Interview: Employee amplification: Social strategy for austere times

What is the most intrinsic part of a successful sale? Human-to-human contact. Unless a person already knows exactly what they want, where to get it and what they are willing to pay, a successful sale is about human centricity. This represents quite a challenge in our current context, where social distancing and digital channels have usurped more traditional ways of touching base with customers. But even if those weren’t factors, the potential to reach substantially more people in a meaningful way is so much greater today – if you can pull it off. And according to Mike Saunders, CEO of Digitlab and author of the book Humancentric, this is possible through social media and employee amplification. “What I’m starting to see is that the people who are succeeding are the ones taking hold of their online networks and committing to them, as opposed to just relying on their brand pages to complete the social experience.” Merging social and employees Many managers and executives grow nervous when one mentions words such as ‘social media’ and ’employee’ in one sentence. Is social media not that world of frivolous distraction, fake news and filled with wrecks of brand promotions gone awry? “Social media has a dark side to it, that is true,” says Saunders. “But we shouldn’t allow these mistakes to distract us from the bigger picture. We should focus our questions on why social media, good or bad, is so successful? Why do people keep going back to it and using it? It’s...

Tips To Help Retain Customers & Improve User Experience Online

Customers are an integral part of your business and it’s important that you’re making every effort to keep them happy with whatever service or products you’re selling and providing. However, there is a lot that can be done to help retain customers and improve their overall user experience online. That way, you can continue profiting from these loyal customers, whilst also developing your business to attract more of the same customer. Here are some helpful tips to ensure this happens in your business.

Tips for Designing Your Company Correspondence

As a professional business sending correspondence to your customers, there are several mistakes that are made that can be extremely costly to the reputation of your brand. Here are a few tips for designing your company’s correspondence from the letterhead to the letter itself. We’ll explain why these mistakes are so costly, why they occur in the first place and how to avoid making them yourself. Letterhead In an age of mass marketing, mass customisation has been the focus of many articles. One needs to be careful to properly address clients and avoid the horror stories of sending letters addressed to someone’s pet or putting their demographic information in the name field. These are the big errors yes but businesses need to take note that the little things matter too. For example, addressing the person by their preferred name and including relevant personal information in the letter to show that you’re paying attention to them as an individual. Likewise, your company letterhead design is equally important and affects the image of your company. Is the company logo that people see on the letterhead congruent with the one visible on your website and your social media profiles? Is the company name, address and phone number that come up in web searches the same as the one on the top of the company’s letters? If there is a difference, are you going to explain it? For example, you could clearly identify which letters are coming from the company’s main office or billing department...

Developing a Unique Brand Identity

A brand identity embodies your company and everything you stand for, and it’s also an effective way of differentiating your business from its competitors. Instantly recognizable and associated with a positive consumer experience, a unique brand identity can be the key to success. Many people assume a company’s brand identity starts and finishes with its logo, but there’s far more to creating a powerful brand identity than designing an effective logo. Whilst a logo can certainly be an influential element, your brand identity should encompass what your brand wants to convey, what your values are, how you communicate with your audience and how you want customers to feel when they interact with you. Building Trust A well-established brand identity evokes reliability and trust in the minds of consumers, and this can have a considerable impact on your turnover. Whatever type of product or service people are purchasing, they want to know they can trust the company they’re dealing with. Keep this in mind when you’re creating your brand identity, as it’s vital for your company to be seen as secure and trustworthy. Although your products and/or services will determine how this can be conveyed most effectively, any company can build trust with an effective brand identity. Use Your Brand Identity Everywhere Your brand identity should effectively be a template for everything your company does. By using your brand identity as a starting point for online marketing, ad campaigns, product design, and web design, you’ll ensure that you don’t miss a...

Six Tips For Earning Customer Loyalty

No matter the size or shape of your venture, customer loyalty is very important. The reason for this is that loyal customers buy on a more regular basis, which offers higher returns on the time, money and effort that you invest. They’re also more likely to recommend your business and the products that you sell to their friends and family. This will increase your brand exposure without any extra cost. Retaining customers can be tricky, but, with these six tips, it isn’t impossible. Show Past Customer Validation Customers and prospects trust other customers much more than they do businesses themselves. Even if a customer has bought from you before, they might have doubts as to whether or not to risk doing so again. Sharing positive reviews from other customers can provide the validation that is needed and show wavering customers that there is nothing to fear from you. Act On Negative Feedback Most entrepreneurs see negative feedback as the enemy. After all, it tells anyone looking at your business the things that you have done wrong. However, this feedback can actually be an asset. If you respond to and act on your errors, it shows prospective customers that you care and are willing to do better. It may also change the minds of those who have given up on your company. Provide Better Customer Service When you provide poor customer service, it shows that you don’t care. This is why it’s so vital that you do the opposite. You must...

What Does Your Freelance Business Need Right Now?

When you’re working in the freelance world, you’ll know that it isn’t as plain sailing as holding down a regular job. That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad thing or that it’s too hard – we all know the benefits of flexibility and being your own boss – it just means that you need to approach things in a different way. You need to go into it being fully aware of what freelance life is really like, and the kind of attitude and approach that you need to take to be able to find your success. The reason for this, is that you’re no longer just the employee. You’re also the boss, the salesperson, the finance guy, the administration support and you’re the entire marketing team too. To be all of these roles at once, takes some serious skills. So, let’s take a look at some of the things that your freelance business may need from you right now. A Helping Hand If you’re struggling to juggle all the new responsibility, the first thing you might want to consider, is asking for help. It will get to the point where taking on all of these roles is arduous work. So instead of suffering or deciding to quit, don’t be afraid to reach out. There’s a wealth of companies out there, like Total Calibration, that offer services in the management and organisation of your software that can help to take the pressure off you a little. Perhaps you might feel like...

The Professional Touches You Might Be Missing

When it comes to business, being professional is everything. You have to give off that vibe to the public, or the public just won’t come to you. Think about the amount of times that a business has truly failed when it comes to being professional, and don’t just think that’s smaller businesses. Large companies like Amazon for example, were paying their drivers so little, and working them so hard, that some were being forced to go to the toilet in the van they were driving because they didn’t have time to go anywhere else. So you see, literally anything you do could be seen as unprofessional, which is one of the reasons why it’s so hard to keep up. Considering it’s such an important part of your business image, it’s about time we dived into being professional. Your Public Image Public image is most definitely going to be one that you need to keep up with. Even as a small business, you should start working on your public image so that people see you in a much better light as you rise up. As a conference speaker I have been asked to dive into online personal branding a lot lately. Clearly showing the rise in people taking their public image seriously and wanting to extend it to the online realm. I personally believe that your online presence is one of your most valuable assets in business. Doing things like charity events, helping the homeless, and anything that’s going to better...

Why Trade Shows are so Important for Your Business

As a modern business owner, you are going to need to learn about techniques that are going to help your business improve. There are so many different things you can try, and many of them will work differently for different people. This is why you have to make sure you are thinking carefully about the different ideas that can help your business improve and secure more sales in the long run. There are a lot of things that you can do that will allow you to take the company forward and enhance your success rates. This is something that you can use trade shows to help you with, and it is worth doing as much as possible to make the most of these trade shows. There are so many things that play a role in enhancing the perfect trade show experience, and this is something you need to do. Here are some of the top reasons why trade shows are important for your business moving forward. Face to Face Interaction One of the most important things that trade shows give you, from a business perspective, is face to face interaction with potential clients. This is a wonderful way of being able to meet with people first hand and see what they are about and let them know about your business. This is something that you have to get right as much as you can, and it will allow you to market the company much more effectively as a result. So,...

Common Mistakes That Reputation Managers Often Make

Brand management is everything if you run your own business. If you do not manage your brand effectively then everything that you have worked so hard to build really will be for nothing, not to mention that you will lose out on profit and time as a result. Paying Someone to Post some Positive Reviews Sure, it can be tempting to work with someone who can get you fake, positive reviews. They will work to create several social media accounts and they will post fake reviews from them. Some companies may promise to do this all over the internet, for a very small fee. Regardless of how they do this, or even how much they charge, this will almost certainly hurt your company’s reputation. This is especially the case when it comes to the Google search page. Google will punish sites that do this, and they will also hinder your ranking. If you want to get around this, then ask the clients you have had in the past to post a review for you. Offer them something in return, and always try and conduct business honestly over the internet. If you are struggling to manage your brand online, then consider hiring a high-quality branding service. That way, you can concentrate on the more important aspects of your business while they work with your company image. Encouraging Trolls Online Trolls are constantly looking for ways to post defaming comments because they want to try and get a reaction. So many reputations...

Social Media Strategies: Embrace The Mosh Pit

Social Media is not a marketing channel, rather it’s a mosh pit of conversations that surround our marketing channels. If it were a channel, we would be able to control its distribution and conversation better. We need to understand that social media is the mesh (or mess) between our channels; it affects and feels the effect of everything the brand does. In order to adapt to the mosh pit, there are a few things that we can do in our social media teams. Break Down Silos Bring your social teams into the conversation about brand positioning and campaigns much earlier. Push them to get involved in the bigger strategic picture not simply the execution of ideas. Encourage them to see the big picture and how their work in the ‘mosh pit’ is bringing everything together. Leverage data Leverage social data to better understand the customer online. Demographic and psychographic information can speak into your key insights that drive brand decisions. In addition, allow the social media management team to leverage data in real time. Use data to get a feel of how the mosh pit is moving, and then allowing them some autonomy to ‘move with the pit’ and build better relationships and brand love with customers. Make Sure Social is Everywhere Social is the mesh holding all the channels together, so make sure that you have social support around all these channels. Whether it’s TV, Radio, Events, Print or Billboards, social media presents an opportunity to further leverage your media and...

Perks Of The Job: Attracting Better Candidates To Your Business

Recruitment can be a very frustrating field, especially in this digital world. Regardless of how much effort you put into making your advert, getting it out into the world, and going through the applications you receive, it will always feel as though the perfect employee is a resume or two away. While this is partly thanks to a stagnant job market, it could also be down to the perks which you offer alongside your roles. To give you an idea of what you can use to attract better professionals to your roles, this post will be exploring some of the most popular perks which come with modern jobs. Transport The concept of a company car has been around for a long time, with employers providing their team members with their own sets of wheels to ensure that they can get around. While this can cost a lot of money, it gives you the chance to offer a lower salary, while also ensuring that the people working for you will always look incredibly professional. Car dealerships will often offer lease agreements to handle this. This will make it possible to pay for the cars as if they were just another salary, helping to avoid any cash flow issues as the result of this investment. Being able to offer a company car will make your job look more desirable than other options on the market. Health & Fitness Keeping fit and healthy is a challenge, especially when people are stuck working in...

Social Media Strategies: Improve The Trust Equation

Social Media is the first Internet-based platform that has facilitated a people-to-people connection. It provided a structure to build a personal presence online that could be used to build personal relationships, broadcast to our entire network and, importantly, it helped us build that network. Over time social media and the Internet has begun to replicate many of the human interactions that we do offline. All of these advances in social media have made it easier to build relationships online. Brands are able to go beyond content distribution and towards relationship building. In building a brand persona on social platforms we are able to leverage these platforms and their technology to build relationship with our customers. At the very least, we can build the impression of a good relationship by leveraging social media. At the heart of building relationship lies the currency of relationships – trust. Relationships are built on trust and destroyed when trust is broken. So, our role as a brand on social media is to build trust with our audience, which in turn leads to relationship building, brand love and advocacy. There is a simple formula for trust, developed by Charles H. Green, which I have tested and applied to a number of consumer brand and B2B environments. Each time it helps highlight the gaps in a social media strategy and what we need to focus on to build more trust. Credibility has to do with the words we speak. In a sentence, we might say, “I can...

Finding More Exposure For Your Brand

You can steward the most important business in your industry. You can innovate the best products. You can have the best working satisfaction, perhaps not measured but obviously apparent in the day to day culture of your office. But if your business isn’t exposed, marketed and advertised, it will struggle to find any standing in the modern market. This kind of difficulty is not warranted for many businesses, because they deserve to be seen. But it happens. Sometimes a bad marketing campaign is just as damaging as a campaign that was hardly seen. For this reason, you need to ensure that every shot you fire hits the bullseye. You want to ensure that people see your brand, but more importantly recognize it and understand it. You want to ensure that this happens repeatedly, even in the eyes of your regular customers. With the following advice, you might best be able to do this. Consider: Marketing Variance It’s important to find many places to market your presence. Simply choosing one option will be the same as only playing one chord on a guitar in order to contribute to a full song. You need to be present, and have confidence in your marketing strategy. This doesn’t mean you need content on television, on the radio, in magazines and targeting social media marketing in order to ensure everything plays out correctly, but choosing one or two to excel at can be a great idea, especially if encompassed in a three-sixty degree fashion. For...

Social Media Strategies: Nurture Advocacy

Building advocacy has always been a priority for brands in the past and today is no different. Brands engage social media influencers to become brand ambassadors or to help distribute content to a wider audience. However, social media provides a more valuable opportunity for brands. As Meghan Whalen Turner says, “Sometimes if you want to change a person’s mind, you have to change the mind of the person next to them first.” Social media presents the opportunity to build and nurture relationships at various levels of advocacy for the brand. The common plan is to look towards recognised social media influencers, which is akin to celebrity marketing albeit, more cost-effective. We can and should look further though. When looking to building and nurturing brand advocacy online we should look towards: Mega and minor celebrities Social media influencers Journalists Our customers Our employees All these people and more can provide and nurture brand advocacy. Outlined below is a framework developed at DigitLab that looks at how you can start nurturing your social media influence, instead of always having to buy it through campaigns, influencer fees and giveaways. Step 1: Identify To identify the influencers with whom you wish to build a relationship with, you first need to identify your ideal target audience: Who do you want to be speaking to? How old are they? What are their interests? What are their online behaviours like – which social platforms are they on? Which part of the consumer journey would you like to influence them...

Are you Getting in the way of Your Product’s Personal Brand?

If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll already know a little something about the power of personal brand. This is the thing which can boost your sales and see you to success. It’s the story you tell customers to get them onboard. And, it’s the thing which ensures they never walk away empty-handed. Though it might sound easy enough, many entrepreneurs stumble over getting their personal brands just so. When this happens, failure is often inevitable. As such, it’s something you want to avoid at all costs. And, to do that, it’s worth considering why entrepreneurs before have fallen here. A lot of the issue here is in the semantics. The phrase ‘personal brand’ suggests that your efforts here should be personal. AKA, they should be about you. Many entrepreneurs think they can secure sales by putting themselves out there. But, that’s rarely the case. Think about it; posting personal updates is unlikely to lead to increased sales. That doesn’t mean that your personality doesn’t come into this. A decent business narrative often has an intensely personal struggle behind it. Look at Apple and their humble beginning in a garage. Rather, the trick here is to strike a fine balance between how much you and your product each dictate that personal brand. Rags to riches story aside, you’ll often find that your product should take the limelight. That’s because it’s the main event. It’s the thing you want customers to notice the most. As much as you need to...

Social Media Strategies: Apply the 80/20 Rule

Brands are chasing every single platform. Wanting to be everywhere, making sure that each platform has their voice, their content and their flavour. Organisations are chasing down the next app, the next network and the next digital trend. I’m all about being innovative and cutting-edge but being everywhere doesn’t make you innovative. It just makes you everywhere and being everywhere can be a very expensive and resource-intensive challenge. Twenty percent of your marketing is, most likely, contributing to eighty percent of your return. Tracking and measuring all your initiatives will help you find the twenty percent that counts. Then, you invest heavily into what matters – building an incredibly strong brand that is valued by its customers. In essence, we are talking about finding the touch points that are valuable to customers and choosing to invest there. Finding these touch points is a two-fold process that in practice becomes more an art than a science. First, ask yourself how your social media presence contributes to the customer: Does it make their life more convenient? Does it add to their personal brand or projected persona? Is it entertaining? Then cross match that with your social media objective: Are you driving leads? Are you building Share of Voice? Are you trying to educate people about the problem you’re solving? When you find the intersection where a customer values your social presence and you achieve the objective you’re aiming for – you will now have a true win/win scenario that you can invest...

Personal Branding: The Value of a Platform

Shakespeare wrote “All the world’s a stage” and his words ring more true today than ever. If you have something to say or something to sell, whether you are speaking to one person or many people, essentially, you’re on a stage. (Hyatt. M, 2012) The Internet has created a stage like no other before it. People can find groups of people to speak to easier and faster. They can research information and form opinions more efficiently. Ultimately the Internet gives people an opportunity to scale their platform easily, giving people the opportunity to influence more and sell more. Needless to say that as more people have taken advantage of this platform the more cluttered the Internet has become. Leading to people struggling to be seen amongst a sea of content created and shared by millions of people around the world. Social networks sued to be a great place to share your messages and while they are still effective, they lack the credibility that a personal brand needs to establish itself. People who take personal branding seriously are looking to build their own platform, instead of simply using other platforms to share their message. Building you own platform can be as simple as a blog or as elaborate as developing a website and a host of services that develop content. Whether you prefer a simple or elaborate approach it’s increasingly important to understand that there is more credibility in developing your own platform, than leveraging someone else’s platform. In our course...

Online Personal Branding: Establishing Narrative

Narrative is story, your story. The reason you do what you do, the way you choose to do it and reasons behind why you do these things. Establishing your narrative is important because it becomes the lens that you view success through, it directs and guides almost all the decisions you make as you develop your personal brand. Almost every business leadership book has touted the importance of having a company vision, writing a vision statement, and clearly communicating that vision so that you can lead a group of people in the direction you need. Vision statements are an important part of leadership. They are also an important part of your personal brand. A personal vision will help you frame where you plan to go, and will help you begin working out how to get there. Narrative is, however, different. Narrative brings something new to your vision and message. “Narrative tells the story of why you exist and everyone loves a good story. Good storytelling draws people in; gives readers or listeners something to connect with; and has an underlying moral that teaches a lesson or challenges a thought” (Saunders, 2016). Questions that help you develop your personal vision (FundingSage, 2017): • What problem do I plan to solve? Why do I believe this problem needs to be addressed? Does this problem matter to other people? Do I honestly believe we have the answer to that problem? What changes do I believe I can affect? What are my greatest strengths?...

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