Social networks are places where individuals hold the power; they invite you into their world so make sure you abide by the social rules of engagement.
For super brands, the Coca-Colas of this world, broadcast media is all that is needed to keep them in the forefront of people’s minds. They aren't going to be able to field all of the questions people might have as millions upon millions of customers use their product, so they keep a reasonable corporate distance.
For everyone else a genuine positive and conversational approach goes a very long way to help businesses connect with their audience of customers and clients. What follows is a handy list of pointers, which is by no means exhaustive, about some online business communication basics.
People tend to take about what they know, and human experience goes a long way. Find something people will be able to relate to directly that relates to your brand or service, be thoughtful and creative and you’ll generate a conversation rather than a row. Check out our Portfolio for some examples of this in action.
If someone has made the effort to try to connect with you, don’t leave them hanging. If you can react immediately (especially on Twitter) do so, even if it is to let them know you will get back to them, if not don’t worry just make sure you don’t forget. Social media is fast, keep up and people will keep their interest in you.
One of the golden rules in management and customer services is to “manage expectations”. If you can’t supply someone with a product or service suggest an alternative or direct them to somewhere that can. They will remember you as a trustworthy source and you will have a much greater chance of connecting in a positive way in the future.
Apart from a very small number services and products humour can be used as a key way to connect. There is no exact science, but anything that is likely to trigger a positive emotional response has a much higher chance of “going viral”. Check out our Portfolio for a few examples.
When it comes to services and products that would not be suited to a humorous approach please get in touch as we will be able to use our experience working with emotionally charged people to advise you on techniques that would suit your organisation and your clients or service users.
Keep on Message
Remember why you are using social media, think quality not quantity. No matter how many Likes and follows, shares and comments you are getting, if this is not converting into sales or making a positive impact on whatever your organisation’s goal may be, you are wasting time and money.
If this is a sticking point, get in touch and we will help you to measure your social media impact effectively.
A lot of this will come as second nature to those who have a lot of experience working in public and client-facing positions, but we understand that this can be a challenge for those new to direct communication with the public. We’ve got around 17 years front-line client relationship experience so get in touch and we’ll help you to make social media work for you.
This is a common phrase often found on the internet, or heard in conversation but what does it mean?
The phrase “Feeding the Trolls” refers to giving attention to someone who is on a mission to wreak havoc at your expense and draw attention away from what you should be doing. In the case of businesses this means losing valuable customer relations and engagement you could be having with your real customers.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, some people just want an argument. In the end it really doesn’t really matter what the root cause is, if someone has decided to target your organisation in order to start a fight you aren’t going to be able to reason with them.
Just make sure you know the difference between a Troll, and someone with a real grievance that you can help with.
How to identify a Troll, some or all may apply:
How to deal with a Troll effectively:
Take screenshots, if someone complains about being blocked you have all the evidence you need to support your actions.
On the odd occasion some individuals may announce that they know a better organisation than yours and post links to them. If that organisation is a true competitor, no matter how tempted you might be, don’t get defensive, instead congratulate them on finding a service that meets their needs. You aren’t going to get their custom any way, and if they have been acting unreasonably others will see that your organisation doesn't need to pander to people who exhibit that kind of behaviour.
Your community will thank you for being professional and sticking to your guns. Remember this is your little section of the internet and no one has the right to abuse you or others who have chosen to be there. Much the same as if someone started hollering abuse in the middle of a shop, you’d get the security guards to escort them off the premises.
Having a run-in with a Troll can be very unsettling; no one wants or deserves to be on the receiving end of a tirade of abuse, be it directed at your organisation or your followers. If you find yourself in this situation make sure that you discuss it with someone outside of the network. This is not a sign of weakness and is a tactic used by many people who work with the general public or challenging individuals to reduce the emotional impact difficult exchanges can produce.
To quote Alfred the butler in Batman "Some men just want to watch the world burn"©, thankfully the chances of you having to deal with someone like The Joker are quite slim.
For further information you can get in touch with us in a variety of ways on our Contact page. Unfortunately we are unable to charter carrier pigeons. :)
©Warner Bros. & DC Comics. All rights reserved.
You have a great product or service, people are interested in what you do, you are increasing the traffic to your website and everything appears to be going swimmingly, then one commenter makes a negative statement about your product or service.
The answer is in fact e), with the proviso that if you then find you are dealing with a Troll a combination of options a) to d) may then be appropriate. We'll explain more about Troll handling in a future blog post.
Lets assume we aren't dealing with a Troll but a person with a real grievance, and see that whilst options a) to e) might be tempting they really aren't the best course of action for your organisation:
So how do you engage with someone who has made a negative comment? Follow these five easy steps:
No matter how trivial a problem may seem to you, remember you are just one of the many experiences that life throws at people everyday. Don’t take it personally and treat that person how you would like to be treated if you were having a bad day.
But why take the time and effort, does this really matter in the end when you need to make sales?
Many years ago, before the internet, it was well know in business spheres that a person who had a good experience with a company would only tell around half as many people as when they had a bad experience with a company. However, those who had a bad experience that was dealt with professionally and courteously would tell even more people about how great an organisation was.
Fast forward to today, with the power of social networks amplifying these behaviours a hundred-fold if not more, it's worth taking the time to protect your organisation’s reputation and play the long game when it comes to customer retention. We actually recommend running searches to ensure you can step in to help those who might not be having the positive experience you hope they would with your product or services.
If you don’t have the time, we can make the effort for you.
We would desperately love to be as stylish as Joan in Mad Men*, and whilst traditional marketing techniques will always have their place we take a fresh and modern approach to bring genuine human engagement to your customers and clients.
Essentially, using social media, we want your customers to fall in love with your company, be interested in what you do and feel valued.
Understanding the different ways networks operate, who uses them and how they like to be communicated with makes a massive difference, one interested and engaged follower is worth a thousand random followers who may or may not even be reading what your company posts.
Too often companies rely on numbers of followers or likes to determine whether their brand is successful, when really they should be looking at the actual sales or interactions, "conversions" as they are known in web analytics geek speak, which are generated by the different networks.
When unscrupulous social media management companies can make it look like a massive spike in follower numbers have occurred by buying banks of "zombie" accounts to follow a brand, or even worse make a Like Farm on Facebook and sell it on its good to know there are people like us who care about honest genuine quality over quantity.
*we do try!
We are very pleased to be able to launch our full range of social media management, training, website building and large project services.
We can help train you to use your social media confidently and effectively or work alongside you and take away the technology and communications headache.
We come from a customer and client focused background, so our approach is to engage people in meaningful conversation and enable them to find out and fall in love with your work.
We know that the internet is vast and already full of people who would love what you do if only they knew about it and that's who we will aim for with you.
Get in touch we would love to hear from you.
Don't let the baddies win!
We took part in the School for Creative Startups Showcase at the Embankment Galleries at Somerset House.
It was a brilliant experience and we got to speak to hundreds of interesting people, find out how they use the internet to communicate and how different networks are used by different people for different reasons.
So how did we get them talking?
Lots and lots of boats!
We were determined not to bore ourselves and the general public to death, so inspired by the wonderful map designed by XKCD we made a giant map to explain the different ways of communicating across the high seas of Social media. We also made a point of reminding people why password security is so important.
We will be bringing out the map in future as it is an excellent educational tool and well everyone loves sailing ships don't they?
If you are looking for online help take a look at our services and get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.
Not the way we do it.
First of all lets remind ourselves that social media is only a tool, it is just one of many ways to get in touch with customers and clients. Any social media marketing company or consultant that states their social media package will solve all customer relations, marketing and sales challenges is wrong and misleading.
Social media is an important part of a wider marketing and customer relationship management toolkit but it does not catch the people who do not use social networks, or those who prefer to buy print magazines and other media, or those who have bad internet connectivity, or many people with sensory problems, or (shock horror) those who do not to use the internet very often of at all. Don’t forget these people they are important to your organisation.
Social networks are places where people can choose to allow organisations, be they businesses or charities, to engage with them. Each social network is different and needs to be approached in the correct manner to ensure that messages are communicated appropriately. For example, there is very little point trying to get even the most masterfully constructed technical article on Pintrest, but if you have a stunningly designed soft furnishings collection you really should make sure there are pictures there.
Another problem is the numbers game that a lot of organisations get caught up in. Collecting as many followers and Likes as possible, as some organisations chose to do, looks impressive in the short term but can actually lead to losing contact with the people who actually want to know about the product or organisation that is being highlighted. A good example of this approach potentially backfiring can be seen if you know a little about Facebook.
Facebook does not show all the posts that are made on Pages to all of the people who have Liked a page, due to the infamous Edge Rank algorithm, this means that if a Page has increased it’s Like count in a game of “Follow Me” with random people and organisations the updates are even less likely to be seen by people who might have actually been interested.
We go for the long game, learn about your organisation, your aims, your customers and clients and tailor our services accordingly and continue to monitor and alter our service as required to meet your needs.
We;d love to help you so don't hesitate to Contact Us.
Social Results Limited was originally conceived as a volunteer brokerage service for small and medium businesses as there was a gap in the market and we understand how doing good is good business.
So brilliant was this idea that unbeknownst to us the government instigated a massive push for free employee volunteering brokerage services with established volunteering centres so we decided to change tack.
This is how Social Results Limited became a one-stop shop for small and medium businesses, social enterprises, not-for-profits, and charities that want to get online using social media.
Of course we weren’t going to give up on the idea of cross sector relationship building easily. One of our goals to help organisations to identify the relationships they have already and build on them using their social media networks, additionally we can help businesses connect effectively with charities and social enterprises.
We also provide a number of additional services, such as copywriting and setting up starter websites for organisations that have no online presence.
Social Results Limited is very proud to be one of the businesses being supported by the great team at the School for Creative Startups.
To find out more, please Contact Us we’d love to hear from you.
It’s as simple as that.
Web analytics allow you to see where people have come from to get to your website, their location, how they navigate your website and where they leave it, even the type of browser they are using.
Web analytics can be filtered so that you can see which social networks drive people to your website, how those people navigate your website, whether they purchase things, or make an enquiry. Google Analytics can easily compare different time periods so you can see how things have changed.
Analytics are great for your marketing strategy because you can see exactly which social media networks are working for you and which aren’t and change your strategy accordingly.
Our personal favourite is Google Analytics and handy Google Analytics specialist, or pet geek, can help you to get even more value out of the system by setting it up to track lot of different variables for you. If setting up Google Analytics for your website is a daunting prospect don’t worry we can help, so please get in touch.
We also recommend using Google’s Webmaster Tools as it will test that the pages of your website work properly, will check for errors and problems. Webmaster Tools will also show you which keywords are used most often on your website allowing you to understand what a search engine sees when it indexes your website.
We understand that many people use the free Wordpress.com* service to build and host their websites and that it does not permit Google Analytics to be added to it at this time. Whilst this isn’t ideal Wordpress.com does have it’s own basic analytics that can be found in the dashboard that will give you some idea how well your website is doing.
*This is not to be confused with its more technical bigger sister Wordpress.org that does allow Google Analytics.
Contact Us for more information
This is an important question for any business, charity or social enterprise that intends to raise their profile online. Here is a quick overview of some of the main social networks.
Facebook is for everyone. If ever someone is going to try to find you or your business on a social network, it’s going to be here. The Pages, which are used by businesses and charities, can be tricky to manage as changes tend to happen to the way posts are presented to followers on a fairly regular basis. However, due to the number of people that use it we believe that, at this moment in time, pretty much every organisation should have at least some presence here.
Twitter is about speed. It is particularly good for disseminating information quickly to the wider world. News travels fast here so it is a great tool for real time networking at events and searching for particular topics, products and people. Learn some search and hashtag tricks to connect directly with your customers, service users, and clients fast.
LinkedIn is for business-to-business relations and recruitment. It is a great source of business related information from leaders of industry and business specialists. Businesses can advertise their services and gain recommendations from customers.
Pinterest is a new kid on the block. It’s an excellent visual network for those who have physical products to sell or showcase. The network has a majority of female users, so if they are your target audience make sure you are here.
Google+ is an interesting and constantly evolving service. Conversations and posts can often be quite technical and the network has a majority of male users. If this is your target audience it may be worth looking into. Whilst this may take more work to get going, the Google+ team provide excellent and rapid responses to queries with the network itself. We recommend that you at least get a basic page up for your organisation here as it can only do good things for your listings in Google’s search engine results.
Tumblr is essentially a photoblog. Although capable of dealing with text and video it really concentrates on big images and sharing. There is a greater balance between male and female users and like Pinterest if you have great visuals to share this is an excellent way to drive users to your website.
These descriptions are only a quick summary of some of the services available and what they have to offer. There are also many specialist networks and communities that need to be considered when planning your social media strategy and we’re here to help you make the smart choices.
For more help Contact Us