Category Archives: Social Media
I also like their great customer service.
But what I like most of all is their openness and generosity; two key ingredients for start-up success on the social web.
It’s these attributes that led Buffer to sharing the pitch deck they used to secure a $500,000 investment into their start-up, as well as the thinking process behind the slides.
We can learn a lot from the simplicity of Buffer’s pitch, as well as their use of compelling ratios and tangible proof of the traction their business was gaining.
Read the full story at OnStartups.com or flick through the slides below:
Search engine marketers know how important it is to think about the words that they don’t want their company or brands to be associated with. But few people apply the same keyword rigour when posting to social networks. In this post, I’ll explain why this is important and how you can turn negative keywords into big positives for your business.
First up, what is a negative keyword? A negative keyword is any word or phrase that you do not want to associate with your business. Let’s imagine we’re running a hotel, Frost Mansion, that offers luxury spa retreats for adults. Your guests pay handsomely to stay at your hotel because they enjoy the calm, child-free environment, together with likeminded grown-ups. It’s pretty clear that you don’t want your hotel to attract groups of children. In fact the last thing you want is a family with kids turning up with a reservation ready to destroy the peace and tranquillity.
Here are two examples of how you might describe your hotel, the first is a fairly safe bet, while the second presents an awkward ‘negative keyword’ challenge:
Unwittingly, the inclusion of the word ‘child’ in the second example could, in some circumstances, lead to your hotel becoming discovered by someone searching for luxury spa retreats with children. And while the major search engines are getting better at understanding the semantic meaning of phrases like “child-free”, until they perfect this there’s a risk that even a mention of a negative keyword could have the opposite to the intended effect.
This exact same discipline is needed with updates to social networks. There’s no point optimising your website and display ads if you don’t apply the same rigour to your social media updates. Consider the difference that the following tweets might have on the type of business your hotel could attract:
The first tweet will show up in searches for ‘weekend hotel offer children’, potentially attracting the wrong type of clientele. And don;t think that including the phrase “sorry no children” will work all the time; people scan online content and routinely gloss over important details like this.
In contrast, the second tweet avoids this risk completely by excluding negative keywords relating to children.
To turn the negatives into positives is easy. Here’s my 7 step process for making sure your social updates avoid the pitfalls:
Define all the positive things you want your brand to be famously associated with. If your brand is well-established you should have this list already in your defined brand essence or value propositions. (e.g. words like premium, quality and luxury may feature in our Frost Mansion example)
Prune back the positives lists to the most important aspects that differentiate your brand within its sector, grouping into categories where it helps. Make sure every word really deserves its place on the positives list
Now define the things you don’t want to become famous for; these are your negatives. To prevent this from becoming an extremely long list stick to topics and themes that could reasonably apply to your industry sector but which you don’t want to become associated to your brand (e.g. Frost mansion would want to avoid words like cheap, bargain, discount and, of course, children)
Refine your negatives list, removing duplicates and making sure you’ve covered all the major bases. Be creative with your thinking; it’s better to agree on the negatives now than to leave any ambiguity that might create uncertainty later.
You may spot some groups or categories of negatives. If so, group together synonyms into clusters, each representing a major theme area that you wish to avoid becoming associated with.
Now share your positive and negative lists with all customer-facing staff, explaining the importance of repeatedly using the positive words and the danger of using the negatives
Update your social media biographies, avatars and content plan to eradicate all negative keywords and maximise the use of positive keywords. Editing recent posts may be advisable if you’ve used lots of negatives previously. Be sure to use the same negatives across your entire online marketing plan including SEO
To help instil adoption of the new keyword list, it may help to run a fun competition amongst staff to find the most creative ways of using positive keywords. I’ve even seen a tongue-in-cheek Wall of Shame with mugshots of community managers who have accidentally dropped a negative into one of their updates or comments!
But most importantly, make using the lists an enjoyable challenge; you’ll be amazed how much fun you can have trying to find ways to dodge the negatives and accentuate the positives.
Dan analysed common calls to action featured in over 2.7million tweets to gauge what impact they have on recipients. While I should urge a little caution given the slightly skewed nature of the data (Buffer users tends to be more sophisticated social media players than the average) the findings are still pretty impressive.
As I’ve shown before, sometimes the littlest changes can have the biggest impact. So, here are the Top Seven Best Performing Calls To Action from Dan’s study:
1. Please Help – this simple, human plea generates more than 160% more retweets than the average tweet. Evidence, if it were ever needed, that social media is all about people helping other people.
2. Please Retweet – the old favourite solicits around 130% more retweets than average, still a great performer.
3. Please RT – interestingly for a shorthand world limited to just 140 characters, abbreviating Retweet to RT leads to 30% drop in retweets received! But ‘Please RT’ will still bring in around 90% more RTs than the average tweet so remains popular amongst the Twitter elite.
4. Please – OK, so this word may not always relate to an overt call to action but your mum was right: a little politeness goes a long way bringing home more than 70% more retweets than average.
5 Retweet – if you’re too cool to be polite, this one word still helps elicit over 50% more retweets than average.
6. Spread – we’re in the long grass now, but tweets featuring the word ‘spread’ still manage to attract over 30% more tweets than average
7. Visit – last on our hit list, the word ‘visit’ brings a tiny retweet uplift of around 15% over the average tweet. Not to be sniffed at perhaps, but a long way from the 160% boost at the top of our list.
So now you know which phrases are most likely to encourage your followers to retweet your content. But when and how often should you use these calls to action?
Clearly, if you beg for a retweet every time you post, your followers are likely to lose interest before very long. Instead I recommend you save your pleas for those times when you really need some help, maybe once or twice a week at most, depending on your activity levels. There are no hard and fast rules, but ask yourself what it must feel like to be on the receiving end of your tweets. If your Sent Tweets starts to look a bit like a charity fundraiser, you might be overdoing it. A little moderation will greatly increase your impact when the time comes to ask for those retweets.
And it almost goes without saying, it’s far better to focus on providing high quality content that your followers will spontaneously want to pass on than to force feed them rubbish they feel obliged to pass on to satisfy your constant requests for their help. Great content always generates the greatest response, even when you don’t ask for it.
The Social Command Centre—a kind of NASA Ground Control for social media hub teams in organisations—is an increasingly common sight these days inside large organisations. Here’s a snap of Microsoft’s latest prototype, which I saw running on a visit this week to their UK Campus:
The big idea behind command centres like this is to provide an at-a glance view of interesting things happening on the social web. In Microsoft’s case this equates to monitoring their own accounts across a variety of channels as well as any trending social chatter about selected products and services,
In reality though, having a whole bank of screens—I’ve seen as many as twenty—creates a wall of data that is sometimes very hard to analyse and understand without an army of community managers and data analysts. Unless you’re running a presidential election or overseeing a high-profile public event with millions of viewers, the chances are an oversized command centre may eventually prove as useful as an inflatable dartboard.
There’s is, however, a different purpose that a wall of screens can serve, and that’s to create a focal point for the company’s social media listening and response activities. For Microsoft, the monitors you see above help remind staff and executives that there’s a world outside of the corporate headquarters. Making a public show that you’re listening to the chatter and working hard to engage with customers in real-time sends a powerful signal across the organisation. This was the guiding principle behind Nokia’s social visualiser Agora (watch video), which was placed in public areas like staff canteens and thoroughfares within their office locations.
Of course, the Social Command Centre isn’t a new idea. Many other companies including Gatorade, Salesforce, Dell and NVIDIA have all publicly showcased monitor-laden operations centres. But for many the question remains, is this actually a useful tool for improving the effective use of social media marketing, a cheap way to inject outside influence onto an internal organisational culture or just an extravagant way to lend social media a much-needed air of credibility?
What do you think?
I’m occasionally asked if it’s possible to book a short consulting session with me to collect some quick answers or get help tackling urgent issues. This has always been difficult to arrange in the past but I’m pleased to announce a new way for you to get personal, cut-to-the-chase help from me over the phone.
You can request a call with me now using link below. The online Clarity.fm service allows you to select time periods when you’d like our call to take place and will charge you only for the time we spend together, billed by the minute. I can’t promise to always be available right away, but I’ll do my best to help at a time that suits us both.
Click here to find out more: https://clarity.fm/#/allisterf.
And please let me know your thoughts on how I can improve this new service.
Cart abandonment, where an online shopper adds items to their basket but then fails to complete the checkout process, is one of the most common and frustrating issues facing ecommerce retailers. Carrying out a forensic investigation into why potential buyers leave before completing their transaction can yield valuable insights to streamline the shopping process and increase conversion to sale. Or, if getting forensic sounds too complicated, here are some research findings that may help.
Earlier this year LivePerson Inc released the findings of a study into online attitudes and behaviours and the results provide a sobering reminder of how high consumer expectations have risen in a short period of time. Nearly 6 in 10 people say they would like more options in how they connect with brands and more than 8 in 10 said they needed some form of support during online shopping visits.
Tougher still on hard-stretched businesses, 71% of online shoppers expect to be able to access help within five minutes, with almost one in three now expecting this support to be instant. And the cost of failing to give speedy support is high, with almost half of all online shoppers claiming they would shop elsewhere or abandon their purchase altogether.
The top reason given for cart abandonment is Unexpected Delivery Costs, as cited by 70% of respondents. If you still hide your delivery charges until the shopper moves to the checkout phase now would be a good time to fix this! Other common bugbears that consumers continue to see too often on ecommerce sites are a lack of product information (56%), security concerns about the website (50%), site navigation problems (46%) and overly complicated registration or login processes (38%).
The message for online businesses is emphatic: give your shoppers the speedy support they demand or expect to see shoppers walking out of your virtual store empty-handed.
But which are the most demanded support channels? The good old telephone number tops the list with 61% of people asking for it, but was closely followed by email and live chat tops also receiving votes from around 6 people in 10. Site FAQs remain popular (51%), followed by click-to-call (34%) and live video chat (7%).
The key takeaways for brands? Find out what your customers and target audiences expect from your website. You may be missing some simple tricks like making FAQs and offsite Help Forums easy to access during the shopping process. Explore some of the latest generation of live chat and instant response tools. If you have customer service teams working during peak times it’s often quite easy to redeploy some of their time to monitoring online requests for help. And remember, not everything that matters happens on your site; chatter within social media and other online discussion environments may be just as crucial in oiling the buying process, so be sure to consider these channels too.
Image credit: http://i-shot.blogspot.co.uk