Marketing Humility: What is Needed, Not What YOU Want

Well, this is not the post I was planning on in my editorial calendar. And yes I like to have a thematic calendar of posts I am planning ahead of time. It can be very beneficial in strategically tying into other efforts to help make all marketing streams generate the most impact and the right outcome.

The post I had on my calendar was going to follow the theme of my initial Steamfeed post [Shaping Your Branded Sphere]. The second post was featuring information on branding the foundation to your marketing facets with a little caveat of homework, [Brand Strategy and Development: Yes You Have Homework!]. Did you do your homework by the way? ;-)

In any regards this post seems to be more in the forefront of what I am currently working with and felt it could be helpful to some of you in your own efforts in pulling together marketing strategies for your clients.

Now to suggest that marketing has any humility would most likely be inaccurate, but truthfully, when crafted correctly, the best strategy is laid down with complete humility.  The humility is selecting the best channels for your client that gets them the results they need to move forward. Let’s review humility for a moment so that we really have it well defined in our minds.

[Humility (adjectival formhumble) is the quality of being modest and respectful. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of egolessness.*]

When a client asks us to create a creative strategy for their product or service how do we start to formulate this plan?  Do we pick our old standbys, our tried and true methods we have used countless times because we know how they operate, function and their predicted outcome?  Or do we decide on the buzz-worthy, trendy new channels to grab that ‘wow’ factor and be able to include that into our repertoire for our other clients?  Here are three steps to keep your marketing strategy humble:

3 Steps [down] to Keep Your Strategy Humble:

  1. The best choice is the one that works – Where is your audience most likely to gain visibility or traction from the positioning of your messaging? How is the message delivered in that environment and directing that audience to what they need or want? Don’t go for the ‘big bang’ theory just because the entire entourage is on that path. Make it make sense and IT will!
  2. Bigger is not Better – So you have a new pony and it is doing some tricks! Those tricks are not necessarily giving your client what they need …. Sales!  More income and larger reach. Your client may just need a great ‘cardboard box’ … give it to them!
  3. It was never about YOU – Think and rethink what kind of strategic program you have put together for your client. Their customers’ needs and dynamic have to be considered here too.  It was never about how you felt or your grandiose scheme of being a big cheese on the block. Cut back that ego and see where you can perform better for your client in a much less pricey vehicle. Go for the low hanging fruit first!

So in general sometimes the strategy you think you are going to deliver is not actually the strategy that is needed. Clean off the fluff and trendy flashy methods that get a lot of hoo-ha-ha but hardly any real results (revenue).  In the end it is the trail of dollars that your clients find drifting into their bank accounts that puts the smile on their faces and not how razzle-dazzle YOU can be!

[Oh, so what was my original post? Web Presence and Visibility - Duende, check back here the beginning of November for that post and as always I appreciate you!]

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humility

 

Customer Service in the Social Space

Many companies have made the leap into marketing their brand via social media networks. However, social media presents new opportunities for customer service, as well. Though many companies task the marketing department with enhancing brand visibility on Facebook, Twitter and other popular platforms, few companies utilize these social networks to enhance and improve the customer experience.

customer serviceCustomer service through social media is not only an excellent way to further promote the brand, it is a great way to improve customer loyalty and demonstrate the high value that the company assigns to customer perception. In order to master the art of customer service via social media, those tasked with social media marketing must also be trained to deliver customer service when the opportunity is presented:

Promptly answer questions and provide valuable insight

One of the best opportunities for offering customers service on social media platforms is when a customer poses a question. Those tasked with social media customer service should seize upon such an opportunity to quickly answer the question. Answers should be prompt and public. Use each question posed over a social media venue as a priceless opportunity to educate potential customers about the brand.

For example, if a social media user posts a question about how to use a product in a certain way, a great customer service interaction would include a detailed response about using the product, along with a few additional suggestions for use.

Interact with a professional, yet laid back tone

Social media is all about developing relationships. Users expect interactions with a conversational tone. Those well-versed in marketing promotions may need to be cross-trained in customer service techniques that involve interacting with social media users in a more relaxed and conversational way while projecting professionalism and positivity about the brand.

Train those responsible for providing customer service over social media platforms to consider the complex nature of such interactions. Rather than a quick response to a question, time should be devoted to constructing a response that is informational, conversational and well-developed. Customer service responders must always remember that many eyes will observe each response.

Use negative posts and comments as customer service opportunities

Social media provides customers with a ready platform for voicing concerns and expressing negative opinions about a particular brand. Though some companies see negative comments and feedback as necessitating reputation management and damage control, other companies view these situations as opportunities for customers service.

For example, when a company representative identifies a high-profile comment that casts a negative light on the brand, a strategy should be formulated that directly addresses the concerns of the poster. Though many companies opt to take these interactions “off-line” and deal privately with negative concerns, dealing openly and publicly with a negative post shows others that the company cares about customers. Those observing the interaction over social media are more likely to perceive the company as one that places a high importance on customer perceptions. Such perceptions lead to a feeling of empowerment for consumers.

Because social media is here to stay, business may greatly benefit from learning ways to use such platforms to deliver outstanding customer service.

Do you use social media for customer service at your company? Please leave a comment below!

Scoring with Social Media for Customer Service

Social media is not just a part of the marketing or PR department; it is also an extension of your customer service team. People are already out in the social space talking about you , sometimes asking questions, sometimes saying good things and sometimes, saying bad things. You need to be aware of what is going on and use it to the best advantage for both you and your customers.

Social Media like FootballThink of being part of the social space like a football game, you need to work both your offence and defense to score big.

Offence:

While Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross said “A.B.C.: Always Be Closing”, I like to think about it more in the terms of A.B.P.: Always Be Proactive.

Start with your blog:
You can use it to take things like your FAQ’s into more detail. If you get a number of calls asking about how to do something, post a how-to with specific details.

Make announcements:
When something goes wrong, let people know about it. Take advantage of your voice and let people know you are working on the problem and keep them updated on the process. Hootsuite is a great example of this. If they are having problems or need to do site maintenance, they will announce it on their Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Be useful:
Find ways to use social media to help your customers before they have to ask for it. Answer the questions people ask you directly and respond to their questions and complaints. Be sure you make the effort to help them when they reach out to you on social. Don’t give them a telephone number or send them to your website.

Defense:

Listen:
If there is one word that I will use more than any other when I talk about customer service in social media is, listen. Let me say that again… Listen… Listen. Listen. Listen. Got it? There are many ways to find out what people are saying about your business.

Google Alerts:
Setting up the alerts is as easy as popping in your business name (or whatever keywords you want to be alerted on) in the form and you will receive notification in your inbox when people are talking about you

Twitter:
Twitter allows you to keep tabs on yourself in a few different ways. The fist is the most obvious, the @mention. When someone uses your Twitter username (including the @ symbol) you will get a notification in your “Connect” feed. This means someone is addressing you directly and is expecting a response. I ran an informal survey on my Facebook page a while ago asking what people thought of response times. What I got from that is, most people expect a response from a brand they contacted on Facebook or Twitter within an hour.

Another way to listen to Twitter is to search your hashtag. Run a search for #YourBusinessName to see what people are saying. You can also search for your business name with out the # or @ symbols.

Listening sites:
There are some great sites out there that will scan the social universe including blogs, Facebook and Twitter, they are the final step to the listening touchdown.

Some of my favorite monitoring sites are:

Finding these direct and not-so-direct mentions of your business name give you a chance to dazzle. People often take to social to just let things out and don’t necessarily expect a response of any kind. You can get in there and tackle those problems before they get escalated.

Every day I see people telling tales of both great and poor service in the social channels and the good news often travels just as fast as the bad. (I for one will always share the stories of great customer service, both mine and what other people have received.)

So please, feel free to share your stories of GREAT customer service that you received on social media. TOUCHDOWN!

Do you use social media for customer service at your company? Have you dealt with customer service from another company through social media before? Please leave your comments below!