Wednesday, August 31, 2011

¿And you? Which side are you on?

¿And you? Which side are you on?
Probably your natural answer would be: On my company’s side! And with all reason.

You have invested so much money, efforts and time in bringing your company to life. You are so familiar with your product, know it from A to Z, and you know your product is a good one, because you are an honest business owner. You have teamed up with highly qualified professionals, have designed an efficient distribution network, your pricing policy is competitive because you know what your competitors do and offer, you know your product is doing good because sales are moving good as well, you take care of making your business’ operation profitable because, at the end of the day, it’s about making money!

And that’s all good. As a matter of fact, if you weren’t so closely involved with your company, things wouldn’t be going that good. Would they?

But now, just think for a second what’s inside your customer’s mind. Put yourself in their pants for five minutes. What kind of information could you find?

If you take your customer’s seat for a moment, you can discover very interesting things, for instance, why does he buy from you and not from your competitors, if he thinks your product is really good or just cheaper than others, if last time he bought from you, he wasn’t properly serviced by your representative, if he is pleased enough with your product as to recommend it to others, and much more.

Can you see the difference? I bet you do. If we take it from the fact your company survives because there are customers out there paying for your products or services, then we can come to the conclusion it’s more relevant, strategically talking, to be on your customer’s side for a while than in your company’s side. Why? Because on your customer’s side is where the money is, not because of other thing.

If you just keep thinking it’s all about you and only you, well, maybe your customer is simply going to say: No! It’s about me, my satisfaction, and benefit and, in a market so highly saturated with products I can choose from, I can buy from somebody else. And that’s it. And maybe you will never know what happened!

The important thing to understand is the market has changed, and if you keep your product oriented position, for sure you’re going to end up facing difficult challenges, because the market is simply different.

What’s the difference? That now people have a strong capacity to get connected with others, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, family and, thanks to the Internet, they can do it at no cost. Additionally, there is a lot of information available on the Web for everybody, to help them make purchasing decisions. You have forums, discussion groups, and social networks, tools to compare prices and recommend products, many things.

This ability to “get connected” means everybody can share experiences and talk about anything, whether it’s a product they are buying, a trip, a hotel, a place they visited, an accident, anything.

Have you ever arrived to your office, on Monday morning, mentioning to a co-worker that you did have a wonderful time during the weekend on a little cabin on a mountain park, and recommending him to go with his couple? Well, on the Internet, and especially on social networks, it happens the same way. An email you send, some pictures uploaded on Facebook, a video on Youtube, thousand different ways!

So, what do you have to do then? Keep your position and say “We’re the company with the best product you will ever buy”?

Unfortunately, that’s not going to work, because if you stick to the same old thing, you’re going to fail. What if your competitors are already focusing on their customers and finding out, for them, new opportunities to grow their business? Whoever is first to find out what to do, and does it the right way, will be the winner, not only making new customers but also developing long term relationships.

It’s about giving up on the “I’m the company, you’re the customer”, egotistical and blind set of mind, only taking into consideration your efforts and going out there, to the streets. Go out to see what’s happening in the world around you, your industry, and your customer, to learn what people say about you, your company and its products, not only on social networks but everywhere, even in your own backyard.

Only listening to what’s going on out there, you will be able to plan your strategies much better. Only taking your customer’s place for a while, you will be prepared. Think of it as going into war with some other country. You’ve designed the ultimate weapon, unbeatable, capable of targeting a mouse in the Moon’s surface… wow, fantastic! You are so deeply sold on the idea you’re the best that you haven’t found out your opponent, six months before, did already design a special counter-attack weapon that beats yours, and at a lower cost! How would it make you fell?

It’s not about you anymore, but about what happens around you, on your customer’s side. Effectively and carefully listening to what happens on their side, will allow you to fine tune your marketing and merchandising strategies, and what’s better, you could end up saving money by cutting down on things you don’t really need.

Sit on your customer’s side for a while; try to look at your company and product from their point of view. You will sure learn positive and interesting things.

Related posts: http://meethenewbuyer.blogspot.com/2011/07/are-you-listening-but-really.html

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

“Humanize” your social media presence.

"Humanize" your social media presence.
We are all target of several impacts from marketing campaigns throughout the day. As a matter of fact, much more impacts than we could ever pay attention to, or even remember.

In social networks, something similar is starting to happen. Yes, there are many companies developing their marketing efforts through social media. Maybe yours is one of them and that’s the reason why this post’s title caught your attention.

There is no doubt that using social media to promote your brand or company is a good thing to do. For sure it is. You can use social media to develop close and positive relationships with your clients, firmly positioning your product in their minds, becoming their preferred brand and leaving competitors way behind.

But, if you are using these tools, make sure to give them a “human” side, give a face and a voice to your social media participation. Keep in mind you’re talking with human beings not machines, and even though it’s a virtual contact, it has the same value and possibly the same impact as a “face to face” encounter in your business’ counter.

So, what do you have to keep in mind?
  • Don’t simply copy your website content into your social pages: Your website is for you, to show off your brand, products, and your company. Social media is to relate with your customers. It’s a different story. Give them content they will enjoy, that will bring them something new, valuable, and different. Don’t give them the same old thing.
  • Always show your face: get someone to be always available to answer your customers face to face if required. Your company logo won’t be enough, get a real person. Giving a face to your social media presence will make it more human, turning it into a real person like those with whom you are planning to get in touch with. Let it be that way, face to face, people to people, and not corporation to people, because that way it won’t work.
  • Turn yourself their best buddy: develop a rich conversation, not only about you talking with them as if you were in a classroom, explaining your students how good your product is. Talk as a friend would do, a coworker, share with them unique things, and interesting ones. Make yourself sure you are always there for them when they need you to. Don’t do it only on your time, when it’s possible for you. Make an effort. Show you really care. Do what a real friend would do.
  • Offer rewards and prizes: Motivate them to visit your social pages regularly. A gift, a special discount on their next purchase, something they won’t find anywhere else. Be creative.
  • As always, content is king: Make sure your content is relevant for them and not only a simple copy of your sales brochure or product catalogue. Even try to generate content connected with them, their hobbies, likes, and so forth.
  • Always make it personal: always have real people respond to your customer inquiries, maybe simply signing off with their real name or something like that. Make yourself easy to understand and, if possible, casual. Talk their same language.
  • Give them the control: Allow them to comment, complain, and open up with you through your social pages. Maybe sometime you will have to face a hard one, but remember it’s also a wonderful opportunity to get to know your customers better, improve your product and strengthen your relationship with them. It will always be positive for you.
  • Make yourself trustful and be transparent: Don’t come to the game with second intentions, answer all questions, comments, and complains clearly and as soon as possible. Don’t let time and silences ruin your relationship with a customer.

Keep these recommendations always on your mind. Social media can be extraordinarily effective, if you properly take advantage of them.

What else do you think you can do to make your social media presence more “human”?

Note: If you would like to read the original post in English, please visit
http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2010/12/10/wake-up-7-tips-on-how-to-be-a-human-in-social-media.html

  

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's not a golden rule but works great: Honesty and transparency.

It works great: Honesty and transparency.
It doesn’t matter how many friends or fans you have in your Facebook page, or your followers in Twitter, or how many people watch your videos on Youtube. It doesn’t matter if some days what you share is extraordinarily good, and some other days, well not so good!

It doesn't matter if your profile picture says you are a little older, or younger (usually it's the last one!). There is a rule that you should consider at all times and with which you should comply in a strict way, if you want to survive, not only in social media, but also in your business.

Being honest and transparent!

There are many eyes looking at all things posted on the web, a lot of information that flows from one side to the other, many people that share content, comments (positive or negative, ¡it’s the same!),in regards to your business, product or brands, as well as about you. Who knows?

If you recall the famous word "viral", then yes, it applies for both the good things and the not-so-good things, and they can create such a “buzz”, and reach in, just a few minutes, hundreds, thousands of people. If it’s a positive comment about your product, then magnificent! But, ¿what if it’s not?, ¿what happens if the comment spreading out is from a client you badly let down? ¿can you get the picture?

It stands to reason the importance of this "golden rule": Be honest and transparent!

HONESTY: If you're honest to yourself, with your business, the product you offer, and with your clients, and if you’re really committed to doing things the best way possible, then you are finally ready for a learning process that can be very positive for you, from many points of view.

Not only your product can get better, but all the things surrounding you can also change, because you are a person that can be trusted. And trust generates confidence. No doubt abou it.

TRANSPARENCY: Have you ever been on the unpleasant situation in which you get into a relationship with someone that tells you to have some specific intentions, only to find out – a few months later – that it was not really true, and that the person had other things on mind?

It goes the same way for business. Transparency is fundamental on any relationship.

Do you like it when you buy a product, and then realize there was some small print in the original offer that you didn’t see, or simply didn’t notice, and your decision turns out to be one of your worst decisions ever?

We all know that, at the end, your goal is to develop your business, and along with it, your relationships with customers, and sales volume, of course, we all do know. But if all your relationships and contacts with clients or associates are based on your need to grow, then you will never be able to offer transparency, because you aren’t seeking a mutually beneficial relationship, only your own benefit. And the worse thing is that it’s going to show up on your face!

Being transparent and honest is an exercise of will. It requires a tremendous effort and being conscious of the fact that, nowadays, the saying "a lie repeated a thousand times becomes true" is no longer like that.

Nowadays there are many ways for people to know that what you are sharing, saying or stating is not completely certain, or that is plainly false.

And if you get cornered there, then you are in for a big reputation challenge which most of the times, is really difficult to recover from. Stick to this simple recommendation: Be honest and transparent, and you will stay out of trouble longer.

And you, ¿do you feel it is important? ¿or you believe that is something that can be done only if is strictly necessary? what do you think?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Social media advertising is all trendy!

Social Media Advertising.
Social media should be your best option to impact potential clients, as more and more people sign up for social media profiles, whether for personal use or business. With the growing popularity of Facebook and Twitter in recent years, social media advertising has taken a new direction. And now with Google+ also on the game, it’s sure going to get better!

¿What do you need to consider when advertising in social media?

It’s all about connections: The impact of social media advertising isn’t only referred to targeting your immediate potential client, but to the possibility of – based on a different and really appealing message – being recommended to contacts in his network … ¡one impact that multiplies by itself!

Don’t forget who the decision maker is: Even though you can think that men generally make decisions, it isn’t always like that. Always based on the product you have and goals of your campaign, in many cases, is the woman the one who makes the decision or, better yet, the one that has the final word on it.

Also think the world has changed a lot and, nowadays, many women have managed to reach impressive professional status… ¡keep it on you agenda: if someday you don’t know who to target, it’s always safer to target the woman!

Keep good track of results: We can’t encourage you to take this subject more seriously, but one of the actions in which you should put more emphasis and effort is in results measuring and monitoring for each of the campaigns you have out there, just to have the opportunity to change your direction in time before things become bitter.

If you say you will, please do: Do not forget that social media is about the user and not your business. If you promise something in your campaigns, make sure you deliver. If you do, it will award you with positive recommendations… if you don’t, you will also get them, but of those that can do a lot of damage to your business.

Combine your ads with 2.0 content: Combine your ads with your social media pages, with videos, link with other contents and groups. Schedule surveys, contests, coupons, ¡Be interactive! By being interactive, you will generate positive synergies with your users, will get comments and receive feedback from them, and that is very good.

Make sure your ads run in the proper environment. As it has always been the case, media buying criteria continue being so valid as usual.

Don’t stay into just one venue: Social media is good, but it’s not about social media alone. It’s just a marketing tool, probably the newest one, but still a tool. If budget allows, mix in your campaigns banners and e-mails, flying, AdWords campaigns, sponsorships and other media.

This way you will always increase your exposure and reach, and will not be stuck into one single road.

Advertisements will always be a strong component on your campaigns, but in an environment as the one we’re experiencing today, they always have to have company to achieve their full effectiveness.

Make sure you consider all available options when planning your campaigns.

The more important thing continues to be properly planning ahead, stick to your plan, and always measure the results you’re obtaining as you go.

Do you put together a plan before advertising in social media, or any venue? ¿do you lay down your goals clearly before embarking social media campaigns or campaigns in any another environment?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Would you like to know the secret for doing succesful 2.0 campaings?

The secret of the Web 2.0: Passion!
I have read many posts on different blogs, many of them focused on offering you "the secret", the magic formula, the one thing you haven’t been able to find "to be successful in your promotional campaigns in social media. Reading them all I came to realize that, deep inside, what they are trying to tell you is very simple: Fell passionate about what you do, and do whatever you do on a passionate way!

It sounds common-sense, but it’s as easy as it can get, and I would like to share with you the reasons why I feel this way from a realistic, perfectly practical point of view and with my two feet on the ground!


  • You always find time: When you are passionate about something, there is no way you’re going to say “no”. There will always be room in your agenda for it, to take care of it. If you fell a deep passion in regards to developing your promotional campaigns in the Web 2.0 as in any other environment, you will always have for them, to analyze and improve them.
  • You are eager to know more about it: because it is never enough, because you always find something new, because you feel so much passion for what you do, that each day you want to know something more.
  • There is energy on your words: Have you ever thought for a moment the power and the conviction with which people that are impassioned about something talk? ¿have you ever seen their shiny eyes? That it is the energy you will transmit through your contents in the Web 2.0 when you do it with passion. Because it comes from deep inside, from your feelings, from the inner conviction you feel that all things you share are going to be positive for someone out there, and you know it’s going to be good.
  • You are honest: Have you ever tried to hide something you are completely convinced about? It’s hard, isn’t it? When passion moves you, and you know that something can be really effective for someone, you transmit it with extraordinary confidence. It is really difficult to hide, or simply not to talk about it. It is like if you were listening to a close friend telling you about a problem he has, and you know there is a solution for the problem (maybe because you’ve been on the same situation before or something) and you just close your mouth and tell him absolutely nothing. Would you do it? ¿would you keep yourself from telling him that you know something that can be good for him and help him get out of the problem?
Let me give you an example: In my case, I am an advertising and marketing fan, whether it’s online or offline, it’s the same. I love the way you can grow your business by making use of different tools and strategies. Each time I run across an idea or concept, whether it’s mine or from someone else, and it looks really interesting and truthful, I can’t keep myself from sharing it.

One of the ideas that has strongly caught my attention lately is that of "developing close relationships with your clients based on loyalty and confidence”. Huge, isn’t it? It is being given as an advice for you to consider when developing your social media promotional campaigns.

And why do I feel so attached to it? Because I know that is true and, from my point of view, that is good to share it with you, because it can help you have better results in your plans and strategies.


If what you do impassions you and you do it with passion (caution, they are two different things although they look very similar!) it will be easy to set the bases to develop extraordinary and mutually beneficial relationships with your clients, because you will take care on listening to what they need, because you will find in your business or industry something that you are totally convinced is going to help them solve their need, and because you will share it with them with a lot of energy!


From that point on, the road to develop your promotional strategies, whether it’s on the Web 2.0 or anywhere, it should all be ok and work out for you. If at anytime isn’t going good, ask yourself if you are doing it with passion and feel passionate about what you’re doing. Ask yourself if, deep inside, you are convinced that whatever you are sharing or doing, it’s going to be good for those out there listening to you.


If your answer is no, well it is time to revise strategies and start over!


But, what about you? What do you think? ¿Do you share my point of view or you have a different one? Share with us your comments. It is always good to learn something new, especially if it’s about something that I feel so passionate about!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Do you remember when we first met?

Love in Social Networks.
It is a very suggestive title, isn't it?

But this time we're not going to talk about a love story, nor about a lovely dinner...Maybe next time we go for it!

This time, we are going to talk about a question that for sure has been circling around your head, above all recently, when everyone is talking about "establishing honest, close relationships with your clients in social networks."

And just to put some light on the subject, I want you to think about those days in which you met, for the first time, ¡your great love! I do hope it hasn't been a long time ago, long enough so that you don't remember anything. 

¿What comes to your mind?

Since I can’t read your mind, I am going to share with you how I lived it:
  • I showed my interest in things that pleased her (and by the way, she is my actual wife), so interested that I even helped her study when she had exams, even though our professions were completely different.
  • I tried to please her at all times, to bring a smile to her face, to help her have a good time.
  • Our conversations were almost always about things that she liked, that way I managed to get to know about many things that we did together afterwards.
  • I wanted to catch her attention at all times and, in someway, to put her inside my pocket (although at the end I believe it was the other way around).
  • I had surprises for her frequently, such as non-expected gifts, flowers, and so on.
  • When we were on the phone, we spent hours and hours, and it appeared we were never going to hang up.
  • I got used to ask for forgiveness and recognize when I was wrong, and never tried to point my finger at her (believe me, I did try my best). That way there was always good energy between us!
And I believe it is enough, since at this point I am positively sure you got the message!

In your social media promotional strategy, your goal is the same one: To develop with your users, clients or prospects a relation of “love”, loyalty, confidence, uprightness; a relationship through which you can get to know your client deeply:
  • Get to know what he is interested on; it will enable you to generate interesting conversations that will be relevant for him. In fact, if you can even contribute with new things on the same subject, much better.
  • Always try to make him have a good time; that his experience as your client is always positive, even when, in reality, you might have made more than one mistake. 
  • Try to surprise him and to win his confidence and loyalty with prizes, gifts, special considerations, recognitions... Try to make him understand that he is truly special for you!
  • When you get to talk to him (on the phone, chat, or Skype) try not to go straight to the point and be rude, show your kind side at all times. At the end it is only going to take you a couple more minutes! 
  •  If you make a mistake, recognize it immediately and do not try point your finger at him. There is nothing nicer than a person that recognizes his mistake and makes it up for you.
In brief, as you might have already realized, in the real life as well as in social networks, the basics of a long-lasting relationship are the same.
 
¿What do you think? ¿do you develop your relationships with clients taking this point of view?, do you have a different opinion you would like to share with us?