The Customer Is Always Wrong?

customer is always wrong

Well not really, but the subject is sure to get me some eyeballs right?  Hear me out though…

I find that most companies are making bad decisions these days either based on lack of knowledge, insecurity and/or fear. When they are feeling insecure or scared they tend to be conservative and not forward thinking. This is the wrong POV and a surefire way to go out of business. I am convinced that to succeed you must be proactive, confident and be willing to experiment and go outside of your comfort zone.

Many brands hire a Social Media Agency, because they feel pressured to by the market, but don’t really understand what that means. They do it from a position of weakness, rather than a proactive and positive decision to implement what they know deep down needs to get done. Because they are not 100% sold on the value of social media for their business they often are “half pregnant” with the decision and therefore play in the middle of the tennis court.  This sometimes makes for an awkward engagement and it almost seems like they are waiting for them to screw up and/or looking to prove that it was not a good hire. Almost like in some perverse way, they want to show them that the decision was a bad one.  What is the sense in that?  Again, just the wrong POV.

I suggest they take a different posture.  Make a threshold decision that online efforts are mission critical for the brand, determine what they want to see happen and then staff to those goals.  They will need an excellent Social Media Manager (or an agency like ours that serves as one) who is well versed in all nuances of social media, understands the importance of excellent customer service and perhaps most important, feels like a dedicated employee who works each day to outperform their pay grade.  In the end of the day, great companies are driven by great employees who are committed to the cause. Jim Collins talks about that in his book, Good To Great and it all comes down to having the right people on the bus, working on clear objectives.

So when I say the customer is always wrong, what I mean is that in my experience most just have the wrong POV. They either don’t buy in, or they do so half heartedly and don’t allow for the effort to (fully) succeed. At Sircle, our best clients are the ones who have full confidence that social and digital media are a “must have” for their business and either give us full autonomy and/or work with us to solve for X and find the can vs the can’t, in any effort we deploy.  When as a team we believe it as religion over tactic, it takes hold and we see amazing things happen.

Clients want and need me to speak my mind and stand my ground.  Not to be argumentative or combative, but to be a voice of reason and the usher of change.  If I employ a customer is always right mentality, we all fail.  So I try to tell them the opposite, with a smile of course. :)

 

 

 

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Safe is Risky

Safe is Risky quote

I meet with brands each week and nearly every single meeting comes down to a conversation where they know they need social media, but they just aren’t ready to really pull the trigger in a meaningful way.  They see that retail is hurting and they agree they need to do more web business, but it is less than 5% of their total revenue.  They don’t have a digital strategy (let alone a social one) and they think that somehow it is going to change. News alert…it wont!

The problem is that they dont understand digital so it scares them.  They instead choose to “play it safe” and advertise on traditional mediums like TV, outdoor and mailers (that don’t work) OR even worse they don’t market at all.  I would argue (and I think Seth Godin would agree) that this safe approach is the riskiest of all.  Failure to act, is an act of failure.  Brands need to start changing this mentality, before they go extinct.

If you had a heart attack today and survived, it would most likely cause you to assess and adjust things right away. You would start taking better care of yourself, would consult with experts on how to get there, read blogs and articles for ideas on how to incorporate for yourself personally and would generally take a much more serious stance on your health and well being. It would be a catalyst for you to start doing what you aways knew you needed to, but just didn’t.

So, imagine that your business had a heart attack today and get going on improving its health now. Stop wasting money on things that you cannot track and don’t work. Stop procrastinating on social media and stop putting your fate in the hands of ill equipped junior staff members, or worse in a marketing department that doesn’t believe in or understand it.  Start capturing emails and communicating with your customers in a smart and strategic way.  Start creating content that they care about and want to read.  Start spending advertising dollars on highly trackable platforms such as Facebook and Instagram now.

As we have said before, social media is just a new term for the internet and social networks are just part of the ecosystem. Not using the internet and/or thinking about how to engage people on their mobile phones (where the focus and attention clearly is) in 2016, is like eating bacon and ice cream 7 days a week and never working out. Some people might survive, but the vast majority will drop dead too soon. Don’t be part of the latter group.

Playing it too safe, is super dangerous for your (business’) health!

 

 

 

 

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What does Sircle Media do?

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We help brands and businesses win online. Too abstract?  Well let me explain it a bit further.

Most companies are trying to do more online, generate business from their own e-commerce store and/or strike up a conversation with clients/customers/prospects via digital channels and just don’t know how. Either they don’t have anyone on staff who is skilled in these areas (so we fill that void) OR they do, but those people often don’t know how to approach marketing in the year that we live in. So many senior marketers are employing old and/or safe tactics without understanding how to navigate the current terrain. This is a recipe for disaster.

You see, many Marketing Directors have earned their roles over the last decade, and given their trajectory they didn’t have to get into the trenches on social media.  As a result they lack the fundamental understanding of how to use it and how to explain the merits to their bosses. It is safer to stick with what they know, than to experiment and explore with social.  We look to join their team and help them change that way of thinking and really make a difference through their social efforts. We make it clear that their brand is “on social media” whether they choose to engage in it or not. Those that get it, are one step closer to harnessing the power of it.

We believe that business drives social and not the other way around. First we define what the goals are for the company and then we lay in a social strategy commensurate with those goals.  Once we know what we want to do as a team, then we solve for X.  Social is about much more than Tweets and Likes and we create a much deeper and holistic digital plan.  Website traffic is mission critical as it generates opportunities for an immediate sale and also creates a pool of people to retarget, email and/or communicate with via social channels.  We want to get a lot of potential prospects into the ecosystem and then deploy multiple tactics to continue the conversation and move them down the funnel towards transacting with us.

We tell brands:

  1. Don’t try to sell online and then not have Google Analytics (or an equivalent) to analyze the data.
  2. Don’t have Google Analytics setup, but not look at the data.
  3. Don’t spend money on print, radio and TV and then argue about not wanting to spend on social because you can’t measure it.
  4. Don’t stop spending on Facebook because it is pay to play. Start spending on Facebook because it is the most powerful Ads platform ever.
  5. Don’t email “blast”. Have a real CRM strategy in place and email with some purpose.

In the end of the day, stop talking about what doesn’t work (especially without proof) and start focusing on understanding the market and figuring out what does.  Things change and tools evolve.  If Gary Vaynerchuk put the video above out today, it probably would have been posted natively on Facebook first because that is what the times demand.

It is hard keeping up with the changes, that is true.  Good thing we are here.

 

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$ocial Media

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Social media generates revenue, that is a fact.  I think so many brands cannot get their head around that and are almost looking to prove the opposite to be true.  The same people who tell me how they know they need a social media strategy, constantly say things like it is “a lot of fluff that doesn’t really move the needle.” (an actual quote). They downplay the value of the efforts and think it is all about a bunch millennials in hoodies taking selfies all day.  It is like they need to be in it, just because their competition is, but not because it actually makes money.  Ludicrous!

Now it might be that they are employing a very myopic view of social media.  If they are trying to track how their Facebook post on February 2nd directly lead to a sale, then they are going about it all wrong.  It is much bigger than that. Not only is it a function of a much deeper Facebook strategy, but Facebook (and other social networks for that matter) are just a part of the ecosystem. They need to be looking at onsite content, emails, search, retargeting, display, Ads (of various kinds) and social monitoring and messaging when assessing if their social strategy works. Too many companies have different departments, often with conflicting agendas overseeing these efforts and/or are using different partners for these services.  This silo approach sets them up to fail.

We recommend you have them all “under one roof” and working in sync to glean the most value and results from all of it.  Each little step is part of a bigger journey and it works best when you don’t have too many different agendas and personalities involved.  You need to make a threshold decision to win online, create a roadmap and then get to work.

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Here is a screenshot from an actual report we provided to a client today.  In June of ’15 they fired their AdWords Agency and their “SEO guy” and they turned over all of the social/digital efforts to us.  We handle content creation and strategic distribution through social, email, retargeting and social advertising and we actually paused AdWords efforts (other than a minor spend on their brand name). Not that AdWords don’t work (they do) but because they just weren’t right for them, at least for now.  We worked hard to generate website traffic (check out their sessions) and then convert that traffic through a smart and streamlined follow up strategy, employing all of the tools at our disposal.

The results: we doubled monthly revenue, from $60,000 to $127,000.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

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Start Getting Serious About Social Media, Or Lose.

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It is mind boggling to me how some brands and businesses are still debating whether or not they need a social strategy.  I hear things like “it doesn’t apply to my industry,” or “it doesn’t sell product or create revenue,” or “my client base doesn’t use this network or that,” etc. People…you are over thinking it. If you have set out to be in business, then you need to define your goals as a company and then layer in a social strategy that is consistent with them…This is fact, not fiction.

Social media is the internet and the various social networks are just a part of the ecosystem.  Look around; are people using computers, tablets and smartphones everywhere you look?  Trust me, you will be interacted with online and to not have a real, make sense strategy in place is detrimental to your business.  Stop the insanity.

Social media helps with branding, partnerships,  improved search rankings, lower marketing costs, better customer service and generating qualified leads and sales. These are just some baseline reasons, as to why you need a social presence and social minded strategy coming from the very top.  It is mission critical to stay the course on your social efforts if you ever plan to reap the benefits listed above.  It does not come over night. It requires time, energy and effort.  It is an undying commitment to be a good company and a provider of positive interactions.  If you are genuine in this approach people will take to it and they will buy.  Marketing costs will go down, sales will go up and your economic model will benefit greatly. Faking it will lead to clean up work, customer service issues and will be counter-productive to your company’s goals.

Each week you need to drive the message and focus on all of the benefits listed. It is not a marketing campaign that you run for 2 weeks and then review ROI’s and KPI’s on a spreadsheet.  Some success will be measured by gut, while some will be in responsiveness.  Some will change on a dime based on pivots in your industry or your business.  You need to define what is important to you (aesthetic? service? troubleshooting? interaction?) and then execute a plan that is consistent with any and all of those.

It is a living and breathing thing and will develop with your brand.  It is not a silver bullet, it is a suit of armor that will allow you to be strong and win online. This social media plan must be planted, and then you must nurture it and let it grow. Then you will be the beneficiary of a business built to last.

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Should You Have A Blog?

Why-Blog

If you own a business and you wish to sell a service or product then the answer is yes.  In order to be found on search engines and have some sort of hook to bring prospects to your site and/or stick around for awhile, a blog is a must have component of your online strategy.

Blogs can be daunting as many people are not great writers and most feel that they don’t really have anything compelling to say.  A blog (web-log) that captures content and makes it available for consumption is a very straightforward proposition.  We believe it is basically just a receptacle for anything OTHER THAN the product or service you want to sell.  You should have static pages on your website (which should be updated from time to time too) but you then need a more dynamic component where you continuously add new content.

You don’t need to be Shakespeare by any means.  You just need to commit to the cause and continue to write things about your business, your brand and perhaps just trends in your industry.  Keep the content short and to the point, but stick to the program and remain committed to consistency above all else.  Adopt a website first philosophy and always ask yourself “how,when and where can I run that piece of content through my domain” and then execute.

Use social and other channels to distribute the blog content and even target people with Facebook Ads who would be specifically interested in a point of view on a specific topic. This is where Facebook’s excellent targeting capabilities can pay real dividends.

Click the video for a little deeper insight:

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Digital Deep Dive

01-smSocial media is just a new term for the internet and social networks are just a part of the ecosystem. Businesses need to be thinking more holistically if they want to win online.  We advise clients to take a real deep look into their different digital initiatives: web, email, search, content etc. and make sure that all of these are setup correctly and that they have a real strategy in place before moving forward with vendors or tactics that they hope will be successful

Decided on DDDSocial, content and search are the ingredients to be seen, shared and transacted with online.  In order to tackle those three correctly you need to really look under the hood, assess and then get to work to make sure the funnel is set up the right way. Without this mission critical first step, most will waste time and money on things that are set to fail from the start. We decided to create The Digital Deep Dive Product to help our clients, and to ensure they don’t make that mistake. <—Click the image and learn more.

 

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Social Media- Beyond Fans and Followers

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I think one thing that sets our agency apart from the others is that I’m a salesman first and foremost.  Because of this, my wiring is to build businesses, generate revenue and close sales.  I’m not a creative who decided to open an agency and I’m not a PR person reinventing himself in social.  I am a business builder who is looking for ways to add revenue to the bottom line and grow.   This is an important distinction because I think most business owners still think social media is important, but does not generate dollars and this just isn’t true. Every day I get up, come into the office and get to work to prove the doubters wrong and to help my clients win online.

Social media has evolved over the last few years and it’s moved away from fans and followers and more towards a holistic digital approach. This has been our take on social from day one which I think gives us a leg up and helps us get ahead.  Helping clients understand this is usually the hardest part, because some even say that they hired us because they feel competitor pressure to get in the game, but they are fully expecting that it doesn’t lead to sales.  Not only does it directly generate revenue, it also helps them convert sales in other, less tangible areas too.

When we work with clients, we look at their website, content, emails, promotions, search and social as all being part of an ecosystem.  We then develop strategies that help our clients navigate that ecosystem the right way.   Some of our greatest success stories are felt behind the scenes in sales, web traffic and email captures and often less so in fan growth or retweets.  This wider view on social is mission critical if you want to truly succeed.

When we start with clients we go deep and we reverse engineer a plan based on their main objectives.  Now they usually have many, so we have to create a balanced approach to social media.  That being said we always recommend that they get their house in order first.  Some have Google Analytics, but never check them or worse don’t even know how to.  Some capture email addresses, but don’t send out emails.  Some post on social networks, but never respond when people speak to them on those channels.   Things are just a mess.

The truth is that social media is just a new term for the internet.  Social networks are just some of the tools you use to navigate today’s web, but not the only ones.  You really need to have a wider view on social media, and somebody at the helm who can drive the ship and keep you on track.  I touched on this in a piece I wrote for Forbes a few months back and I live it every day. Managing a brand’s social media is a full time position (or multiple full time positions) and needs to be integrated into your bigger digital strategy.

As retail continues to struggle and more and more consumers turn to the web and mobile, you need to make sure your thinking and your approach are in order.   Your web traffic, fans, followers, emails, prospects and of course your customers, are all opportunities to tell your story and grow your business. Be wise, or you are planning your demise…

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Pinterest- How To Infographic

Pinterest-Infographic-How-to-Get-More-Followers-on-Pinterest

Pinterest seems to sometimes be the forgotten social network. I think it is understood the least and a bit more abstract than others. As a result most brands don’t leverage it the right way and fail to glean real results.

This Infographic from CreativeLive takes a deep look into best practices for Pinterest and I think provides a really simple and solid road map towards building a powerful profile on the platform.  Give it a read and then implement right away.

 

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Mickey Lynn Trunk Show

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Here at Sircle Media, we do more than just manage our clients’ social media accounts. We’re willing to do anything we can to help them out.

Last Thursday, July 23rd, we had a trunk show for our client Mickey Lynn Jewelry. Our President and Founder Adam Brown had the idea for the client to help them sell some extra inventory they were sitting on, while also gaining social followers and coveted prospect emails.  ”This was just a make sense way to use their extra product to help them further other marketing initiatives” said Brown.  He and his team worked hard to hype it by creating Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts to promote the event, as well as making flyers, and hand delivered invitations to a curated list of WeWork members.

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The event was a huge success, with about 75 people showing up to check out the beautiful, handmade jewelry pieces and 39 unique purchases. There were different styles of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets available for purchase–some were even up to 80% off.  Some of the people at the trunk show were even seen FaceTiming friends to show off some of the pieces that were on display. To top off this event, there was even a necklace giveaway to one lucky attendee. The tradeoff was a simple email entry, which brought new eyeballs and targets to the client for future marketing purposes.

We love being able to do things like this for our clients and going that extra mile really pays off. Social media is just a new term for the internet and it is mission critical to find unique ways to think and advance your online agenda. Stay tuned in to our blog and social media platforms, for more events and unique strategies coming soon.
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