Turn Social Customers Into Brand Ambassadors

Emineo Media Brand Reputation Management

With the advent of social media channels, customer service has forever changed. Consumers are no longer willing to sit and listen to classical music on hold. In today’s age of hyper-responsiveness, customers expect instant responses from support reps on very public online platforms.Emineo Media Brand Reputation Management

Instead of shying away from social media, smart businesses will leverage their social channels to spread a positive brand reputation, to connect happy customers and to step up their customer support efforts.

Consumers aren’t eager to blast negative messages about your company – unless your brand is unresponsive. I recently learned at an IBM conference that customers are five times more likely to post something positive than negative, and that companies usually have at least 10 warnings before someone posts a negative comment.

Happy customers who get their issues resolved tell an average of four to six people about their positive experiences, according to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. It pays to treat your customers well, not only for the repeat business, but also to gain the positive word-of-mouth consumers now broadcast across social media. Satisfied customers can become your most influential brand ambassadors. They’ll help to answer customer service questions posted online and also tout their own positive experiences with your business.

Here are the five best ways to turn customers into brand ambassadors through customer service.

1. Be Fast

When a customer turns to social media for a support issue, he expects a brand to generate the fastest response possible. According to a recent UK study, 25% of social media users expect a response within one hour, and 6% expect a response within 10 minutes. If you allow a support issue to dangle for too long, you risk being perceived as a company that either doesn’t know the answer or doesn’t care enough to reply promptly.

Remember, most people on social networks aren’t itching to post negative comments. They only do so after a bad experience. Therefore, don’t give them enough time to have a bad experience.

2. Be Visible

Private and direct messaging on Facebook and Twitter is all well and good, but when it comes to customer service, it’s best to be totally transparent and visible. The answer you give to one customer could, in turn, help thousands more. Think of each post and interaction as a resource that future customers can reference. Not to mention, customers will be more apt to direct friends to your page with their own questions.

Social media sites foster an online community around your brand. Watch how customers discuss and respond to your products so you can join the conversation and better understand the community that supports your brand.

 

3. Be Consistent

It’s vital that you ensure all customer support answers remain consistent across the web and across all social channels. If a common question is posted on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, then each response should communicate the same solution. Conflicting answers create confused, unhappy customers. Just as people expect consistent experiences with your products, they also expect consistent service across all of your channels. Brand accuracy drives confidence and credibility, and helps build brand loyalty among your customers.

4. Be Organized

If consistency creates brand ambassadors, then being organized is equally paramount. Admittedly, the cross-company integration and management of social media continues to be challenging. Maintaining a successful social media presence on just one network is a full-time job. Trying to do it over multiple networks is impossible if your support staff isn’t properly organized.

Customers can spot disorganization a mile away, especially online. However, if you demonstrate that your company support knows what it’s doing, you’ll earn the respect and trust of brand loyalists. Organization goes beyond knowing who does what on the support team; it’s also vital that everyone on the team is on the same page. Each team member must know where to seek reliable answers, and each must source information from the same place.

5. Be Human

As cool as Siri is, she still hasn’t crossed from digital assistant to human entity. Until then, your social media customer support should remain as human as possible. On the bright side, social networks already take the formalities out of conversation. It’s one of their biggest draws.

Therefore, a customer’s name isn’t “Inquiry #83kd4z.” She’s Christie from Denver. People respond best when they feel like they’re talking to other people. Your customer support should make customers feel as if they’re posting a normal question on a friend’s wall. Creating that kind of relationship with your customer should be the priority of any company.

Using customer service to create brand ambassadors isn’t the Herculean task it once was. Social media is presenting countless opportunities to turn your company’s support system into an open, interactive community, where customers can share their positive experiences with one another and spread the good word about your products and services – all on your behalf.

Source Mashable

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Embracing Video Network Options

Emineo Media Online Video

More than 180 million American consumers tuned in to online video in September, watching nearly 40 billion videos and spending almost 20 hours each within the video space. Still, less than 20% of that time is from video advertising. As video space expands, advertisers look to capitalize. Emineo Media Online Video

According to comScore the top video properties remain Google/YouTube (378 minutes per viewer), VEVO (60 minutes per viewer) and Microsoft Sites (39 minutes per viewer), but social networks like Facebook are beginning to push more video content.

comScore also reports:

• 85% of Americans engaged with online video (September)
• The average video length was 5.3 minutes
• The average video ad length was 0.4 minutes

A new report from Eyeview and KAYAK finds that personalizing the video space can improve brand-based metrics. They tested personalized online video ads and found that personalized and relevant ads increased purchase intent 37%, brand favorability 100% and brand loyalty 73%. In fact about two-thirds (66%) responded favorably to personalized ads while only 12% had a negative response.

So why aren’t more brands pushing into the video space? They’re trying, finds data from BrightRoll, and advertising networks and exchanges are helping. Advertising exchanges are becoming a more popular choice for brands wanting to enter the video space but still a lack of standardization within the video space makes some video advertising squeamish.

Other interesting findings from BrightRoll include:

• Three-quarters of publishers sell 20% of video ad space through networks
• Two-thirds of publishers believe CPMs will increase about 15% through Q4 2011
• Lack of standardization is keeping many (40%) from video advertising

“Publishers are increasingly embracing video networks, as well as their even newer counterpart ad exchanges, because of their ability to drive significant revenue,” was written in the BrightRoll report.”

Source Biz Report

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Brands Follow the Bird

Emineo Media follow-me-twitter-bird

A study conducted by Constant Contact and research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey, analyzed the behavior of 1,491 consumers ages 18 and older throughout the U.S., and revealed a number of details about how people interact with brands on the world’s beloved 140-character social network. People who follow brands on Twitter are more likely to both buy and recommend those brands’ products, according to a recent study of online consumer behavior.Emineo Media follow-me-twitter-bird

So, just how powerful is the Twitter connection between consumers and businesses? The study found that 60% of brand followers are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after following the brand on Twitter, and 50% of brand followers are more likely to buy from that brand.

These findings mirror those from a previous report, detailing how consumers interact with brands on Facebook. The study found that 56% of consumers said they are more likely to recommend a brand to a friend after “Liking” a brand on Facebook, and 51% of consumers said they are more likely to buy a product after doing so. The findings from both studies seem to show that customer loyalty is about the same across both social networks.

Any increase in customer loyalty is great news for brands, especially those lucky enough to make the coveted list of followed companies. According to the study, though, the chances of making that list are slim, as only 21% of Twitter users follow brands on Twitter, and of those, 79% follow fewer than 10 brands.

If your brand makes it to that highly sought-after status, you’re in for the long haul — a whopping 75% of respondents claimed that they had never unfollowed a brand on Twitter. This finding, though, contradicts a previous study, which claimed that 41% of consumers have unfollowed a company on Twitter. The trend seems to favor longevity in both studies, however. If a user opts to follow your brand on Twitter, it’s more likely they’ll continue following, rather than decide to unfollow.

When it comes to a consumer’s decision to follow brands on Twitter, exclusivity and access to promotions reign. Here are the top five reasons given by respondents:

64%: I am a customer of the company
61%: To be the first to know information about the brand
48%: To receive discounts and promotions
36%: To gain access to exclusive content
28%: To receive content/information to retweet and share with others

For the most part, brand interaction on Twitter is still largely a one-way process. While 84% of followers read tweets posted by the brands they follow, only 23% claim to tweet about the brands they follow.

The study also found that Twitter users are frequent Internet users overall — 50% of Twitter users in the study reported going online more than once per hour. Of Facebook users, only 34% of respondents reported going online multiple times per hour. Facebook and Twitter users both outpace the average Internet user, though, as only 29% of overall users that do not have Twitter and Facebook accounts reported logging on many times within an hour.

Twitter users even use Facebook more than users who stick solely to Facebook — 60% of Twitter users use Facebook more than three hours per week, compared with 49% of Facebook users overall.

The study offered one final nugget of wisdom that should inform how brands on Twitter approach their content strategies — 67% of brand followers expect unique content from the brands they follow. So get to it, social media strategists!

Source: Mashable

See the complete constant contact study here:

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