Tag Archives: marketing

Social Media – The Newest Outlet for Great Customer Service

social-media-customer-serviceGone are the days when good customer service simply meant staffing the front desk with a friendly receptionist and answering the phone with a smile.

These days, customers expect their needs to be met in person, on the phone, and via text message, email, chats and even social media channels.

Ignoring any of these outlets for customers to get help, ask questions or lodge complaints can negatively impacts a business’ reputation in the eyes of the consumer.

The good news – and bad, depending on your point of view – about customer service moving to social media is that they are a public forum.customer service

Instead of private phone calls, texts, online chats or email conversations where consumers speak with just one or two company representatives, now these exchanges are being watched by dozens, hundreds or thousands of other people.

If customer service is handled well on a social media platform, a company can garner new fans and potential customers or buyers.

However, if the situation is handled poorly, the business can be subjected to bad PR, loss of customers, public backlash and internal turmoil.

Think for a moment about the last time you saw a company respond promptly and pleasantly to a consumer’s complaint on Facebook? Did you immediately feel more favorable toward that company? Probably. (See embedded images for a recent example from one of my own Facebook friends.)

Great customer service on social media matters.On the other hand, how do you feel when you see a business ignore any questions or complaints about their product or services on their Twitter or Facebook page. What if they respond to customer service posts or messages with short, defensive replies?

You’re probably not to eager to rush out and buy their product, right?

The takeaway from all this is that managing customer service online is just as important as manning the front desk or answering the phone at your business.

If you need help setting up your social media networks and managing them so your customers’ needs are met, please email me at 618creative@gmail.com today!

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Facebook To Delete Your Photos, But Just One Album

News outlets have been covering an upcoming change to Facebook, reporting that users photos will be deleted if they don’t download the new Moments app by July 7.

Naturally, folks are panicking.

What the news outlets have not properly explained is that Facebook is NOT deleting all your photos. The images that the change will affect are only your Synced Photos, an album of pictures that were synced from your phone to Facebook to potentially be shared at a later date.facebook

You can see the album I’m referring to by accessing the Facebook app on your phone. From there, visit your profile page and click photos.  Across the top of that screen, you’ll see the options above.

Facebook changes mean one photo album will be deleted.If you click on Synced, you’ll get a warning from Facebook (see left) alerting you that photo syncing is no longer possible and that the new Moments app should be downloaded to access and privately share your photos.

So what to do if you don’t want your synced photos deleted? Either download the free Moments app on your phone BEFORE JULY 7, or download all your synced pics straight to your computer.

If you do neither, the synced photos in that album will be purged some time after July 7. If these are not images you’re worried about saving, then don’t sweat this change.

The official statement from Facebook’s blog assured users that even if photos are deleted, this will not affect any other photos or videos shared on Facebook separately from the specially synced album.

Here are some additional details via a CBS News article:

The phone-syncing function was launched in 2012 to make it easy to share these photos online at a later time if you didn’t want them immediately uploaded to your profile. This feature is being phased out because Facebook wants to place the emphasis on Moments.

The Moments app has been around for about a year now. It can scan your images to pinpoint familiar faces and identify them with specific Facebook friends. The app also allows users to group images by events, and share them directly with the people who are tagged.

Read more on Facebook’s upcoming change. Call 618 Creative if you need help with your Facebook page!

No Time for Marketing Your Business? We Can Help

When I ask business owners about their marketing plans and social media platforms, the most common response I get is “I just don’t have the time.”

That’s understandable.

Running a business can be life-consuming. When you factor in the accounting, sales and client lead generation, and employee management, it’s a wonder small business owners have time to sleep.

It’s not surprising that marketing and social media management become an afterthought.

618 Creative can help you with that.

Whether you need to update your website content, need better public and media relations material or just want a more polished plan in place for your social media platforms, I can help.

The initial consultation is free, so you can use that time to tell me about your business and what your needs may be. Then, we discuss your budget limitations and prioritize the work.

If you’re struggling to keep up with the demands of marketing and social media, please reach out. Email me today at 618creative@gmail.com to set up your free, no commitment consultation!

 

 

Why I Don’t Delete Negative Comments On Social Media

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No one likes to hear negative feedback, especially if it isn’t given in the context of constructive criticism.

So I understand why it is the first instinct of many of my clients, friends and colleagues to delete any negative comments and posts on their professional social media pages and websites.

In their minds, they are removing the negativity and complaints and thus disassociating it from themselves and their business. Deleted = gone.

But there are several problems with this method.

In the various stages of my career, as a communications professional for larger organizations and now as business owner myself, I have advocated for letting negative feedback stand on business social media pages.

Here is why.

First, customer feedback is valuable in all forms. Good feedback, in the form of testimonials, positive reviews and kudos, are valuable for obvious reasons.

But negative feedback, concerns or complaints can also be valuable. Use that information to evaluate your business, your staff and the services you are providing. Was there a problem that could be remedied for that customer or for future customers? How can you improve?

Remember, the customer took to social media or your website to complain BECAUSE he or she knew everyone could see it. He or she was fully aware that the world was watching for your response. So make that work in your favor!

Instead of deleting the comment, respond with the very best customer service you can provide. Show the customer – and everyone else who is watching – what kind of service you provide to customers when they are dissatisfied.

As a consumer, I am often MOST impressed with businesses who handle disgruntled or dissatisfied customers on social media with grace and fantastic customer service.

Check out: Turning An Angry Customer Into A Happy Customer with Mindy Postoff 

If I see a business ignoring a customer’s complaint or concern, that tells me I’ll have the same response if I buy from that business and have a problem.

Deleting a comment does not make it go away.  The individual will likely comment again, and call you out for deleting their complaint.

Yes, of course you can ban them. But it is generally bad practice to go around banning people (unless of course they are an internet troll going around doing nothing but stirring the pot for no apparent reason.)

And, let’s always remember this – nothing you do on the internet is ever really erased. Someone, somewhere probably took a screenshot of the page. Truly. It happens all the time.

My few exceptions to my no-delete rule are the following:

  • Spammers – people who comment or post on your pages with content unrelated to you or your business. Delete those immediately and report them if you can.
  • Potty mouths* – inevitably, there will be some folks who get so riled up that they used foul language. My suggestion is to reply to their comment with something like the following “Mr. ??, we appreciate your feedback and would be happy to discuss this with you. However, please remove and refrain from using inappropriate language in your posts or we will be forced to delete it.”
  • Anyone posting hate speech or defamatory, libelous, illegal or any potentially harmful language – delete it. This should go without saying.
  • Trolls – there are always some folks who are just there to cause problems. They may not even be customers. You’ll know them because they won’t let it go. If you encounter someone like this – or anyone who seems to get more upset the more you try to work through the issue, always suggest taking the conversation off-line to phone or email.

But in most cases, I advocate for responding, appropriately and with good customer service in mind, to all comments on your businesses’ social media pages and websites.

Do it promptly and with the same amount of patience and professionalism you would if the person was standing in front of you. Do it as though the entire world were watching you – because they are.

Need help with your social media strategy? Contact 618 Creative.

*You should always have your profanity filter on!

The Re-Branding Legends of Lego, Burberry & Apple – From Crisis to Success

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Brand wars: a clever campaign helped Lego rebuild its image. Photograph: Alamy for The Guardian

Did you know that The Lego Group faced bankruptcy in the 1990s?

Or that Burberry was once so associated with hoodlums that the brand was actually banned from some pubs?

It might seem hard to believe now, but Apple products were so uncool two decades ago that the company was dangerously close to bankruptcy in 1997.

Business owners know, it takes time to build a brand and a trusted reputation.  Shoddy products, poor management, negative press or just bad luck can shatter all that hard work in mere seconds.

Burberry was considered gangwear; now it's worn by Emma Watson and Kate Moss. Photo Mario Testino via Business Insider.
Burberry was considered gangwear; now it’s worn by Emma Watson and Kate Moss. Photo Mario Testino via Business Insider.

If you’re lucky, and get the right person to re-brand your business, you might just turn things around. The well-known companies above were able to rescue their languishing brands and go on to unimaginable success. This great piece in Business Insider shares 10 amazing re-branding success stories.

Read more about re-branding success stories from The Guardian.

Contact 618 Creative for helping with your business branding needs.

If You Build It, Will They Come? Hire A Marketing Pro And They Will

Hedge apples into beauty products. - Des Moines Register
Hedge apples into beauty products. – Des Moines Register

If you’re the only gas station, store or restaurant in a 25-mile radius, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to do a successful business.

But since most entrepreneurs aren’t lucky enough to have a captive market,  they have to work a little harder.

Obviously, any good business owner wants to have the best product at competitive prices. Unfortunately, that isn’t always enough.

For example, if you own a floral shop in a community with four or five other floral shops, what is going to make a customer choose you?

You can order the coolest new purses and gifts on the market to supplement your flowers, but if no one knows you carry them, will it make a difference?

That’s where a marketing and social media strategy agency like 618 Creative can help. Our job is to tell customers who you are, what you do and how you are different from your competitors.

Our number one goal is to make sure your store comes to mind first when anyone in your region has a need you can serve.

Marketing, after all, is all about perception. Here is a prime example: hedge apples.

Yes, those bumpy, weird-looking balls that fall freely from the trees and lay on the ground around your community.

Deemed pretty much useless for a century, people typically just let them rot. Some old-timers think they repel spiders.

Recently, one clever scientist teamed up with some marketing and branding folks to come up with a new use for hedge apples.

Now, he’s selling oil from this unappreciated fruit for $85 per half ounce!

That, friends, is the glory of science and creative marketing.

 

Knowing Your Audience

79309ce4-4bf5-4977-851f-b3f71ec39b8d-originalOne of the most important factors in marketing and sales is knowing your audience.

Whether you’re crafting a sales pitch or developing a marketing campaign, you have to know who you’re “talking” to.

For example, people under 50 might not catch on or relate to references to rotary dial telephones.

Interesting Read From the Huffington Post: Things Only People Over 50 Understand

It doesn’t matter if you’re peddling lawn care services or selling computers, you have to know a lot about your audience, including:

  • what platforms they most often use to communicate/receive information
  • generational slang and buzzwords
  • accepted rituals and behaviors
  • historical references in their lifetime

Don’t fret though – you already know your audience better than anyone. You developed a product or service specifically for them.

Just remember to keep all this in mind when creating and perfecting your sales pitches, marketing campaigns and advertising.

And if you need help, please contact us!

 

Who Needs Marketing & Branding Anyway? You Do!

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Back in my journalism days, I never gave much thought to the importance of marketing and branding.

If I’m being really honest, I’ll admit that I and many of my fellow reporters considered most PR folks  to be a necessary evil.

We sometimes needed them to help us get to our sources on deadline, but the rest of the time they were just a nuisance, force-feeding us the party line or blasting us with too many boring press releases.

But now that I’ve worked on the “other side” for close to seven years, I see things a little differently. I can see the value of branding, marketing and communications.

I won’t wax poetic (at least in this post anyway) about the importance of good marketing and storytelling for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Instead, I can show you, with just a few images, how very important brand management is.

Marcomm, branding and creative folks are the ones who come up with the logos, slogans, websites, flyers and ad campaigns that you can’t forget.

Take a look at the images above. The fact that you likely recognize all of them, and the companies they represent,  means branding DOES matter.

If you own a businsess, even a small one, 618 Creative can help you develop your brand and make it stand out in the marketplace. Contact us today!

Our First Client

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Without much fanfare, 618 Creative got its start in this world with our very first client in early 2016. Christy Gardner hired me to build a marketing strategy for her new business, Balance Beans.

Christy had a fantastic business plan. She provides gymnastics and tumbling to kids right in their daycare. It costs the daycare nothing, and saves parents from running their kids to yet another activity in the evening! Plus, her classes are much more affordable than other gymnastics and tumbling schools.

bb2I loved her concept, and couldn’t wait to help her promote her business. We developed some print collateral, including a brochure, business cards, parental forms and sign-up sheets. Then we went to work on email templates and content for social media.

I’m very grateful to Christy for taking a chance on me and giving me the opportunity to help her business grow!