Guest Post: How to Deal with a Social Media Mutiny

It’s been crazy in the Short Circuit Media world lately. I’ve always been open to guest posts – but have never outwardly solicited them as they tend to be overly promotional. This one from Daniel Vince at Corporate Gifts Co. has some pretty good ideas to help you avoid embarrassing your brand on Twitter.

Enjoy,
Aidan


What a positive idea it will make! Or so we thought! Open up our business using a Twitter account, selecting a good username and have that little bird icon added to all our corporate documentation! Little thoughts buzzing around our heads of building a social community using the World Wide Web, where all our customers talk and syndicate our chit-a-chat.  Idyllic market place might I ask?  So what the hell do you do when a client hits you hard with a negative Twitter like this…

When you are a commercial business, your interests in social media are based within building a trust, a presence and a clean cut, interactive image of your company.  So when one angry customer decides to “flip you the bird” with a Tweet that is meant as fact, how to we bury this situation and not break over cuckoo’s shells?

Keep Discreet, message in private 

A company’s loss in image through bad manners and slanging in public can be painful and costly. Your audience and users do not want to see childish, undisciplined retaliation of any sort.  Make sure that if you do want to argue your case, that you conduct this in a controlled manner, via the phone, Skype or emails as this is something that your wide audience and clientele need not intrude or see.

Contact the dissatisfied customer with details of your customer service department and make sure that they are dealt with quickly and effectively.  If you have received one complaint from this customer before, be wary about it; think how a poor customer service experience could provoke further Tweeting, disregarding your company.

Answer all your critics

The social media account is now as integral to many large companies much as the good old phone and email.  Customers are on social networks 24/7, and when a customer thinks to complain publicly, there needs to be an employee available to apprehend them.

When a customer complains to your on Twitter, they are expecting a reply, just like someone would if they had rung up or emailed in.  With this so, make sure you handle your client with a personal reply, don’t just send out the generic “courtesy” message, it won’t work.

Respond to your positive Tweets

Keeping up to speed with a company’s Twitter account feels like a hard job to maintain for some.

At Promotional Gifts we try and keep a steady hand on what our clients think of us, and encourage our customers, posting Tweets of positive comments, to add testimonials on the side.  We like to Retweet these anytime!

If you serve up some good feedback to the ones that land good praise, then you know that you have Twitter working for you, on cue, it is your show, citing brand loyalty as the company milestone.

For any companies who are just starting out on their Twitter endeavour, make sure you are ready to rendezvous with the negative resistance!  Make sure you have your customer service processes ready to filter a cluster of bad barks on Twitter, so you can handle complaints in a professional and effective manner.

 

Written by Daniel Vince of Corporate Gifts Co, Business Gifts Specialist Corporation

Stop Polluting Your Personal Facebook Page with Business Updates

If you run a business and use your personal Facebook account to broadcast work-related updates, not only are you wasting your time, you’re also annoying friends and family.

Also see: Growing your Facebook Fan Page

With close to a billion members, Facebook is a marketers wet dream. Of course it can quickly become a nightmare if you forget the reason people love it so much – they like sharing stuff (and showing off) with friends.

I had a person I went to high school with “friend” me a few years back. We weren’t close and I was still in that phase of accepting just about any friend request I received. Besides, I was curious to see what he was up to.

Within a few hours I started getting updates about specials and events from his catering company.

Needless to say, he didn’t last long as a Facebook friend.

It was an interesting experience that lead me to re-examine what I was posting. As much as I didn’t care about his business, I was equally sure that folks were not interested in mine.

On Facebook people want a little window into your life, not a trap door into a sales cycle.

Before posting anything on your personal page, ask yourself “Does my mom (dad, girlfriend, boyfriend etc) care?” If the answer is no, head over to LinkedIn and post your update there.

That’s not to say you can’t use Facebook. That’s why there are Facebook Fan pages.

Using a proper Fan Page, you can talk about your business and engage in “shop talk” without annoying those you actually care about personally.

Join my Facebook Fan Page here.
Connect with me on LinkedIn
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Help. My video sucks!

A few months back I wrote about using online videos as search engine marketing tools. The content was fine. As was the advice. But small business owners probably shook their heads.

What I didn’t write about was the 99% of us who look absolutely crap on video. What are small business owners supposed to do if they want to start making videos and they don’t look like George Clooney?

I have to confess that I never actually thought of this until I decided to make a few videos of my own. What I quickly determined was that the only thing worse than not having videos, was having terrible, brand destroying videos circulating around the web – all highly optimized and pointing directly back to my site. That’s the wrong kind of search engine marketing.

I have a client who, like small business owners, likes to keep on top of this stuff and insisted on making his own video. He popped it onto the home page of his site. As a disclaimer, he’d done this before I ever suggested web videos as a tool for small business.

The end result is an awkward 90 seconds of self promotion that certainly can’t be helping him. And it stands out as the only amateurish element on his entire site.

So when I was faced with this same prospect, I decided it was time to look for options. And I found one on a site every small business owner should use for quickie jobs around graphic design or odd marketing experiments – fiver.com.

The idea behind Fiverr.com is that people offer some service for $5. They can then offer additional services related to the initial offer and incrementally increase their prices by $5.

I found a vendor, KtDancegirl, to read a script that I re-worked from a previous blog post about using your site as a lead generator.

She did this in front of a white screen for $5 (initial 30 seconds) with another 2 additional 30 second segments (+$5 each), professional sound (+$5), movement (+$5) and my logo (+$5).

Here’s what she came back with. The emphasis might be off on a spot or two, but she did a great job for $30.


The point is that you don’t have to be a millionaire (or even a hundredaire) to get a toe-hold in video marketing. All you need is a great script and $5. Small business owners around the world would be better served by spending a little money and getting something approaching professional, then trying to do it all themselves.

What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

If you’re not familiar with the elevator pitch, it’s a metaphor for selling your big idea to a client in the time it takes for an elevator to get from the ground floor to it’s destination.

The idea is simple. You’re forced to cut all the fat from your presentation and distill it down to it’s most important elements.

So what is your elevator pitch? More importantly why isn’t it the first thing people see when they go to your website?

True story. Last year I was contacted be a management consulting company about doing some work. Being a diligent self-starter I went over to the prospective client’s site to see what they were all about.

After 5 minutes of going from page to page, I’d learned a lot about the company’s philosophy, and team members, but I still didn’t have a clue what it was they did other than “management consulting.”

Now I was a guy who they were looking to hire – so I had to spend the time looking through the site. But what if I was a prospective client who typed “management consulting” into Google and landed on a home page, heavy on sizzle and completely lacking in steak?

This is where we get to the elevator pitch. When somebody comes to your site, you’d better serve up an answer to the question they are searching for quickly. Because they aren’t going to waste their time looking through multiple pages, when they can easily go back to the original search and try someone else.

Here’s what to include right at the top of your homepage content.

  • What it is you do.
  • What’s your benefit to the client.
  • What makes you different.
  • Why they need you.

Here is the elevator pitch on the home page of this site:

Short Circuit Media helps small business, consultants and professional speakers make more money, by using social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter) to create brand awareness, while streamlining online marketing efforts to attract more visitors and convert more sales.

We don’t just tell you what needs to be done. We do it.

Now if a visitor lands on this site, the first thing they see is what we do, and how it can help them grow their business. From this point on it’s all about how we can help.

What’s your elevator pitch? In the comments section, tell us what you do and why people should hire you. Write it as the new introductory paragraph to your site.