How to Provide Great Customer Service through Social Media

Social media is changing the way we interact with customers, and it’s no longer just about whose posts get the most retweets or who has the most followers. An estimated 67% of consumers now use social media for customer service, and this online social support is becoming increasingly important for businesses wishing to maintain or develop a reputation for good customer service. If you want to improve your customer service through social media, read our top 5 tips below and take a look at a few industry examples we’ve found:

1. Respond quickly
Customers expect quick responses on social media; in fact 42% expect a reply within 60 minutes! Social media is all about immediacy and it’s therefore important to keep on top of all your social media accounts; look out for possible new messages, mentions or reviews and reply as quickly as possible.

2. Don’t just acknowledge the positive reviews
Of course no one likes a bad review, but if you can acknowledge it and show that you’re willing to resolve the issue, it shows that you’re dedicated to providing good customer service. It’s your chance to turn a negative review into a more positive one in the future. For example, if a customer is unhappy with a product they’ve received, you may offer to send them a new one free of charge and offer them an exclusive discount for their next purchase.

3. Engage with your customers
Customers spend 20-40% more when brands engage with them on social media, so don’t just wait for your customers to come to you. Reposting images or initiating conversations shows you have a genuine interest, and gives your customers a more personalised brand experience, which never goes unnoticed.

4. Be creative with your responses
Customers value professionalism, but they also like brands that show a bit of personality too. Customers don’t just want to talk to a generic robot, they want human interaction. So whether it’s adding a bit of humour or responding in a chattier manner; if you think it’s appropriate, give it a go.

5. Don’t forget to follow up
Just like with any customer feedback you’d receive offline, don’t forget to follow up customer responses you’ve received on social media. Once again, it shows that your business genuinely cares about its customers, which means they’re more likely to stay loyal to your business.

Here are a few examples:

1. Starbucks

 

 

 

 

 


2. Pizza Express

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Tesco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Domino’s

How to Increase your Email Open Rate

Millions of emails are sent out and read every day, and it’s estimated that over a third of the world’s population will be using email by 2019. However, with UK businesses only achieving an average open rate of 24.7% last year, it just goes to prove no matter how great your email is, if you can’t get them to open it in the first place, you’ll never be able to convert them into loyal customers. With this in mind, we’ve summarised some of our top tips to increase your emails’ open rates.

1. Create an engaging subject line
The subject line is the first thing your subscribers will read, so it’s vital you start off strong. There are several ways to improve your subject line. Personalisation is a great way to engage the reader, and don’t forget to keep it short and sweet. Avoid words and phrases such as “free” or “save cash”, as these aren’t only uninspiring, but they’re more likely to send your email to the spam folder.

2. Make sure your email is responsive
Ever opened an email and found yourself frustrated by having to alter the text or images because they don’t fit the screen? Your subscribers probably feel exactly the same, so it’s important that your email is responsive on all devices, and not just desktops. Nowadays there are many sites you can use that have responsive templates you can use to design your emails. Other tips include not using too many images and avoiding menu bars.

3. Send your email at the right time
Yes; even timings can affect your open rate. If you want to know what time is best to send emails, carry out a few tests before sending your final version to see when you have the highest open rate. For example, if you’re sending your emails to people’s work email addresses, you’re not going to want to send it on the weekend, when checking work emails is the last thing on their minds. You’ll not only want to consider which day of the week, but also what time of day you want to send it. On average, emails in the UK had a higher open rate between 10am and 11am in 2016, but it’s important to find what works for your business and audience.

4. Quality not quantity
Don’t forget that your email needs to be well written, as well as visually appealing. Make sure you proof read your email several times before you send it; looking for grammar mistakes or ways to improve your wording. Sloppy mistakes never look great and are likely to decrease your open rate.

5. Segment your subscribers list
It’s important that you’re sending your emails to the right people. By segmenting your subscribers into lists based on factors such as location, buying habits or gender, you’re more likely to send your customers relevant emails, which are therefore more likely to be opened. For example, if you’ve noticed that a selection of customers are buying the same products from your website regularly, make a subscribers list for them, which you can use to send them emails when their favourite products are on sale.

6. Revise your subscribers lists regularly
If you’ve done all of the above, but still aren’t getting a good open rate, it may be wise to review your subscribers list. Remove inactive email addresses or email addresses with misspellings, and don’t forget to check that the lists your subscribers are in are still relevant. You don’t want to be making avoidable mistakes, like sending existing customers’ exclusive offers only available to new customers! Not only will this improve your open rate, it’ll also save you money.

 

5 Things that Mattered this week in Marketing #MarketingMoments

As always, it’s been another busy week in the world of marketing. Here we’ve summed up the top 5 marketing stories to keep you up-to-date on the latest news and views in the industry.
1.Netflix and YouTube enter top 10 best brands list for first time

Youtube and Netflix have entered the top 10 on YouGov BrandIndex’s annual list of the UK’s top brands, for the first time this year, showing the increasing importance of online streaming services for consumers. YouTube placed 9th, whilst Netflix ranked 6th position.

Read more.

2. Twitter launches its new discovery tool Explore

In a bid to make the app more consumer-friendly, Twitter launched its discovery tool this week, to help make it easier for users to discover the latest trends and keep up with live news.

Read more.

3. A fifth of UK agencies lost business due to Brexit

A survey of over 200 advertising agencies in the UK has found that 22% reported losing business due to June’s Brexit outcome.

Read more.

4. #ThisGirlCan campaign makes a return

The hugely successful #ThisGirlCan campaign started its comeback this week, with a series of posters aimed at not just teenagers and their Mum’s, but now their Grandma’s too. The new TV ad is due to come out later this month.

Read more.

5. Brands take a stand against Trump

Brands, including Starbucks, Nike and Airbnb, have been breaking their silence this week on Trump’s newly imposed Muslim-majority country ban, by offering individuals affected support, from jobs to places to stay.

Read more.

 

5 Things That Mattered Last Week in Marketing #MarketingMoments

As always, last week was another busy one in the world of marketing. Here we’ve summed up the top 5 marketing stories to keep you up to date on the latest news in the industry.

1.Marketing budgets stay strong for 2017 despite growing uncertainty over Brexit

Despite the uncertain financial forecast, marketers are still predicted to spend more than ever on marketing this year. There will be a continuing focus on online marketing and a shift away from sales promotions, according to the IPA’s quarterly Bellwether report.
To read more on this story click here.

2.Vine is officially shut down

Twitter officially shut down the much loved video app Vine last week, after it announced the app would be closing down back in October last year. However, it’s not all bad news for fans, as the app will be transformed into Vine Camera, which will allow users to create 6 second videos that can then be uploaded to Twitter.
To read more on this story click here.

3. Over £600 million was spent on non-viewable ads in 2016

Despite a growing effort to improve ad visibility, advertisers in the UK still spent over £600 million on non-viewable ads last year according to a report carried out by Meetrics, leaving the UK significantly behind other European countries in terms of ad visibility rates.
To read more on this story click here.

4. Moneysupermarket.com top ASA’s list for most complained about adverts in 2016

For the second year running, moneysupermarket.com has topped the list for the most complained about adverts in 2016. The hard to forget ads racked up a total of over 2500 complaints last year.
To read more on this story click here.

5.Facebook introduces tools to combat its fake news crisis

Amid growing pressure to tackle its fake news problem, Facebook has introduced a new tool which will allow users to report an article if they think it’s fake. Facebook introduced the tool in Germany last week and is the first country in the EU to trial it, as German politicians fear it could influence the country’s upcoming election.
To read more about this story click here.

Digital Marketing Trends to watch out for in 2017

With 2016 but a distant memory, 2017 is now in full swing. We are certain it is going to be another exciting and unpredictable year…and that is just for digital marketing.  From chatbots to video marketing, with lots in between, the industry is awash with talk about this year’s most important trends.  Here we’ve rounded up some of our favourites and why you need to be watching out for them in 2017.

1.Live streaming
We saw the buzz of live streaming first-hand last year with the US Presidential election, but it’s set to get even bigger in 2017. Most recently, Instagram has followed in the steps of Facebook and launched a live streaming service on its story feature. Virgin Media also received high praise for its live TV ad, which was created by piecing together live footage from 18 locations into a 60 second feature. Not only does live streaming allow brands to get creative, but it can also be more cost-friendly and allows consumers to interact on an even deeper level.

2.Chatbots
Chatbots are set to be the next big thing in messaging app technology and will reshape the way we communicate with consumers. Companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon have already started using them, so we’re sure many other businesses will follow suit.  While some are still unsure about chatbots, many argue that they’ll increase both sales and communication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.Video marketing
From Android’s ‘Friends Furever’ to Always’ #LikeAGirl campaign, video content is gaining ever more popularity amongst both consumers and marketers. While creating video content can be daunting, when done right it can be extremely effective. Videos generate 1200% more shares than text and images combined and it’s predicted that 74% of online content will be video by the end of the year.

4.Further personalisation
In a survey carried out by Swirl Network in 2015, it was found that 88% of shoppers were more likely to shop with retailers who offered personalised experiences.  From emails, to your homepage, personalisation can be done easily and effectively.  Research has also found that customers spend up to 48% more when their experience is personalised, which is revenue that no business can afford to lose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.Influencer marketing
Influencer marketing has been around for a while now; however, businesses are now moving towards what are known as “micro-influencers”. These people may not have millions of followers, but they have the niche audiences businesses are looking for. You no longer have to be a big business either to use influencers; smaller businesses are constantly using them to bring about brand awareness, making it a useful marketing strategy for businesses of all sizes.

TLC Business Marketing Lunch-11 tips to get more from your marketing in 2017

With 2017 just around the corner, it was time to host our annual Marketing Lunch. This year’s event took place at the Southampton Science Park in the Innovation Centre and we welcomed over 20 local businesses for a jam-packed session. The theme of this year’s event was ’11 tips to get more from your marketing in 2017’ and we’ve summarised below some of the points:

1. Social media-Know your audience

It’s important that you’re using the appropriate social media platforms for your target audience. Instagram for example has a largely young demographic, with 37% of its users aged 16-24, making it an essential tool for businesses targeting younger consumers, but not so much for older consumers who make up only 3% of Instagram. It’s therefore imperative that you do your research beforehand.

2. Google reviews

Not many businesses understand the importance of Google reviews, but if you want to help your business’s presence on Google this is an excellent place to start. Not only will Google reviews give your business reputability, they’re also favoured by Google and the more you have the further you’ll move up on the search engine results. You don’t necessarily have to be the biggest business in order to top the rankings.

3. Social media – 5 things not to do:

• Being too salesy
• Choosing quantity over quality
• Taking on too many channels
• Posting irregularly
• Repeating posts on every channel

4. Have an SEO checklist

While SEO can be a daunting subject for many marketers, it’s an important tool to get right. Use our checklist to get started:
• Google Analytics installed?
• Google Search Console installed?
• Use GSC tools for 404 / 500 page errors, duplicate content etc.
• Used Google’s Keyword Research Tool – to find relevant keyword per page?
• Incorporated primary keyword into page url?
• Title tags created and correct length?
• Meta description tags created and correct length?

5. PPC – Understanding your quality score

Your quality score can have a big impact on the cost and effectiveness of your paid search campaigns. Quality score is Google’s rating of the quality and relevance of both your keywords and PPC ads and it’s used to determine the price of cost per click. You can improve your quality score in a few ways:
• Structure your campaigns into smaller yet targeted ad groups
• Ensure your landing pages are directly relevant to your chosen keywords
• Decrease your landing page load times

• Ensure your ads are directly relevant to your chosen keywords

6. Retarget consumers

Retargeting is a cookie-based technology that uses simple codes to anonymously ‘follow’ your audience all over the Web. When customers visit a website, the cookie is able to ‘follow’ them round as they search the Web and leave reminders in the hope of them returning to the site and making a purchase or undertaking an action. Retargeted visitors are 70% more likely to convert into buyers, making it a powerful marketing tool.

7. Email marketing – some more top tips

• Personalisation – personalising your emails is more likely to generate engagement.
• Context is everything – don’t be fooled by top words to avoid or included in subject lines.
• Mobile-friendly- make sure your emails are responsive.

• Split test – review subject lines and content

8. The best content for B2B vs B2C

Social media is still the most popular way of providing content for B2B and B2C marketers; however there are some differences when it comes to other tools they use. Blogs for example are more popular with B2B marketers and make up 92% of their content marketing, but only 67% for B2C. It’s important to use tools which are the most effective for your audience.

9. Start creating more video content

It’s estimated that video will make up 74% of online traffic in 2017, making it one to watch. We can expect to see trends such as live streaming and 360 degree videos developing within the next 12 months, so it’s the perfect time to practise your video skills and master creating video content for your consumers.

10. Make the most of Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results. Keywords, impressions, CTR, site error, broken links and more, Search Console provides you with key data you can’t afford to dismiss if you want your website to be effective.

11. Book your free ideas session with us

Here at TLC Business we offer a 1-2-1 session for SME businesses looking to improve their marketing. If you’d like to know more email emma@tlc-business.co.uk or call 01962 600 147.

We hope you find this useful and would like to thank everyone who attended. We look forward to seeing you again soon!

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US Election: How Trump and Clinton embraced Social Media in the race to the White House

After a year of campaigning, Americans finally took to the polling station this week to vote. What came as a shock to many was also a cause of celebration for others, as Donald Trump sealed an unlikely victory to become the 45th President of America.

Although the election may now be over, it’s certainly one we won’t be forgetting any time soon. It’s been one of the most aggressive and expensive elections to date, with the two hopefuls having reportedly spent over $6.5 billion on their campaigns combined. With spending on social media up by 600% compared to the last election, we’re taking a look back at how social media played an integral part of each candidate’s campaigns.

Twitter

Twitter was centre stage in this election, and with Trump and Clinton having a combined following of over 20 million, this came as no surprise.

From Clinton’s pledge to cut college fees for families earning under $125,000, to Trump’s vow to ‘make America great again’, Twitter was awash with political promises from all sides, in a bid to secure more voters and build campaign momentum.

During live TV debates, Twitter would erupt into discussion. The October 9th debate alone generated 17 million tweets relating to the election, and in the last 6 months, the candidates achieved over 100 million interactions on Twitter, demonstrating online engagement around this election never seen before.

Most popular tweets from the candidates campaigns:

hillary-tweet

 

 

 

 

 

543,949 retweets and 700,708 likes.

donald-tweet

 

 

 

 

 

121,030 retweets and 249,943 likes.

Facebook

Over 150 million Americans use Facebook, which made it another valuable platform for the presidential hopefuls. Trump and Clinton made their presence on Facebook clear with daily posts. Hillary made a particular effort to provide her 7.7 million followers with video content, whereas Trump continued to criticise Washington and current laws with the hashtag #draintheswamp.

However the social media site came under scrutiny for its role in this election, with some worrying Facebook was interfering by censoring what people see, in order to persuade them to vote a certain way. But it’s not all bad news, reports suggest that the websites reminder to vote increased online registration significantly.

Most popular posts from the candidates campaigns:

hillary-facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

263,290 likes and 71,795 shares.

donald-facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

325,466 likes and 13,458 shares.

Instagram

Instagram was another key platform for the candidates, especially when it came to gaining support among first-time voters. With both candidates having over 3 million followers each, posts were frequent and delivered powerful messages. On Instagram, Hillary stood by her hashtag #strongertogether, posting a series of photos with high profile supporters, including President Obama and Pharrell Williams. In contrast, Trump posted a series of rally photos and stats from the election so far, to drive support.

Most popular posts from the candidtaes campaigns:

hillary-insta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

308,000 likes.

donald-insta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

221,000 likes.

YouTube

Although YouTube played a lower profile than Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in this election, both candidates made an effort to boost their profiles with video content. Clinton had 135,000 subscribers and made sure she kept her YouTube updated daily with a variety of videos; including speeches and interviews with supporters. Trump was close behind, with 99,982 subscribers; however, he wasn’t quite as active. Despite this, his campaign still made sure videos were posted weekly in order to keep up with his rival.

Most popular videos from the candidates campaigns:

Hillary Clinton- 3.2 million views.

Donald Trump- 4 million views.

As the dust begins to settle and the world prepares for Trump to replace Obama, it will be interesting to see just how Trump’s use of social media changes. If there’s one thing we’re sure of though, Trump being Trump, he won’t be reducing his activity any time soon. After all, he can now add ‘President of the USA’ to his current title of the ‘King of social media’.

Trump has shown that despite being the underdog (albeit a very wealthy one!), his ability to master social media as a tool to engage with and inspire the disaffected and disconnected members of American society, is unrivalled amongst the current political elite.

 

 

Saying Goodbye to Vine: 5 Times Marketers got it Right

Twitter announced last week that it will be shutting down its much loved 6 second video app Vine over the coming months. Vine was purchased by the company back in 2012 for a reported $30 million.
The shock announcement, which sent fans into a frenzy, also came in the wake of the news that Twitter is cutting its workforce by 9%. Twitter has not given a reason for the job cuts, however the company has reportedly been struggling to find a new buyer, leading to speculation of a possible company revamp in order to attract potential investors.

Despite no longer being able to use the mobile app, both Twitter and Vine have released a statement assuring fans that existing content will not be removed from the website. “We’ll be keeping the website online because we think it’s important to still be able to watch all the incredible Vines that have been made. “You will be notified before we make any changes to the app or website.”

Whilst Vine was well known for showcasing upcoming stars and comical content, the app also managed to attract the attention of some of the biggest brands in the world, with companies such as Sony and Adidas quickly realising the apps marketing potential.

With this is mind, we take a look back at some of the best marketing vines created in the last 4 years:

 

1.Oreo

Views/loops:243,236

https://vine.co/v/Mhln0j7IHJH

 

2.Dunkin Donuts

Views/Loops:29,643

https://vine.co/v/Mu3PQBPLdXe

 

3.The White House

Views/Loops:3,106,705

https://vine.co/v/O9TEhID2O2U

 

4.Smart Car

Views/Loops: 9,421

https://vine.co/v/O0MHinm6OL1

 

5.Marmite

Views/Loops: 1,056,024

https://vine.co/v/im3PDpevE0n

 

Marketing aside, here are the most popular vines:

 

1.A football fan captures the moment a bomb can be heard going off from inside the stadium during the November Paris attacks.

Views/loops:715,565,925

https://vine.co/v/iBb2x00UVlv

 

2. Leonardo Dicaprio pulls a funny face as Lady Gaga walks past at the Golden Globes.

Views/Loops:114,584,845

https://vine.co/v/iMAHYTw00bH

3. A little boy gets a surprise when a rotating foam stick picks him up.

Views/Loops: 95,820,686

https://vine.co/v/e6nLQQuYJPn

 

4. A toddler pretends to be excited about his avocado present.

Views/Loops:119,339,261

https://vine.co/v/ewJP7Mh0A1V

 

5. A dog pretends to be a human.

Views/Loops:24,282,342

https://vine.co/v/b623zdwVuJB

 

 

 

 

Businesses have finally landed a place on Instagram

The world’s leading photo-sharing app has announced a new feature that we’ve all been waiting for – company pages!
Instagram previewed the new profiles and tools for businesses earlier in the month, and they will soon be available to people in the US, New Zealand and Australia over the next few months. But don’t panic Britain; they’re slowly introducing the new feature, so we’ll get our hands on it at some point!

The new update will add a contact button to profiles, as well as detailed analytics and easier access to promotional tools, which can transform company posts in advertisements.

For companies, the most useful feature will be the addition of a contact button, where consumers will be able to easily interact with the brand. Companies will be given the option to add an email address, contact number or text message option, alongside location directions.

As stated earlier, Instagram will also give users with a company profile the ability to access analytics data. Similar to Facebook analytics, Instagram’s insights provide a detailed look at post engagement, audience and follower demographics.

Alongside the new business feature, Instagram is also testing a new algorithmic feed, which will order posts by relevance, rather than chronological order – a move that has particularly upset many businesses and personal users alike.

Being fans of the photo-sharing app ourselves, we’re eager for the new business feature to roll out into the UK. Let us know your thoughts!

RE: Tips for increasing your email opens

Did you know that you have fewer than 5 seconds to convince a recipient to open an email? When it comes to email marketing, enticing your audience to engage with your email is a common struggle, and with a bland subject line, your chances of getting that email opened markedly decrease.

New trends are emerging throughout the world of email marketing all the time and a number of these revolve around the never-ending quest to create engaging and eye-catching subject lines. For instance, of late, you may have noticed the retail sector increasingly using emojis in their subject lines to attract you to open their email. However, whether this is suitable for own audience needs to be considered carefully. The fundamental goal of a subject line is to get as many opens as possible, and to give you a little help, we have come up with 5 top tips for writing an irresistible subject line.

  1. Less is more

Whilst it’s important to make your subject lines as clear as possible, it’s also important to keep them short and sweet. For best results, a subject line shouldn’t be any longer than 50 characters. Whilst this may be a struggle, give it a try and see how you get on.

Particularly with mobile devices, making a subject line longer runs the risk of it being cut off prematurely. According to a study from Sidekick, 40% of emails are opened on mobile first – where the average mobile screen can only fit 4-7 words max.

  1. Beat that filter

There’s only one thing worse than having your email sent to the ‘trash’ folder, and that’s the email being sent to the ‘spam’ folder. Sidekick found that 69% of email recipients report emails as spam based solely on its subject line, so making sure that your subject line isn’t ‘spam-worthy’ is a must.

There are also a range of words that act as a warning sign for email accounts, so be sure to avoid the following:

  • Reminder
  • Increase your
  • Dear
  • Free
  • Help
  • Get out of
  • Urgent
  1. Make it personal

One of the easiest ways to get an email deleted from an inbox is if it comes across as too generic. These days, consumers are attracted to a product or service with their name plastered on it – a prime example being CocaCola’s #ShareACoke campaign.

Personalising your subject line is one of the most effective methods for generating opens for an email campaign, and it can even be as simple as using the term ‘you’. Emails which contain personalised subject lines are 20% more likely to get opened – it’s a no brainer!

  1. Urgency is important

There’s nothing wrong with creating a sense of urgency in your email. We have a deep fear of being left behind, or missing out, and this can be your chance to use it to your advantage!

In recent years, Sidekick have seen a 61.8% increase in opens when using the word “alert” in a subject line.

You need to make your recipients feel like they must open your email without any hesitation. Examples include:

  • Get your marketing MOT today
  • Today only
  • Ends soon
  1. Be humorous

We all love a bit of ‘banter’ here and there, and a humorous subject line can really stand out from the other dull, bland emails that surround it. However, humour can be a touchy subject, and without knowing your audience well enough, it can go wrong, so be aware.

We’ve come across a range of amusing subject lines:

  • Groupon – “There are no deals in this email”
  • Customer Surveys – “Baby got (feed)back”
  • Move Loot – “Seat your heart out”
  • Barack Obama – “Hey”

 

If you’re looking to be sneaky, include ‘RE:’ before the subject line, as the top 5 subject lines in a recent study from Sidekick had ‘RE:’ at the beginning.

Whatever you choose to do to improve your email marketing’s effectiveness, make sure you put improving your subject lines at the top of the list. It doesn’t matter how great the content in the email is, if it doesn’t get opened.

If you have any tips for successful subject lines, get in touch!