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How to Use Social Media Marketing To Attract and Retain Customers

Social media websites are all the rage these days. We comment on friends’ photos, news feeds, jokes, and other activities multiple times a day. But is it possible that these very same social outlets can be a boon for marketing businesses?

Using social media marketing is a very effective method of communicating with both prospective and established customers. In fact, according to a University of Massachusetts marketing research study, 73% of Fortune 500 companies utilize Twitter to announce product information and news. Meanwhile, 66% of Fortune 500 companies have a presence on Facebook. Many others also utilized social media sites such as YouTube and Pinterest to further enhance their marketing campaigns.

One of the more effective ways that businesses can leverage social media is by publishing informative articles and answering customer queries. If customers find the information valuable, they will, in turn, share it with others which could help drive even more attention to the business.

To take this trend a step further, utilizing such elements as social media buttons on a business website is an effective means of spreading the word. For example, a Facebook or Twitter feed link would make sharing web content easier for visitors.

Ensuring that the content is shareable is essential in any social media marketing program. This can be done by helping customers solve common problems, using humor, and even giveaways and contests. The right kind of stories and contests could even go viral and further build the customer base.

One common pitfall to avoid when using social media is to overdo the approach. Cie Andrea Hayden,a Chicago digital marketing consultant, advises to just concentrate on one or two outlets to communicate with your audience and use them wisely, perhaps spending up to two hours a day interacting with visitors on those platforms by answering questions, offering advice, and continuing conversations.

While building a successful customer base using social media marketing can take time and patience, you will soon reap the rewards of increased traffic and sales. Contact us for more information on how you can use social media in your marketing campaign to generate sales.

Pinterest – Your Social Media Strategy Game Changer

If you feel yourself digging your heels in over this new social media rage called Pinterest, now may be the time to ease up and consider how making this vast and growing online idea board part of your social media strategy can actually drive visitors directly to your website.

Maybe you think that the only content that is going viral on Pinterest is suited to the funny, girly, light-hearted content that gets passed around among women. Maybe you don’t see how your specific niche could benefit from having a presence on Pinterest because Ryan Gosling isn’t appearing shirtless, saying “Hey Girl….” on your website.

You should be aware that the new trend on Pinterest has less to do with the collective crush of American twenty-something women and more to do with offering the public useful, problem solving, creative and innovative ideas via a vertical visual representation.

This vertical visual representation actually shows the user how to “do” something with pictures and a few sentences that they will find useful. They see, they scan, they know. Hopefully, they “re-pin” and “share” this awesome information and then click through to your website to see what else you have to offer them.

According to the folks at Pinterest:

A pin can be added from a website using our bookmarklet or you can upload images from your computer. Each pin added using the bookmarklet links back to the site it came from.

One word: Backlinks. The health and well being of your SEO depends on them. Pinterest is a great way to get them.

If you decide to try your hand at gathering interest via Pinterest, keep these tips in mind when designing content:

  • Size Matters! Keep your content shorter than 2500 pixels. Shoot for 600×300 pixels and you’ll be in the sweet spot where it’s easy to pin, re-pin, and users will be most likely to click through to your site to get more detailed information.
  • Make sure your idea is really cool. The fact that a common Parmesan Cheese container has a lid that fits on a mason jar was made famous by Pinterest. Now everyone’s keeping lids and using jars to store all kinds of stuff that used to sit in junk drawers or be jumbled up in spice cabinets. What’s your “AH—HA!” idea?
  • With Pinterest, there’s no game to play where going viral is concerned. Good, honest, useful content is Queen. Contribute, interact, and experience success.

For more information on how to use social media to drive traffic to your site, please contact us.

Thriving in the Wake of the Great Recession: The Challenges Ahead

Engagement Retention and GrowthAs the nation emerges from one of the longest recessions in recent history, businesses are finding themselves wading through unprecedented waters. The newly emerging economy is experiencing slower than usual growth, high unemployment rates, a struggling global economy, and strapped financial options to boost capital expenditures.

If history repeats itself….

As U.S. businesses move past the recession, a few will roar out of the recession gates while most others will fail, be split up, sold off, or taken over. If history repeats itself, certain business strategies applied during the recession will determine to a large degree a company’s fate. The Harvard Business Review (HBR) conducted a yearlong study and analyzed the strategy selection and performance of corporate America during the past three global recessions. With three recessions over the past 30 years to collect data from, the 1980 crisis (1980 to 1982), the 1990 slowdown (1990 to 1991), and the 2000 bust (2000 to 2002), HBR revealed some startling findings.

Painfully slow recoveries

They analyzed strategies of 4,700 public companies, breaking down the data into three periods: the three years before a recession, the three years after, and the recession years themselves. HBR consistently found that seventeen percent of the companies in the study didn’t survive a recession: They went bankrupt, were acquired, or became private. The survivors were slow to recover from the battering as well. As a matter of fact, about 80% of them had not yet regained their pre-recession growth rates for sales and profits three years after a recession ended.

So as businesses emerge from the latest recession that began in 2007, what significant challenges can we expect they will face? Based on the information gathered from previous recessions, many organizations used strategies such as deep cutbacks and massive layoffs with very little reinvestment back into the company. Now these businesses must contend with these ineffective strategy methods if they are to thrive. Here are some of the challenges businesses, large and small, now face that must be corrected in order to survive:

  1. Business Infidelity – Customers, employees, partners, and vendors can be fickle when it comes to loyalty if there is a lack of connection or commitment within the organization. When a stakeholder reaches this level of disconnect, a business is subjective to “Business Infidelity.” Literally, a business will lose clients, employees, partners, and vendors to the first competitor with the best marketing that reflects the needs of the consumer, collaborator, or investor.
  2. Social Media Soapbox – In this new social society, where customers, workforce, and prospective employees all have instant access to their own personal social media megaphone, companies are struggling to control their corporate image. They fear disgruntled employees whose public rantings are picked up by the press.  Business leaders are frustrated and confused by social media and tired of trying to contain and restrain employee engagement. Holding them back isn’t working. Yet how do you let them loose without sabotaging the efforts of marketing and PR?
  3. Communication Malfunctions – Along with judging, lack of trust, and lack of respect, communication failures are a leading cause of team malfunction.  Some teams never make it out of the storming phase, while others do not want to go through it at all and want to skip it.  A common frustration is a feeling of teams not performing to their potential
  4. Mismanaged Human Performance – It is staggering to read the research today on how much it costs a company when a top performer terminates their employment.  There are ranges from 1.5 times the employee’s salary up to $7,000 a day… for each day a top performer is missing.  Team leaders have mismanaged how to improve employee personal performance, team performance, and to how to identify people with greater performance potential.
  5. “Hiring to Fill” Quick Fix – As companies scramble to fill positions of employees that were laid and retained employees now handing in their resignation, they find themselves in the quandary of “filling vacant seats.”  Qualities, beliefs, ethical values, and behaviors have to be identified and quantified if the hiring process is to be successful. Leave any one area out of the equation and you have the potential for a ‘bad hire” which is a “costly hire.”
  6. Not Recognizing Every Employee is a Salesperson – There is a simple business formula:  No sales = No profits = No money = No business.  The ability to learn and then teach the art of handling objections can literally double or triple your profits within a year. Without this skill, you’ve lost the sale and relationship.  
  7. Can’t Regroup Fast Enough to Retain Valuable Employees – The first challenge is to capture the emotional commitment of the key leaders. The second is to engage the rest of the employees to champion change and communicating their efforts though inspiring stories. The problem with surviving a recession that has lasted five years or more depends on whether companies are able to regroup in time without losing talented employees and the lion share of their business to more agile and progressive competitors.
  8. Lack of strategies for Unexpected Changes -The best designed project matrices, timelines, vision statements, goals, and objectives can be left suspended or upended when leaders or employees experience personal changes or changes from the outside the company.  Unexpected changes are a part of life, and create less impact on a company when there are strategies in place to address these issues.

This is the first part of a three-part series blog on Thriving in the Wake of the Great Recession. Next week’s blog will move beyond the challenges faced after the recession to finding “A Way Through” with employee championed change and more. Join Debra, Dianne and other industry thought leaders for a break through Training Summit coming December 2012 that discusses challenges with actionable take-aways, for leaders, managers and employees to emerge from the recession stronger than before. At The Expert Marketing Coach and CoreValues we know there are terrific possibilities that await each business if they are to roar out of this recession.

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