Category: Blog.

Engage in more meaningful conversations

The back and forth between a business and customer on social media can sometimes feel like the old school method of passing notes in a classroom. Do you like our new spring clothing line? Check yes or no. If you like it, please share it with Susie in the next row. Of course, it’s important to get likes and shares on social media, but savvy business owners might want to seek something more than a classroom crush.

To build a lasting relationship with a customer you need to engage in more meaningful conversations. In dating terms, you need to put a ring on it. Take the time to engage with your audience on social media. Pay attention to what they need, when they need it, and why.

Here are a few tips to move your social media engagement to the next level:

Create polls to obtain information from customers
Rank their favorite product.
Rank the various ways they use the product.
Vote for the time of day/year they use the product most.
Rank why they use the product – give three options and an open comment box.

Run contests to learn how customers interact with your product

and provide a discount or valuable item to the winner.
Most creative or best photo/video of customers using the product.
The best success story of how a service helped them.
Most loyal or longest-standing customer.

Research your ambassadors

All businesses will have loyal customers who consistently like, share, and comment on your platforms. So, thank them for sharing, give them a head’s up on sales and offer advice on making the most of the product. Then, take a few minutes to look at their personal pages to get more of a feel for their lifestyle, needs, and friends.

Be responsive

If someone sends a message or posts a comment, respond as fast as possible. Because many customers view social media the same as an in-person encounter, treat social interactions in the same way.

Ask questions

Pose open-ended questions about your product or service on social accounts. What do you like best about our business? What do we not offer that you would use?

These tips will have you well on your way to walking down the social aisle with customers. Still, you should be ready for those members of the congregation who just can’t seem to hold their peace. View negative comments as opportunities rather than irritants to be ignored. Everyone sees the negative comments and a lot may ride on how and if you choose to react.

Steps to keep the peace:

1. Thank them for the comment, acknowledge the issue, and apologize.
2. Ask what you can do to make it right.
3. Offer what you can to make it right, plus a little extra.
4. If you cannot make it right, tell them how you will work to make it better in the future.

However, there may be cases when a courteous approach isn’t effective. For those situations, a general statement acknowledging the issue and an offer to resolve it offline with an email or phone call may be a good compromise.

Finally, like any relationship, staying engaged takes time and effort and a willingness to learn from the good and bad comments.

When businesses create a social media page, they may believe the hard part is over. Actually, it is just beginning. Once a social media page is created, the real work of increasing social media engagement begins.

Use Images
One thing we have learned over and over again at Poole Communications is that social media users like images. A post containing a photo or image will be seen by more users than one that does not. Post a video to your Facebook or Twitter page, and you may be surprised to see how many more people respond to your post. We are becoming a visual society. A picture or video is always more likely to catch the eye than just a text. Free picture sharing sites such as Pixabay and Pexels make it easy to find stock photos to make your posts appealing to the eye.

Live Video
Live video is another way to rapidly increase social media engagement. We would strongly caution businesses to be prepared when doing live video though. Once you say something “live” it is out there, and there is no taking it back. Live video definitely has its advantages though; it gives you an instantaneous connection to your social media followers. You can answer their questions and engage with them. Special events, a product unveiling, or a new food item are all reasons to try a live video. The effects may be far reaching and last longer than just the minute or two your video goes live.

Get Personal
Another way of increasing social media engagement is to personalize your business page. Give a virtual tour of your office. Introduce your employees using their pictures a short description of their educational background and job duties. Celebrate work anniversaries with a post. Introduce a new product by having an employee showing its uses in a video. Social media is about being “social.” People do still want to feel connected to other people. Introducing your staff adds a personal touch to your social media pages. We have learned from our own experience it also leads to much higher engagement.

Remember Reviews
Reviews are another way to see your engagement improve on your social media pages. Ask past customers to share their opinions. Invite them to review your business and their experience. This will allow potential customers to learn more about you through the experience of others.

Ask Questions
We have seen an increase of engagement on company pages when a product or gift card is given away. Who doesn’t like free things? If there is information you want to elicit from your social media followers, think about a question that is pertinent to your business when you conduct the giveaway. For example, a restaurant may ask followers what their favorite dish is. This helps them to see what is popular and what new dishes they may want to introduce. While your engagement increases, so will your knowledge base.

Don’t forget there is also power in likes and comments. To see engagement increase, businesses must be involved. Like comments made on your page. Comment back to a potential customer when they ask a question about a product. This is vital to keeping up your engagement and increasing your brand awareness.

As a business owner, it seems like media love from any platform comes with a price tag.

If only you could become the media’s valentine. Wouldn’t it be nice if they pursued you for something other than a monthly advertising invoice? Or maybe you have dreamed of a reporter showing up at your storefront with a bouquet of free air time to spotlight your business.

Be Prepared
That dream date can happen if you are prepared with the right content at the right time. Content is the heart of every story, blog, and social media post. Reporters need quick access to experts, facts, statistics, trends, and testimonials to tell stories that are meaningful to audiences.

Your expertise, industry knowledge and experience could be the perfect match for a reporter on any given day, but you have to get in the dating game to start building the relationship.

Here are a few ways to get your business noticed by the media:

Create an expert profile

Example:
Amy Smith, owner, Smith Heating and Air Conditioning (Phone, email, web, social contacts)
Ten year’s experience in residential and industrial HVAC systems
Expert in electrical safety, home energy efficiency and indoor air quality

Connect with local journalists

Identify a few journalists in your area who report on topics related to your industry and send them your expert profile through multiple channels. (Social media, email, hand-written note, phone call)

Create content

Use facts and figures about your business and create brief, but meaningful tip sheets or infographics. Focus on ways to help the public save time or money, prepare for the future or avoid a crisis as it relates to your product or service. Periodically share your tips with media contacts. Use social hashtags and tag reporters. Example: 3 Ways to Save Money on Energy Costs #energysavings @nbcreporter

Look for trends and national stories

Find out what is trending on Twitter, look at what others are talking about in your own social media feeds and track stories in the national news. Connect your expertise with those topics and ask the media to consider you for an interview to share how the topic may impact your community, customers or industry.

Be ready and responsive

Journalists have very tight timelines. If a reporter calls for an interview, that interview may need to take place on the spot, or scheduled in one to two hours. If you ask for time to prepare, you may miss your opportunity. By having topics and tips ready you can quickly accept the request. Reporters will remember your responsiveness and likely reach out to you again, which will help build your reputation as a thought-leader in the industry.

It Takes Time
It takes time and effort to get noticed by the media or build media love, but creating connections and content could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship with no price tags attached.

When your new company is created, there should be a strong emphasis on business
cards. Business cards are a tool to let others know what your company is about and what it
provides. A plain white business card does not portray the mission or creativity of
a person or a business. Your cards should help make you stand out and be easily
recognizable. Bright colors, a distinctive logo, and an easy to read font will make
your card stand out from the rest.

Be Creative
Business cards do not have to be boring. They should not look like everyone
else’s. Think about ordering square or round cards instead of rectangular cards.
Use the front and back of your card to share your mission. If you are an eco-
friendly business, buy business cards made from recycled paper. There are so
many ways to make that card work for you!

It Works
Business card marketing is a real thing. It’s effective, and it does lead to new
customers and new leads.

Here are some suggestions for using your business cards to maximize your customer base:

• Post your cards on community bulletin boards. Restaurants, libraries, community
centers, churches, gyms, and stores often have bulletin boards. All you have to
do ask to post your card.

• Think about the waiting rooms in your area and leave cards for those waiting for
appointments. Doctor’s offices, hospitals, salons, auto shops, restaurants, and
government buildings all have waiting areas.

• If you want to expand your reach, consider asking local hotels if you can leave
business cards at their check in counter.

• Ask if you can leave your cards at your local Chamber of Commerce office or
your local Tourism Office.

• Use your business cards as a direct mailer. Target your audience and send out
your cards with a note to potential customers and clients.

• Send out cards with every item you ship or every promotional item you produce
for a customer.

• Hand out business cards at local events or at networking opportunities.

• Create a photo or video of your business card and upload it to all of your social
media pages.

Books are better.

“Books are better than television, the internet, or the computer for educating and maintaining freedom. Books matter because they state ideas and then attempt to thoroughly prove them. They have an advantage precisely because they slow down the process, allowing the reader to internalize, respond, react and transform. The ideas in books matter because time is taken to establish truth, and because the reader must take the time to consider each idea and either accept it or, if he rejects it, to think through sound reasons for doing so. A nation of people who write and read is a nation with the attention span to earn an education and free society if they choose.”
― Oliver DeMille

When you were a child and drew a picture on a piece of paper, did you feel the need to fill up the entire page? Were you told it was wasteful to leave empty space? That belief may have been okay then, but it might not be a good idea for your marketing materials now. Fewer words or less design means higher impact for the words you do use. You don’t have a lot of time to catch someone’s attention and too many words will get lost. Only the main words will be read anyway, so don’t clutter your materials with information that won’t be read. Using fewer words will help you stick to the main point. Keep it simple.

It’s time to take a close hard look at your voice mail system. If you don’t have one – don’t worry. I think you’re actually in better shape than most companies with a voicemail system! How many times have you tried to call a business and got stuck in Voicemail Purgatory? Last week I called a local station that I call frequently. I have a new sales rep and could not get to him. The phone system was overloaded with calls and asked me to type in his last name. I had no idea how to spell his last name. I needed something right away and this was aggravating – and I know their system! Think of how a new customer would have felt dealing with this same issue.

This week call your own office and listen carefully. I’m sure there’s something you can do to make your voice mail system work better. Your customers should be able to reach you quickly and easily. Don’t ask them to go to a menu or type in your last name or call another phone number. It’s dumb. It stops you from making a sale and is poor customer service. Rethink your voicemail system and seriously consider a warm live voice instead of a machine.

Here are few ideas that will help you build a better business with reliable, happy customers.

Getting Started
  • Research your competition
  • Start a file of ads and promotions you like
  • Set goals of where you want to be
  • How much money do you want to earn?
  • Exactly what do you want to accomplish?
  • WRITE IT ALL DOWN!
What’s Different About You?
  • Target your market regionally and by demographics
  • Write a short, honest, memorable positioning statement
  • What is different about you?
  • What benefits your customers most?
  • Fine tune your image
    Consistent logo and type used
    Refine personal image
    Your office projects your image
Start Promoting
  • Speak Up – become a local authority for your specialty
  • Volunteer with complimentary causes
  • Write a column or articles
  • Send press releases and news releases to ALL media
  • Cross promote with other businesses whenever possible
  • Don’t overlook bartering and networking
  • Use community bulletin boards: radio and TV
Keeping Your Customers
  • Build your own database with ACT or Outlook – ask permission!
  • Maintain contact with your own holiday cards, articles, gifts
  • Ask customers to refer you or provide you with references
  • Ask customers how you can improve service
  • Listen to your customer carefully – what is working?
  • Give the best incentives to long-term customers
  • Build your own web site
  • Start an e-zine, e-mail contact maintained with permission
FREE Not Easy
  • Work harder, work smarter than your competition
  • Provide more to your customer – always say “thank you”
  • Keep it simple! Give your promotions time to work
  • Keep your focus and be consistent
  • Ask what you can do to help yourself most – every day

When you get to the point that you don’t have time to do your own marketing, give Poole Advertising a call at 1-800-900-3635. Let us come up with some unique ideas for your business.

Give us a call at 1-800-900-3635 today and start building your business, visibility and profit.