• Are you telling your brand story in social media?

#CustomerService – Strategy Matters. Stop Throwing Spaghetti at the Wall

Do you have customers? That may sound like a silly question, but it’s an important one. If you have customers but you don’t have a customer service strategy, you may be crossing your fingers, rolling the dice and hoping that everything goes as it should. In other words, you are simply throwing spaghetti at the wall. Eventually, those noodles will fall off the wall, and you’ll have no safety net to catch them before they hit the floor. That approach could end up being very costly since it can cost you customers and money.

Exceptional customer service doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of a customer-focused culture, and it takes planning and work. The first step in developing that culture is to have a strategy.

5 Steps to Creating a Customer Service Strategy

  • Understand your customers. Unless you know what your customers want and need you’ll have a hard time figuring out what to give them. The best way to find out is to ask them. A detailed assessment of how your customers work, what they need to get their jobs done, and what kind of service they require will go a long way in helping shape your service strategy.
  • Have a mission. When your employees come in contact with your customers they need to be well informed of your mission and vision. Unless your front-line employees know what is expected of them, they may be unprepared when it comes to keeping customers happy. Be sure that your employees know and understand your mission, particularly with regards to developing customers and retaining them.
  • Set goals and establish how you’ll measure success. Be sure that both you and your employees are clear on exactly what customer service success means. Once established, you can make adjustments and improve your strategy. Whether you use a customer satisfaction survey system or another type of measurement, you need to be able to see if you are meeting your goals.
  • Provide tools and training. If you expect your employees to be ready to give your customers excellent service, then you must teach them and train them to provide just that. If you provide a clear mission and appropriate training, then you can expect accountability.
  • Reward success. Verbal praise isn’t just about positive reinforcement. It’s also about saying “Thank you” and letting the people who create your success know you truly appreciate them and how they’ve embraced your mission.

It doesn’t matter if you have five employees or 500 – you don’t want to leave your customer service to chance. With a well thought out strategy, you can be sure that your employees know what you expect when it comes to creating satisfied customers. Instead of throwing that spaghetti at the wall to see if it sticks, consider turning it into a meal that tells both your customers and employees that you appreciate what they do to make you successful.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media Training, Speaking and Strategy Consultations.

#CustomerService – Know Your Niche & How You Serve

You spend a lot of time thinking about the products and services you offer and the customers you sell them to. But does your overall strategy have a strong focus? Are you trying to reach anyone and everyone or are you targeting a specific segment? It’s an important question because not even the biggest companies can be all things to all people. To be successful, you need to identify your niche and develop a strategy for serving it.

Before you can acquire a new customer, you must attract his or her attention. That means you need to know who your real customers are and what is important to them. But how do you go about that? Here are five ways you can learn more about your niche and the best way to serve it.

Talk to existing customers: Your customers are your best source for information on what makes them buy and what (and who) influences their decisions. The customers with whom you have established relationships want you to succeed. That means they’ll be happy to talk with you about what makes them tick.

Look at your competitors: If you are the top business in your niche find a competitor who is closing in fast and see what they are doing right. If you aren’t number one, take a look at who is. Your goal isn’t to duplicate their strategies, but to glean what works and what doesn’t.

Read reviews: Even if you don’t sell online, your customers may be posting online. What are they saying? Are you responding to reviews about you? These people want to talk, and they are a great source for learning more about your customers.

Participate in social media groups: There are hundreds (dare we say thousands) of special interest groups who spend time online talking about issues important to your market. Find them, join them, and become an active member. Groups can provide you with access to valuable information about your customers, your markets, and your competitors.

Look at keywords: Social marketers use keyword research to discover what terms people search for most often. Even if you don’t buy online advertising, you can use keyword research to see what customers are looking for when they go online. That can help you narrow down the features that are most important.

With so much chatter, competition, and advertising out there today, it can be difficult to get your target market to hear your message. That’s why it’s important to understand what they are looking for. If you do your homework, you’ll be able to cut through the clutter and connect with your customer base.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media Training, Speaking and Strategy Consultations.


#GetOrganized – Participate in Groups on Facebook & LinkedIn

These days, no matter what business you’re in, you have to pay attention to social media. Chances are you have spent a lot of time (and probably money too!) developing a great social media strategy. You work hard to make the most of your pages by keeping them up-to-date and relevant. You design your posts with engagement and collaboration in mind and you race to keep up with the latest trends. Even with all of that, you may not be taking full advantage of a key social media channel—groups.

The main difference between a page and a group is that groups are, by design, collaborative. The whole idea is to have conversations, build networks, and interact with people you have something in common with. Right now, the place to take part in groups is on Facebook and LinkedIn. Both of these platforms have made a big push to get their users to participate in these mini-communities. If you aren’t already active in groups, now is a great time to get started.

So how do you get the most out of social media groups?

The first step is to think about your goals. You want to engage with others who are like-minded and may be interested in buying your products. You may also want to become established as an influencer in your industry space so that people will turn to you when looking for advice, insights, and trends. Being an influencer can help both your personal and business brand.

Do Your Research

Regardless of your goals, you need to do a little research to find groups that are appropriate and relevant to your business and your interests. Once that’s done, jump in. It’s easy to lurk – that is, sit on the sidelines and watch – but to make the most of groups, you have to really participate. That means commenting, contributing, and being a worthwhile part of theconversation.

Decide What Works For You

Once you become active in groups, you’ll notice that all of them are not created equal. At first glance, a group may seem to be the perfect fit when, when it is really just a repository for spam, and there is no real give and take. You can scratch that kind of group off your list. Instead, look for groups that are truly interactive and at the same time allow you to get the word out about your products and services. Many groups now set aside a particular time to allow people to present what they have to sell to others in the group who may be interested. Put these promotional opportunities on your calendar and keep track of them. Otherwise, you may miss the chance to connect with someone who is already sold on you and your company.

So, take a fresh look at your social media strategy to make sure that you have included groups. These tools are a great way to make contacts, build your network, and improve your company image. You never know, you may just find that you make new friends and have some fun too.

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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

Click here for Social Media TrainingSpeaking and Strategy Consultations.

#SharetheLove – Recommendations – How to Ask for Them & Repurpose Them in Your Social

If you pay attention to trends in social media, then you already know how important and powerful recommendations and testimonials can be. Sometimes called social proofs, recommendations and testimonials from satisfied can be your best marketing tool.
Having the story of your success told by others can establish credibility and trust, and at the same time, give you a boost in the search rankings. Think of recommendations as the modern version of word of mouth advertising—it can be highly effective and is certainly affordable.
Given that we know that recommendations and testimonials are a very good thing, how do we go about getting them? The short answer is, ask! Of course, how easy that actually is will depend on the type of business you have and what type of relationship you have with your customers.
Asking for testimonials
If you have the type of business that allows you to establish personal relationships with your customers, the best way to ask is by framing your question with a compliment. Let the client know you value his or her opinion and would love to getfeedback. You might suggest that they provide a product review on video or talk about how your product has contributed to their success. If they agree, be sure to follow up with a thank you and reciprocate where you can. In cases where you have lots of customers but you don’t know them personally, a follow-up survey at the close of a project or the end of a sale can work well. A well-designed feedback form on your website can also do the trick.
Different Types of Recommendations
Keep in mind that having a variety of types of testimonials and recommendations can make it easier to repurpose them. Written recommendations, for example, can be posted to social media, used on your website, or included in print materials such as brochures and fliers. Video testimonials are particularly versatile since they can be used on your social media pages, your YouTube channel, on your website, or in an email campaign.
A word of caution regarding plans to solicit recommendations. While it is perfectly appropriate to ask for them, never be tempted to commission them or pay for them. That is not to say that you can’t say thank you with a small gift, but compensating for customer reviews can erase any credibility you gain.

Positive recommendations and testimonials are a valuable asset to your business. When you nurture them you’ll find you have a full complement to use in a wide variety of marketing channels. With a little creativity and targeted use of customer feedback, you can turn your recommendations into improved standing in the market, enhanced client goodwill, and increased sales.
Be sure to Follow us and Let’s Engage!
Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedInFacebookTwitterBlogGoogle+,YouTubePinterestInstagram and the tools to manage them.

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