It’s happened. Google has lately confirmed that ‘more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan’. It appears that the relative volumes of desktop and mobile internet use are shifting, as more people begin to connect online ‘on the go’, and are adapting to the explosive real-time culture made more accessible through mobile devices. For businesses this revelation signals the pressing need to consider the benefits of targeting an increasing mobile audience, and especially take advantage of Google’s recent mobile-friendly algorithm update.
Consumers are increasingly shifting to using their mobile devices for purchases. Predictions expect that the market share for smart devices for both 3G and 4G, will grow by as much as 127% by 2019. Advancements in technology also mean that handset prices are also decreasing, driving more people to use their mobile devices as the primary method for engaging with the online world.
Plus, with consumers generating more data than ever before through mobile devices, now is the right time to use the data analytics to improve attribution (the measurement of user events such as click-throughs, app installs and launches, or in-app purchases), and create a better overall user experience.
The Challenges of Mobile Marketing
The recent boost and predicted increase in user data generated from mobile devices, is an exciting new potential resource for marketers, however one which does present some challenges. In its early stages it’s still difficult to measure the success of mobile marketing campaigns, and there are additional issues regarding data accuracy. This could prevent businesses engaging with mobile marketing from reaching their target audience with the appropriate message.
Effective mining of mobile data will involve relying less on cookie-based technology and getting access to more offline data. Marketers will therefore need to move towards the real-time insights of their users, which as a new development, cannot currently be provided by many third-party data companies.
To move away from cookies, mobile technology uses ‘identifiers’ for data based user measurement strategies. As the most prominent operating systems, iOS and Android have made some headway in making their identifiers user friendly and privacy compliant. It’s been stated that identifiers are more persistent than cookies, so further developments in mobile technology will enable a more strategic and long-term data audience measurement.
Businesses aim to target specific audience groups or target consumers through points of interest, however currently only location technology is a proven method to create mobile campaign attribution.
According to a study by xAd in May this year, 8 in 10 marketers worldwide use location targeting for mobile advertising. Mining mobile data in this way can provide valuable customer insight; for store based brands for example, mobile location data can help determine who’s visiting its stores and what places they visit outside of the store, such as the workplace or a university. However, marketers will need to approach the challenge of reaching the right audience within the targeted location.
Mobile for the Future
- As online advertising and video promotion continues to increase alongside the growth of the Internet of Things, mobile location targeted ad spend is expected to rise. It’s important to be able to stand out amongst the surge in these advertising strategies, with personalised and audience specific, experience focused offerings.
- Although location technology is a valuable tool, it is the developments in real-time insights which will really enhance the measurement of mobile campaign attribution.
- Mobile devices are already becoming slimmer and smaller, and smaller future screens will be orientated around increased functionality and user experience. In this case, design will be a key aspect for ensuring mobile websites and advertisements and campaigns, are fully optimal.
If you’re looking to immerse your business in this growing market and integrate mobile marketing with your existing strategies, the SEO it Right team are happy to offer advice. Contact us today on 0121 308 0219 to find out more.
As internet culture continues to grow and transform the way we do business, it’s no surprise that more and more businesses are looking to spend more time and money on online advertising strategies to market their products and services. Whilst paid and organic search advertising continues to be an extremely useful means of driving traffic, marketers are increasingly looking to social media marketing and user generated content to raise their brand’s profile online.
Rather than simply targeting customers through inputted search terms, social media advertising proactively engages relevant users before they even get as far as opening a search engine. With smartphones and other mobile devices constantly available, information is at our finger tips at all times, and social media apps are often our first port of call when we pick up our device. Whilst potential customers absentmindedly scroll through their social media newsfeeds, marketers have opportunity to attract their attention.
Capturing customer’s attention isn’t as easy as it used to be. Traditional sales spiel no longer has the same effect that it once did; in fact, a hard sell often makes a brand seem less trustworthy. This is where some marketers have gone wrong with social media in the past – social media isn’t about sales, it’s about engaging and building a relationship with the customer. By earning their customer’s trust, businesses are much more likely to see increased sales.
Social media provides the perfect opportunity for brands to learn more about customers through engagement. By encouraging social media users to put their point across and give their opinions, brands not only capture the interest of their audience, but can benefit hugely from the new information that they get. As marketers learn more about what the customer likes, dislikes, needs and avoids, they can then use this information to deliver a direct solution to the customer’s problem.
Engagement is a key method of developing trusting relationships with customers and potential customers, not only increasing the possibility of sales, but also making it more likely that happy customers will do their part to spread brand awareness.
User Generated Content
Social media is an extremely potent and powerful tool, of which customer engagement is only one part. One of the biggest parts of engaging with customers through social media is that customers effectively become members of a brand’s marketing team. Social media, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or the increasingly popular Instagram provides the perfect opportunity for customers to promote a brand in their own way. This could be to take a picture of themselves in a new outfit, share a post by one of their favourite brands, or even to leave a review. This is called user generated content and is fast becoming one of the most important marketing tools in any brand’s arsenal and can be much more effective than dated sales patter.
The modern consumer doesn’t want to buy a product or a service unless they trust it, and while a large percentage of people are mistrusting of a few lines of description on a website, if a friend or another trusted source gives a positive spin on said product or service, a person is much more likely to develop trust and make a purchase.
By taking the time to engage with customers through social media and learn more about their requirements, brands can carefully devise their posts to increase the creation of user generated content. For example, a clothing company can ask their followers to post a picture of their latest purchase and tag the brand in, or use a specific hashtag. By taking this sort of strategy, a brand’s online reach can be hugely increased.
Marketers are finally realising that the customer is always right and that customer opinion is one of the most powerful sales tools there is. Social media marketing is a relatively low-investment, but high-impact way of raising brand awareness and increasing sales that can’t be ignored.
With the rapid evolution of the Internet of Things it is now easier than ever for businesses to promote brand reputation, boost sales and increase growth for a worldwide market. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Linkedin, are fast becoming the norm over other marketing strategies, as a device for brands to connect with their audiences and develop a more customer-centric approach to sales. Recent studies have found that 42% of the world’s population are active internet users, and over a quarter of the population engage with social media on a daily basis.
Research by Smart Insights asked marketers to rate different marketing channels for volume of leads or sales expected by the business. Only 4% didn’t use social media, compared with SEO at 5%, to display advertising at 16%. The need is more apparent now than ever for companies to stay updated with the latest, continually adapting social media trends, so that they can strategically invest in resources to formulate long-term business opportunities. But which networks are the most popular, and what industries will capitalise from them most?
Here we take a look at the dominant social media trends which have shaped the marketing efforts of businesses in 2015 and how marketers can best benefit from the social networks; plus we’ll consider some of the key upcoming trends for 2016.
Choosing the Right Social Media Network
Published in January 2015, research from the Global Web Index highlighted the most popular social networks by their percentage of internet users. Facebook dominated with 81%, followed by YouTube and Google +, both at 60%. Twitter came in at 53%, with Instagram at 29%, Pinterest at 27% and LinkedIn at 13%. These platforms are fast growing through adapting to mobile users and integrating new advertising strategies. Some of the new developments in the way these networks are increasing their marketing capability for businesses include:
– Facebook: has removed the charge for likes and has made changes to its Newsfeed visibility
– Twitter: introduced the ability to stream Periscope, for live broadcast and recording
– Instagram: there are new Carousel Ads featuring URLs and multiple photos. These can be swiped for users to find out more
– Pinterest: offer buyable pin buttons
– LinkedIn: introduced a Lead Accelerator to target and convert specific users
In an increasingly automated brand to consumer relationship, businesses will need to implement social media to enhance their relations, improve reputation and make their brand stand out from the crowd. But which networks and will allow businesses to be best seen by their target audience and how can their reach be widened?
Make Your Business Mobile
Worldwide social desktop traffic in Q2 of this year decreased, while the rise in dedicated mobile web apps and the number of users adopting them caused mobile web share to go up for all social networks aside from LinkedIn and Reddit. Social media sites are becoming more optimised with geo-targeted and real-time content, meaning that advertising on these mobile sites is now greatly poplar as a strategy for business reach and growth. Mobile devices can let you receive ads at every log in into your accounts, whether for a quick check of your Facebook newsfeed or sending a snap via Snapchat. Using these ads will track users’ behaviours, and offer tailored advertising based on their actions.
Finding out whether your target market are using sites on their desktop, or responsive websites or dedicated apps on their mobile devices is key to ensure your business anticipates the needs of customers in line with the evolving social trends.
A More Integrated Social Advertising
This trend looks to customise advertising based on behavioural data on the social media networks. Integrated social advertising has been on the rise in 2015, with the introduction of video ads on Instagram and auto-play ads on Facebook. Snapchat has also capitalised on fully integrated advertising by displaying brands’ ‘stories’, giving users real-time ads targeted to their behaviours.
In-messaging advertising, through a social network’s private messaging function, is also becoming a marketing tool which will shape the future of advertising. Popular social apps such as Whatsapp and Kik, are signing huge marketing deals to boost in-app advertising.
This Rise of Social Video
Videos are ever more popular this year for brands looking to attract consumers quickly and build up a relationship visually. Most social sites allow for companies to display videos and enable great storytelling opportunities for increased consumer trust. Vine, Snapchat and Instavid are some of the dedicated social video networks which can be used by businesses to promote products and pave a unique identity in a compelling way.
Video is set to increase further throughout the rest of 2015 and over next year, Facebook is hoping to overtake YouTube, as it already experiences one billion video views a day, according to the Independent.
Social Media and E-Commerce
A study by SimilarWeb shows the worldwide percentages for desktop social traffic for popular ecommerce industries:
– Wedding: 11.38%
– Clothing: 6.14%
– Antiques and Collectibles: 5.88%
– Publications: 4.17%
The importance of social media as a marketing tool for these industries is worth noting, though businesses should be aware of their target market when investing in boosting social traffic to increase sales; the study showed that a higher percentage of social traffic in India and France was generated from the Ethnic and Regional category, as opposed to the UK and US which saw Weddings take the higher percentage.
The extent businesses should expect to engage with users via social networking sites, will depend on the interest in the specific industry for social activity. Changing your marketing strategies to fit in with the latest social media trends may not necessarily improve business if they do not fit in with your industry and the needs of your customers.
If you feel your business would benefit from implementing a social media campaign, then get in touch with the SEO it Right team on 0121 308 0219.
Snoops, the youngest and only four legged member of the SEO it Right team is 3 years old today. He may be fully grown, but he is still as mischievous as he was as a puppy and always keeps us on our toes when he visits the office, stealthily sniffing around Riz’s desk.
Many happy returns of the day Snoops!
Whilst Bing has grown to be the second largest search engine, currently powering around a third of the world’s search, it’s still a long way behind Google. However, with the introduction of Windows 10 later this year and the new Bing integration strategy, the tables could soon be turned.
As it stands, Bing is the default search engine for Siri, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, all Yahoo! search and until last year, Facebook search was also powered by Bing. With this in mind, Google may not actually be as dominant as you think. In terms of search volume, Google completely engulfs Bing, with the widespread use of the android operating system making a large contribution to this. For all Android devices, Google is the default search engine and Google Chrome is the default web browser, however, Bing could be set to give Google a run for their money.
Mistrust of Google
Despite the popularity of Android, in recent times, Google has been under serious scrutiny for abusing its position of power. The European Union has accused Google of distorting search results and favouring Google shopping over other, cheaper services available. These actions are believed to be a breach of EU antitrust rules; as well as likely changes to Google’s search algorithm and a large fine, many users may also turn to other search engines due to the mistrust generated by distorted search results.
Whilst mistrust of Google will no doubt play some part in the rise of Bing, Microsoft and Bing have are currently in re-birth mode and have developed an integration strategy that could help them to surpass Google.
The Bing Integration Strategy
Bing is currently the default search tool for Xbox, Windows, Windows phone, and Microsoft Office, however, with Windows 10 due to be released this year, Bing is due to be fully integrated, with the introduction of Windows desktop assistant Cortana and a desktop Bing search bar that will be present at all times.
Microsoft have estimated that more than a billion retail consumers are ready to upgrade to Windows 10 and in doing so, they will be switching to a new operating system where Bing is integrated and more accessible than ever before. Through Cortana, Windows 10 users can activate Bing voice search at any time, simply by saying “Hey, Cortana” and then making a search query. This takes away the need for having to open a separate window.
As well as Cortana, Windows 10 will also introduce a desktop search bar that is also powered by Bing and is embedded on screens at all times. Through reducing the amount of clicks that users will need to make and by making Bing search more convenient than ever before, Microsoft believe that they will stand a strong chance of helping users to break the habit of having to type in Google.com for all of their search needs. In many cases, users will be indifferent towards altering their basic desktop settings, so Bing stands a good chance of remaining the default search engine. With two separate direct Bing search functions on the desktop, most users are likely to choose one simply for ease of use.
Plans for the Bing Search Engine
With the world moving at such a fast pace, internet users will always look to find the quickest way to perform any task, so by making Bing ever present, Microsoft have given Bing a very realistic chance of taking Google’s crown for desktop search. Bing also has a number of other plans for its search engine, including introducing advanced real-time search functionality. This means that as search is completed in real-time, with a choice of contextual information overlays appearing, with the potential to reduce the need for typing if Bing chooses the right search query for the user. If the Bing desktop search bar is able to pick up the right contextual information when a user begins to type a search query, increasing numbers of users will make the switch from opening a browser to make a search.
With a combination of advanced real-time search functionality and plans to take over the desktop world, Bing may well cement themselves into the big leagues of search for a long time to come.
If you wish for your website to become more widely visible on all of the major search engines, including Google and Bing, give the SEO it Right team a call on 0121 308 0219 to find out more.
You may have heard of what I like to call, The Fantastic Four of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, which are currently the biggest social media networks. Through using social networking sites for your business, you can indulge yourself in the technological world, and give your business the personality it needs to meet the demands of today’s digital audience.
There are over three billion active internet users, and just over two billion of these users have active social media accounts. This provides huge potential for businesses to promote what they do, and reach a bigger target audience than ever before.
Provide, Engage, Promote
As these social networking sites continue to grow, so do the number of people who are using them. Social media is widely used by businesses as it gives people a chance to engage with the brand, and also builds a sense of trust. When used correctly, it can maximise your profitability, and the effectiveness of your advertising and online marketing. It is all about being able to provide interesting posts, engage with and respond to your audience, whilst promoting what you do at the same time without coming across as too ‘sales-like.’
There Are So Many, Which One Should You Choose?
You may be thinking there are so many social media sites, which one would be best for you? We understand that each business is unique, and therefore some networking sites will work better than others, depending on the nature of your business.
Take a look at this breakdown to show how you can use at least one of the Fantastic Four to get your brand name out there, and engage with your audience. It’s all about adding that personal touch to the information you provide. Sales talk and cold calling are long gone – social media is like the modern day version of ‘people skills’ you need in today’s digital atmosphere.
You probably hear Facebook mentioned nearly every day, so what makes it so great?
- You will be discoverable – people who search for you or search for something related to what services or products you provide will be able to find you.
- You will be able to interact with various audiences straight away, and can respond to urgent queries or enquiries quickly and efficiently.
- You have an insight on the success of your page; through your analytics section, you will be able to see how customers are reacting to your posts and what kind of engagement you are achieving. This one profile will give you access to a whole world of possibilities.
- All you need to do is share relevant, related topics to your business or things that interest you, to try and encourage people to interact with you on your profile.
With 1.23 billion users active on Facebook every month – the sky really is the limit. The more consistent you are and the more regularly you post, the more likely it is you will connect with people and build trust.
With over 500 million users, Twitter is another way to interact with your audience.
- It is different to Facebook as you have to limit your post to 140 characters. This makes content easy to read and ensures your audience won’t lost interest too quickly, like they may do if posts were longer.
- Twitter is a great way of promoting your brand and sharing relevant information, which could be of use to your customers.
- You can use your tweets to post information quickly with the use of a hashtag, so that information that has been posted by other users with the same hashtag will all appear under one grouping. This is a great way of getting the word out there about what you do.
The potential really is there to go far, as long as you remain persistent and engage with your audience regularly.
You may have heard of the craze that is known as Instagram – well known for users posting selfies, pictures of food and images of just about anything.
- With over 3 million users, Instagram is one way of visually getting your products out there. So if you are a print company, restaurant or anything that works with things that are visual – Instagram is a great place to start.
- As soon as you start posting and the more regularly you do this, before you know it your followers will begin to build up.
- Instagram is predominantly pictures rather than status posts and updates, which are more for Facebook and Twitter. The human brain is programmed to register pictures much faster than written information.
The second largest search engine after Google is YouTube. Infamous for allowing users to find endless videos on just about anything, there’s very little that can’t be found on YouTube.
- Video is the next big thing, and more businesses are starting to use videos as part of their strategies. Like images, videos are visual and therefore the brain registers them much quicker than written text.
- Videos can easily be shared on social networking channels making them highly versatile, and you can reuse them time and time again to promote what you do on other social media sites.
- YouTube itself has more than 1 billion users, where 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
The promotional aspect of using video is really big, so being involved and adding your own is another way to gain great exposure!
If you are intrigued by any of these online platforms, and would like to open new doors to interact with your audience, SEO it Right can help by providing the Social Media Marketing solutions to meet your needs. We also offer Social Media Marketing Training to give you a better understanding on how to use social media yourself. For more information, you can give us a call on 0121 308 0219.
On the 21st of April, Google began rolling out a new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm, designed to boost the rankings of mobile friendly pages in mobile search results. Whilst this only affects mobile search results, not desktop, over time this algorithm is expected to have as big an effect, if not more so, than Panda and Penguin, given that more than 50% of searches are now conducted on mobile phones.
The idea of the mobile-friendly update is to provide searchers with high quality and relevant results that they can easily read on a mobile device without having to zoom in and change the size of the text, all tap targets and menus are appropriately spaced for mobile use, and pages avoid the need for horizontal scrolling and any unplayable content. This kind of website is called a ‘responsive website’, meaning that the site will automatically re-size to suit the device that it is viewed on. Essentially, the mobile-friendly update is designed to create a better search experience for mobile users.
What does the mobile-friendly ranking algorithm affect?
- The update applies to individual website pages, as opposed to full websites – even if a website is not fully mobile-friendly, certain mobile friendly pages may rank well
- It only affects search rankings on mobile devices – Desktop search is not affected at all by this algorithm update
- It affects search results in all languages – the update is global, affecting website pages throughout the world
The easiest way to establish whether your website has good usability is by submitting your URL to the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. If the test finds that your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it gives you some useful tips to optimise your website for mobile search.
For more information, when logged into Google Webmaster Tools, you can view your Mobile Usability Report – this shows you any issues that the specific pages on your website may have. If you have access to Webmaster Tools and your site isn’t fully mobile-friendly, there is a good chance that you will have been sent a notification telling you that your site doesn’t meet the requirements of the mobile-friendly update.
How might the mobile-friendly update affect small businesses?
If you are a small business owner and your website isn’t fully mobile-friendly, it is likely that you will see a hit to your rankings on mobile searches and as a result, you will see a drop in visits. As with desktop search, around 85% of users will drop off search after scrolling the first page of Google SERPS. By dropping in rank, you lose organic visibility and visitors through mobile search.
If the mobile-friendly update does not have an immediate effect on your rankings, it is important to remember that without providing good mobile usability, it is likely that visitors will be unimpressed with the poor user experience, leading to them spending less time on site, visiting fewer pages and your bounce rate increasing.
In turn this could lead to fewer sales and conversions.
Whilst this sounds alarming, it is important not to panic. Here are some steps that you can take to improve the mobile usability of your website:
- Make sure all text on site is big enough to read on a mobile device – understandably, mobile phone screens are usually much smaller than a desktop computer screen, so a site that is designed specifically for desktop use is likely to be very hard to read on a mobile screen. With a responsive website design, the text should automatically re-size to suit the screen and provide a good user experience
- Make sure content on your site isn’t wider than the screen it is displayed on – if the layout of your website goes wider than most mobile phone screens, leading the user to scroll left and right, this is not a good user experience
- Make sure all links and navigation options are well spaced – no matter how dainty your fingers are, if a website isn’t designed for mobile user, it is likely that you will hit the wrong link and be navigated to the wrong place. All links should be well spaced out to allow all users to navigate to where they want to go
If you are unsure about how to go about improving the mobile-usability of your website, or have any queries about the mobile-friendly ranking algorithm, please call SEO it Right on 0121 308 0219 and our team will be happy to assist you.
Last month, I attended day 1 of the Internet Retailing Expo at the NEC, a yearly event that offers retailers and marketers the opportunity to take part in a range of workshops, conferences and one on one clinic sessions with a number of industry experts. I took part in a workshop with Alex Henry, Director of Client Solutions at Monetate and Rebecca Smith, Head of eCommerce at Boohoo.com; this gave an inside view on the power of advanced personalisation and how it impacts the customer experience.
The power of personalisation
There are many great websites that get thousands of visitors each month. Each of these visitors are unique, they have their own background, interests, goals and dreams. But the problem we face is that we are delivering to them all the same website experience. We are displaying to them the same content, images, promotions and offers.
Every customer is unique
Personalisation allows us to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time. Data is already there and available, and we can use this to create a tailored and unique experience for each visitor.
It is no longer enough to invest time and money into attracting visitors to your website. We need to look at what happens when these visitors land onto our website. With very little regard given to the unique nature of each visitor it’s no wonder that bounce rates and conversion rates are very minimal.
The impact of personalisation
Personalisation allows us to meet each visitors needs faster and more efficiently than ever before. This is achieved by offering the visitor the most relevant content at all points throughout their journey on your website.
Through personalisation we can build up the relationship with the visitor which will help to increase their loyally, satisfaction and increase conversion and sales.
How to get started with personalisation
Many webmasters have data readily available, whether it’s from your website analytics or your customer data. Here are a few ideas to get started:
The profile of the visitor, this looks at what devices they are using, are they using mobile or a tablet, what browser they are using and any demographic information.
Historical data, if they made a previous purchase, what categories they are interested, what pages have they visited, what is their average order value.
Contextual and situational data, we can look at the time of day, geographical location, and contextual information that can help us to decide what products to promote and what services to push.
Personalisation has now become an essential part for retailers, it is no longer optional. Customers now have their expectations, expectations across all different devices.
Personalisation will not only apply to retailers but soon all websites will have the need to personalise. Our competitors are a click away so it is now more important than ever to turn those visitors into loyal customers, personalisation is one of the ways to achieve this.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day at IRX 2015. It was great to see how other organisations have developed different solutions to help their business move forward online. I enjoyed talking to other like-minded people to see how their solutions will fit together or bolt on to their current online retail setup.
I also thought the hot chocolate at the event was very good!
Attending the IRX event confirmed much of what I knew about the marketing world, but it helped to open my eyes into what others in the industry are doing. Listening to speakers who had an extensive amount of experience working in the marketing industry, only helped me develop a passion more for the job that I do.
I always say, “the best way to learn, is to listen to those who have learnt.” Taking the advice from industry professionals has helped me to look into the bigger picture of marketing, and I have learnt that it is all about establishing your message across different platforms. The idea of marketing is to understand your customer, and be able to meet their needs, by working on how they interact with your brand and your products. Gaining feedback, and reviews is a great way of being able to understand how people perceive your brand.
During the event, I began to understand that whilst the industry is indeed complex at times, and is always evolving and changing – many of those that are in it, all want to help each other make the most of those changes; and that’s a really reassuring thing to know. Whilst many may be competitors, there are far more who want to help and that’s what I feel sums up the IRX expo – it was there to help and inform marketers.
Those speakers who shared their business experiences have seen a lot of the digital age develop from the very early days of when PCs became the new craze – and their insight is a lot different to how I perceive digital technology, as I was a lot younger at this time.
Technology for me was part of growing up, but listening to those who did not necessarily grow up with it, has given a different – but a very valuable insight. I have learnt that although things are always changing, it’s how we make the best of those changes in our jobs, and marketing careers that will shape the future of how the companies we work for will grow.
What I Learned From Attending IRX 2015 – What Small Businesses Can Learn from a Big Brand’s Approach to Social Media
Last week some members of our team attended the Internet Retailing Expo at the NEC. Launched by InternetRetailing Magazine, the IRX offered a full programme of workshops, one on one clinics and conferences, all delivered by industry experts in various fields.
I attended day 2 of the event in order to visit the Digital Sales & Marketing conference that was held, featuring talks from a number of industry experts. One of the most interesting talks that I attended was given by Claire Higgins, Head of Digital Marketing at Selfridges – Social Media to Tap into Customer Mindsets and Drive Forward Business Strategies. It was fascinating to learn more about how a renowned brand like Selfridges approach social media. This retailer case study triggered me to think more about what small businesses can learn from big brands when it comes to social media.
Engage, Engage, Engage, Not Sell, Sell, Sell
This is where many small businesses go wrong – social media should not be used as a hard sell. It is important for businesses and brands of all sizes to think about what it is that customers want to hear; the easiest way to find this out is by talking to the customer and finding out what is important to them.
Through social media, businesses can regularly share interesting and relevant information with their followers, encouraging them to like or share, re-tweet, favourite or reply to. Social media is not about selling – its real purpose is to help educate customers and followers, building their credibility and trust in their brand as a whole, as well as their products or services.
Social Media Should Be a TEAM Effort.
The Selfridges outlook on social media is: Together wE Achieve More
Many small businesses may leave their social media efforts to their marketing team alone, or in many cases, a single member of staff. What small business can learn from a big brand like Selfridges is that social media is too important to leave to a single employee or department and in order fully realise the potential of social media and see the best possible results, organisations must come together.
As social media is all about reaching the customer and engaging with them, creating social media content should be a joint effort between the marketing team, sales teams and any other customer facing employees. Although the writing and posting to the business’s social media platforms may be left to the marketing department, any customer facing staff should be able to offer some insight into what the customer wants to see/hear/or read.
Finding the Right Tone Is Important
Social media gives your business the chance to communicate with your customers through a single voice – so it is essential that you create a voice that is professional and suits your brand. Whilst it is important to let your social media team’s personalities to shine through in social posts, it is important that they continue to convey a consistent tone that is positive, authoritative and professional. Social media should allow customers to connect with passionate employees that will help to build up the customer’s trust in their brand.
Social Media for Customer Service
One of the main results of our increasingly reliance on digital technology is that we are very impatient and want all information as quick as possible. If customers have a problem or would like more information, they want to be able to resolve this as quickly as possible, whether this means checking your website or contacting your customer service department. Another side effect of the continuing development of digital technology is that rather than using a telephone, customers are happier to contact a business via social media if they have a problem. It is important for businesses of all sizes to respond to and resolve customer problems as quickly as possible. Whilst it is unrealistic for businesses to provide 24 hour support in most cases, it is always best for businesses to aim to respond to any customer problems within a day.