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Why “Thank You” Matters

A few months ago I created a Facebook page for my business. Not wanting to treat it the same way I had seen others do (where they receive “likes” by sending out requests to all of their friends from their personal profiles via the Facebook auto invite tool), instead, I added content I thought was interesting and tried following other businesses who seemed to have similar interests. I had limited success.

I also tested the efficacy of Facebook ads to promote my business page (but that’s another story).

On my personal profile page, I did post a request to my friends asking them to “like” Ideations on Facebook, which many were happy to do, but in terms of sending out an automated request, I just felt like if people really liked my business, then they would  “like” it when the time was right.

Two days ago, I decided to try something else.

Going through my friends list, I actually “invited” a select number of people (not all of my “friends), to “like” my page through auto invite. And you know what? So far, over 20 people have gone there and “liked” it!

But, here’s the thing.

If I were to just stop there, then who I say I am and what I say I do when it comes to helping businesses improve their online engagement would be completely inauthentic. If I didn’t take the time to personally thank each person for taking the time to help me, then why would you believe me when I told you I knew how to help you better connect with your customers and your community?

So, as each “like” rolled in, I would think about who that person was to me, what our relationship was like and how much I appreciated them. Leaving a comment on their profiles written in the exact same way it would sound if we were face-to-face in real life was what I did.

It may not seem like a big deal to most people and I’m sure many will say they don’t have time to do this with their own social media plaftorms because they’re too busy or they don’t know what to say to people when it comes to communicating online. For me, though, there really is ZERO difference.

What you see from me (or read) is almost 100% what you’ll get in real life. I say “almost” because real life lacks the “backspace” key I kind find so very useful when my heart or head aren’t always in sync. 😉
And the reason I mention this is because the most important part of being helpful to others is acknowledging them when they’ve been helpful to you.

So, take a few minutes and think about the people who have helped you. Send them a quick, “thank you!” and let them know you appreciate them. I can’t promise it will immediately add to your bottom line (that’s not the reason to be thanking them), but I can guarantee it won’t hurt it, either.

Photo Collage, People, Devices, Digital Marketing, Customer Engagement

5 Easy Ways To Connect With Customers

With the advent of digital channels, customers now lead the sales process. Consumers are more empowered than ever when deciding which companies to connect with and give their time and money to.

Bhagvashree Pancholy writes, “LinkedIn statistics reveal that 78% of social sellers outsell peers who do not use social media. 51% of social sellers are more likely to reach their quota and 45% of them create more opportunities than their peers.

Learning how to connect with customers in an efficient and cost-effective way is something businesses can no longer ignore.

Yet, many companies, especially larger organizations who are still learning about social selling in the digital era, find they come up short with their content marketing and online interactions.

Connecting with customers doesn’t have to be so difficult.

When I work with clients on their digital strategy, one of the first things I do is run through what I call the “5 L’s”.

  • Learn
  • Listen
  • Look
  • “Like”
  • Leave (Authentic Comments)

How do you put the five “L’s” into practice? Read on, my friend, and I’ll tell you.

 


LEARN WHAT THEY LIKE


 

How can you learn what your customers like? Research, research, research! Do a bit of digging. Is there something your ideal customers seem to gravitate towards or respond to?

Are there always certain posts that they seem to “like”? What are they?

Analyze the style, theme and product to see where what they “like” overlaps with what you offer.

It’s an effective way of removing your own business blinders and product bias. It also helps you spot new ways to connect with customers.

 


LISTEN TO WHAT THEY SAY


 

If you want to connect with your customers, you need to listen to what they say. This may sound obvious, but I’m not talking about the comments they leave on your businesses social media platforms.

When I advise you to listen, I mean that you need to take the time to really hear a few things.

  • How do they communicate? Do they use emoticons, abbreviations and acronyms?
  • Do you share the same content language or are they non-native speakers?
  • What is the context of their communication?
  • What time zone and location are they commenting from?
  • Do you have a previous history with them?

These are just a few of the questions you can quickly run through before crafting your response to them. If you take the time to learn a bit about who they are, your chances of creating a connection that leads to a conversion increases.

As Maggie Fox, senior vice president with SAP notes, “At the core of this whole initiative is a culture change, to think of the individual customer in a different way. To produce content that is going to help somebody from their journey, not trying to push a journey that we have in mind for them.”

Obviously, you can’t know everything about your customer but there is no reason why you can’t take the time to find out. Even a quick look at their profile or timeline can give you information from which to operate.

Once you do this, you’re equipped with a deeper level of understanding that increases your ability to listen and hear people.

That’s when real connection begins.

 


LOOK AT WHO THEY FOLLOW


 

What can looking at who your customers follow on social media do to help you connect with them? It can give you a look at the people they choose to spend their time with. You can see who has been allowed access to your customer’s time and attention.

Doing this is key in applying creative and strategic ways to reach them with your service or product.

It’s been said that we’re like the people we spend the most time with. That counts for online interactions, too. Looking at who your customers follow can give you a deeper understanding of who they are.

From there, you will have a better chance of connecting with them because you’re more aware of who they follow.

 


“LIKE” THEIR UPDATES


 

If you want to connect with your customers then you have to do more then just return their “follow”. That means taking the time to quickly scan their feed or timeline after they’ve initiated a connection with you.

 

If someone comments on your Twitter account, for example, it’s a great idea to quickly click on their profile, scan their Twitter stream and “like” or re-tweet one of their posts.

“Liking” their posts and status updates shows that you’re willing to give them some of your time and attention. The idea behind this is that when it comes time for you to broadcast a message to them, they’ll be more inclined to listen because you created the beginning stages of connection.

According to Stuart Lauchlan, “Gaining a deeper, behavior-based understanding of customers allows marketers to be smarter in creating next steps along the customer journey.

As in any good relationship, which, these days, all businesses need to create with their customers, connecting requires a give and take approach.

You may not think of customers in the same way you would your other business or personal relationships, but I’d challenge you to reconsider what being social on social media is.

If the idea of connecting in this way seems overwhelming or too time consuming, take baby steps. Start with a simple “like”. You’ll be surprised at how well this works.

 


LEAVE AUTHENTIC COMMENTS


 

Connection with customers happens when you set the intention to communicate authentically. What this means when it comes to leaving comments on your customer’s social media platforms is that whatever you write has got to come from the heart.

This is why it’s so important to make sure the people in charge of your digital marketing and social media efforts have people skills and are naturally empathetic.If you don’t mean what you say and are simply commenting to give the appearance of being engaged with a customer, it will show. Maybe not right away, but at some point, people will catch on that you’ve either outsourced your marketing or have taken the lazy way out with auto-responders or tied the hands of your communications team to limited, pre-programmed responses.

Customers can spot insincerity.

They can tell when you’re acting like a robot or when you’re connecting with them like a real, live, human being. It’s the real, the human, and the authentic that creates the connection.

What about you? How do you create connections with your customers online? Leave a comment below, share this with others or message me to get the conversation started. It’s the best way for us to learn from each other, don’t you think?

 

Career Development, Personal Branding, Thought Leadership

Social Selling

Can you be “social” and “sell” what you do at the same time?

That’s a question I’ve thought long and hard about the last ten years. I’m not going to go into the merits of social media as a tool to promote business (it’s really effective) and I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons of “selling” to people under the guise of online relationships (which are so important to create).

Instead, I’m going to ask if being active on social media, if being purposeful in my communications about who I am, what I do and how that helps others, is something that can lead to direct sales.

So far, the answer is, “no”.

My biggest client contract (and my first six figure paycheck) came from not focusing on selling what I do and only because of who I am and how my client thought that could help others.

Two years later, I can still say that I have not realized any direct sales from being social.

Maybe that’s because it’s hard to package “better ideas for better results” into a downloadable opt-in that’s tied to a lead generating plan. Or maybe it’s because when people work with me and I work with them, we’re not focusing on selling or being social.

We’re just working together to solve the problem at hand.

That our connection came about because we discovered each other online has more to do with serendipity and like minds than it does about effective use of social platforms and selling strategies.

Which, if you ask me, is exactly the way I like it.

Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Print Media, Publishing

Journey or Destination?

team building, leadership

Content Marketing. We’ve been bombarded with information on what this is, why we need to do it and how best to create content that works.

What we haven’t done, though, is talk about how content marketing – when done right – takes us back to a time when the world wasn’t moving at the speed of light. When people did business based upon relationship and when relationships were built over a period of time.

Adam Franklin, partner with Toby Jenkins in the Australian web marketing agency, Bluewire Media, thinks a bit differently and has the success stories to back it up. He says when it comes to content marketing the key point to remember is to, “help people solve their problems and gradually take them on a journey to doing business with you if they’re the right fit.”

As you do this, you take people with you on the path towards creating trust. Trust eventually leads to people becoming customers. The “gradually” is what stands out to me. Time and again, when Adam speaks about marketing in the information age, he refers to what I would consider old-fashioned values.

When thinking about Adam’s description of “journey”, I like the idea of it being something that takes time.

In today’s world, marketing has changed. The entire speed of life is such that as Adam says, “the goalposts” are constantly moving. As marketers, it can be hard to keep focused on the journey a customer takes to find, and then decide, to interact with you. With a focus on always moving forward or finding ways to capture attention, we can make the mistake of focusing on the destination we want our customers to take and not their journey toward relationship with our business.

If looking at content marketing as part of a journey instead of a new gimmick is something that appeals to you, you can listen to the rest of Adam’s thoughts here.

In the meantime, what do you think? Have you found a way to create content that takes people on a journey rather than focuses solely on the destination you want them to arrive at? Are the two mutually exclusive or do you think, if you shift your approach a bit, they can actually compliment each other? I’d love to hear your thoughts.