided that it is all right for people to share their images, because this gives them free marketing. And I think this is a great opportunity. But I also recognize that many photographers, architects, and artists are not okay with everyone sharing their work. So even though I find sharing pictures on Pinterest both useful and lots of fun, I have decided to start all over in order to be absolutely sure, that all pins are legal.

Remember: this issue is not just relevant when using Pinterest, it applies to sharing content both online and offline.

BTW: Pinterest have made a script that people and businesses can put into their website to hinder people from pinning their images. But not everybody’s aware of this option. But remember: it is the user’s responsibility to make sure that copyrights aren’t violated.

Pinterest’s own information on copyright issues: http://pinterest.com/about/copyright/

Thursday, 08 March 2012

845 million possible fans – what’s not to like?

Statistics: We had 845 million monthly active users at the end of December 2011. Approximately 80% of our monthly active users are outside the U.S. and Canada. We had 483 million daily active users on average in December 2011. We had more than 425 million monthly active users who used Facebook mobile products in December 2011. Facebook is available in more than 70 languages.

(Source: Facebooks newsroom Feb 26th 2012 – article is no longer available at facebook.com)
Does your company/brand/product have a Facebook Page? If not, have you considered joining the party? The Facebook statistics alone make a lot of companies consider letting their company/brand/product be a part of the “game”. But there are even more reasons for being on Facebook than these numbers. Read on and learn about some of the top reasons why you should join in!

#1 Reach current and potential customers
According to Nielsen Company’s 3Q2011 Social Media Report (can be found online at www.nielsen.com), social networks and blogs reach over three-quarters of active internet users across a snapshot of 10 major global markets. According to the same report, a lot of people respond to retailers’ offers posted on Facebook or Twitter: … 60 percent of people who use three or more digital means of research for product purchases learned about a specific brand or retailer from a social networking site. Forty-eight percent of these consumers responded to a retailer’s offer posted on Facebook or Twitter.
Being present on social media gives you huge potential for growth. The possibility of reaching target customers and getting a response is very likely.
I hear some people stating that their customers aren’t on Facebook, and therefore they don’t want to have a company page. You really need to make sure that this is accurate information. If you don’t, you might well be missing out on an opportunity to reach a huge number of both current and potential customers.
Hint: always start your digital marketing/Facebook project by assessing your company’s current status and your goals for digital communication – thorough analysis and strategy work pays off!

#2 Engage with you customers on their terms, and make powerful communication
With Facebook you get to engage with your fans on a platform of their choosing, which makes it less formal and gives it a much more individual touch than other channels of communication, which makes communication much more powerful. You can discuss relevant issues for your company/brand/product/industry, make surveys, handle customer inquiries etc. on Facebook, and get direct and valuable response from you customers or potential customers.
Hint: make sure you don’t automatically feed your wall from Twitter and other places. First of all, the users don’t like too much information, and second you get better ranks on people’s newsfeed if you make your own posts. Communicate on the users’ terms and get the most out of the way Facebook works.

#3 Great possibilities for tracking the results of your communication
Facebook provides a great tracking tool for your fan page: Facebook Insights. With Facebook Insights you get a lot of information about your fans. By using this tool you can see your fans broken down by gender, age, location and languages. You get information on the reach of your posts – how many engaged in them, the number of people talking about your post etc.
Hint: the insights aren’t of much use unless you have set specific goals for your presence on Facebook. Your strategy must contain measurable goals and you must do regular follow-ups on your progress.

#4 Targeted advertising
With Facebook ads, you can run ads that allow you to reach specific users based on demographics: age, gender, age, location, education and interests. Adverts can be used for announcing your page, inviting people to like you, and announcing special offers and events.
Hint: According to online sources, Facebook is changing the way ads function. Gigaom is writing about it here: http://gigaom.com/2012/02/21/facebook-is-set-to-release-a-new-premium-ads-product/

So, you see – there are many reasons why Facebook can be a powerful marketing tool for your business. Will I see you there?

Benefit from using social media on Valentine’s Day.

An hour ago, I logged into Facebook and the first story in my newsfeed was from the Maersk Group. Their post made me smile instantly for two reasons: it was personal and touching, and it was great marketing (and I LOVE great marketing!) How they did it? They combined a story of relating to one another, which is the essence of Facebook, with Valentine’s Day celebrations.

The post by Maersk Group read: With offices in over 140 countries and over 108,000 employees Maersk Group has a diverse group of people working together globally every day. Within this diverse working environment there are bound to be a few matches made in heaven, or in this case, Maersk! To celebrate Valentine’s Day, here are a few stories from our employees who met their soul mates while working at Maersk. Read more here: http://bit.ly/xhdsAT

How cool is that! Employees get to share their stories, which they undoubtedly like or they wouldn’t have done it, and Maersk is portrayed as a company that value happy employees (and let employees date – not all companies welcome employees dating!). Social media is about people relating to each other, and what better way to portray this? A great and relevant story on Valentine’s Day.

Of course there’s probably some people out there who don’t appreciate Valentine’s Day and therefore don’t care about the story or – or maybe even get a negative impression. I believe, however, that the Maersk post will make a whole lot of people smile and think positively about Maersk. I know it made me smile! The post by Maersk is brilliant branding – and it was so easy to do. Interview some employees, collect some pictures and post the story. That is great marketing made easy.

Have a great Valentine’s Day!

Big potential: your opportunities on Facebook

I launched my company page on Facebook a couple of days ago. Inviting my Facebook friends to join, writing a great welcome-text on the fan page and posting one message on LinkedIn got me 52 fans in just 22 hours. Think of the potential. If I can keep this up for a week, I will have more than 300 fans. And I haven’t even started using Facebook ads, yet! Wow. Just imagine what the number could be in a year!

There is huge potential for companies using Facebook Pages! There is no doubt about that. But many companies haven’t found out, yet. Some do not see how they can benefit from Facebook, some see Facebook as a waste of time, and some actually have a page, but don’t update it, and therefore don’t reach the goals they set and think it’s worthless. There are many examples. I do understand why some companies hesitate. Using Facebook for marketing your business, service or products requires the same amount of planning and strategy as does using any other marketing tool – and it requires time and the full attention of one or more employees. But if you take the potential into consideration, it just might be worth your while. And contrary to many beliefs, it is possible to measure the effect of your investments. There are a number of tools, e.g. your own sales statistics, Facebook’s “Insights”, software that measures the effect of campaigns – and of course there’s the number of likes you can measure!

If you haven’t done so already, please like my Facebook page and follow my progress.

http://www.facebook.com/CamillaJacobsMarketing