How to Create a Social Media Strategy

November 14th, 2016 Comments off

SDC_Blog_Social Media PlanSocial media is a great way to build your brand and develop a relationship with your customers. Still, while many ecommerce businesses have already established a social media presence, devising a plan for your posts leverages the power of social media even more.

Here’s some information about creating and implementing an effective social media plan for your ecommerce business.

Be choosy. While it’s tempting to jump on every social media platform, be realistic about how much you or your team can keep up with. Consider too how well your business translates to the different platforms. Sometimes, a service-oriented business can skip photo-dependent sites like Instagram. If your audience skews older, that demographic is more likely to check Facebook than Snapchat. 

Be easy to find. When you create social media accounts, choose usernames that match your business name as closely as possible, and try to keep them consistent across all of your social media platforms. Include as much information about your business in your profile as possible, as this indexable content can help search engines direct interested parties to not only your social media accounts but your business website as well. Once you’ve established the accounts, be sure to add your handles to your email communication, signage, stationery and other methods you use to make your business visible.

Be organized. Develop an editorial calendar to help you build out timely and newsworthy content. Creating compelling social content can be challenging, and utilizing a calendar can help a company focus on current topics and trends.

Build your following. Put thought into your content, and followers will pay attention when what you post is original and shareable. Don’t shy away from engaging well-known bloggers, influencers and media outlets. One great way to do this is to respond with useful information when users ask a question on one of your social media channels. Offering discounts to customers is another method to consider in order to grow your following.

Be responsive. Social media is worthless unless you’re ready to have conversations with your followers. Post regularly, be prompt when answering questions and concerns, and follow any interested parties yourself. Keep your content fresh and consistent so followers have a reason to check in frequently.

Be yourself. Social media gives you an opportunity to infuse your personality into your business. Consider sharing the story behind your business, interesting links you’ve found and inspiring words with your followers. You might also want to consider sharing any challenges you faced when starting your business—chances are, other businesses will encounter the same challenges and can benefit from your experience and insight.

Be innovative. Social media gives small-business owners unique opportunities to try out new products, programs and communications. Offer your followers the first look at a new item in your shop, a discount on the first shipment or the chance to sound in about their opinions. Once your promotion or experiment is over, track the kind of response you got and add the results to your social media plan.

How Successful Small Businesses Use Twitter – Part 2

May 28th, 2013 Comments off

blog_twitter-for-small-business-3In the part one of this Twitter marketing for small business series, we covered how to choose a username, how to write your bio and the one tip that will guarantee your success. In part two, we’re getting more in-depth with eight suggestions for tweets, how to gain more followers, how to handle customer complaints, and how to measure success.

What to tweet
The most important strategy for Twitter content is to vary your content. Avoid too much self-promotion to the exclusion of being helpful to your customers. Also, keep in mind that tweets under 120 characters are the most effective (they allow for retweets and comments).

Here are eight suggested topics:

  • A coupon code or special discount for your followers
  • A look behind the scenes of your operation
  • Tips for your customers (drawing on your subject matter expertise)
  • Positive press or news stories
  • The human side of your team/employees
  • Customer spotlights
  • Industry news
  • Best practices for your industry

How to gain more followers
Remember that Twitter is not all about you – it’s about community. The Twitter accounts with the most followers commit to a regular schedule and post at least once a day. Think about what you’re tweeting and ask yourself if it’s “share worthy.” Consider when your customers are most likely to be online as you time your posts. Finally, don’t forget to follow your customers, your employees, and industry leaders. Following often (but not always) means that users will follow you back.


Troubleshooting: How to handle complaints
Businesses can use Twitter as a customer retention tool, spotting unhappy customers and solving their problems. Sometimes customers take to Twitter to complain about a negative customer service experience. You’ll want to respond to those people. Think of it as an opportunity. When responding, express concern and offer a solution. Most customers just want to be heard, and may even tweet about how you rectified the problem (which is good press for you).

How to measure success
A good way to start is by using social media tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to help with tracking, engagement, and marketing on Twitter. Then, decide what your goals are. If your goal is to increase brand awareness and build buzz about your offerings, you’ll want to pay attention to your interaction count (@ replies and retweets). If your goal is to drive traffic to your website or store, you’ll want to pay attention to click-thru rates.

Consider these metrics to measure your success:

  • Number of quality interactions (retweets, favorites, @ mentions, lists)
  • Number of clicks (and clicks that convert to customers)
  • Tracking your hashtag

There’s never been a better time to integrate Twitter into your marketing strategy for your small business. Now that you have the tools, start brainstorming potential tweets, following your customers, resolving customer complaints, and tracking your Twitter success!

Social Technology Your Business Can’t Miss

April 17th, 2013 Comments off

blog_social-media-technologyMaintaining your company’s Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Pinterest, and other social accounts in tandem can be a labor-intensive undertaking. However, social technology tools exist that make posting content, monitoring mentions, and providing service an easy, innovative, streamlined process. From your improving your online marketing efforts, to empowering your sales team – read on to see how social can make your business better in every way.

Social Automation
The companies who have the most followers and online engagement on Twitter tend to send approximately 22 tweets over the course of each day. Since it’s considered poor conduct to send all 22 tweets at once, you need to find a way to space them out.

Marketing automation software makes it easy to post content to all of your social profiles in a consistent, timely manner. You pre-populate the software with content and schedule it to post to your accounts at a rate and time of your choosing. Social automation software can also:

  • Send a pre-written direct message to your new followers
  • Post a link to your profiles every time your blog has a new post
  • Schedule updates for all of your accounts or only for specific profiles.

Remember that in order to produce effective and engaging marketing, consistently adding content to your social profiles is only half the battle. It’s up to you and your marketing team to make sure that your posts are interesting to your audience, appropriate for your company, and effective in turning followers into customers.

Social Customer Service
A recent Oracle report found that more than half of Twitter users expect a response within two hours of tweeting a complaint, but 58% of users who tweet about a bad experience will never receive a response from the company (Bluewolf). When you monitor mentions of your company over social media, you have the opportunity to respond to customer service issues immediately – just as you would with a customer calling on the phone.

  • Much like call center software, social media monitoring software transfers every social media comment or mention into a helpdesk ticketing system. Your customer service agents can assess whether each mention merits a response, and immediately send appropriate responses through the portal.
  • Software that uses this ticketing system makes for responsive, accurate, and consistent customer interactions that benefit both your marketing and your customer satisfaction.

Social Monitoring
Social media isn’t only about output. Just as it’s important for your company to produce and post content to your social profiles, it’s integral that you monitor what is being said about you in the social sphere.

Posts about your company can be opportunities for positive marketing and customer service; but if left unaddressed, they can damage your company’s reputation. Social monitoring software listens for mentions of your company and alerts you to instances that need to be directly addressed by your company.

  • Social listening software monitors conversations, analyzes the content for relevance, and helps you take the appropriate action to provide a positive customer experience.
  • Most software will automatically search for and collate @ mentions of your company. However, many times customers don’t use the @ when speaking about your company. You should program your software to listen for mentions of your company with and without the @ mention, as well as #brandname. You should also listen for common misspellings of your company name.

According to the Bain & Co. report “Putting Social Media to Work,” when companies engage with customers and provide responses to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20% to 40% more money with the company. Look into social media automation and monitoring technology to streamline and optimize your company’s social media presence.

blog_272x77_resource-nationMegan Webb-Morgan is a business blogger, focusing on a variety of topics ranging from social technology to online marketing. She writes for ResourceNation.com, a B2B lead generation company. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Image: Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Going Social: 5 Easy Steps to Build Your Ecommerce Social Media Program

May 15th, 2012 Comments off
Are you ready to start a social media program for your business? Or have you started using social media but you are not satisfied with the results? Social media provides tools that can transform your small business but what is the secret? In this power packed webinar, you will learn:
-How to harness the power of social media to achieve your business goals
-The building blocks of a successful social media program for any size business
-How social media is different from traditional marketing
-Guidelines for choosing the best social media sites for your business
-Where to find hidden conversations about your business or products online
-Why you need a social media management plan and what goes into it
-How to measure your social media success in meaningful ways
Presented by John Lawson, an ecommerce business CEO, keynote speaker, award-winning social media strategist, and an American Express “Featured Business.” With over 51,000 followers on Twitter, more than 250,000 views of his videos on YouTube and more than 10,000 monthly visitors to his website, John knows social media.

Going-Social-LogoFree Webinar – How to Create a Social Media Program

Are you ready to start a social media program for your business? Or have you started using social media but you are not satisfied with the results? Social media provides tools that can transform your small business but what is the secret? In this power packed webinar, you will learn:

  • How to harness the power of social media to achieve your business goals
  • The building blocks of a successful social media program for any size business
  • How social media is different from traditional marketing
  • Guidelines for choosing the best social media sites for your business
  • Where to find hidden conversations about your business or products online
  • Why you need a social media management plan and what goes into it
  • How to measure your social media success in meaningful ways

When:  Thursday, May 17 –  5:00 p.m. PT / 8:00 p.m. ET

Where:  Register for free at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/343331942

Presented by John Lawson, an ecommerce business CEO, keynote speaker, award-winning social media strategist, and an American Express “Featured Business.” With over 51,000 followers on Twitter, more than 250,000 views of his videos on YouTube and more than 10,000 monthly visitors to his website, John knows social media.

TopRatedSellerWebinars.com is a FREE monthly webinar series that provides educational information for eBay and e-commerce sellers.  The webinar series is underwritten by Stamps.com, PageMage, Outright, eBay Radio and Terapeak.

3 Ways to Build Your Fan Base on Facebook

April 27th, 2012 Comments off
blog_webcom-page

Example of Facebook Company Page Web.com built for Sabrina's Flowers of Jacksonville, FL

Facebook started out as a social network for connecting students at college and has grown into a network for  connecting everybody for anything. Many people have a personal profile on Facebook, and they use it to keep up with friends and family through photos and status updates. Over time, businesses have found it to be a great place to connect with prospects and customers.

You’ve most likely seen big companies like Starbucks and Best Buy advertise their Facebook page and maybe you have even “liked” some of these company pages. As a small business owner, you’ve probably thought that you don’t have the resources to have a Facebook page, but you really can’t afford not to be on Facebook.

In 2010, more than 1.5 million local businesses had active pages on Facebook and more than 20 million people became fans of pages each day.* It’s crucial to have your business on Facebook because that’s where people are talking about the businesses they use and recommending them. There’s not a lot of mystery to having a Company Page, but like anything else you do for your business, you have to be committed to it.

#1 Include Important Design Features on Your Page
Your page should quickly tell a visitor what your business is about with a photo, business name, your logo, and a custom designed welcome page. With the new Timeline design that Facebook rolled out in March to Facebook Company Pages, a strong photo, also known as a cover photo, is even more important. This image should be visually appealing and powerful, capturing the essence of your business.

Also with the new updates Facebook made in March, the personalized tabs on a Facebook Company Page are now turned into applications that are located below your cover photo. This area is the prime real estate where your customized pages will live and where you set your business apart to your visitors. Photos and Likes will always take up two of these application spots, and you can have a total of 12 applications personalized for your business.

The Timeline feature lays out your posts and conversations in a chronological order by month and year. If you have a status update that that you would like to feature, you can now “pin” it. By pinning a post, it will remain on the top of your Timeline for up to 7 days.

#2 Build Your Network
Just like with your personal page, you want people to connect with your Facebook Company Page. Once your page is developed and ready to be seen, start advertising it. There are lots of ways to do this:

  • Add “Like us on Facebook” to your invoices.
  • Create a small sign reminding customers to “Like us on Facebook” and put it in high-traffic areas including near your service counter or on your front door.
  • Add a link to your Facebook Company Page in your email signature.
  • Link your website and Facebook Company Page.
  • If your Company Page is connected to your personal Facebook profile, post a message on your personal page asking your friends to like your Company Page.

You can also entice your customers or prospects to like your Company Page by offering an incentive such as a coupon, discount, or free item.

#3 Engage with Your Customers
One of the values of a Facebook Company Page is that it offers you a channel to communicate with your customers. While it’s important for you to keep the content fresh with photos, events and new product postings, you don’t want the conversation to be one way. Talk with your customers and encourage them to post on your wall and to tag photos of themselves using your product or service. You have to enable these capabilities in your Facebook privacy settings.

You should also provide resources for your customers such as related blogs, links, or videos that they would be interested in based on their interest in your company. Interacting with your customers will create a closer relationship with them and keep them coming back to your page and your business. You may even get ideas for changing or improving your business as well.

A Company Page on Facebook is like most other things in life, you get out of it what you put into it. You can’t expect your customers to “like” your page and visit it frequently if you don’t maintain it. Once you get into the practice of making regular posts, you’ll find it easier to do and worth the small amount of time it takes to have this valuable communication channel with your customers.

blog_webcom-logoIf you need help setting up a professional Facebook Company Page for your business, Web.com can help!  Just give us a call at 1-866-888-6305.

*Source: Website-Monitoring.com, 3/16/2010.

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.