Originally posted on business2community.com
One of the biggest decisions that we often have to make when running a small business is determining what type of customers we want to focus on. Are we going to seek out new customers, or should we spend our time getting existing customers to come back?
Certainly, in the bigger picture, we need both. We need our existing customers to come back, and we certainly want a healthy influx of new customers (who will hopefully also become repeat customers). But how should we spend our time, money, and energy? On what should we focus?
While this may vary across business categories, I think most small businesses need to focus more on existing customers, and working to get them to come back. And your online presence and Social Media can be at the heart of that.
Think about it this way: when you visit a business, what is it that makes you come back? Probably some combination of great products/services, great price/value, and great customer service. Add all of these together and what does it come down to? Great customer experience.
Now, take the next step: when you visit a business for the first time, why did you choose that particular business? If you’re anything like me, the overwhelming reason I try a business for the first time is: word of mouth. Someone has recommended that business to me. And that someone is an existing customer who has been on the receiving end of that great customer experience.
OK, now take off your customer hat, and put your small business hat back on. What are you goals? Who do you want to see come through your door? Are you focusing your resources and energies on attracting new customers or repeat customers?
At times it feels like many small businesses spin their wheels in search of those new customers. But honestly, that’s a lot more effort for less payoff.
What if you were to spend more time and money producing great products, offering great value, and providing great service? Your existing customers would not only come back, but they would tell others about you. And those other people are more likely to trust the word of your friends over any sort of marketing or advertising you might do on your own.
In fact, a recent study from Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey indicates that the number one reason people will follow your brand on Twitter is because they are already a customer. And if they follow you on Twitter, the study shows that they will also be more likely to recommend your business. And there are similar findings regarding why people “like” your business on Facebook.
Take care of your existing customers.
They will come back.
They will talk about you, and THEY will do the marketing work for you.
The payback is certainly much greater, and there is less chance that you’ll have to do damage control either online or offline, because you’ll be focusing on making people happy, not just on making the sale.
And don’t separate how you conduct business in your office/store from how you conduct business online. Social platforms offer you an incredible opportunity to really beef up your the customer experience quotient. That includes not only having a presence on platforms where your customers are spending time, but also using that presence to communicate properly with them. Of paramount importance is responding to their questions (and complaints) in a proper and timely fashion.
Remember: What happens online, on Facebook or Twitter, happens in public. Both good and bad customer experiences will be seen by more than just the parties involved. And either way, word will spread. The good news is, if you’re creating a great customer experience, you’ll have the ability to generate positive word of mouth that money can’t buy.
Are you spending more time trying to attract new customers, or is your focus on providing the best possibly experience for your existing customers?
Originally posted on AllFacebook
Consumer brands have been very reliant on the like button as part of the sharing experience on Facebook, but soon they might become less so.
A whopping 51 percent of consumers said they are more likely to buy a product after liking the brand on Facebook, according to a new study by marketing firm Constant Contact and research company, Chadwick Martin Bailey.
The study also revealed that 56 percent of consumers said they are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after becoming a fan of it on Facebook.
Yet, marketers are finding that when customers are given just the one option of liking a product, activity or brand, they aren’t as eager to share it. Consumers are becoming so inundated with that like button, that marketers are beginning to wonder if people even paying attention to it anymore?
What if consumers don’t necessarily like something? What if they just read something, or want something, instead? Facebook sharing has been limited to that four-letter expression until now.
Changes to the open graph will allow Facebook developers the ability to create a significantly richer experience for users as well as a more engaging experience between companies and consumers.
These updates will also help smart marketers to get even more creative with their customer engagement strategy.
Today, marketers and developers can get as creative as they want with these tools and engage consumers on a more personalized level.
The open graph has been expanded to let the developer create a custom action verb to replace “like.”
This customization is starting to populate the Internet, and as more developers catch on, it will become a contest to find who can come up with the best marketing buzzwords and create the most unique and creative hook for customers.
I’m noticing that too few companies have started personalizing their share buttons, but hopefully that’s changing.
We’re now embarking on the holiday season, and as consumers begin to browse their favorite shopping sites in higher volume, I imagine big retail brands will incorporate the new possibilities into their websites.
Shoppers will start seeing a variety of social sharing icons, from “on my Christmas list” to “gotta have it.”
The possibilities for creating personal messages and experiences for your customers have skyrocketed with this update.
It’ll be interesting to see what buttons we start seeing out there, and what action words will draw the most consumer engagement.
Guest writer Ryan Dunlap is creative development leader at redpepper. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Originally published on Sunday's Zaman
The share of digital marketing in the overall marketing mix in Turkey is expected to grow with the use of such new social media tools as Twitter, observers argue.
Studies show that digital marketing, which has emerged as a relatively more efficient and more affordable means of marketing, could deliver high returns in a very short time. This is proof that more companies are gravitating towards digital marketing in Turkey than in the past. Digital marketing -- which covers promotion through the Internet, cellphones and other interactive channels -- accounted for 7.1 percent of overall marketing in Turkey as of June 2011, according to the latest figures compiled by the Turkish Association of Advertising Agencies (RD). In separate data, the total amount of money that companies in Turkey spent on marketing increased by 20 percent in the January-October period over the same period in 2010. Social media experts say digital marketing is poised to secure steady growth in Turkey as the marketing tools in social media are quickly diversifying. This growth, however, may not help digital marketing replace conventional marketing -- TVs, papers and magazines -- in the medium run since traditional ways of marketing still have the strongest share in Turkey. The share of television marketing is, for instance, 58 percent, in the same RD survey covering the first six months.
Among the most preferred new social media marketing tools in the world, Twitter has an important place. Companies use Twitter by opening their own accounts to reach out to “followers,” a majority of whom are customers looking for the latest updates on products. Having a Twitter account can be relatively new for Turkish businesses, but some of the leading firms have already started using this method. Turkey’s largest GSM operator was the first Turkish company to open a Twitter account, and it has reached 40,000 followers in a short time. Other companies that followed Turkcell were Efes Pilsen and Garanti Bank. Turkcell has 38,200 followers on Twitter, while Efes follows with 13,280 and Garanti with 12,070. Company officials were not immediately available to comment on the benefits of their Twitter accounts for their businesses. The Media Monitoring Center (MTM) told Sunday’s Zaman that it would conduct a survey to examine this specific issue.
According to Günseli Özen Ocakoğlu, executive editor of Marketing Türkiye magazine, companies’ Twitter accounts may evolve into attractive digital advertising platforms. “When we asked Twitter’s founder how he planned to make money out of this media three years ago, he had no idea. But today it has become a prominent arena appealing to many firms.” “Twitter is still a credible social media platform that hosts many well-qualified, target-user profiles. Companies would love to reach these people,” Ocakoğlu commented. She said engaging with potential customers could attract new ones. One critical issue Ocakoğlu stressed is that companies should manage their accounts well -- i.e., they should post frequent updates if they want to see benefits in the long run.
Social media expert Zeki Gülen said companies, particularly those that think they lag behind rivals in social media, find such new tools as Twitter very attractive. “They are expecting to increase the popularity of both their companies and brands through various means, and Twitter is one of the best known examples of this. He joined Ocakoğlu and said companies should focus on maintaining sustainability and the popularity of their brands by an efficient use of Twitter. “It is crucial to maintain their credibility, and companies can do this by not harming privacy rights in the digital world.”
Buy a follower to boost your business?
However traditional it may sound, utilizing word of mouth has always been an effective marketing method for companies to increase their business, and the same trend works in the digital world, too. But there is one critical difference when it comes to the digital world. The grocery store in your neighborhood would not pay you for recommending his products to others, but companies in digital realms do. A software programmer from İzmir, who asked to remain anonymous, told Sunday’s Zaman he “sells followers” to companies on Twitter. “Some companies may opt to either pay a small fee to people to follow their accounts or simply ask us to do the same for them. … We have developed a new computer program that enables us to find followers and direct these to certain people, and firms on Twitter for a set amount of money in return.” He also has his own price chart: “We offer 500 followers for TL 20 and 1,000 for TL 40.” He shares the chart on his Twitter account. Noting that his method was first criticized by some at the beginning, he says this has helped companies increase their business to some extent.
Recent studies show following brands on Twitter can actually motivate people to recommend those brands. People who follow brands on Twitter say they are more likely to buy products from the brands they follow and are more likely to recommend those brands to friends, according to a new study by Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey. Among surveyed Twitter users who follow at least one brand on Twitter, 50 percent said they are more likely to buy products from brands they follow on Twitter.
Gülen said attracting followers in return for money may not be a reliable and permanent marketing style since “followers are not fully controllable, and they could easily ‘unfollow’ the firms.” “Buying followers on Twitter may not be a sustainable marketing option for companies in this regard. The companies should spend their time and money on finding and working with the right persons [social media experts] and better manage their accounts,” he added.
Moral discussions aside, there are people who support the “buy-follower” trend on Twitter. At the end of the day, getting an extra 10,000 followers is a great boom. No one follows a company with only, say, 100 followers, they say.
Originally Published on MediaBistro.com
By Lauren Dugan on November 30, 2011 12:10 PM
Facebook might be the bigger network, but several industries are betting on Twitter. According to Outreachr, 35 percent more websites in the travel, finance and motoring industries include Twitter on their contact pages than Facebook.
This datacomes from over 100,000 websites evaluated for their social integration in the month of October, 2011.
A full 54 percent of those websites examined included an external link to their Twitter feed, and only 35 percent linked to their Facebook page. These figures don’t include plugins for the respective social sites on areas other than the website’s contact page, which were common for both.
But, the research went on to show that approximately 40 percent of Facebook users will interact with a brand, and only 25 percent of Twitter users will do the same – which throws into question why webmasters are choosing Twitter over Facebook.
However, as a possible explanation, previous research by Chadwick Martin Bailey suggests that Twitter users (while perhaps not interacting with the brand directly in as high volume as Facebook users), are extremely likely to recommend that brand to their peers if they follow it. This word of mouth recommendation process is extremely valuable on the social web, as a friend or colleague’s recommendation is more likely to lead to a purchase than many other kinds of advertising.
In any case, the Outreachr data does show that social is popular for webmasters across several industries – even more popular than email now. On the contact pages for the websites examined, less than 20 percent displayed an email address, instead preferring to use a contact form or social media to connect with their visitors.