Customer service has leapt from phone and email to responding to the disgruntled or confused on social media.
Customers in the traditional support model expect a response within 24 hours. On social media, however, they expect answers at light speed. According to The Social Habit Study, however, 32 percent of people who contacted a brand, product or company through social media for support expected a response within 30 minutes; and 42 percent expected a response within one hour. Keep in mind, you’re also playing to others on a social media feed who evaluate how you treat customers, and use this information in a buying decision.
Large companies like KLM, Walmart, CNN and Xbox lead the industry with exemplary customer service response times.
These companies also lead the social media customer service craze because they’re proactive. Their customer service support teams search for opportunities to answer questions or solve potential customers’ pain points using keyword monitoring tools, like Mention.com and Hootsuite.
Your social media marketing strategy should put standard status updates and uniform ad blasts to shame. Don’t worry, we can help. Call Susan Abramovitz at 513-947-1444 ext. 10.
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Brands often fall flat with their holiday social media execution. It takes sensitivity and common sense to balance content, appropriate frequency and sales plugs.
For a winning social strategy over the next few months, follow these do’s and don’ts. And tweet us your own social media holiday wins @Ideopia.
Don’t clutter your feeds with pushy sales messages.
Unless you’re a retailer with major discounts on Black Friday, cut the pushy sales copy from your queue. It’s not the time or place to interrupt your audience’s online experience.
Instead, share content that pairs well with the holiday. Post a branded card or try helpful and entertaining content, like cold-weather family activities or recipes. Your audience will appreciate the effort, and you’ll appreciate the increased loyalty and engagement.
Don’t over do it.
Consider your brand’s social media goals and business objectives. Do these align with a specific holiday message? Desperate social media tie-ins have #fail written all over them. Like the Golf Channel’s shameless plug on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Piggybacking off a historic day and making it about golf was obnoxious. Tactics like these may get your brand viral, but not in the way you want!
Instead, consider your brand voice in typical social media content. Create copy that encompasses that personality and remains appropriate for your audience. If your post doesn’t naturally connect with the holiday, don’t stretch to make it fit.
Social media habits change during the holidays.
Your audience likely engages with social media differently over the holidays compared to work mode. Instead of sourcing Twitter for industry news and +1’ing content for increased reach, your audience is online for entertainment and recreation.
Don’t share the same “work mode” content for your B2B audience. Get creative and lower the frequency. Humanize your brand with fun, relatable and visual content like Lowe’s hardware fireworks display on Vine.
Interested in more social media marketing tips? Click here or give us a call at 513-947-1444 x10.
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Buffalo Trace Distillery recently discovered that several cases of the premium Pappy Van Winkle bourbon had been…err… winkled.
So to the fine folks at Buffalo Trace: One of your bourbon brands just made it into the news in a (relatively) neutral story. How do you capitalize on the moment and turn it into a positive PR opportunity? Let’s find out.
Pappy is already a hard-to-get, bragging-rights-acquired, top-shelf bourbon with lots of fans among the bourbon cognoscenti, now exposed to a much wider audience because of the theft of a few cases.
“Wow, this stuff is so good, someone heisted it from the warehouse!”
“How much is a bottle?!?”
“It must be wicked awesome!”
“I must have some!”
Instant buzz. But there’s no problem peddling Pappy. People line up around the block to get at this liquid gold when a few bottles become available. But Buffalo Trace distills other bourbons. And they’re special too.
Get some reporters down to the distillery. Look for reporters who enjoy a cocktail or two. This shouldn’t be hard.
When you make the pitch to visit, talk about the bourbon culture in Kentucky that’s now expanding worldwide. Talk about Kentucky’s bourbon mystique. Talk about how there are more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than people. And send ‘em some pictures…scenes that’ll make good video. Think in terms of visual interest and what might capture a viewer/reader’s attention.
Once the reporters arrive, show them what makes Pappy special. And talk about your OTHER brands, too. About how the same care and quality that make Pappy so beloved goes into ALL your brands. Make sure you have lots of bottles set out. And glasses. Don’t be afraid to think big–This doesn’t have to be just a local/regional story. This thing has national appeal.
Get those master distillers talking about the 20-year-long process that goes into a bottle of Pappy’s. And the artisanal process for your other brands. Say artisanal…a lot. People on the coasts love artisanal. Reference mint juleps, the national media loves those. Mention how Celebrity Chef and Bon Vivant Anthony Bourdain considers Pappy’s the bee’s knees. A little name-dropping never hurts. And don’t forget to deploy social media to take advantage of all this attention; it can be a great force multiplier, getting you attention in many different spheres.
So that’s how to turn a little light-fingered larceny into a big win for Buffalo Trace. But what if you’re another distillery and want to get some of that limelight? Reach out to the media and talk about your new security upgrades in light of the recent high-end bourbon thefts. How you’re protecting your own specialty bourbon that’s purloin-worthy. And what makes it so darn special. Find ways your brand fits into the story. No matter what your industry is, be aware that a little news nugget can be turned into a gold rush. And when you find yourself getting your 15 minutes, be prepared to take advantage. I’ll drink to that!
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Protect your brand’s social media, or get locked up like the King.
Did a Burger King employee shoot up heroin before making your Whopper? Probably not. But thanks to hackers, 180,000 of the fast-food joint’s Twitter followers weren’t so sure after the company served up a fury of profane tweets, and changed the account name and logo to McDonald’s.
Burger King isn’t the first company slain by hackers, and it certainly won’t be the last. The Associated Press, Jeep and dozens of smaller ones have also discovered the perils of lackluster security. Worse, your brand could be next.
Here are some ways to protect your brand and avoid the embarrassment:
Make Your Passwords Hard to Crack
A minimum of eight characters with a mix of letters (upper and lower case), symbols and numbers. And don’t use words or phrases related to your brand, like BK_socialmedia_1. (Note: That’s probably not the password BK used.) Here’s how hackers crack passwords.
Don’t Use the Same Password for Multiple Platforms
It should go without saying, but hackers don’t just want access to your Twitter account, they want the whole package. From Facebook, to internal servers, and even corporate bank accounts. If hackers manage to access one of your platforms, it’s easier to regain control of a single platform, instead of a bunch at once.
The Fewer People with Access, the Better
It only takes one rogue employee to make your social media empire crumble. Only give access to those who absolutely need it, and make sure guidelines are given to any key holder. And if you have to let someone go, make sure to change passwords.
Think You’re Compromised? Change Your Password.
For most social media platforms, it’s not necessary to create a new password every other week. We recommend every few months to be safe. But if you notice signs, like phantom tweets, change the password ASAP and notify the team.
Use a Password Manager to Store Your Login Information
With more platforms sprouting up everyday that require unique logins, it’s not realistic to remember a slew of passwords – especially if they’re tough to crack. With a password manager like KeePass (it’s free), you can securely store login information for different platforms and not risk forgetting it. Check out this list of password managers from LifeHacker.
Don’t Click Suspicious Links. Ever.
Most hackers don’t “brute force” their way into accounts. They use stealth methods, like phishing emails or tweets, that bait you into giving up your account information.
For example, if you spot an email from Facebook that asks for your login credentials, trash it. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t want to verify your account. Hackers are trying to steal it. No reputable company will EVER ask for your username or password in an email or message.
And if someone randomly sends a vague tweet like “Hey, check this out,” don’t click the link. There’s a good chance that if you click it, you’ll unintentionally install malware or harmful viruses on your computer.
The best rule? Don’t click any links you’re wary of, or don’t expect. For added security, install a link scanner like AVG that tells you if it’s safe to click.
Still Reading? It’s Time to Lock Down Your Social Media Accounts.
With these tips in mind, go secure your accounts. Because the easiest way to handle a social media meltdown is to avoid one altogether. (But should one happen, there’s always PR.)
Rarely is there a shocking new paradigm in marketing. Twitter is an evolution of the town square. The ancestor of modern branding is a cowboy searing his cattle with a red-hot iron. And yelling back and forth to the neighbors in the yard the back fence started the gears moving on the mobile phone.
We’re fixated on the future, but sometimes it pays to look in the rearview mirror. That’s exactly what gazillionaire and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet did on his latest acquisition tear.
In a 15-month stretch, Buffet purchased 28 daily newspapers for $344 million. Wait, aren’t newspapers dead? Maybe it’s time to take a fresh look at the future through the eyes of a wise octogenarian.
Here’s how Buffet describes the value of hyper-local news.
“Wherever there is a pervasive sense of community, a paper that serves the informational needs of that community will be indispensable to a significant portion of the residents.”
Buffet saw an opportunity to take the localized “idea” of community newspapers and evolve them to the 21st century. It’s a journey that sounds oddly similar to the niche marketing and social media our generation invented, minus the big data.
For revenue models, though, Buffet is tethered to the future. He’s looking to the Internet and relatively new pay-for-use business models like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
“Even a faulty product can suffer from a bad business model,” Buffet says. This should give us pause, and a reason to look backwards and find out what we may have missed. Social media, mobile websites and ad tracking sound sexier than Burma Shave signs on country roads, posters in supermarket windows, church bulletins, or – horrors – direct mail?
Most technological evolution is spurred by the need for more efficient and cheaper production, and modifying products to meet the new demands. Products and marketing tactics become outdated, but the ideas behind them rarely do. So think like Buffet. Look to the past and see if you can make something new.
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Don’t let up on your disgust with ads just because the election is over. Smoke and mirrors, misdirection and just plain lies abound in our day-to-day marketing.
The inability of advertisers to make coherent arguments to sell their product have made social media and authenticity buzzwords. At least on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn there’s a dab of accountability. Refer the wrong plumber to your pals, and you might get kicked out of the Thursday night poker.
Like political ads, most consumer advertising either says nothing, contorts the truth, or smacks of hyperbole. In a recent commercial, a luxury car deemed itself “The World Standard.” The world standard for what? Does this include the 47 countries in the world that have no knowledge of the brand? And we’re not singling out cars, you can find the same level of pap in ads for everything from hotdogs and laundry detergents to investment bankers and hospitals. Hot air like this is exactly what gets brands in trouble on social media. Like reading on Facebook that your pal’s “World Standard” is leaking transmission fluid like a flop house toilet.
Keeping it Clean and Honest in Print and Social Media
It’s not surprising then that some brands, steeped in conventional ad pap for decades, have problems embracing the newfangled authenticity. In reality, you can easily skip over this minefield if you remember two things: 1) Tell the truth. 2) Remember what you were taught about writing in the fifth grade. If you need a refresher course, pick up a copy of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.
The truth and not telling it, or partially telling it will dog your brand forever on the Internet. When you believe something, you have a reason for believing even if it’s just pure faith. Make sure that your company’s marketing claims are backed by reasons and facts. Maybe you can’t squeeze it all in a Tweet, but you can expand on it on the web and in other media.
In web writing, avoid empty hyperbole like the plague. Don’t claim that you’re the world’s best, finest, or only unless you can prove it. If you’re touting “Drive = Love,” like Chrysler, you better have a Viagra dispenser under the dash.
Weasel words are the second cousins of hyperbole. They give the brand wiggle room, usually for legal reasons, and dilute the claim, e.g. arguably the safest car in America. Anytime you see an adjective or an adverb with an “ly” construction, you’ve got a stinker. Words like about, sometimes, most are also good signs a brand is hedging its bets.
So instead of sounding like an ad from a political action committee, stay true to your brand. Stick to declamatory sentences. Start with a topic sentence. Make it believable. And back your claims up with tangible reasons to buy, or to prefer your product or service to a competitor.
Slick tricks and smooth talking shuts customers down permanently.
Remember the good old days when advertisers could lie to consumers and get away with it? It sure was a great time for the cigarette industry. Advertisers still lie, but you’ll need bigger cojones and better lawyers. So what’s a brand to do?
Tell the Truth, and Prove It
Does your advertising even sniff of a line like this: Z-Star feature unparalleled service, superior performance, and we’re the sales for (exaggerated number of year). Uh, who cares? Consumers don’t. Brands must be positioned with meaningful benefits. Saying it isn’t enough, you must have a real reason why your brand is better, e.g. “NASA trusts us with its orange juice, and so should you.” Drink Tang. Boom.
Otherwise you risk annihilation on social media and review sites, which spread messages about your brand much more efficiently than any advertising campaign.
Luxury Brands at Risk
A special heads up to luxury brands. An aura of mystique, privilege and exclusivity may not carry the day. Consumers may buy your brand’s cachet, but they’ll also demand pragmatic reasons to make a purchase. A 2011 study at the Edinborough Science Festival found that 460 of its participants could not discern between cheap and expensive wines.
How to Speak with Authenticity
Don’t pander. Don’t “wassup? homey,” with African Americans; “Oy vey,” with Jews; or “hola,” with Latinos. They’ll spot you as a faker and shut you down in a second.
Use real people in your brand imagery. We live in a time when our over 13% of population is 65+ and nearly 40% of Americans are obese. I’m not suggesting that we are required to put fat people and old people in every ad. But there needs to be an evolution away from the prototypical emaciated model, too. We’re all imperfect, and our imperfections can actually help us bond with other people. The days of a paid actor endorsement, which just screams fake, are drawing to a close. No wonder so many millennials distrust marketing.
The blowback from honesty is that someone will always disagree. The brilliant cellist Pablo Casals has a hit video on YouTube with more than a million views. Yet 29 people gave it a thumbs down. In the “Mad Men” days advertising this was shrugged off by saying “they weren’t the target audience.” Not today. Your dirty laundry is in the town square for everyone to see. Use complaints as an opportunity to engage online, and show other customers you’re a mensch.
Live the Brand
Listen to consumers on social media. Read review sites. Go on sales calls. Meet distributors. Spy. Until the little voice in your brand is real.
Are you taking steps to get more authentic with your marketing? Tell us in comments below.
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Typos. Every writer’s bane. Except on social media, where minor bloopers can sometimes help you.
Here’s when it’s OK to misfire.
Brush aside a minor typo. A missing space or errant apostrophe won’t kill your credibility, but it will show that drones don’t manage your account.
Deleting a tweet hurts more. Trigger-happy folks may have already commented on your post or re-tweeted it. Removing it because of a tiny mistake could cost you vital interaction – the reason you use social media.
Leverage a mistake. Someone will almost always call you out. Make it positive, like “whoops, too much caffeine for us. Have a great weekend!”
But some errors can’t be ignored.
Major FUBARs. Client names and company names. Don’t mess them up. And if you do, fix them before it’s too late.
Omitting crucial words or letters. It only takes one keystroke to change the meaning of your sentence. See the difference between “public” and “pubic.”
Consistent errors. Everyone makes typos. But don’t make them a habit. One mishap won’t murder your social cred, but a pile of them will tarnish your rep.
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@KitchenAidUSA: Obamas gma even knew it was going 2 b bad! ‘She died 3 days b4 he became president’.
When a social media manager at KitchenAid mistakenly used the company’s Twitter account as a political soapbox, more than 26,000 lovers of professional-grade cooking equipment were left scratching their heads.
Politics, let alone questionable grammar, is the last thing you’d expect to read from KitchenAid.
The company promptly deleted the rogue tweet, and damage control attempted to sweep this FUBAR under the rug. Read more about the fallout. KitchenAid isn’t the first company to fall victim to this, and it certainly won’t be the last (keep reading for more examples).
How Social Media Snafus Happen
No, the account didn’t get hacked. A disgruntled employee wasn’t having a meltdown. It’s much simpler and less dramatic: A member of the social media team accidentally sent a personal tweet from the brand’s Twitter account.
But to the general public, none of that matters. And the black mark remains.
@ChryslerAutos: I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f*cking drive.
So when we drill down deeper to the root of the problem, red flags arise.
For large brands, anywhere from 10- to 30 people (or worse, even more) may have access to the company’s social media account. The whole marketing department, a few corporate suits, a couple IT guys and a handful of agency mavens all want their hands in the pot. And every additional administrator is another liability for the company.
@StubHub: Thank f*** it’s Friday! Can’t wait to get out of this stubsucking hell hole.
It’s also not uncommon for members of social media teams to manage multiple accounts across various streams, and even swap between desktop, tablet and mobile all in a day’s work.
More people. More technology. And more ways to let a mistake slip through the cracks.
How to Prevent a Social Media Meltdown
The message is simple: Those with access to a corporate social media account should always double, triple and quadruple check which feed they’re logged into before sending a message.
@RedCross: Ryan found two more 4 bottle packs of Dogfish Head’s Midas Touch beer… when we drink we do it right #gettinglizzerd
Or better yet, separate work from personal social media. At Ideopia, we run our corporate and client accounts through different apps, like HootSuite. Read more about our social media services.
But it’s always good practice to confirm before posting. It only takes a few extra seconds, whereas damage to a brand can last a lifetime (Google “KitchenAid tweet”). And it could easily cost people their jobs.
Remember: No matter how fast someone deletes a FUBAR tweet, chances are the Internet is faster at seeing it. And by that time, it’s too late. The Internet never forgets.