Improving Customer Retention Using Online Customer Communities

Customer communities and other community types - source Dion Hinchcliffe on ZDNet

Online customer communities are great ways to boost customer retention and move from retention to customer loyalty or even advocacy. Customer retention is one of those business issues that generally don’t get attention until a crisis occurs. That is, the customers actually begin to leave. At this point, executive focus turns almost exclusively to the problem at hand. However, organizations need not wait until customers are jumping ship. Once this occurs, companies often find themselves scrambling in search of ways to retain those customers. Online customer communities are key to retaining customers, and strategies can be put in place well before a crisis has materialized. Socious has six great tips at their blog. … [Read more...]

Top Six Reasons Why You Should Use LinkedIn as a B2B Marketer

LinkedIn is by far most the important social network to reach out to business buyers and connect with professionals in general and thus one of the major platforms in B2B social media (and increasingly in content marketing). The network allows you to build relationships, establish thought leadership, generate leads, gain insights, conduct market research, improve reputation and build online communities. 1. Create awareness and improve reputation. LinkedIn is an ideal platform to increase your online presence. With more than two professionals signing up on LinkedIn every second, businesses have the opportunity to network with an increasing number of interesting contacts.  Using the different personal and group features in LinkedIn, companies and the people representing them can all improve their visibility and credibility, both as individuals and (thus) as a brand. … [Read more...]

20+ Staggering Stats Proving Why the Time to Use Social Media is Now

What happens in an Internet minute - source Intel

Businesses that don't use social media for marketing or customer service reasons now will miss out on business and, worse, actually lose business! Social business and social media are no longer an option. It’s not hype, it’s a fact and here are some good reasons why the time to use social media is now. Forrester just released some data on the growth of the online population. The numbers are impressive. Among, others due to the rapid adoption of mobile devices and the mobile Web, Internet usage will boost. Just consider these facts in case you doubt whether your business and employees should use social media and you should embrace social business (remember, go in with a plan!). … [Read more...]

HootSuite Acquires Seesmic and Goes for Corporate Gold

HootSuite welcomes Seesmic users

HootSuite acquires Seesmic. It's probably the news of the day in social media land. There are several reasons to assume HootSuite is going for the corporate user. HootSuite started out as one of the many social media management tools many years ago. However, the company has been continuously innovating and adding new features, making it increasingly more interesting than several other social media management tools with similar and even higher price points. HootSuite recently integrated a bunch of new productivity social apps to its app directory, including SocialBro, GoPollGo, NeedTagger and Videolicious. And so today news hits HootSuite acquires Seesmic. … [Read more...]

Twitter Launches New Embedded Twitter Timelines

Setting up the embedded Twitter timeline source - click to enlarge

Twitter today launched an embedded Twitter timelines widget feature. You have different options to pick the content (tweets and tweeted pictures) you want to show and of course there are some settings regarding look and feel. The embedded Twitter timelines widget can be created from within your Twitter account if you’re not a developer (information for developers here). The new feature allows you to display tweets from a user's timeline, favorites and list. You can also enter a hashtag for which you want the tweets to show. When the widget is created, you get a few lines of HTML and script code you can simply enter wherever you want. Embedded Twitter widgets: interaction where it matters The interesting thing is that interaction happens from within the blog, webpage or homepage you embed it on. That's a first and probably not a last. Such features can make it easier to let the interaction happen where it matters most for many of us: on our home bases on the Web. … [Read more...]

Content Marketing Evolutions and the Essence of Successful Content

The three factors of successful content according to InboundWriter

Content marketing ranks high on the agenda of most marketers. Buyers increasingly seek content to inform themselves and prepare their buying journey as surveys keep showing. Succesful content needs to be optimized for your business goals and the goals of your audiences. It's the purpose of content marketing. Although there is a clear evolution towards more 'visual' forms of content, eBooks, blog posts and other written content marketing formats remain important too. The fact that search engines are still crucial sources of traffic plays a big role here. Blog post headlines are good ways to attract attention, for instance. … [Read more...]

Should businesses ignore Facebook for B2B marketing?

Facebook in B2B Marketing (vs Linkedin) Infographic

The first social network that comes to mind when thinking about B2B social media marketing is obviously LinkedIn. However, what about Facebook? Is it suitable for business-to-business? Of course it all depends on your market, goals and target groups. An overview and an infographic. Business buyers are people and they also use Facebook. Although Facebook is generally less used in the buying process than blogs and LinkedIn, it certainly shouldn’t be ignored. While many strictly distinguish between Facebook as the ‘consumer environment’ and LinkedIn as the B2B place-to-be, in many countries and demographics Facebook is so popular that professionals use it both for personal and business reasons. They simply know how to distinguish between friends, family and professional contacts. Furthermore, there is a new generation of B2B buyers: the social ones. They are more used to social platforms and can be compared with the ‘connected consumer’. … [Read more...]

Do Consumers Trust Retailers More Than Social Networks?

Trust and private data

Consumers are said to rely more on the advice of their peers and even social connections than on businesses themselves. However, this doesn't mean they trust the social networks themselves when it comes down to sharing their data. Recently, the e-tailing group and MyBuys released some findings from a survey stating that the surveyed consumers feel more comfortable sharing data with retailers than with social networks. They do so even more when sharing data improves their shopping experience. I bet the same goes for other experiences as well. Most social networks suck at dealing with consumer data and don't take into account what their users want in that regard. They dictate on how they will use these data, and it does take some time to find where to change settings or stay up-to-date with latest changes. Even as someone who follows the industry carefully, I often lose track. … [Read more...]

Display Advertising on Facebook versus Google: Who Wins?

Facebook versus Google advertising - source Wordstream

Although Facebook and Google are very different platforms, they have common revenue streams: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising whereby contextual relevance, targeting and sharing are essential. With Google AdWords display advertising and text ads, you can achieve a good ROI but what about Facebook? Facebook has been testing several methods and formats lately, although not with big success. So it seems. The discussions on the effectiveness of Facebook ads have received lots of attention with many different opinions and quite some hype. Wordstream, a Search Engine Marketing agency, earlier this year collected some data on the display advertising and overall reach and efficiency of Facebook and Google and presented them in a (rather loaded) comparative infographic. … [Read more...]

London 2012: More Tweets in One Day than During the Whole Bejing Games

London 2012 ruled on Twitter - source BT

The London 2012 Olympics are over but more data are popping up, showing the social and digital dimension of the Games. Several media and blogs already looked at Twitter stats and other numbers but what about the peaks and the actual data traffic? In a blog post, BT shares a few numbers. As the company took care of the infrastructure, you won’t find them anywhere else. … [Read more...]

Social Media Evolutions to Watch

SocialMediaLandscape

We always have a tendency to estimate the value of something as it exists. Future potential is often ignored because we don’t follow or understand the trends enough, while the market place is constantly changing. The same goes for social media evolutions. We sometimes think that the landscape is mature and that the game is over: Facebook is the king of social networks; Twitter reigns in micro-blogging, etc. However, things change fast, very fast. Combined with a growing dissatisfaction with the policies and poor user experiences of some social platforms, new evolutions will shape the social media space. A few examples of how social platforms are evolving and what these social media evolutions imply: … [Read more...]

Real-Time Response is not a Holy Grail

London-2012-Olympics-Stadium-opening-ceremony-copyright-Pete-Tripp-iStockPhoto

They were dubbed the first social media Olympics ever. And they are. When London 2012 is over, gazillions opinion pieces will be posted with titles such as “Ten Crucial Social Media Lessons from the Olympics 2012.” In fact, it’s already happening now. I wanted to stay far away from them (whic doesn’t mean some will be probably good) but couldn’t resist after today… Social media has a few important characteristics. Two of them are the speed of real-time and the human dimension. Yep, social is indeed a people’s thing. We often herald the virtues of what we call a real-time economy. So do I, in a sense. The real-time nature of social is a gift for those who are ready to listen. … [Read more...]

To Social Media with Love

To Social Media with Love

When social media first started to grow, one couldn’t be faulted for thinking (based on traditional media history) that it would be nothing more than a self-promotional and self aggrandizing weapon of mass annoyance. One might also be forgiven for assuming that it was going to simply show us the darker side of humanity. When you consider that traditional media channels relegate the “better angels of our nature” to page 30 or the last two minutes of a newscast, you can understand that perspective. However, with all the dark side glimpses and the demons who have perched themselves on the web, social has often shown us our better natures and the staggering power of harmonic voices challenging us to do and be better. Almost everyday social media reveals (to me at least) the magic which surrounds us. … [Read more...]

Get over it! Social media doesn’t owe you a thing!

Social media respect : Get over it! Social media doesn’t owe you a thing!

As the father of identical twins, I wonder if my dad simply grew tired of repeating himself and so decided to keep his lessons simple and few in number. Whatever the reason may have been, he focused on only a handful and he drove them home at every opportunity. By all accounts my father (he’s almost 80) has led a good life and a wall of service plaques and awards attest to his community leadership and contributions. It’s is my father who more than anyone, taught me about community and how it is the core of that good life. He never expected recognition for his efforts. Oh, he got some, but he never expected it or expressed regrets when it didn’t happen. “The world doesn’t owe you a thing son, just remember that.” – Gilbert H. Ducharme … [Read more...]

Tweet Tips: 12 Ways to Tweet the Same Thing

Tweet Tips: 12 Ways to Tweet the Same Thing

Just tweeting a subject line and link from a blog (be a post by you or a post on another blog) is not always the most effective way to drive traffic to the post. If the subject line is really good, that can certainly be effective, but there are other options to get people’s attention with your tweets. Be creative with your tweets and mix it up! As with subject lines, a little originality and creativity can really make your tweets stand out. Not all of these approaches would be suitable for use by you about your own posts. As well, not all of these examples as written will suit your personal style – the categorization I’ve done should be more helpful creatively than the actual examples. You have to decide what your style is and work it for all it’s worth. Be yourself and have fun! Just consider these examples some food for thought. … [Read more...]

Email vs Social: Channels Aren’t Social, Humans Are

Email vs Social: Channels aren't social, humans are

The discussion regarding email and social and which one is the better channel (email is dead yada yada) is getting rather tedious. What makes this entire debate really frustrating is that it’s completely worthless in the larger scope. Oh sure, email marketers feel compelled to douse any suggestion that email is dying in order to reassure clients that they should still be spending with them, but other than that, what’s the point? The people we market to will make the decision as to what channel is best suited to their needs and that’s the only choice which matters. Everything else is simply politics and drama. Email is a social channel because by definition, any interaction between humans is social. It doesn’t matter if that interaction took place in person, via email, by phone or Twitter. We are social, we build communities wherever we go because they suit something bred in the bone which spurs us to seek out others and interact. The web hasn’t reinvented humans. Quite the … [Read more...]

Tips on How to Handle Negative Tweets

dealing with negative tweets

Should you ignore negative tweets or comments on Twitter? If not, what should you do? It’s a question which keeps coming up as marketers and companies get more and more involved in social media. Among most social media evangelists and analysts (I don’t like the term “expert”), the consensus appears to be that a negative comment is an opportunity for you to shine via social media channels such as Twitter. In this post I want to offer some tips on what ou should and should not do when you encounter a negative tweet. I think it’s reasonable that the first thing which pops into one’s head when they see a negative tweet is some anxiety about what the commenter might say next if you engage them. I’m not a psychologist, but I suspect it’s a human quirk of nature that we like to take the path of least resistance and hope if we ignore a problem it might go away. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the worst thing you can do in this context. That’s because it’s not just the negative … [Read more...]

Social Media May be Trendy, but Socializing isn’t

Social Media May be Trendy, but Socializing isn't

I first logged on to the internet in 1995 via a BBS AKA Bulletin Board System. I’d been logging onto BBS networks for a couple of years prior. A BBS could be a hobby running on a single home PC or, if you could afford the extra phone lines, a small business venture. The host computers were linked to many others around the globe via the BBS software they ran and phone lines. There were three primary reasons to log into a BBS: file sharing, gaming and communication. Sound familiar? Even now these are three of the primary reasons why people go online – at the heart of all these activities is the need for us to commune and share. When browsers and ISPs made connecting and using the web more accessible for the majority of people, a lot of folks leapt online and spent hours and hours just being online. It was a new frontier and exploring it was addictive for many. I noticed a learning curve that most newcomers to the web experienced. Initially they would spend a lot of time online … [Read more...]

Are Your Customers Looking for your Business on Mobile Phones? 5 Facts Worth Knowing

Are Your Customers Trying to Find Your Business on Their Phones? 5 Facts That You Should Know

There has been a lot of talk about the power of mobile marketing.  From text marketing to applications, the market is abuzz with the “power of mobile.” For some businesses it seems like a perfect fit, while other companies struggle to see the value of implementing a mobile marketing strategy. That’s why when I read a great article in Entrepreneur Magazine that had some information consumers use of mobile phone, I thought I would share it with you.  The article was based on the findings of a recent research study done by Harris Interactive.  I’ve grabbed 5 highlights to share with you here: … [Read more...]

Belgian Marketing Professionals Waffle on Social Media

Belgian Marketing Professionals Waffle on Social Media

JP De Clerk (who is never shy about offering an opinion) vented some frustration in a post, that also appeared on Social Media Today, regarding the state of social media marketing in Belgium. Based on the numbers he cited from a recent report from Leads United of Antwerp, it appears he’s got good reason to rattle some cages. The study surveyed 70 Belgian communication and marketing professionals regarding their use of social media. It certainly appears that based on this survey, Belgian marketing professionals have a way to go yet. … [Read more...]

Social Media Day Open Forum: You’ve Got Questions! We’ve Got Answers!

Social Media Day Antwerp

Social Media Day by design is a pretty free-form event. Some local events are strictly GT parties and some are trying to add a little more. At the Social Media Day event at Hangar 26 in Antwerp on June 30th, J-P De Clerk and team have put together a great party and networking event! But, they also have decided to include the opportunity for people to gain and share knowledge and insight on social media marketing. Everyone has questions about social media and especially about leveraging it for marketing, even those of us who might be considered knowledgeable or even “expert” at it. At the event, from 5 PM to 6 PM, there will an open social media forum with Olivier Blanchard, where you can ask your questions and get answers and insight from a thought leader in social media. Now, one hour is almost certainly not going to be enough, so you can also ask your questions via email, comment, our LinkedIn group or even Facbook. J-P has assembled an all-star team of social media pros who … [Read more...]

10 Stats: Why is Grandma Using Facebook and Uncle Joe Using Twitter?

10 Stats: Why is Grandma Using Facebook and Uncle Joe Using Twitter?

10 Social Media Statistics That May Surprise You: The social media landscape is changing at a rapid rate.  The reason?  More people are joining the “social media game” everyday....some who you wouldn’t even expect! Recently I was looking at some very interesting statistics reported by Yougov.com which illustrated some very interesting trends.  I thought I would share them with you as they may just change the way you think about sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. Here are the top 10 social media statistics that just might surprise you: 1.  3 out of 5 Facebook users access the site more than once per day AND the younger the user, the more they log on. 2.  Men are more likely to use Twitter or YouTube. 3.  Woman go on Facebook multiple times per day. 4.  Some of the most staggering growth has been in the 55 plus market.  Over 40% of 55+ social networkers have been registered on the sites for less than two years! 5.  Even more interesting? 28% of … [Read more...]