10 Ways to Rock #Twitter for Business

So, your company is on Twitter, that’s fabulous! Let me ask you, since you’ve been here have you garnered any leads? Seen an increase in customer engagement? Noticed a difference in bottom line sales?  If not, you may want to give some of these ideas a try. If Twitter is a good fit for your business getting creative might be all you need to do to see a real return. Twitter for Business with logo

  1. Follow your customers and encourage them to follow you back. This is easiest of course if you are a smaller business and know their names, if you’re larger make sure you follow back.  If you reach out first they will love that and you can DM each other if there is ever an issue either of you would rather not have play out in the newsfeed.
  2. Delight and surprise your followers when possible. This can mean anything from a shout-out to a random upgrade – can you image the share potential here? (In my opinion ALL airlines should randomly upgrade a Twitter follower each day – the engagement would be off the charts and even disgruntled customers would want in on that game! e.g. “If you’re flying in the next 4 hours tweet us your flight # – someone’s going first class baby!”  See?
  3. Tell your business story using your customers experiences and mention them when you do. You’ll be helping them build an audience and they will appreciate that.
  4. Listen to your customers and offer them solutions to their issues. For example, if you’re not in the pizza business and you know a business that delivers on time, pass on their info when someone complains about wait times. The key here is to provide value to your customers.
  5. Use Follow Friday (#FF) and fill your tweet with customers. Caveat – don’t go nuts, one or two tweets each week is enough to call out your customers but not enough to tick the rest of your followers off.
  6. Ask your followers what they want. Make sure you reach out to your audience and see how you might be able to do better – they will likely tell their following if you implement one of their suggestions.
  7. Do not leave them hanging. If a customer complains, comments or just gives you a shout-out be sure to respond as soon as possible. Less than 5 minutes is optimal. No matter what they are complaining about they will remember that you responded promptly with an offer of help. Set up notifications for your phone if no one is monitoring the account 24/7.
  8. Speaking of offers – give loyal followers exclusive Twitter offers – Have them tweet to the cashier for a special discount or fill in a promo code they only get by DMing you. Get creative if you can’t manage all those DM’s.
  9. If you have a large following and a large number of customer issues, consider creating a separate account for customer service. That way you can keep the brand account for the fun stuff and handle complaints without them falling through the cracks.
  10. Have fun. Show the less than serious side of your business at times. People want to engage with people, not businesses so don’t be afraid to show your human side.  Oh, and if there’s more than one person tweeting make sure to sign your tweets so we know who’s who.

Your turn – what’s worked for your business on Twitter? What have I left out? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Happy tweeting!

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5 Ways to Avoid Being a #LinkedIn Fail

I use LinkedIn. I didn’t just fill out my profile and let it sit there like a stone. I reach out strategically and post strategically and have a plan to create qualified leads from my activity there. Doesn’t everyone?

Linkedin_wall_logo_200_133LinkedIn, when used correctly can be a business persons best friend. It can get you an audience with the people you most want to work with, but perhaps even more valuable, it can expose what you do to your ideal customer.

When you attract that ideal customer you’ll want to make sure they don’t find any of these on your profile:

1. A less than fabulous profile pic. Make sure you have a picture that is as close to a professional headshot as you can find. It helps if you are smiling. I say ‘as close to’ because it truly doesn’t have to be professional, I used a well executed ‘selfie’ for years, until I had a professional shot taken.

2. A summary that only contains a line or two. Use this area to explain in detail and in your own voice, exactly what you do. Do this in first person, third person can sound lofty and overly formal and gives no opportunity to highlight your communication style.

3. No recommendations. You may have a ton of one-click-endorsements (which equate to a little less than a Facebook like) but they are widely considered much less credible than a written testimonial of your work in a specific position. Reaching out for recommendations can be tricky and requires more work than just clicking but it’s well worth it as they will enhance your credibility incredibly when peppered throughout the experience portion of your LinkedIn profile.

4. The same update they found on your Twitter profile and your Facebook page. Don’t be lazy about updating your LinkedIn profile. It is a completely different platform than other social networks and requires its own strategic application of content, especially when you intend to get business from your connections there.

5. A lack of contact information. Some people are still not comfortable reaching out online so make sure you include a telephone number along with your various social media accounts and emails. If you have a complete profile this will likely be already taken care of but if not start there and get that profile complete.

What about you? Ever visited a LinkedIn profile and decided, based on what you did or didn’t find there, not to pursue the contact any further?  Please let me know in the comments what I might have left out.

Here’s to your business!

Have you heard about the changes to Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines?

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Now all of those Like and Share contests are actually OK. I think it’s a good idea to scrap unenforceable rules don’t you? You no longer need to use a 3rd party application to run contests – that makes things a lot easier for businesses wanting to promote their wares with a give away or contest.

The official announcement is here: https://www.facebook.com/facebookforbusiness/news/page-promotions-terms

Make sure you take creative advantage of this feature to increase fan engagement in a huge way. Your fans will love winning more often and with these rules relaxed you can offer smaller, more frequent contests. For instance – 50th fan to LIKE this post gets a free lunch, etc.
Will these new guidelines encourage you to use contests on Facebook more often?

5 Ways for Business People to Keep Twitter Followers Happy

new-twitter-logoTwitter is the bomb. Millions of people check in every day for relevant, funny, engaging and informative updates from the accounts they follow. If you are using Twitter for business and you haven’t been around very long, you may have mistaken it for a sales pitch platform, or you may just chime in when someone insults your hockey team, or worse, your political party. If that sounds like you, read this post before you find yourself unfollowed by prospects and customers alike.

  1. Know your audience – truthfully, this is my mantra regardless of the medium but here’s why it’s a must on Twitter. Most consultants will tell you not to sell on Twitter but what if you own a restaurant and it’s lunch time and people gotta eat right? Give the people what they want – knowing your audience ensures you some insight into what they want.
  2. Do not repeat tweets. Some people will argue this point but I am sticking to it. I have unfollowed dozens of accounts, even great big, famous Social Media ‘experts’ because of this. At the very least, if you must duplicate tweets separate them by a couple of days. Ask yourself what’s worse, having some of your audience miss one of the 100 tweets you sent that day or having some of your audience stop following you altogether?
  3. Answer people. When someone takes the time to retweet your content, ask a question or comment on your tweets, give them a shout out. This is the reason you are here – to garner engagement – and interaction with your content can often be considered a qualified lead.
  4. Follow your customers. You are using Twitter for business to actually get business so make sure you target potential customers and stop worrying about increasing numbers. Growth will happen organically if you’re consistently active and that’s the best kind of audience out there – people who are actually interested in what you are saying.
  5. Reach out. Let your audience know you’re paying attention. Mention them in tweets and retweet their content. They love that, it makes them feel special and listened to, and people do business with people who make them feel all warm and fuzzy.

I’m sure I’ve left some out so feel free to share your tips on keeping your audience happy in the comments.

Frequently Asked Social Media Questions Series

“To save time shouldn’t I connect my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts?

Short answer: No, no and definitely no.

Here’s why. These 3 platforms could not be more different and one of the best ways to show you aren’t aware of how they work is to connect them.

Look at it like this, Facebook is the backyard barbeque, Twitter is the local bar and LinkedIn is the corporate networking event. All social, but all with completely different agendas and acceptable practices.

Connect Accounts What could go wrong you ask? Picture this, a bank manager who is also an avid hockey fan tweets passionately about his team losing, using a little ‘colourful’ language. Arriving at work the next morning he is horrified to realize that every one of last nights tweets (and there were many) is greeting each of his professional contacts as they glance over their LinkedIn newsfeed.

Now, what if his boss is also a connection, or worse, what if he is looking for work?

Using social media effectively for business is about gaining awareness and exposure that translates into qualified leads, leads that increase your bottom line, right? So, saving time, although a valid idea, becomes less important when your efforts are paying off. In fact, if your social media presence is helping to increase business wouldn’t you want to do more of it rather than less?

Knowing your audience and giving them appropriate content on each of the platforms will get the job done. Connecting your accounts might not only hinder that effort but could have it blow up in your face altogether. Just ask that bank manager….

5 Reasons to Stop Putting ‘Like & Share’ Contests on Your Facebook Page

 

To all you “LIKE and SHARE my Picture Contest” Facebook page owners;

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Please stop. Here is why:

  1. You are in violation of Facebook’s Promotional Guidelines – all those ‘likes’ you get from people who only want to win your prize can disappear in the blink of an eye when Facebook catches up to you.
  2. Speaking of all those LIKES, please explain to me how having thousands of LIKES from people who only want to win something free is a good Facebook marketing strategy?  An effective business presence on Facebook means
    you actually get business from your efforts. Contest entrants are not interested in what you are selling, they are only interested in what you are giving away for free.
  3. The myth of SHARING as contest entrant criteria. The only way to see who shares your content on Facebook is to be personal friends with that person, AND for them to have their privacy settings set for their friends to see their shares. When you tell your entrants that their shares make them eligible this can only be accurate if you are friends with all of your page’s fans. You cannot see who shares your content even if they like your page, so there’s a very good chance you’re not including people in your contest who have actually shared your content.
  4. It fills the newsfeed with clutter. Real fans – you know, the ones who actually want to purchase your product or service – get sick of all these contests plugging up their newsfeed so they hide your posts – most don’t bother unliking your page, so you won’t even know they’re gone.
  5. It’s a waste of your precious time. If you really want to gain qualified leads, consider a targeted Facebook ad campaign. That way you can sit back and let your ads garner interested customers, instead of spending your valuable time adding up mythical shares and unqualified likes.

To Endorse or Not to Endorse?

” Hey, can you endorse me please?”
Sound familiar?
If you are a member of the largest professional social network on the planet, LinkedIn, it’s likely not only familiar, but starting to become a tad annoying.

LinkedIn, in an attempt to become even more of an online professional resume, has offered its members the opportunity to very easily endorse each other based on the skills you have listed in your profile.

In theory it sounds like a great idea but in practice it’s not only falling short of its target, it might even be wiping out the credibility of LinkedIn in the process.

Here’s the problem, in the past 3 hours I’ve received two endorsement requests from people I have never done business with. We may have connected through a networking event, we may have intentions of doing business in the future but nevertheless, as of the time of the request, we have not. If I were to recommend your business skills without having experienced them, wouldn’t that be a lie? What if, worst case scenario, I did endorse you and you were lying on your profile. Could that not come back to affect my credibility in a very negative way?

In fact, we should all think long and hard before ‘endorsing’ anyone, from a lawyer to a realtor to a hairdresser – not having our ducks in a row could have catastrophic consequences.

So here’s what I propose, don’t put your colleagues, clients or potential clients in the awkward position of having to turn you down. Stop asking anyone other than regular, satisfied customers for endorsements. If your skills are what you say they are the endorsements will happen naturally and no one’s credibility, resume or hair-do will have to pay the price.

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