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How Small Businesses Can Drive Real Results From Twitter

Do you remember when signing up a business for Twitter was a surprise to customers? Do you remember when it was a big deal to announce you were finally using Twitter on your door signs and billboards? It was like a gold rush in various industries to see who could get the buy in from their team first.

Today, it’s expected that your business is on Twitter. It’s still important to let your customers know you’re signing up if you don’t have an account, but it’s something that most customers expect. In fact, if you’re not there, you can bet that your customers are there talking about your product and discussing your story.

For small businesses, it’s not easy managing the day to day job of managing the business and balancing that with social media. It’s not easy, but it’s a part of running a business in todays digitally enabled world. As business owners, it’s important to recognize social interactions online as being just as valuable as those that happen in person.

Twitter presents an unfiltered communication channel between your business and customers. People are able to share their feedback on your product or services in real time. Smartphones enable them to capture photos and videos to further showcase your organization and experience. Here are a few ways that small businesses can leverage Twitter to drive success:

Develop Relationships With Local Media
Twitter has become an extremely valuable asset to small businesses looking to generate press. While it’s not a tool like Cision or Vocus that is made specifically for PR pitches, it’s a tool that can be leveraged to drive earned media.

Instead of using Twitter to simply pitch a journalist, small businesses need to use Twitter to build relationships with journalists. Retweet a reporters articles, tweets, and favourite their content on a regular basis to get on their radar. It’s these small interactions that build a soft relationship which can leveraged overtime.

Once you’ve built a soft relationship with targeted journalists, be sure to strike up conversation with them organically. If you disagree with them, ask them a question about one of their ideas or conclusions. It’s in doing this that you’re able to show you know your topic and help them see the value of having you in their network or rolodex. 

Follow & Interact With Clients & Customers
A lot of people ask whether or not their business should follow their customers and I always say yes. In small business, you need to have relationships with your customers if you’re hoping to succeed. Customers want to have a relationship with you and they want to know you care enough to follow them back on Twitter. One of the greatest benefits of Twitter is building strong meaningful relationships.

If you happen to notice it’s a Twitter follower’s birthday, say Happy Birthday. If a Twitter follower is asking about your product or service, interact with them and provide value. Do not be afraid to engage with potential or existing customers. People want you to provide them with solutions. If you have an answer to their question, they crave it.

Share Brand Specific Visuals & Video Content
If you’re in the product industry, one of the most impactful approaches to social media is sharing images of your product. Take a picture of a customer using your product or a glamorous shot that shows your product in a compelling way. Spread this content by sharing it on Twitter and allowing people to engage with your image.

Twitter is becoming more and more visual every year. Recognizing the power of visual marketing, Twitter has changed their newsfeed to show photos prior to a click. Photos are showing up in full rather than requiring a click to a link because they have noticed the trend in people sharing and engaging more readily with photos over basic text. For your business, this presents an opportunity to spread your story in a more effective way.  

Retweet The Positive Tweets As Testimonials 
If you have a good product, people will talk about it. In the past, the only time you would hear someone talking about your product was in your storefront or over the phone. Today, small businesses are subject to both praise and criticism on social media. When you see someone talking positively about your brand, share their content with a retweet and also thank them for their testimonial. In doing so, your followers will see their positive statement and possibly be compelled to do business with you.

The reason so many small businesses are still questioning the power of Twitter is that they’ve yet to tap into its true value. Every day, there are thousands of conversations that small businesses could turn into sales and results. Tools like LeadSift sift through the millions of conversations to deliver these potential customers directly to small business owners and marketing teams.

It’s time to capitalize on the true power of Twitter. Whether it’s through more effective social media management or social lead generation – The time is now. Stop doing what you’re doing and start capitalizing on your ability to use Twitter to drive real results.

 

5 Things Brands Wish They Knew Before Selling on Social Media

For brands, selling on social media is still a scary endeavour. We’ve decided that being active on social media is important for brands. The vast majority have jumped on board. Many are there but just don’t see the value. Justifying its presence is difficult in the age of shrinking budgets especially with no direct contribution to the company’s bottom line. Selling on social media and interacting with people who need your product is the next evolution and it’s already here.

If you’re interested in social media as a selling tool you’re already ahead of the curve. Big questions on your mind should be:

How do I do it right?

How do I make 1 to 1 engagement worth my time?

We’ll give you the rundown.

1. Get out there and find your customers.

Wait to be found and they will find someone else.

Just like traditional selling you need to pound the pavement make connections and meet new people.

New customers within your current followers on twitter are a small fraction of those that are out there asking for your product. Going out and interacting with users that have questions or are shopping for what you offer is key to increasing sales.

I’m sure you’ve heard about carving out a niche on Twitter but for social selling when you engage with users, potential customers see your brand as approachable and informative. This promotes a level of credibility and trust. Trust is at the heart social selling.

2.The Hard Sell is Challenging

The reason brands are scared of social media is lack of control. Direct pressure or a hard sell can backfire on social media. We’ve all seen it happen. A brand getting heavy handed or rude is more exposed on social. With the added potential of going viral they can get in over their heads simply from a series of tweets. Pressure sales don’t work when the playing field is leveled. Being delicate and courteous throughout your engagement is paramount.

3. When selling on twitter becomes a helpful resource first, sales come later.

The intention of selling out of the gates stops customers from warming to the idea and are more likely to shut down than being drawn in. After a number of these conversations users will see you as approachable with a wealth of knowledge.

4. Don’t automate your responses.

Put people on the other end and there will be a noticeable difference.

Automated messages are easy to spot. Even if it’s on social it’s still spam and will get ignored. Putting a person on the other end reinforces a personal connection.

It also helps build trust in your brand. A person behind the post personalizes the brand. Don’t worry, each response need not be completely organic. The important part is tailoring your message to be specific to the tweet the response is directed at.

5. Target Your Audience Correctly

Targeting the right people at the right time in the right state of mind

This is the biggest piece. Proper targeting and reaching out to the right people at the right time is a huge part of the battle.

To save time make sure you are looking specifically for people who need what you are selling. With other types of marketing you can target based on demographic info such as Male 18-24. Leadsift allows you to drill down to a customer’s current need. If they are asking for it on social media already, it’s becomes multiple times easier to swoop in and save the day.

Marketing has tailored itself to be one message fits all for the better part of a century. This is where that changes. It’s time to step back from untraceable TV spots or banner ads. The era of engagement has arrived, have you?

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Cossette East Announces Partnership with LeadSift

Cossette East announced today that is has partnered with LeadSift to help its clients cut through the noise of social media. The international agency’s Atlantic Canadian office is among the first to capitalize on LeadSift’s capabilities.

LeadSift cuts through the noise of social media to find relevant, timely and actionable opportunities for targeted engagement with customers and prospects. LeadSift strives to go beyond the standard keyword search found on Twitter to truly understand who’s looking for the products or services that you offer. The delivery of timely and relevant business opportunities can drive meaningful results ranging from brand advocacy, stronger customer engagement and an increase in sales.

“Our platform sifts through conversations happening online 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. We analyze organic conversations with our LeadScore and filter out the noise to deliver only the best,” explains Tukan Das, CEO of LeadSift. “The number of opportunities that exist on social media is extensive; agencies and brands alike need to be efficient in cutting through the noise and finding true value. The LeadSift platform helps them do just that.”

“It’s always been a priority for us to drive real results for our clients using new media channels” said Bill Murphy (President of Cossette East). “Whether it’s through brand campaigns or platforms like LeadSift, we’re focused on providing our clients with solutions that will help them achieve success. LeadSift provides us with a portal that gives us a closer look at what consumers are saying and an opportunity to drive real results for our clients”

About LeadSift. LeadSift strives to bring brands closer to their customers. Our technology sifts though massive amounts of social data so brands can easily identify customers and engage with them within context. We’ve scanned and analyzed millions of conversations online to develop an algorithm that indicates relevance and purchase intent within social posts. Social media shouldn’t be overwhelming, instead, it should connect brands with customers to drive trust and value, and we’re here to make sure of it.

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Why One-to-one Selling is Making a Comeback on Social Media

A successful sales model is one that can evolve to meet the needs of the customers it strives to acquire. This might sound too simple when you consider the challenges in reaching customers in an age where technology puts everyone behind a device. Bringing back one to one selling might seem like a daunting task, but remember – you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, sometimes you just need to turn it in a different direction.

One to one sales models have a long history of being effective in driving profits for companies across a variety of industries. One to one sales includes cold calling prospective clients, sales meetings and client pitches. The challenge with this model is that customers are busier and more informed than ever. But that doesn’t mean that the one to one sales model is dead. It just means it’s shifted to the digital landscape.

The internet and rapid growth and popularity of social media has not only given your customers more information and more opportunity to shop around, but it’s also given you a direct line to purchase ready or purchase intended customers.

According to the Social Media and Sales Quota report as cited by Forbes, 50 per cent of sales people surveyed spend between five to 10 per cent of their time using social media for sales. These sales people exceed quota 23 per cent more often than non-social media users.

The bottom line is that one to one sales is making a comeback and those who recognize the rebirth of this model and embrace it using social media are more successful than their counterparts who have left it behind.

One to one selling using social media gives brands an opportunity to connect personally and intentionally with customers. Sales via social media can improve networking, prospecting, research, referral building, and closing.

Here are five tips to keep in mind when you approach one to one selling on social media:

Join a community and let people get to know you: Spark conversation on blogs, forums, and LinkedIn groups. You can always make your own group and encourage your customers to talk about your product. Switch things up, you’re not going to get leads by participating in groups that focus only on your specific product. Make a point to share information that’s relevant to your industry but not always just about you. The more you share and the more you engage people who share your interests, the more likely that you’ll be seen as the expert and become a credible source for information and products.

Go where your customers are: If your leads are mostly on Twitter, you should be too! Make sure you’re connecting with customers on the platforms that make sense to them.

Be personal: Connect with people on an individual level and personalize your interactions with them.

Build a relationship: Now that you have connected, work on building that relationship. Give value by offering relevant information, personal invitations to events or to test your product.

Engage: Converse with people in your network in meaningful ways to build a bigger social network. If you connect with someone who can offer another valuable connection, ask for an introduction and seek referrals.

The one to one sales model hasn’t really changed, it simply moved online. It’s now up to you to use these tips to keep one to one sales alive and deliver it using social media.

 

From Demographics to Psychographics: How Big Data will Disrupt Marketing

For centuries, marketers and business professionals have spent time and money focusing on demographics. They have looked at their target audience from an angle that focuses on their location, age, gender and income to better tailor their message more strategically and effectively. That said, marketers recognize that demographics are limiting as they can only tell us who customers are and not what they care about.

Enter the world of Psychographics. Psychographics are described as the feelings people have towards products, causes and much more. It’s their overarching worldview of society and the things around them. It’s what makes them tick. Unlike demographics, these attributes are more abstract as they are multi-dimensional by nature, and cover subtle elements of what goes on in our minds.

Knowing Your Customers Through Data
Understanding the thoughts and perceptions of a target audience presents organization with a chance to go beyond location and really connect using a message that resonates with their audience. As such, it was an eye opener when came across a recent piece in the Economist highlighting the effectiveness (or lack there of) as it relates to focusing solely on demographics in communications:

In America alone, people spent $170 billion on “direct marketing”—junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties—last year. Yet of those who received unsolicited adverts through the post, only 3% bought anything as a result. If the bumf arrived electronically, the take-up rate was 0.1%. And for online adverts the “conversion” into sales was a minuscule 0.01%. That means about $165 billion was spent not on drumming up business, but on annoying people, creating landfill and cluttering spam filters.

Business can do better. In fact, that’s what we’re aiming to do.

Brands have forever looked at surveys and focus groups to better understand their audience. Over time, this medium and approach has become more and more ancient as the costs to conduct the research have gone up while the effectiveness has gone down.

Do you remember when Heinz launched Green and Purple ketchup? It was an idea that came from a focus group and one that cost them millions in advertising to launch nothing more than a fad and a solid case study on why we can’t put our trust solely in focus groups. As it turned out, while kids liked the concept, parents aren’t all that crazy about fries slathered in asparagus-colored goo. You can quickly see how a focus group of kids would overlook this insight.

Thanks to an explosion in social media and mobile devices, consumers are sharing more insights and information about themselves than ever before. As such, it’s easier than ever for brands and businesses to discover and understand the thinking of their audiences by diving deeper into their conversations and understanding their personalities.

The millions of tweets shared daily are providing us with large quantities of data that allow us to better understand what consumers think. We scan the profiles of millions of users and dissect key conversation pieces to formulate a better understanding of both their demographics and psychographics. Whether it’s understanding their relationship status or if they’re interested in Justin Beiber, we use data to understand their personalities and true colours.

Conclusion
The guessing games are almost over.

Recognizing the failures of direct marketing and possibilities of big data, it’s clear that the ability to connect with people on a personal level is going to change the way we do business. Imagine for a second that you’re on the hunt for a new car and you send out a tweet highlighting this sense of purchase intent. Today, it would go out to your followers and you may get one or two responses recommending a local dealership.

In the future, imagine a world where on the other side, an automotive brand has a platform that shows not only that you want a new car but also that you’re heavily engaged with environmental issues. It notices that you follow blogs like Treehugger and Good.is and has also determined that you’re thinking about bring a furry little friend into your family. From there, they message you with you with a special offer highlighting a great deal on a Hybrid car with extra room for the pup. Sounds futuristic right?

That’s because it is. But it’s what we’re betting on. It’s where we see the industry going and where we see brands finally getting back to one on one marketing and personalization. Wayne Gretzky once said, a good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. Are you striving to be good or great?

Photo Credit: dborman2