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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

TLC’s Campaigns of the Month

With the New Year now gone and Easter on the horizon, it is a good time to review how some of the bigger brands have been boosting their marketing in early 2016 (or end of Dec 15 in one case!). Whose campaigns have stood out and why? We’re taking a look back at 3 of the more innovative and quirky campaigns that kicked off the year, just in case you missed them.

We saw pop-up shops from the likes of Crème Egg and Skittles and live-streaming billboards from Land Rover. Take a look at the details below to see if you can draw inspiration from any of them.

Crème Egg Café

January 22nd was an exciting day for all London-based Cadbury Crème Egg lovers, with a new Crème Egg Pop-Up Café opening in Soho, London.

The café is spread across 3 floors, where consumers are able to order takeaway Crème Egg toasties on the first floor, Crème Egg brownies and even Crème Eggs with soldiers on the second floor, and access a Crème Egg ball pool on the third.

According to EventBrite, the tickets were on sale 3 days prior to the opening, and were sold out by the time the café was scheduled to open. The café is open from 5pm Friday – Sunday for 7 weeks, and with nearly every day sold out, I think we can all agree that this is a highly successful campaign.

Land Rover

Land Rover’s Instagram filter OOH billboards definitely brought a new perspective to the people of London and Leeds last month, as part of their #Hibernot campaign.

Land Rover transformed the cities’ landscapes with their Instagram-like live filters on digital billboards, encouraging consumers to ‘see winter differently’. The billboards displayed live images of the immediate area and then applied their own ‘Land Rover filter’, encouraging consumers to follow their Instagram page, and get out and about to explore the season by taking a drive.

Skittles Pawn Shop

Wrigley-owned sweet brand, Skittles, opened a pop-up shop in Toronto on 26th December for 4 days. Consumers were able to exchange unwanted goods for sweets. Now, we understand that this campaign wasn’t quite in January, but we loved the idea so much we wanted to include it.

Consumers were encouraged to bring any items that they no longer wanted, and receive Skittles for them. The store particularly promoted novelty gifts, such as knitted clothing and cuddly toys. All items received were donated to the Goodwill ReUse centre in Toronto’s Scarborough district.

To extend the reach of the campaign, Skittles launched an accompanying digital campaign for those who weren’t in the area at the time, where fans could see how much their unwanted items were worth in exchange for Skittles.

We loved these campaigns and look forward to what 2016 has in store for us. Stay tuned for the best marketing campaigns of February!

What SMEs need to know for effective marketing in 2016 – seminar summary

Last week, TLC Business held our annual marketing seminar at The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, but with a slight twist. We teamed up with Simon Harmer and his company Blown Away to deliver an inspirational session for businesses looking to get their marketing up and running.

This year, the focus was to ‘Get Your Marketing in Order for 2016’, and this blog will outline the main themes explored on the day, just in case you missed it!

Social media

With social media now firmly embedded into all our lives, it is clearly of big importance to us marketers. To help you succeed in your social media exploits, here are some top tips:

  1. Make sure your timing’s are on point. Many businesses fail to engage with their social media audience because they are posting at the wrong times. There are now a variety of scheduling platforms such as Buffer that suggests the best times to post updates for your business – so take advantage!
  2. Get your business on the right platforms. If you’re looking to build meaningful B2B connections and the ability to forge lasting business relationships, then LinkedIn consistently comes out on top as your best bet. In contrast, if you’re a B2C organisation and are looking to drive audience engagement and ultimately sales, then Facebook tops the list.
  3. Ensure that your posts have that ‘visual’ appeal. Posts that contain an image are 94% more likely to be shared than ones that don’t. Many marketers miss out on this simple trick that can increase social media engagement and reach dramatically!
  4. Posting the same content to all channels can become a bit tedious for your audience if they are present on each platform. Take advantage of the respective strengths of each social media platform and post content accordingly.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is still perceived by many as a bit of a dark art. Despite constant algorithm updates, there are still opportunities to play the SEO game effectively and win.

Google is increasingly positioning itself as an ‘answers engine’. The advent of mobile has also put the cats amongst the pigeons (excuse the pun for those SEO geeks out there!) meaning there are even more opportunities to make your local business standout from the crowd.

Tips:

  1. Ensure that Google Analytics and Webmaster tools are installed and active on your website. Combined they will give you all the information you need (and more!) to get your website to be the best it can be. Google Webmaster tools will tell you what terms your site is being found for in Google, as well as identify any aspects of your site that are holding it back.
  2. Take full advantage of Google’s Keyword Planner to help inform the decision making process behind the keywords you choose to optimise your website pages for. And remember, keywords don’t have to be one word; they can effectively be phrases too.
  3. If you only do a few things SEO related on your website, make sure two of them are creating unique meta titles and descriptions optimised for the keyword-focus for each particular page.
  4. Get involved with Google Developer for page speed insights and how accessible on desktop or mobile your website is. Google gives marketers an insight into the loading speeds of their website, and will also give tips on how to increase load speed times. Alongside this, Google Developer provides a mobile-friendly test that will give marketers the tips and improvement suggestions they need to make their site better for mobile users.

PPC

96% of Google’s revenue comes from PPC ads, so clearly PPC is an important tool for them. We are sure you must be aware of the ads that populate Google’s search results pages! Statistics show that the top 3 ads on each search page receive 46% of traffic. PPC click-through rates are also shown to be 10 times higher than organic search clicks.

So what influences a good PPC ad? Each ad on every search page is ranked by Google. One’s ad rank is based on their cost-per-click and quality score. Your ads quality score has the ability to make or break your campaigns success. The quality score is made up of your ads click through rate, alongside your ads relevance to the keyword and your landing page’s relevance to the targeted keyword. The more relevant the better!

Tips:

  1. Make your ad text as relevant as possible to the keyword and ensure your landing page is targeted at that keyword too! Try getting your landing page’s URL to include the keyword in too.
  2. Get retargeting. Retargeting has given us marketers another tool to boost our marketing with. With retargeted visitors 70% more likely to convert, it doesn’t come as a surprise that retargeting is another highly effective marketing technique. To put it in its most simple form, retargeting is the practice of serving display ads to people who have previously engaged with your brand. It is vital for marketers looking to increase marketing results in 2016, helping to drive sales and increase brand awareness.  The numbers are compelling. Statistics have shown that retargeted ads receive a 0.70% click-through rate, compared to just 0.07% for regular display ads. Following this, brand search exposure can increase by over 1000%, just from retargeting. With this in mind, retargeting is a must for 2016!

E-marketing

With 2.6 billion email users worldwide, it doesn’t come as a surprise that e-marketing is still a massive hit with marketers. It is reported that for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25, providing yet more reason for you to start thinking about promotion through email if you haven’t done so already.

The popularity of email marketing is continuing to grow, and more email scheduling platforms are being introduced. Platforms such as Campaign Monitor, ReplyApp and MailChimp are great tools for creating, scheduling and managing marketing email campaigns.

Tips:

  1. Use email marketing platforms such as Campaign Monitor to split test each email campaign. This will allow you to identify what content and approach is most effective at meeting your objectives and enables you to continually refine and improve on what works best.
  2. Personalisation is key! Send emails that are personalised to the recipient. Include their name in the subject line, reference topics and include content that they have expressed in interest in. This will not only help build better relationships between your business and consumer, but it will be demonstrable through better engagement and open rates.
  3. Make the email content mobile-friendly, that way the emails can be accessed by a wider audience.

Content Marketing

Creating and sharing content that engages your audience (Content Marketing in a nutshell!) is now a vital component of the marketing mix for marketers. New and fresh content should be published regularly. What regularly looks like depends on your audience. For B2B marketers, 26% post news and updates multiple times a week.

92% of businesses that use social media, use it as a tool to present content. Email is another vital content distribution tool.  LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube make up the top 3 for effectiveness when sharing content, but all have different advantages and disadvantages; therefore it’s important to make sure your content is tailored to your different channels.

Top Tools

With 2016 approaching, what are the top tools for more effective marketing? We have identified Datananas as a potentially effective tool for those looking to build their professional database, with its ability to export LinkedIn users and their contact information from LinkedIn without the need to be connected to them.

Other platforms like Buffer have also popped up on the radar, with its unique imaging software – Pablo! Brands are now able to upload an image of their choice and add text to it, making each social media post unique and eye-catching for their audience.

SumoMe is another top marketing tool for 2016, incorporating a series of apps all designed to get your website and content working. The toolbox includes on page analytics, free traffic for your site, image sharer and a smart bar that will increase your number of email subscribers – amazing!

What else is there to add to the marketing tool list? Google’s Webmaster Tools crops up again! As mentioned before, Google’s Webmaster Tools is a vitally important tool for anyone with a website. With the ability to understand your site’s organic search performance, as well as providing tips and tricks on how to get more traffic, the tool is a must.

One New Year’s resolution for you – download these marketing tools!

So, what matters for SMEs?

We think the top 5 themes that SMEs should consider in 2016 are:

  1. Content is king – still!
  2. Analytics
  3. Personalisation
  4. Online ads
  5. Video

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

#MarketingTitbits – The Economist, Social Media Hacks, Brands For Millennials

digital-hacks-brands1. How The Economist injected digital into a 172-year-old magazine
The 172-year-old publication, The Economist, has recently embraced digital technology, with help from Iain Noakes, The Economist’s Global Digital Acquisition Journey and Performance Director. With this new revolution, Noakes was keen to stress that despite its recent efforts, The Economist is not a digital brand.

The Economist team researched their potential market and found that their circulation could grow from 1.6m to 73m, just by making their magazine accessible online. According to Noakes, a large proportion of people subscribe once they’ve browsed the content, and those who unsubscribe are retargeted through further content.

For more information, click here.

2. 30 days’ worth of social media hacks and experiments

Marketers like us are always keen to find new ways to improve our social media numbers, and the best way to grow in the social media world is to try new things. To inspire change, entrepreneur Kevan Lee has drummed up 30 new, small and simple experiments.

One of the favourite recommendations for getting more followers and engagement on social media is to embed a tweet at the bottom of a blog post, making it easy for readers to engage with the blog. Not only this, but posting during non-peak hours can also boost recognition, as well as pinning a tweet at the top of a Twitter profile.

To read Kevan’s top 30 social media hacks, click here.

3. The top 100 brands for millennials

Millennials make up a large consumer group, and 3,500 people aged between 20 and 35 have been asked by Moosylvania for their favourite brands over the past three years. Some of the brands that came out on top were surprising – others, not so much.

With 91% of Millennials owning a smartphone, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the top brand was Apple. However, you might be surprised to see Nintendo, reaching #11, elevated by the nostalgia Millennials feel when playing the games they enjoyed when they were kids. Some brands didn’t fare so well though, Subway being a prime example, given that Millennials make up a key target audience, occupying a lowly #92.

Click here to view the top 100 brands for Millennials.

#MarketingTitbits – Instagram Followers, CoolBrands 2015, Google’s 18th Birthday

instagram-coolbrands-google1. Instagram now has 400 million users
It’s been 5 years since Instagram’s release, and the image sharing app’s growth shows no sign of slowing down. Earlier this week Instagram announced that it now has 400 million monthly active users, compared to just 300 million in December last year.

Instagram has now doubled its user base in the short span of just 18 months, which stands in sharp contrast to Twitter, which continues to struggle with user growth. Of course, Instagram still has a long road ahead of them before they catch up with Facebook; however, Instagram founder Kevin Systrom previously credited Facebook for helping the company achieve such a rapid growth.

Click here for more information.

2. Luxury brands lose their ‘cool’ status as digital challengers climb the ranks

Whilst luxury brands appear to be losing their ‘cool status’, digital distributor brands like Netflix and Instagram are moving up the CoolBrands list, according to a survey of 2,500 British consumers and a panel of 36 key influencers.

Apple has managed to retain its position as the UK’s coolest brand for the fourth year running, and Ray-Ban continues to climb high; however, new-comers such as Spotify, Instagram and Netflix are notable inclusions.

To see the top 20 CoolBrands, click here.

3. Celebrating Google’s 18th Birthday

Google’s domain name was first registered in 1997, making this year its 18th birthday. To celebrate this special occasion, Google shows us what each algorithm update was designed to achieve and their influence on content marketing today.

The algorithm updates have been demanding and disruptive to say the least; however, the impact has astounding. In theory, businesses are able to differentiate their brand from the competition, increase traffic to their website and customer loyalty, just by meeting or exceeding Google standards for content quality – it all sounds so easy right?

To see the algorithm updates since 1997 and the impact they have had, click here.

#MarketingTitbits – John Lewis, mobile optimisation, Instagram

johnlewis-mobile-instagram-smaller1. John Lewis’ director of comms on upholding the reputation of a loved brand
As one of the UK’s biggest brands, it’s no surprise that John Lewis has a tough task on its hands maintaining the reputation that has been built up over the past 150 years. Communications Director, Peter Cross, has spoken to Marketing Week and reveals his thoughts on the pressure that he faces.

Cross describes the challenge as a ‘privilege’, explaining that working in retail today requires bravery to allow you to stay ahead of the game. He also tells of an annual sales report revealing that at a time of digital evolution, 85% of the brands sales involved the store in some way, showing that roles of different channels are being reshaped to enhance experiences for the modern shopper.

2014 marked a huge 150-year milestone for John Lewis, but what does 2015 hold for the high street giant? To find out, you can click here.

2. 23 reasons why mobile users will abandon your site

Mobile commerce seems to be in a never-ending cycle of growth, with 37% of all retail sales over the Christmas period being completed through a mobile device. However, there are still many ways in which brands are failing to provide the best user experience through these devices, so we’re revealing just some.

Examples of brands that have been caught out for their mistakes include Currys, for the unwelcome appearance of numerous pop-ups, Tesco, who make people’s lives that bit more difficult with their tiny links and Thomas Cook, who wouldn’t appear to make many conversions through mobile whilst pages load at an extremely slow pace.

If you’d like to see the remaining guilty parties, click here.

3. How to build your business on Instagram

After launching a clothing business from the comfort of his own home, Alan Wardle and AnyForty have finally moved into their own offices after 6 years, and declare Instagram as its key marketing tool. But how do you succeed on the photo-sharing app?

Instagram has allowed creative businesses like AnyForty to build a solid customer base that can be constantly updated with new visual content that is fun, exciting and relevant. Alan shares a number of tips, which include scouring for relevant hashtags that could be beneficial to your business, replying back to photos your business is tagged in and always keeping followers up to date by posting fresh content on a regular basis.

To read more about the success of this start-up and how you can do the same, click here.

#MarketingTitbits – cycling, Selfridges, marketing universities

cycling-selfridges-marketinguniversities-smaller1. How cycling became a mainstream lifestyle brand

Cycling has become a £1.4bn brand, but how did it happen? Check out Marketing Week’s article featuring exclusive interviews with Sir Bradley Wiggins and Team Sky coach Sir David Brailsford, as they reveal all.

Together, with Olympic golds and a Tour de France victory under their belts, it’s no surprise that they’ve helped to turn Britain into a nation obsessed with cycling. Brailsford believes that one of the top reasons for the surge in popularity can be attributed to Sky’s sponsorship and involvement with the sport, which has allowed cycling to market itself as part of people’s lifestyles. Cycling apparel sales are now worth £63m in the UK, and constantly growing.

To read more about the increasing success of cycling,click here.

2. How Selfridges uses digital to create extraordinary multichannel experiences

Multichannel marketing is vital for many businesses because it allows them to communicate with potential customers across a variety of platforms, providing flexibility and suitability. Selfridges has become a model for this, recently launching their new £40m website, as well as introducing interactive displays in their stores to suit the modern shopper.

Selfridges’ head of digital marketing, Claire Higgins, believes that social media is transforming their clientele, with personal shoppers building huge followings on sites such as Instagram and driving people to the stores that they promote. But other digital set-ups in store (such as their photo booths included in window displays, which links up with Google+) have driven a more personal experience for shoppers.

What do you think of Selfridges’ efforts? To see more on their multichannel journey, click here.

3. These are the 25 best universities in the UK if you want a job in marketing

If you’re looking to enter a career in marketing and are worried that your degree isn’t suitable for the industry, then don’t worry. It’s common for many executives in marketing or advertising to take a less straightforward academic route, with degrees frequently coming from areas non-marketing related. LinkedIn has put together a list of the top 25 universities to attend if you want a career in marketing.

Top of LinkedIn’s 25 best universities for marketing is The London School of Economics and Political Science. It also features others institutions, such as Bournemouth, Loughborough and Bath.

To see the full list, click here.

 

A Digital Christmas

We know Christmas is upon us when the Monday morning office discussion is based around Mariah Carey vs. The Pogues or Buble vs. Bieber, like it or not, Christmas is a matter of days away.  Whilst many B2B businesses look at the lead up to Christmas as an opportunity to get their house in order, for many B2Cs this is the most important time of year. With shoppers keeping tighter hold of their purse strings this Christmas, it is important for marketers, whether in the B2B or B2C sectors, to think creatively about how to use the wealth of marketing channels out there.  Here is how some more well known brands have been using social media and mobile marketing to engage with consumers this Christmas.
Mobile marketing – Santa’s little helper

Christmas is just around the corner and recent surveys have predicted a significant growth in the use of mobile this Christmas. With almost half of the UK population now owning a Smartphone, more people are turning to their mobiles for shopping research and purchasing decisions. Consumerchoices.co.uk has found that the UK alone is to spend as much on Christmas via mobile phone as the rest of Europe. The growth of mobile commerce continues to show that consumers are becoming more confident in using their mobile phones for shopping and purchasing items on the go.

The NSPCC are a great example for those thinking about mobile marketing in the lead up to Christmas. The NSPCC is once again running a seasonal campaign that will send the child (or big kid!) a ‘Letter from Santa’. The latest campaign from the NSPCC will be promoted and delivered via mobile marketing, with the charity looking to capitalise on the growth of the mobile internet in order to raise more funds in this festive period.  This year, the NCPCC have taken their traditional letter campaign a step further, a special microsite has been established, where parents will be able to order a letter from Santa for their children simply via their smartphones.

Mobile is becoming a key component in marketing and mobile advertising spend is expected to ramp up this Christmas as advertisers focus their efforts on reaching a growing, and increasingly engaged, mobile audience.

Social media this Christmas – Spread a little festive cheer

 Companies are finding new ways to talk to their consumers this Christmas. Stephen Haines, UK commercial director, Facebook, said: “Retailers are seeing more and more value from joining conversations on Facebook as a great way to hear directly from fans about what they want and what’s interesting.

“This Christmas, we’re seeing a lot of brands taking advantage of those conversations to reach not only fans but also their friends in fun, creative ways – including wish lists, gifting apps, exclusive deals and special Facebook offers. “

Facebook gives companies the forum to interact directly with their customers and for a real conversation to take place about the brand. This year Nivea launched a new Facebook campaign for Christmas, the Facebook page is designed to fit in with the skincare brand’s ‘Feel Closer’ positioning. Consumers can use the app to buy and send a friend a Nivea gift set, which will be wrapped in personalised wrapping paper featuring photos they have both been tagged in on Facebook. 

It hopes to target women aged 30-54 by encouraging the use of Facebook to share “moments of closeness” by uploading photos and liking, sharing and commenting on other people’s pictures.

Mobile service provider O2 has launched its festive social media marketing campaign, which will provide customers with a personal message from Santa. Using the social media platform, Twitter, consumers can send their messages to the O2 Santa.  O2 will then create a personal video message for the sender, which can be shared amongst friends.

This Christmas campaign has been designed to spread a little festive joy. Consumers can participate by tweeting the official O2 Twitter account, @O2 with the hashtag #O2santa. All of the video messages created will be hosted on YouTube, enabling customers to watch them again and again.

Head of social media at O2, Alex Pearmain, commented on this latest social media marketing initiative.

“Our social channels seemed the ideal platform to cheer customers up and we hope this campaign will help to cut through some of the current consumer gloom and spread some festive cheer.”

For any business owner, developing a strategy to encourage new business or shoppers back into stores for the crucial Christmas period is increasingly difficult; however, Christmas is a great time to get creative and build customer interaction, ready for the New Year. Last year, we reflected on the increase in online shopping. This year, online marketing has gone social.  So what will next year bring? Will Santa be teleporting his gifts down the chimney? We are looking forward to finding out!