Win of The Week- Customer Service 2.0

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With social media, the sexy topics are content creation, influencer collaborations and even the paid efforts that lead back to measurable KPI’s and ROI’s.  Those are the things most clients and prospects want to talk about and will ultimately use to gauge whether social media efforts are working. While they are both important, they are more about talking than listening, and it is in the latter category where brands should be focused a bit more.

We believe that content and growth efforts are 2/3 of the puzzle, but engagement is where you really can set your brand apart from the pack. One of the most important roles that a Social Media Manager fills is – Customer Service Manager. In today’s day and age, people will chime in and comment about bad (or good) experiences and it is mission critical to have your ears open to the feedback.

Our client Bombas cares very much about servicing their community, referred to as The Hive. Like any brand they have had negative and positive feedback and commentary, and together we remain committed to auditing, listening and tackling their needs head on. Sometimes it can turn a negative comment into a positive one, or even a sale.  As you see here:

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Remember, your community is watching and sometimes they will chime in and have your back when others are complaining too.

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They appreciate authenticity and that a brand actually does care. This is the “blocking and tackling” component of social media and while it doesn’t show up on the scoreboard each day, it is everything if you want to win online.

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In general the commitment to being a great community and a brand who actually cares is a long play and not a short one. It is a daily grind and takes a lot of man hours and work, but in the end of the day it is all about creating something that is built to last.

 

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Facebook Marketing and Messaging- A “Must Have” Component of A Social Media Plan

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Social media is evolving and I find that most businesses are still struggling with how to understand the necessary functions for their business. First off there is an underlying need to be active and participate in the social conversation and you need to have someone who is actually managing that process.  The day to day facilitationof the conversation, known as “community management” is mission critical for all types of businesses these days.  Whoever is at the helm, needs to be well versed in a few core areas:

1) Social Media Management: The most important piece is the day to day community management for the brand. This includes design and development of content/assets that users/fans/followers of the brand will want to consume and engage with and strategy on how best to use the various social networks to their advantage. It is very difficult to find a person internally that can do all of this effectively, especially at the price most will want to pay for the role. As a baseline a brand should consider this to be a full time position and should allocate a junior level salary to it: At least $2,500 per month ($30,000 per annum). Outsourcing is a great option for guaranteed results.

2) Social Media Marketing: This is the actual marketing component of social media and you will need to allocate a budget that is specifically marketing related. Most small businesses have not really tried to leverage Twitter of Pinterest Ads yet, though both definitely have value and are powerful.  When it comes to social media marketing, I think most have only dabbled with Facebook’s advertising platform.

The data and targeting abilities of Facebook make it one of the most attractive and compelling platforms I have ever experienced in online marketing.  When attacking Facebook Ads we generally recommend a starter test budget around $500-$1000 per month to get a feel for the platform. Depending on the goals of the client we need to assess what type of CPL, CPC, CPA OR reach and impressions we can drive.

We encourage businesses to look at Facebook spending in two distinct categories:

Facebook Marketing: As described above is marketing on Facebook with an allocated budget and some clearly defined marketing initiatives and/or agendas in mind.  Most marketers and CFO’s should feel very comfortable with this, as it is very ROI driven and very measurable via Facebook’s analytics platform, which is very robust.  If you want to track sales, Likes or even reach and impressions on key marketing messages, you can do so very easily via Facebook.  This platform offers low cost marketing, super narrow targeting and very detailed insights = a marketer’s dream.

Facebook Messaging: This is spending to strategically target your Facebook content and statuses at specific audiences.  Even for brand’s who are not spending on “marketing” on Facebook, it is very important to allocate funds to promote your branded messages. Page post engagements guarantee delivery of your posts to different users. With organic reach plummeting, brands are up in arms and some are even leaving Facebook.  As they run away, I encourage my clients to run towards the platform.  A little money goes a long way here and you can craft content and then deliver it to the right eyeballs consistently. Want to:

Target messages to your email subscribers on Facebook?  YES

Target messages to people who visited your website or even specific pages on your website?  YES

Target messages to audiences who’s profiles just “look like” the two audiences mentioned above? YES

Some content you might just want to show to your current fan base and customers, so you can “boost” that to your current fans.  Other content that specifically highlights your Unique Selling Propositions (USP’s) would be great to target at fans of your direct competitors, and they offer that too.  Taking it one step further, perhaps you might want to target specific messages at subsets (i.e. only female fans) and you can also do that without even posting it on your timeline for others to see. These are called dark posts which are hardly new, but are vastly underused.

Bottom-line is that there is so much you can do with some allocated funds on The Social Network, and allocating no budget for either marketing or messaging is a big mistake. It will compromise your online efforts and leave you feeling very unfulfilled.  An investment here will give you highly targeted messaging to real users, who are most likely to care about what you have to say.  No other medium offers that.

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Say Good-Bye to EdgeRank

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Facebook is moving away from the use of EdgeRank to determine fan page relevancy on it’s platform.  They have replaced EdgeRank with a new, updated ranking algorithm, which now focuses even more closely on relevancy, content, quality, and variety. The importance of working to “game” the algorithm remains, but it is now a formula with many more data points to consider.

The first thing Facebook aims for is to have timely and relevant content on a user’s news feed. If the content isn’t interesting to the user, they either won’t engage with it or it might not even show up on their news feed. It is also very important that the content being shown is not in any way begging or pandering. It should be interesting and engaging, rather than just asking someone to “like” the post. An interesting and compelling post will get much more engagement.

A business also must ask themselves whether their posts are interesting enough that the user’s friends will share it with their friends. A Facebook post guiding something to click a link should be more than simply a post with a link in it. It should be engaging and informational and ideally leave people wanting more.  That should lead to a click on that served up link to see what it’s all about. Your content AND the way you introduce that content should be great. One last important fact about how to optimize against the new ranking algorithm, is to have variety in your posts. Some posts should have links (especially because of the new link update), some should have images, and some should simply be text updates. The more variety you have on your page, the more people will be interested.

Facebook is working hard to improve the user experience on the platform. This new and more in depth relevancy formula is a big step in that direction.  The faster a brand can learn how to work within it, the better off it will be! To find out more about how Facebook is updating their new ranking algorithm, click here.

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Outsourcing Social Media-What you need to do to prepare.

Business owners and senior management need to focus on growth and the underlying business and they often struggle with how to get social media started. A company’s voice in social media needs to be driven from within and then shaped and broadcasted by someone who knows what they are doing. At Sircle Media we believe that the best possible formula is outsourced strategy development and then collective implementation by the company and their “Social Media Pro” partner.

Here are some tips on how to do it right:

Know What Your Responsibilities Are as a Client

Before the project starts, be sure to read the contract so you understand what services you’ll receive. It is so important to take note of the responsibilities that your organization will have at the start of the project and while the project continues.

Your professional consultant will need information and resources in order to get started. We will want to know about your goals, your objectives with social and of course any other important benchmarks.  In order to really carry the voice of the client online there is definitely a little heavy lifting to be done internally.  If you and your team are prepared to give the outside social media experts what they need, the launch of your project will be a lot smoother.

Establish Benchmarks and Be Honest About Your Needs

A consultant or outsourcing team will need to know how you’re currently performing so they can help you improve your results. Be open and honest here, so that you can get a real assessment and roadmap to improve. Just like going to a trainer to get in shape, you need to give an honest personal audit to help them prepare the right plan built just for you.

If nothing else, this internal audit will also help you understand what type of help your company needs.  i.e. If you’re very active on social media but aren’t seeing the results you expect, you need to bring in a team or consultant that specializes in engagement rather than page or profile launches.

Get Your Team on Board With The Hire

You must be careful to get your team on board with outsourcing if you want it to be most effective. Everyone should be aware and instructed to embrace the relationship for the greater good of the company.  Even if you’re just having consultants come in to refine and perfect your approach to social, there can be some ruffled feathers.

Before the outsourcing service begins, be sure that anyone involved on your side of the fence is fully invested in what you are going to be doing. Share the benefits of the outsourcing service. Help everyone understand how it will increase your company’s success with social and streamline internal resources.

Manage Your Expectations

Once a project is complete and a business feels empowered they tend to expect big wins overnight. Your company may have been waiting for expertise in the area or made limited investments up until the point you decide to outsource, and now that you have there is an assumption that it will be very easy. It will be strategic and pursuant to a plan, but not necessarily easy.

It is going to take time for the social media team and your internal team to get the ball rolling in an efficient and effective way. Don’t try to do too much at once and manage your expectations of how much your team can handle and what results you can expect.

We think if you consider these four things you will have a better outsourced experience, which is so important to your business. Social strategy is an important function to outsource to experts because it is such a dynamic medium and is never static. People who really know the space and who watch the changes closely are best suited to write your playbook and set you out with your compass pointed in the right direction. Sircle Media is here to help do just that!

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