Welcome to the mad world of social media networking. Here, companies believe that the the best way to survive is to implement quirky marketing tactics. Often, the focus is on quantitative aspects of marketing, ignoring the qualitative aspects. There could be mad rush for implementing innovative online marketing strategies, but reports have revealed that only companies that have connected with its audience on a personal level have been more successful.
Now, connecting with your audience on a personal level may seem easy. You may think ‘Oh, I do not have to spend much time in connecting with may target audience. All I have to do is to reply to few tweets and may be some comments on Facebook’. Unfortunately, the situation is not so simple. Customers are smart enough to distinguish between a genuine interest and profit making motives.
If you want to create a powerful emotional bond with your audience, you have to ‘humanize’ your company on the social media. You have to move beyond the idea that interacting with target customers means replying to their tweets only. You have to come up with innovative strategies that allow your audience to understand the values your company stands for and learn about the ‘real’ faces of the company.
Focus on your Employees
As a business owner, you may not be always available to your customers. Your employees interact with your customers in most cases. They are more familiar to them and in reality, represent the ‘real’ faces of your company. So, if you promote your brand via your employees, it will be more humane and real.
For example, the Twitter account of McDonald (I love their burgers, by the way) is linked with its bio page that offers detailed information about every member of the McDonald, along with their photos. When any of their members tweets from the company account, they use their initials. This convinces the audience that they are talking to a real person who is actually an integral part of the company. This in turn, enhances their trust in the company.
Be Pro Active
Humanizing a brand also means understanding things from perspective of your customers and convincing them that you are genuinely interested in solving their problems. In the social media sphere, negative reactions go viral very quickly. So, you really need to be pro active regarding customer complaints and other issues.
Recently, British Airways had to issue an apology, after a racist and insulting message was retweeted from its official account. An interesting fact is that the company did not think that its work was over by issuing an apology. Rather, it launched an investigation about this incident and tweeted about it. So, the lesson learned-keep your customers informed about your activities.
Engage the Audience in Company Activities
Have you wondered why do we take help of your friends and families, while organizing a party or wedding? Yes, to assign some responsibilities to them so that the load gets shared. But apart from sharing responsibilities, such an act makes our friends and family feel important and trustworthy. They feel that they are an integral part of our lives and this makes them happy. The same logic goes for businesses as well.
Engaging your audience is an effective way for convincing them that you value their opinions and are willing to interact with them. All these in turn, help you in personalizing your brand.
Squishable-a renowned company that offers stuffed toys has implemented a unique strategy in this regard. The company realized that its customers love offering suggestions regarding design and colors of the toys that are in the making. Smartly, it started implementing customer suggestions, which brought in overwhelming results.
It’s true that for running a business, relying on figures and statistics is crucial. However, you should never forget that underneath these figures are real human beings who are interested in being a part of your company. So, be polite with customers and always make them feel important. Be honest and show them the real faces of your company.
Honesty, by the way, helps you win.
Over the last some years, marketing has shifted from direct to a more subtle approach. The influence of Internet over our lives is the major factor that has contributed to this shift. Unlike face-to-face marketing, where you could directly approach a potential customer and rattle off your product descriptions, things are not so straightforward in the online world.
Here, you have to entertain your target customers, offer them an enriching experience and sell your products at the same time. The fact that makes Internet marketing strategies more challenging is that their expiry dates are too short. In fact, you could be all set to implement an Internet marketing strategy, when you receive negative reports about it.
So, what is the solution, you may ask me?
I believe that that the simplest way to handle this situation is to utilize your creativity and come up with interesting content marketing strategies. I would elaborate on my current favorite strategy-storytelling:
Storytelling: Are You Serious?
If this has been your reaction reading the sub title, I am not surprised. It is true that despite spending a major chunk of time online, some of us are yet to realize the importance of storytelling. For them, I would clarify in this post some of the ways storytelling can change perception of users about a website.
Storytelling Increases Recall Value
Most people agree that as compared to boring statistics, stories are easier to remember (if you do not believe me, ask your kids). In “The Power of Storytelling in Classroom”, the author has beautifully explains the explosive power of story-telling. According to the author,
“Stories help us to organize and remember information, and tie content together”.
Incorporating stories in your website can be a smart strategy to enhance recall value of your website. It is possible that without a story, first-time users may forget about the information that you have offered in your website. However, if you tell them a good story, chances of forgetting your website are low. The best part is that in the 21st century, a huge range of digital tools are available for creating stories. Some of these tools include Zooburst, Animoto, Aviary, and PhotoStory3. You can use any of these tools or other resources for creating intriguing and interactive stories.
It is always Easier to Understand with Stories
Another advantage of using stories is that they allow people to understand your viewpoint quickly. They give an in-depth, richer insight into your personality and minimize the cognitive load.
As Susan M. Weinschenk says in her popular book ‘Neuro Web Design’, “Stories are an excellent way for us to process and store information…stories allow us to break down events into smaller units so that we can better understand the information being communicated”. So, set aside some days for developing nice stories and simplify the process of earning loyal visitors.
Storytelling Strengthens Emotional Bond
Did you ever cry while watching a movie or a heartwarming story? Chances are high that you have (we all have, in fact). This happens because stories allow us to feel the experiences characters have undergone. Thus, we feel sad when they go through any unfortunate experiences and feel happy when they overcome challenges successfully.
I gave this example to make you understand the fact stories are excellent ways of creating an emotional bond with their target users. And if you tell them honest and heartwarming stories, they would come back to your website for enjoying the feel-good factor associated with stories.
Storytelling offers various advantages to business owners. When told effectively, they create a positive image of yours and help users connect to you. The best part is that this strategy is comparatively new, so you can use it to your advantage.
Work. Efficiency. Getting things done – this was and will always be one of those things that will drive us all crazy. There’s always too much to do but barely anything gets a check on the “to do list”. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools that help you achieve all that and more. Here is a list of a few tools that we think every business owner should use:
Follow-up is the secret to getting business and it’s not about all the fancy marketing paraphernalia that you’d deploy. It’s not about the hustle as much as it’s about the string of hustle-like follow-ups that we do following the first contact with a potential client. Follow-up makes you persistent and success is an aftereffect.
Given all that you have to do to promote your business each day, follow up is tall order. That’s why it makes sense to automate it to an extent. It makes sense to actually let a tool like RightInbox work in the background to help you keep in touch with your prospects while you are miles away from your inbox.
Just where is that business coming from? Out of all the channels available for marketing your business, what works and what doesn’t? Weren’t you supposed to know if Facebook works better or Twitter does? Last month, what exactly was the revenue? If you have a team working for you, how do you track everyone’s performance?
You don’t need Salesforce.com or SugarCRM for everything (some businesses do, most really small businesses don’t). What you do need is a cool web-based tool like Base CRM that does everything and it’s free to start with (you pay when you grow big enough).
Accounting is for the number geeks. It’s for those socially awkward, gutless kids who turned to numbers and calculations to keep their sanity intact. Accounting, for most people, is boring. For accountants, it’s a way of life. Businesses owners wedge themselves into an interesting conundrum now – they hate accounting but they have to do it. But how?
Enter Xero: it’s web-based, small business accounting software that makes accounting seem like a web-based game. It facilitates instant invoicing, quotes, and its integration with various other popular tools ensures that you bring your accounting and marry it to your business. For once and for all, your accounting is now fun and it tags along wherever you go.
For every gig you apply to, the phone calls you make, the emails you send, the follow-ups you do, and for the actual in-person meetings you accomplish you can track sales off these efforts using BaseCRM or other such Customer Relationship Management tools. What if you get business of social media? What about all those conversations you have on social media that’ll one day lead to sales and continued business? Recognizing that social media is a rainmaker, Nimble CRM works as an incredibly effective tool to manage your social conversations and still have a way to track sales and other business that accrues thanks to your social media efforts.
There’s no dearth of project management tools. While working with clients, we invariably end up using all available project management tools such as BaseCamp, Trello, PBWorks, DeskAway, and many others. Yet, for some reason, we still stick to Mavenlink for our own project management. The portfolio of websites we own and for all clients who didn’t consider using online project management software yet.
What are your favorite tools? What are some of the tools you can’t do without?