Bethany

Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

What Being A Good Friend Looks Like Online

In General, Strategy on January 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm

My dad used to always say this one simple phrase:  “You can never communicate enough.”   And of course, as a kid I thought that meant telling my family where I was going to be and what time (and at least 3 times, haha).  Well, now I see how much wisdom that statement has – especially since my life is all about communication strategies and tools (okay, who are we kidding, your life is all about communication too).  :)

How well you communicate with someone (or with yourself – self talk), will determine the quality of your relationships (and your life).  That goes for both your professional and personal relationships.

Now, I’m going to take it a step further… The quality of your relationships offline will influence how well you communicate online.   NEWSFLASH:  The basic “being a good friend” principles that we learned in kindergarten, still work the same online too!

Here are a few tips to improve social media communication & build super relationships online: (via Lena West, xynoMedia)

  • Always be available. Ok, not always, but one of the chief complaints within friendships is when someone is cold, distant or hard to get in touch with. Your readers may feel the same way about your company if it takes weeks to approve and reply to comments. Business owners especially need to make sure they’re on point because a benefit of working with a smaller company is the expectation of high-touch interactions.
  • Think before you speak or write. How many friendships are damaged because one person makes a statement, the other responds, things escalate, and pretty soon the original issue is well overshadowed by the ensuing drama? The same thing can happen with social media. A blog visitor writes a negative comment and someone on your team writes a snarky reply, and the situation escalates. It’s easy to let emotion overtake reason, especially if your team feels like it’s under pressure to “get social media right”. Give your “first responders” permission to take the extra time to reconnect with your company’s brand promise and think before responding. If this is not possible, give them the latitude to reach out to another team member for support. Additionally, a Terms of Use section for your blog or podcast will go a long way in providing guidance for visitors and remove the personal element on how comments are handled.
  • Don’t allow things to fester. In a friendship, what often starts out as a small issue can quickly grow if left unaddressed. The more time that passes, the more likely the other person will fill in your side of the conversation with what they think you’ll say. If your company offers a blog or online community, do your best to address small issues, complaints, etc. in a measured but timely manner.
  • Know the line between friendly and too familiar. Nothing kills a friendship faster than one of the parties attempting to become too familiar too soon. The same is true with social media. While you may have some intellectually stimulating and insightful conversations as you build your relationship with your audience, it’s still important to maintain a degree of professionalism. While you do want your readers to feel good about your brand, they’re still clients and potential clients; not buddies.
  • When you’re at fault, apologize. The best thing for friendships is for all parties to “own their stuff.” If your company falls short in a way that may compromise how your audience interacts with or feels about your brand, the best thing you can do is own it, apologize and spell out a plan of action that decreases the likelihood of the transgression ever happening again. There’s little worse than tossing your reader’s trust aside by sweeping shortcomings under the virtual rug.

One final note:  If you ever do run into a questionable/sticky situation online – ask yourself how you would communicate with the person if they were a dear friend.   :)

Feel free to reach out through email, a phone call, or social media site if you would like to “communicate more.”  :)

 

2010 Social Media Lessons: Business

In General, Q&A, Strategy, Trends on January 16, 2011 at 8:23 am

It’s hard to believe that we’re into 2011 already.  As a business (and individual), it’s valuable to spend some time reflecting on what you’ve learned over the previous year.  In regards to social media, I was thinking about this – and ended up coming across an article from Lyndi Thompson at WebProNews.  She’s done a solid job of summarizing.

9 Thinks Businesses Have Learned About Social Media:

It isn’t free: Social media costs time – a lot of time. If you have someone that is customer focused, understands how to write headlines and reaches out to the right audiences, then you are starting out solid.

Be Creative: Social media isn’t sell media. Be social. Have fun engaging your community, from congratulating them on opening their new business, to commenting on their blog and attending networking events with them.

Have a Team: This isn’t a one person show. Just like customer service everyone needs to be trained and have at least a basic understanding on how to help customers, sell the product as well as assist with customer concerns.

Start with Employees: The people that know how to talk about your brand, company and culture the best are your employees. Treat them as family, acknowledge and appreciate and make them feel as they are an important part of your business. Employees are the first to share with their communities and network their experience with your company and brand.

Listen First: Enough with the megaphone blasting your message to customers and employees. Start by spending some time listening to them instead. Reach out and connect with your customers, employees and fans of your brand and make them feel that they are the center of the conversation.

Customers Turn into Marketers: Customers that feel acknowledged and appreciated are loyal, excited to help and eager to be your brand evangelists, at no charge.

Consistency Matters: Have your pixel pixie help you create a Twitter background that matches your website branding, and a Facebook logo that fits, little things that your graphic deisgner can do to enrich

Connect online then in real life: Find ways to connect offline, have an open house, attend a networking event and then share the experience with your social media communities.

Seek Guidance: Look for someone who understands the tools, language, has experience and passion working with social media to give you an hour or two to give you a tour. Learn about social media management tools, ways to monitor effectiveness, help with content strategy and ways to find your audience.

What else have you learned as a business using social media?  What could Social Buzz Media help you understand better in 2011?  :)

 

Email Marketing 2011, Tips

In General, Strategy on January 10, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Will social media channels, like Facebook, replace Email?  That’s one of the questions people are curious about.  However, as much as I sometimes get overwhelmed with email, there are definitely strategies to make your email marketing more social.  The best of both worlds – I love it.

Entrepreneur.com offered the following 5 tips to create a more social email experience in 2011:

  1. Make every message shareable. Include a Like/Tweet button or a social share bar in every email newsletter. The “Forward to a Friend” feature lets subscribers share your newsletter with another person by email. But by adding social icons at the top of your e-mail, those same people can now share it with their entire Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn networks. That extends your reach to a highly qualified audience of prospects.
  2. Kick-start your social presence using your email marketing list. Invite e-mail subscribers to connect with you on social networks. Include links to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages in your e-mail marketing communications. Don’t forget to provide reasons why subscribers should join you on social media destinations — and how that experience will be different from your email communications.
  3. Include a “social call to action” in every email newsletter. Don’t rely solely on social media icons and buttons to get readers to visit your social media outposts. Entice readers with a link to a hot conversation you want to continue on Twitter (or another discussion destination), or to an exclusive contest or survey you’re featuring on Facebook.
  4. Solicit feedback and find newsletter content. Use crowdsourcing on social media sites to find out what topics are trending with your customers. Invite questions and feedback, and join the conversation. Then use the frequently asked questions and the feedback gathered as material for newsletter content. At the same time, spark a conversation and continue it via email and social media. Don’t forget to include and encourage social media feedback in every issue of your newsletter.
  5. Cross-post to all your communication channels. Always post your newsletter content on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Keep conversations going by re-posting different snippets across social media channels. Even better, fan the discussion flames by sending out a separate email letting readers know about conversations happening on social media and inviting them to participate.

What other advice/thoughts do you have in regards to making email more social?  :)

Airlines, Politicians: New Use for Twitter

In Strategy, Twitter on January 2, 2011 at 8:18 am

Companies and individuals are continuing to get comfortable with Social Media.  Different industries are discovering ways they can utilize certain tools.  There definitely is not a cookie-cutter approach with your online communication strategy – just suggested guidelines.

Anyway, a recent Social Time article shared a new way airlines and politicians are using Twitter.  With the winter weather affecting so many people’s flight schedules, it’s a great tool to allow passengers to check if flights are on time/delayed or to share a complaint (which gets handled).  This is interesting to me, since my brother works in the airline industry.

Here’s the article:

Airlines

The good- Delta (@Delta), the twitter feed of this airline company is responsive to each customer’s complaint.  Passengers are asked to send in their flight number so that the flight can be checked to see if it has been delayed or canceled.  Delta offers apologies and to reassure passengers that the flights will be back in service as soon as possible that is if the news is bad for your flight.

The ok – JetBlue (@JetBlue), instead of using direct tweets as Delta has successfully done this past week, JetBlue has decided to use the direct mail service of twitter to help passengers whose flights may have been delayed or canceled.  While it may not be as quick as Delta, at least JetBlue is offering personal responses to each of its passengers.

The bad- Continental (@Continental), while attempting to be a participating company on twitter Continental unfortunately has dropped the ball.  Instead of answering concerned passengers tweets or even direct messaging passengers, Continental has chosen to answer tweets with a standard response of “Our Social Media team is unable to rebook or give info on individual flights. We know this isn’t what you want to hear.”  They are right, many passengers would prefer a personalized response like the other airline companies are offering during this blizzard.

Politicians

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was facing criticism for not responding fast enough to the winter storms that have descended on New York City in the past; the mayor’s office, in response to the complaints, set up a twitter feed, @311NYC.  This twitter feed allows New York City residence to post complaints, concerns, and questions.  While the program has been put to great use during the rest of the year, it is during the winter storms that 311NYC is most effective.  An example of its usefulness waswhen the mayor announced via twitter @311NYC that the parking meters will be turned off today due to snow removal.

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker has also used twitter effectively.  Instead of setting up a twitter feed to answer questions and to alert the community of issues, Mayor Booker has his own twitter feed.  Any resident of Newark just needs to send a tweet to @CoryBooker asking for assistance in clearing their driveway, and help is on its way.  The Mayor will either come by and help the resident himself or have a member of his constituency come by to offer assistance.  Mayor Booker is hoping that his hard work during the winter pays off for the rest of the year when residence find something to complain to the city about

How else could your industry use Twitter and Social Media tools?   AND, as a passenger…what other ways could airlines use social media to better serve you?