Here are some of the key takeaways from our content this week, along with actionable steps that you can use right away to help you build your social team's digital strategy and improve your digital marketing results.
Whether you're the Director of Digital Marketing, a Social Media Manager, or the Marketing Manager of an SMB, you'll find something helpful that you can apply to your business right now in our Weekly Digital Marketing Essentials!
Going Beyond Social Listening for Better Business Outcomes
Inc.com recently featured a story on how Tesla provided a world class teachable moment in social customer service, when complaints rolled in on Twitter about drivers abusing public charging stations by returning from running errands long after their charge has completed.
This lead to public charging stations being tied up by fully charged Teslas whose owners were not around to make way for the next driver who needed a charge.
Elon Musk reached out on Twitter to say that Tesla would handle the problem, and shortly after that a solution in the form of a fee for time spent at the charging station after your Tesla is fully charged was implemented. What did Tesla get right in this situation, and what can you learn from it?
- Social listening is more than listening - Some businesses treat social listening more like an isolated tactic for their social team to perform than as a meaningful part of their overall business strategy. This leads to frustration among customers and lost opportunities for businesses. Listening is important, and responding and making the customer feel heard is important. However, the most important part of the process is taking that feedback and, when there is a legitimate issue, using the evidence the customers have provided you with to do something about the problem. This is the true power of social listening, to use customer feedback and experiences to shape better business outcomes for you and your customers.
- Executive buy-in is key - Exchanges like this one between Elon Musk and a customer happen every day between brands and customers, customers complain and brands reassure the customer that the issue will be resolved. The thing that made this particular interaction and so few like it special is that after the brand reassured the customer, someone on the executive team was working to make sure the issue became a priority and a solution was implemented, not just to fix a problem for one customer, but to prevent the same problem from occuring for many others. In this case it was the CEO who was involved directly, but your CEO doesn't have to be responding to customer service issues on Twitter in order for your brand to translate social listening into the same positive business outcomes. You just need executive buy-in, and a social team that is passionate about uncovering these problems and bringing them to management.
- You are the customer's advocate - Don't forget that if you're in charge of social for your brand, you're not just responsible for promoting the business through digital marketing efforts, you're also responsible for being your brand's primary customer advocate. Your team interacts with customers every day, you've run experiments and done analysis to understand what appeals to them, what they care about, and what inspires them to engage with your brand. You know what they want, and your team has also been on the frontlines dealing with customer service issues every day, so you also know what problems they face, which issues keep popping up again and again, and what they don't want to see more of. In order for this to work for your brand you must combine executive buy-in with a willingness to bring these issues to the leadership team so they are aware of the problems and can take action. It's a terrible waste to have all of this information and the potential to act on it and not have an executive team that doesn't act on it, leaving customers feeling unheard and as though they don't matter to your company.
Social media Management
Uncover Great Images for Your Content by Following these 3 Steps
Images add value to your content. They make it look more appealing, break up walls of text, and even provide SEO benefits. Unfortunately it can be hard to find the right image for your content.
Not only is it usually a difficult proposition, but it's also easy to fall into the trap of settling for easy stock images that are "good enough."
So, how can you break out of that cycle and find great images for your content every time, while also minimizing the amount of time and effort you have to spend to get them?
- Think before you search - It can be tempting to rely on a stock photo website's search in the same way we might search for something using Google, but rarely does that get you the results you're looking for, and it often leads to bad stock photos. Instead, first think about what people, places, activities, and objects would represent the concept you're trying to convey well, then search for those instead.
- Be creative - The first recommendation will help you avoid most of this, but photos of objects with words written on them, such as a chalkboard with "teamwork" written on it to convey teamwork, instead of an image of people working together, have absolutely infested stock image websites. Make sure that you're choosing photos that represent the concept you're going for, not images that beat your readers over the head with it. Photos like this make your readers feel like you think they can't figure out the meaning of the image without being told, and they make your content seem as if it is low-quality and quickly thrown together, no matter how much extra time and effort you spent on writing it.
- Use authentic photos - Stock photos are ubiquitous on the web because they're cheap, fast, and easy. However, that has also lead most of us to be desensitized to them, to the point where I've heard people say that they try to avoid stock photos that look too much like a stock photo. If you want image content that stands on its own, opt for authentic images instead. Whether you've taken an image yourself, paid a professional photographer to some for you, or you're sourcing them from your customers and online community, this is a great opportunity to differentiate your content from others and to feature your customers as well.
BRIGHTEN UP A "BORING" BRAND WITH EDUCATIONAL CONTENT
The idea of marketing a "boring" brand has seen plenty of attention in the SMB space with the rise of digital marketing, as advertising campaigns get more creative and have become an opportunity to start a two way conversation with the customer.
In a world where response and engagement metrics can be so easily, cheaply, and accurately measured, it is painfully obvious if your brand and your content isn't interesting to your customers, isn't gaining their attention, and isn't being engaged with. This has lead to concerns for those responsible for promoting "boring" brands.
One solution to the "boring" brand problem is to create educational content.
- The customer cares about what you can do for them - Your potential customers might not know who you are or care about your brand yet, but one thing you know everyone cares about are their own problems. Educational content is a great first introduction to your brand, because it gives the reader a reason to care about what you've written. Nobody wants to read a mission statement and a summary of how many years you've been in business, everyone wants to read about how to make their own problems at work easier to manage.
- It creates multiple touches - According to Salesforce it takes 6 - 8 touches to generate a viable sales lead. If you're having a hard time getting customers to care about the first touch, that's depressing news. However, educational content provides an ample opportunity for multiple touches that your leads will care about. As you produce more content over time that addresses the issues your ideal customer faces every day, they will read more and more of your content and be more likely to subscribe to your blog or email newsletter and eventually to convert on a CTA or landing page, becoming a lead.
- Educational content is shareable - Another great thing about educational content is that it encourages the reader to share it. Whether it's a thought leader tweeting your post as part of their own content mix, a coworker sending the link to a friend who could benefit from your advice, or a happy customer sharing your post on LinkedIn, when your content helps people solve problems, understand their industry, and spot trends and know what they should do about them, your readers are going to want to share your educational content.
What challenges did you face this week in your digital marketing efforts? Your own experiences might be featured in a future installment of our Weekly Digital Marketing Essentials series!