Archive for the ‘Social Networking’ Category

How to Use Facebook to Improve Your Customer Support

Customer support is becoming increasingly important as consumers demand better and better service. Where once, it was okay to reply back within a few days, the gap has now narrowed to within a few hours, or the consumer will most likely become frustrated, or look for a similar product elsewhere. Consumers want information, and they want it quickly, so they can move on with their purchase, which is beneficial to you because it means you can sell more, more quickly. Local Seattle customers flock to social media to ask questions about products, about sizing and fit, in store availability, and much more. In fact, in one study by Oracle, 43% of consumers would rather reach out through social media, rather than emailing, calling, or using an on-site chat box.

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Social media allows you to interact with your consumers quickly, efficiently, and for nothing more than the cost of your time or that of your social media manager. The following tips from local Seattle social media company Rory Martin will help you to get started.

Respond Quickly

Most Facebook users contact companies on Facebook for a quick response, and in fact, the company now supports this feature. If you respond to most messages within 3 minutes during online hours, you get a badge that consumers will see. While this might be a lot of pressure, it is a great tactic for improving consumer relations. How can you keep up? Either have someone dedicated to handling chats, or integrate Facebook into your CRM so you can easily see chats while ringing up sales, or managing your warehouse.

Make Sure Someone Knowledgeable is In Charge

One of the worst things you can do to your customer service is put just anyone in charge. Great customer service means the respondent has to be highly familiar with your products, services, policies, and offerings. If something isn’t right, they have to know it, and they have to be able to answer key questions like “Do you have this in blue”.

Acknowledge Feedback

Whether good or bad, you should be responding and within a few hours to most feedback left on your page. Take a moment to say thank you to those who rave about you, and offer to help fix the issue if someone left negative feedback. If someone has a problem with an order, fix it, and do so publicly.

Be Professional

Professionalism is key to any successful customer service, and social media is no different. Maintain your professional image, stick to branding decisions, and treat every chat like the user is going to take screenshots and post them publicly, because they very well may.

Be Transparent

If you’re having issues, let customers know. Social Media is a great way to get the word out quickly, can help you to allay any problems, and will reduce the demand on your technical support as well.

Make Time

It is crucial that you have the time to quickly respond to and help anyone contacting you over social media. This means setting aside a certain amount of time to respond to people, checking your messages whenever you have a break, and seeing it as an important responsibility.

If you don’t have the time, and don’t have the budget to bring in a full time social media manager, consider outsourcing. Local Seattle social media management company Rory Martin can help. Contact us to ask for a free quote, or to learn more about our social media services.

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Does Social Media Marketing Work for B2B? – Seattle Business Tips

Social media is a powerful marketing tool that most of us are familiar with for marketing to customers, especially in fashion niches, but does it work for B2B companies? Marketing to other businesses can be tough, especially with the dropping success rates of banner and text ads. Social media can be a great, and affordable way to reach other businesses, but only if you use it correctly. These tips from the experts local Seattle social media company Rory Martin will help get you started.

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Use the Right Platforms

Every user demographic has their own platforms, and some platforms have more demographics than others. If you’re a B2B company, you have to choose your social media platforms carefully. For example, any business on Snapchat is marketing to customers, and they don’t really want to be marketed to. On the other hand, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Pages are all great for marketing to other businesses, because not only do people look for business services there, they can see reviews, go through customer opinions, and see your location and business niche very easily.

Drive Opt Ins

Social media platforms can be extremely valuable, but an opt in list that gets business owners to sign up for your newsletter or a free course is even more valuable. Make sure you understand your target demographic, and then use Facebook’s Call to Action Button to create a signup, and add one on your website as well. This can create a valuable list of people who are actually interested in your content.

Market on Your Social Media

If you’re just sharing funny photos and helpful posts, you’ll probably build up followers. This is great, and it’s a great tactic to keep up. But you also want about 1 in 5 or 1 in 10 of your posts to be promotional. This means telling consumers directly about your content, featuring your existing customers, or otherwise highlighting your services. Offering coupons and sales is also great, but don’t do this too often, or users won’t be tempted to buy, because they know there’s another sale right around the corner.

Reach Local Businesses with B2B Events

Facebook events are a great way to get local Seattle businesses involved, because you can create an event, invite your existing customers, and then have them help you spread the word. What should your event be about? It does depend on your exact B2B niche, but education, product demonstrations, a networking party, or even an online webcast (so long as it’s valuable to your potential clients) can net a great response. Just make sure you put some marketing effort into it, and contact local neighborhood magazines to make sure that people show up.

Share Business Culture

Small to medium businesses are run by people, and like regular shoppers, they want to identify with the businesses they work with. Sharing your business culture, showing your ideals, and even photos of your office and products is a great way to boost trust in your business right on social media.

Want more help with your social media marketing? Whether you’re B2B, B2C, or even C2C, Rory Martin, a local Seattle social media company is here to help. Contact us for more information, or a quote. It’s on us.

How Reviews Benefit Your SEO & Your Social Media Marketing – Seattle Marketing Tips

Building your digital marketing strategy usually requires working in a great deal of different marketing techniques, and SEO and social media marketing are both very complementary to each other. While you probably already know that, one strategy affects both, as well as conversion and sales, and could be one of the most important strategies for companies with products to sell. That strategy? Reviews.

Whether you’re hiring a Seattle social media company to drive traffic and leads, or doing it yourself, your reviews greatly affect every part of your online marketing efforts, which makes them incredibly important.

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How Reviews Affect Search

If you have a quality SEO company, then they’ve probably already put you on Google Local, and have likely started generating review strategies for your Google Plus and for your Facebook page. When users search for businesses in a specific location (I.E. Digital Marketing Company Seattle, Washington) on Facebook or on Google, they get back local search results based on businesses that have put their locations into the database. Here’s the important part. Your customer reviews show up in live search. If you have good reviews, this can greatly increase your conversion rate, because you automatically look more trustworthy.

How Reviews Affect Social Media

You probably already have some idea that reviews affect your social media. Social justification, or visible support for the brand, makes consumers much more likely to purchase, even if they’ve never heard of your brand before. For example, Amazon made more than $1 billion after introducing the “Was this review helpful” button, because users felt that individual reviews were that much more powerful. Pages with more reviews show up as more authoritative and more trustworthy, because users like popular opinion. Whether these reviews are on products, the entire business, or services doesn’t really matter.

How to Generate Reviews

The most important part of using reviews as part of your local Seattle social media or SEO strategies is that you shouldn’t use fake reviews. High quality reviews, from people who have actually used the product or service, are much better than any amount of fake, glowing reviews. If you’re on a social platform like Google or Facebook, the fake reviews can be removed, your account can be suspended, and you lose trust with your buyers if they catch you. Instead, using techniques like following up on an order with an email asking for a review, offering incentives in exchange for a review, using a slip or form in the package to remind users to review, or asking people in person is the best way to go. No, not all of your reviews will be glowing, but in an age where consumers know about fake reviews, it’s actually better for sales to have a small amount of negative reviews than to have all 5 star reviews. So, real reviews actually benefit you more than fake ones, even if they’re 3 or 4 star instead of 5.

Do you want to learn more about tactics for boosting your leads or sales? Talk to Rory Martin, a local Seattle social media company, and ask for your quote, or a consultation.

Using Social Media for Holiday Marketing – Seattle Social Media Tips

Your social media accounts are a valuable marketing resource, whether you usually use them for it or not, and with the holidays coming up, are more important than ever for ensuring that you make sales and profit from your online marketing efforts. If your Seattle business is in needof promotion for the holidays, social media is a great place to start. The following tips from local Seattle social media management company, Rory Martin, should get you started.

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Have a Plan

Decide what you want to sell, how much you want to sell, and how you’re going to do it. This step can be extremely difficult without a professional social media manager to help, but you can start by deciding on goals, and then figure out how to get there.

Stop Marketing, Start Engaging

The biggest barrier to making sales through any social media platform is that no one is there to see advertisements. No one wants to see a photo of your product, see a link to your product, or even hear about your product. They are quite literally there to be entertained. Unless it’s Christmas Eve and all of the other stores are closed and you have a gift that you can get out to them in time, you shouldn’t be pushing products or services at all. At least three of every four posts, or better yet, four of every five, posts should be there for no other reason than to engage with your consumers. Make sure you’re replying back, answering questions, and being interested in your consumers as well. Then, when you post a link to your blog with the top five best gifts for her for Christmas, or a coupon for 20% off of your item, people will click on it and see why your product is so great.
Tip: People don’t respond to a constant barrage of self promotion.

Use Social Media for Customer Service

Customer service is a huge issue, especially in today’s service society. With studies showing that many millennials now expect a reply back from social media when they ask a question within 5 minutes, you can see how social media is not only valuable, it’s crucial. People will send you questions, ask for information, and use social media to try to make a decision regarding purchasing your product, whether as a gift, or for themselves. If you sell clothing, this will mostly revolve around fit, if you sell electronics, you’ll probably get questions surrounding compatibility, quality, delivery times, etc. Make sure that you’re capable of answering quickly, and that someone who knows the answers is in charge.
Tip: Install social media apps on your phone and reply to questions as they pop up. If you’re working from a computer, consider a chat aggregator like Digsby, Adium, Meep, or TruTap to aggregate all of your chats into the same place, so that it’s easier and faster to respond. Some social media management apps like HootSuite also integrate chat so you can save time.

Get Specific

People want to feel special, especially around the holidays. If you’re just marketing to all of your customers as a group, you’re using social media wrong. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to market to specific areas, specific types of people, and even languages. On Facebook, you can show promoted posts to specific people, so you can share language specific holiday messages. You can market gifts for her to men who are in a relationship, use that to target customers who are most likely to buy your product, and to customize ads for the receiving demographic.
Social media marketing isn’t rocket science, but it is complex, time consuming, and can take a lot of trial and error to get right. Your main goal is to engage with your consumers so that they see your brand as a person, to post native content on your pages, and to offer high quality customer service. Through that, you can make sales, increase your brand reach, and use incentives to turn leads into sales.
If you need help, contact Rory Martin, a local Seattle social media management company, for a free quote or a consultation.

Does Social Automation Work? – Seattle Social Media Marketing Tips

Does Social Automation Work? – Seattle Social Media Marketing Tips

Social automation is incredibly popular, especially for businesses, and on pages where posts have to go up frequently and regularly. Automation is the process of scheduling posts for as far into the future as you want, so that you can schedule everything at once and then sit back and wait for engagement. While there are pros and cons, Seattle social media marketing specialists have a lot to say on the subject, and not everything is negative.

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Automation Suits Some Platforms Better than Others

One thing to consider is that some platforms work considerably better with automation than others do. For example, Facebook pages are often fine on their own with just automated and scheduled posts. However, real time posts always perform the best because you are live, talking about topics as they come up, and able to respond quickly to boost engagement and improve consumer trust.

A Mix of Real Time and Scheduled Posts Perform the Best

While you probably don’t have time to do all of your posts in real time, you can always mix them up. Sharing relevant news and hot topics, or asking questions about ongoing events is a great way to spice up your page and make it seem more relevant, while you can always schedule in content for fixed events, blog and product promotion, or specific items that you know you want to post about at that time. Mixing things up allows you to cut down on the work without losing your relevance.

Don’t Forget to Engage

The biggest problem with social media automation is the post and forget syndrome. This is where you schedule in a bunch of posts to Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, of whatever other social media platform you are using and then never check back. Even if you’re always busy, you should have the apps for your platforms installed on your phone so that you can quickly check and interact with your page every time you get a few free minutes. Boosting engagement improves your pages authority, consumer happiness, and the value of your page.

Remember to Share and Interact with Other Businesses

While it may be tempting to make your page all about you, this is a big mistake, especially on content centric platforms like Twitter. Make sure you tweet, share, +1 and like items from your competitors, industry experts, and make sure you add in a little bit of fun.

Do Mix up Promotions

If you’re promoting an event, blog article, new product or company achievement, make sure you mix up and change the messages about it. You can share the same posts to Twitter much more frequently than any other platform, but you still want to avoid too much repetition, especially if you have a small customer base. Keep in mind that you can share the same blog post with multiple messages to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, just try to make each one unique. You can also keep tweeting the same post an a few hour basis for the first week after you’ve written it, and then move on to once a week after it’s no longer fresh. While there’s nothing wrong with sharing the same links, you have to keep it interesting because people will be seeing the same post.

If you want help with your social media promotion beyond simply scheduling a reminder into your HootSuite, Buffer, or Sprout Social, consider talking to Rory Martin for a professional and local Seattle social media consultation.

Seattle SEO Tips: Social Media Creats Backlinks

SEO has changed a lot over the last few years, especially where it pertains to Google’s search algorithm. The release of Panda and then Hummingbird not only nearly eliminated the usage of keyword phrases and backlink techniques that most users relied on for ranking, it also eliminated a great deal of content spamming, such as posting dozens of low-quality articles in hopes of ranking. But, with both keywords and backlinks pretty much out of the picture, how do you rank in today’s search engines?

We got together with several local Seattle social media companies, including Rory Martin, to discuss one of the prime ranking factors, social media.

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You probably already know that social signals impact your ranking. Most search engines evaluate your audience by watching backlinks, social shares, traffic, and other data. What you might not know is that when an article gets a lot of shares, gets more traffic from social, or generates a lot of discussion on a Facebook or Google Plus page, you’re actually boosting your SEO. This is because Google ranks these social signals similarly to interaction on the page, similarly to guest posts and directory links, and essentially, as a signal that your content is popular, or something that people want to read.

But that’s not all.

Social media also provides feedback that you can use to boost your user satisfaction. Because Google’s Hummingbird is primarily about user satisfaction, that’s in your best interest. If users tell you that you need more content, write longer articles. In fact, Google is now ranking pages that are 1,500 words or longer in their own category, ‘in depth information’. By listening to what your social media is saying about your shares, your links, and your posts, you can tweak what you’re putting up to increase engagement, and therefore boost your ranking and SEO.

Social Media Shares Result in Links

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Buzzfeed did an article on the most shared articles on Search Engine Land, who promptly turned around and did a study on it. They then cross checked those with the most shares, and found that higher numbers of social shares had the highest number of backlinks. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that the social shares are backlinks, it does say that more social sharing results in more backlinks. Rather than an effect, it’s a cause and effect, which results in links, which still benefit your ranking.

Social Media Drives Traffic

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Finally, if you create high-quality, consumer oriented content for social media, then you’re probably driving traffic from your social to your web page. More importantly, because Google now ranks high-quality content as well as keywords and other data, and traffic is a ranking signal, the combination of these two items is a very clear signal to Google, Bing, and Yahoo that you deserve to be ranked. While you might still have competitors who are ahead of you on the quality content game,

SEO is a long-term strategy, and Social Media can be either or. However, analytics show that the two are now intrinsically linked, and if you want to succeed with SEO, social media platforms can help.

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What Seattle Social Media Can Learn from Ello and Anti-Marketing

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Ello? What is it? It’s the thing that suddenly everyone seems to be talking about. Despite a March launch amid nearly zero fanfare, Ello has suddenly skyrocketed into fame and is currently one of the most talked about social platforms on the web. As something where most people do not yet have a profile and therefore no friends if you do have a profile, it’s not something that most people would expect. The truth is that Ello skyrocketed into a hot topic because of anti-marketing in the wake of Facebook’s many flagrant privacy and personal violations. Ello’s promise of no ads, no tracking personal data, and no selling personal data to big companies appeals to the many disgruntled social users who are, quite frankly, sick of having their personal data used for ads. The result is a clamor for invites, even though very few people seem to have one.

What is Anti Marketing

To better understand the concept of why Ello is currently so popular, let’s talk about anti-marketing. This is the concept of using a companies current policy, branding, or advertisement against them. GreenPeace does it almost constantly when they attempt to show the world how uneconomically friendly a company does. Usually they use logos and convert them into something a little less brand friendly. Essentially, anti-marketing is a form of brand-sabotaging, by using their policies or advertisements to point out flaws in the company, or to prove that your company is better. In Ello’s case, that’s the promise to not sell data or display ads in opposition to Facebook’s very ad-heavy platform. But anti-marketing isn’t the only reason Ello is currently so popular.

Ad-Free and Service Culture

One really major thing about users is that they like service, they enjoy clean, user-friendly environments, and they often find ads annoying. In fact, the click-through rate on banner ads and popup ads is depressingly low for advertisers. Ad-free is something that users see as a luxury, and more and more apps and now websites are beginning to integrate it into their business plan. Why ad free? How do you make money selling ads if you’re not charging for your product? For example, if you have an ap and you offer it for free or nearly free, you might think that you stand little chance of making an income without ads. However, apps and games like Whatsapp have long proven this theory wrong. Whatsapp had over 45 million downloads for free the first year, and 99 cents per year following. They did not display ads, but instead made money off of extras and additional sales. Many other web services, especially online games use this same business module to make considerably more than they would with ads, and without annoying their customers. So is Ello. They intend to sell additional site services to users who want to do more with their page. These services are wildly popular because they offer a solid service that is valuable and not annoying. In addition, Whatsapp has not spent a single penny on ads.

What you, and other Seattle social media managers can learn from it is that you don’t necessarily have to use a multi-thousand dollar marketing program to succeed, especially on the web. What you need is a great campaign that recognizes your target audience and your competition and then uses every bit of information you have to create a website, social media page, and brand that appeals to that demographic. Most consumers respond better to strong branding, value, and honest practices then they do to any amount of mass media marketing, although you shouldn’t abandon the latter.

Seattle Social Media Tips: Paid, Owned, & Earned Marketing

Digital marketing is quickly becoming one of the most important outlets for businesses that want to grow themselves, but most users don’t understand the differences between various types of online marketing except that some are free and some are not. Understanding various types of media is important for Seattle businesses that want to promote themselves in a digital setting, mainly because understanding means that you can use it to create strategies that work.

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What is Paid Media

Paid marketing includes most basic paid advertisements including PPC, banner ads, and paid coverage such as a paid blog or article on a popular website.

What is Earned Media

Earned media is media or marketing material that you earn without paying for. Examples include press release coverage, coverage in a local newspaper, unpaid coverage or reviews on blogs, and user shares. Earned media is often accomplished by sharing valuable information and data, such as infographics and videos, doing something noteworthy, or reaching a press worthy milestone. Earned media also includes partnerships, offering free content in exchange for a review, and generally any sort of PR efforts.

Owned Media

Owned media is the least important of these three, but still important for digital marketing. Owned media includes any media content or hype created by the company for the company. For example, a blog posted on the business website is a great example of owned media.

How to Use Them

While the ideal for almost any business would be to create a great deal of earned media through viral content, the truth is that it is rarely that simple. For example, earned media is usually either paid or owned media, which may confuse you at first until you realize that you have to create content that is either yours or have someone else create it for you.  The most common reasons that content goes viral is social sharing, which also means that you have to first get users to see it. Essentially, unless you already have a fairly large number of visitors to your company blog or YouTube channel, then paid media in the form of posting your content elsewhere, or paying for advertisements, is the best way to go to create earned media.

So earned media, which is created from shares and interest in your topics, is typically generated from paid media. The result is a marketing strategy that should include both paid and owned media options, both with the intention of created earned media through shares and additional coverage.

Any good local social media strategy will include paid and owned media with a marketing strategy for creating earned media. If you want to make it happen for your business, you need a Seattle social media company that knows how to work with all three to create results. Hybrid campaigns are the most successful option, and also the most logical. Companies ranging from General Motors to Orange are taking advantage of campaigns that maximize the use of every type of media, and you should be to.

Contact us to find out more.

Seattle Social Media Experts Discuss: Internet Marketing Teams

Whether your business is small, large, or somewhere in between, you need marketing. And if your business can make sales online, then you definitely want to focus a large percentage of that marketing on the internet, where you have the potential for a great deal of return with very little investment. Unfortunately, while social media might sound deceptively simple to those who are not familiar with marketing, it is often a task that requires expert advice in order to pull off correctly. But while you could hire just one person to manage all of your digital marketing, there are multiple advantages to having a team to do everything for you.

Collaborative Planning

If you’ve ever worked with part of a team then you know that there is a major difference between working with one person and working as a team. Collaborating on ideas and trends, creating strategies together, and creating marketing plans together allows for more dynamic marketing because more people submit ideas to create strategies and plans with more ideas and more perspective, which usually results in a better plan.

Better Content and Strategies

Another great thing about working with a social media or online marketing team is content and proofreading. Mistakes happen. In fact, even major publications like the Washington Post sometimes publish mistakes. But with a team handling your social planning, you are less likely to have problems with posts, marketing, and quality because each item goes through several hands before it ever reaches the internet. It also means that most of what you put online will be chosen from a selection of ideas rather than the only idea, because more people were working with the idea. This is highly beneficial to all forms of social and online marketing, especially when catering to a specific area like Seattle, where different people will be more knowledgeable about different demographics than an individual.

Specialized Team Members

When you hire just one person you’re getting someone who has a rough knowledge of a great deal of different social media tactics, and while that works for the most part, it’s hard to beat having multiple people who specialize in one area, such as affiliate marketing or blogging or social media posts. The result is that the people you bring into your company have more combined knowledge, and can make more informed decisions regarding the direction and content of your online marketing.

Unfortunately, unless you happen to be a much larger business with a considerable marketing  budget, you won’t be able to hire a team full time. While you might think that you’re stuck with hiring one expert, that isn’t quite true and you do have an alternative. Hiring a local Seattle social media marketing company to do your social and online marketing for your means that not only do you only pay for the actual work that you need, but also that you have a marketing team rather than an individual for much less than the price of a full-time hire. Of course, if you need full time, some social media teams can do that too.

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