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Emma Fitzpatrick shares 3 powerful new ways your business can use social media

The longer social media thrives, the bigger the role it will play in companies. Today, 81 percent of businesses both small and large are using social media. Out of those, 94 percent use it to communicate marketing messages.

But this year social media should be more than just an outlet for your business’s marketing messages. Read on to learn three new ways your business can use social media.

1. Social listening

Often social media is seen as an outlet to blast out your own message, but as PR professionals know, every conversation needs to be a balance of listening and talking.

That’s why your business needs to use social media for more than voicing your own message — you need to use it to listen to what people are saying about your brand and how they’re saying it through social media. Truly listening to this social buzz will allow you to see what your business is doing right and what you can be doing better. The next step is then to take what you’ve heard, and solve problems.

And, of course, interact with social commenters directly to let them know, too.

2. Social advertising

While advertising often brings to mind images of billboards and glossy magazine ads, your business can advertise on social for far less. As it turns out, this smaller investment may get you more bang for your buck, too.

Social ads on Facebook and Twitter have been around for a while, but their effectiveness has always been up in the air. New research found that in 2013, social advertisements work extraordinarily well at delivering new, quality audiences to your brand.

For the small price tag, running social media ads has low risk — and it could be a real difference-maker when it comes to attracting new customers to your business.

3. Social market research

Market research on social media takes social listening to the next level. Brands know they have a captive, engaged audience on their social sites, so now they’re floating new ideas on social media.

From new product names to taglines and magazine covers, customers love having their voice heard in either the comment section or a more formal poll.

Plus, when you ask your customers for direct feedback on a specific solution, they become invested. Then, when your product hits the shelves, you better believe they’re going to be one of the first to see if their vote won. A true win-win situation.

Remember, social media is a two-way street. While it’s important to continually share your brand’s material, it’s just as important to foster engagement by listening and responding to your fans, too.

 

Emma Fitzpatrick is an account executive at Garden Media, a public relations firm that specializes in the lawn and garden industry. Emma received a degree in English from West Chester University, and her specialties include content marketing, social marketing and short, snappy writing.

The sales experience: Steps to positively engage buyers

When it comes to purchasing power, experience holds a key role in the final decision-making process.  According to McKinsey research consultants, an experience accounts for two-thirds of the decision that actually drives the sale. Positive experiences result in higher profit margins.

Engaging with potential buyers through 24-hour customer care lines, online chatrooms and social media outlets, will positively influence the way consumers define their sales experience.

24-hour customer care

Most companies offer 24-hour customer services centers and phone lines.  Being able to offer consumers access to help lines and information centers round the clock goes a long way towards creating an interactive customer experience.

This opens the door for both positive and negative feedback at all hours of the day. Companies can make sure they are aware of problem areas, and use direct client criticism to prompt improvements. Being readily available to customers has a positive impact on their direct experience with the company.

It is important that the 24-hour service centers work seamlessly with company initiatives and goals. Ensure that the communications style is well-documented and understood by team members at the center – a customer should have a similarly positive experience, regardless of the staff member they speak with.

Accessibility of information

The Internet has accelerated the process for buyers being able to reach and target consumers on a day-to-day basis. Online live support chat is a great example of digital cross-channel marketing outlets.   They provide potential buyers with information at the click of a mouse.

Not only is the accessibility of live help appealing to buyers, but being able to receive almost instantaneous results is equally important.

Instant gratification builds a positive decision-making experience. Live chat allows companies to reach potential clients to develop new marketing strategies. Direct access to the client leads to being able to ask questions and generate answers for specific company needs. Being responsive and accommodating to Internet inquiries will reinforce a positive decision-making journey.

Social media outlets

Keeping in trend with 21st century technology, the Internet and social media outlets have created new ways to establish good rapport with potential buyers. Two key players: LinkedIn and Twitter. According to a CMI report, 90 percent of B2B professionals use LinkedIn and 85 percent use Twitter as a platform to post content throughout the web.  

LinkedIn provides one of the largest professional business portals. Companies and business professionals have direct access to network among one another. Not only does LinkedIn provide company information, but potential buyers also have the means to directly reach and request information. This is essential when building positive buyer-seller relationships, and sustaining a positive experience. Twitter provides direct access to consumer trends. Companies and potential buyers have the ability to post their feedback, criticisms, wants, and needs within specific markets. Twitter is an easy step for reaching potential buyers through the Internet.

Positive experiences are a direct result of sales strategies. A recent survey showed an increase of 18 percent revenue growth for companies with defined sales processes. Providing instant access and using online channels to engage potential buyers are major steps in the sales process. They build the sales experience.

Hire X-Men.

A recent post from Mashable discusses the following three hiring questions that Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, outlined over 15 years ago that are still incredibly important, but often overlooked today:

 

  1. Will you admire this person?
  2. Will this person raise the average level of effectiveness of the group they’re entering?
  3. Along what dimensions might this person be a superstar?

 

If you interview based on these criterion, it is nearly impossible to hire employees that are less than your company’s corporate X-Men.

 

Across the world, children are born with an extra twist to their chromosomes that allow them to exhibit superhuman abilities: fire a beam of force from their eyes, sprout wings that allow flight, or read men’s minds. These ‘children of the atom’ are often feared and despised by the world, forcing these mutants to resort to desperate actions. However, one group of mutants have banded together to show the world that it need not fear their kind. Apart, they are simply scientific curiosities, freaks and monsters – but together, united by their shared belief, they are more. They are the uncanny X-Men,” Joe Button summarizes.

 

Think about it—each of the “mutants” brings something amazing and new to the table to help the team reach a common goal. Why wouldn’t this be appropriate for interview criterion?

 

Hire a candidate who is admirable. This is a unique take on the traditional hiring processes because it makes the interviewer look for something they can learn from the potential new addition to their team; and adding a new edge to an already dynamic team is something that should always be taken advantage of. Hire Storm—you never know when your company is going to have an outdoor event.

 

Raising effectiveness should be a given—training is involved in the acquisition of a new hire, but beyond that, the new person shouldn’t be added weight dragging down the team. Hire Professor X—how productive would a company be if it had a team member that could read clients’ minds? This person should have a new perspective and new ideas thus raising productivity altogether.

 

Every hiring manager wants to be the omniscient one to hire the next X-Man, golden child, or in a sales-driven office like MultiView, the next person to earn a place on the Wall of Champions. This person has to mesh well with the corporate culture and accept guidance and training required for the role (despite tenured career) while also managing to be quirky enough to make it their own. The phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” is null-and-void in the workplace.

 

The main takeaway here is for hiring managers to be actively looking not for candidates who can simply do the job, but candidates who have a passion for the job and can bring something unique to the table. The end-game should be to hire a team of super heroes. Hire X-Men.

Guest Blogger, Mariama Holman: MultiView’s celebratory culture combats high millennial stress

On Aug. 27, MultiView is hosting an exclusive, employee-only party at the House of Blues in downtown Dallas featuring a live top-40 cover band from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. This Thursday’s party stems from a monumental achievement in the history of the company. On July 31, MultiView had its first $1,000,000 day, generating a record amount of non-dues revenue for its association partners across all offices. All MultiView locations responded to this landmark by closing early July 31 and giving employees Friday off for an immediate three-day weekend.

MultiView is a leader in celebrating employee accomplishments – every day – through its rewards programs ranging from monetary/redemption reward “spiff” cards and spontaneous vacation go-home time all the way to holiday parties.

MultiView’s fun, friendly and spirited work culture counteracts the high-anxiety and stress trend amongst millennials.

A study featured in USA Today reveals that stress levels have risen for young adults within the last few years. Thirty-nine percent of adults aged 18-33 report that their stress levels have increased since 2012. The national average for adult stress on a 10-point scale is a 4.9, however for younger adults, the stress factor is 5.4.

These figures illustrate how this generation faces disproportionately high diagnosis for depression and anxiety.

State of Stress In America 2
USA TODAY

The State of Stress In America 1
USA TODAY

The stress factor focuses around the workplace for younger adults. Seventy-six percent of the millennial population cite work as their biggest stressor, outranking both money and relationships.

MultiView is at the forefront of a revolution in lowering employee stress and fighting millennial work-place anxiety. The company’s fun, friendly and positive culture paired with regular celebratory events and in-the-now spiffs help the millennial generation relieve the tension that often accompanies sales positions.

The core of MultiView’s approach is adjusting the typical work-life balance to harmoniously blend work with pleasure every day.

Studies show that millennials utilize more sedentary behaviors to cope with stress, like listening to music.

State of Stress In America 3USA TODAY

Therefore, fun, upbeat music plays throughout the day from employee requests and the efforts of MultiView’s DJ. MultiView also appreciates the positive effects of physical exercise for relieving stress. Game rooms are interspersed on each floor and the intramural teams in soccer, softball, baseball and volleyball are always oversubscribed.

MultiView’s reward structure even gifts employees relaxing and luxurious vacations that they might not have been able to accommodate otherwise.

In February, 38 employees qualified for the President’s Cup Trip to Cabo San Lucas on the Baja Peninsula which was completely paid for and planned by MultiView. Employees’ only “workplace” concerns were to enjoy the pristine beaches, exquisite cuisine and cultural amenities of one of the top five tourist destinations in Mexico.

Guest Blogger, Brian Mason: Site abandonment – 2 ways to transform abandonment into sales

What is abandonment?

There are two forms of abandonment, as it applies in the online world: site abandonment and cart abandonment. Site abandonment refers to a potential customer that navigates through a company’s website and exits without visiting the contact or e-commerce page. Cart abandonment refers to a potential customer that visits the site’s e-commerce page and leaves without checking out or completing the purchase.

Abandonment occurs because the potential customer did not get enough product information to follow-through, or the site was not compelling enough to convince them to complete the sale. In both cases of abandonment, that potential customer is actively exhibiting buying behavior, which is when companies have the best opportunity to close a sale.

Live chat – Save the sale before potential customers leave your site

Including a live chat functionality on a company’s site allows them to interact with potential clients before they flee the scene. It offers a stopgap to prevent customers from researching the products at other companies. As an added bonus, live chat allows the company’s sales team to interact with the potential customer that is exhibiting buying behavior – they can provide compelling information and answer any questions to help close the sale.

Programmatic marketing – Keep your company in front of potential customers after they leave your site

Over 30 percent of all site abandonment comes from potential customers comparison shopping. Potential customers may be abandoning the site to search for a better price or better options. In the past, once a customer left the website, businesses had to work extremely hard to get them back. Now, with the introduction of programmatic marketing, companies can make sure potential customers are seeing their messages and products at many stages within the buying process. Not only can companies target potential customers who are exhibiting buying behavior through keyword searches of specific products or competitors, but they can also target the potential customers who abandoned the site or shopping cart. This allows any company, regardless of their size, to have a dog in the fight throughout the entire process.

By adding the live chat feature and running a programmatic marketing campaign, companies can keep their products and message in front of shoppers until they have made a buying decision, thus converting a good portion of their would-be abandonments into sales.

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