Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Landing Pages, The Herpes of Social Media

You click on a link that interests you; an article or a whitepaper that seems interesting. As your eyes cross the title, the page blurs and your line of sight is obstructed. All you need to do to read this article is SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER! or give us all your contact info and we'll email you the whitepaper.What is this madness? Give up your name, email, address and phone number just to read an article? Click it away and seconds later it's back like a virus. SUBSCRIBE NOW!

You have encountered the herpes of Social Media - the Landing Page.

It is absolutely true that Landing Pages increase conversion. It is also true that they help qualify leads. They also annoy most of the people who will ever come across your site and drive them away instantly. "I like you, but you should know...I have a landing page."

Landing pages are pernicious. They break visitor concentration, they refocus their interest from content (or product or service) to the ugly business of buying and selling. How serious are you about getting subscribers? So serious that you will interrupt your own message to bring your reader this important message about you.

It's perfectly fine to ask for someone's phone number, but usually we do it after we've talked a bit. Landing Pages may be great for your business, but they are even better for letting people know you have no time or interest in anyone who isn't doing something for you.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Everybody's Talking At You: 3 Really Important Things You Still Don't Get About Social Media

The last few weeks have been a roller-coaster ride in the Social Media world. People who should know better misusing their public platforms to say unfortunate things, people using traditional media arguing about the wrong parts of the problem and the great piranha tank of social media weighing in with opinions without context.

There was a lot of misunderstanding on all sides and everyone was wrong. And in the mix of screaming and screaming about screaming, everyone missed the three lessons everyone who works with Social Media needs to know.

Lesson 1:

You Cannot Control the Message

In the closed world of the conference room, you might make an off-color joke about the mail guy. Depending on your level of power, people might pretend it was funny. If you have less power, someone might look at you and say, "that was uncool." You then backtrack, claim it was a joke. But the mailroom guy is not likely to hear about it, whatever happens.

In Social Media, even with locked accounts, you are speaking to an open room. Once out there, a screencapped image can live on forever. Forget claiming an account was hacked or that it was a joke...the evidence of your inside voice can and will get to the mailroom guy....good luck getting your mail forever.

Being tone deaf to the AIDS crisis or Middle East uprisings will not make you look clever, it will not get laughs, except those "Hah-Hah!"s that accompany pointing fingers as you go down in flames. Political and social crises are not acceptable vehicles upon which to piggyback your marketing messages.

If you wouldn't want 7 billion people seeing, talking about or retweeting it - don't say it.

Lesson 2:

Everything You Say on Social Media is Relevant

The person you hire to spread your messaging is You. The message they spread is You. The name that is used in those messages is You. It is not Social Media's fault if you won't admit that yours is not the most popular company.

When a person states in their profile that they are your PR person, they will speak about your corporate culture 24/7. If they post dismissive, rude comments at 3AM on Saturday after a night out, it will still reflect on you.

There is no "time-off" for your company. No kicking back, taking the shoes off. Everything ever said by you, about you or for you reflects on you.

Lesson 3:

Social Media is Not An Advertisement

In a discussion with an agency recently, we commiserated over the case of the client with a missing clue. They want to get straight sales conversion from a Social Media profile but they don't want to do actual sales tactics. Apparently, the client believes that merely liking their page - and never hearing from them again - should magically convert into higher profit.

Advertising works because it saturates a space. Social Media works because it doesn't saturate a space, it targets very specific, very precise areas. Social Media is the way we communicate with people in small, deep pockets of the Internet, not broad swaths of it. If you're looking to work the advertising funnel model of conversion, do not go with Social Media.

You get to choose one way to communicate: You can talk to everyone through advertising or You can talk to a few people through Social.

Both can create value for your brand and your bottom line...but you have to choose each one for itself, mixing them up doesn't really work.

Learn these three lessons about Social Media and you'll never be embarrassed again.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Why People Unfollow/Unfriend/Disconnect Your Business and How to Re-Engage

When you're a small or medium business owner, there is both power and prestige in having a strong Social Media following. And it can hurt your bottom line if there's a mass exodus of those followers. There are any number of reasons why people stop following your business, and today we'll look at ehy people follow your business in the first place - and what keeps them engaged or drives them away.

Why People Like, Follow or Connect With Your Business

1) Immediate Need - the customer is looking for a product or service something your business offers.

2) Advocacy - The consumer could be a repeat customer looking to a) support a business they like or b) to get coupons/discounts for products or services they have enjoyed in the past and wish to get again.

3) Non-Business Loyalty - A friend owns, works for, or has some other allegiance to the business and the consumer is showing to public support.

Having gotten consumer interest in the first place, why do so few Businesses retain their interest? It's relatively easy to get someone to "Like" a page, and it is even easier to lose followers with a single misstep.

Why People Unlike, Unfollow or Disconnect With Your Business

Let's start with Non-business related Loyalty first. If a person's reason for following a business has no relation to the business itself, then their reasons for unfollowing/friending them are likely to to be the same. The friend has moved on, or gained enough traction, or they had a falling out.  Supporting their business is just not a high priority anymore. This is a problem mostly for extremely local-focus businesses, which rely heavily on word of mouth.

How to Re-engage: Turn your friends into valued customers and gain real loyalty for your business by reaching out with meaningful connection related to your business.

When Advocacy lapses, it is important to recognize interests and needs change over time. The company may no longer be relevant to me.  There's very little that can be done about this loss, except to be gracious and express a hope for future reconnection.

It's important to acknowledge that you company may have alienated the customer in some way with bad customer service or uncompetitive pricing, or poor product or services.  Consumers may become tired of self-promotion, poor response rate or dislike the fact that no one is curating the social accounts. At this level, there are *so* many reason a person might unfollow.

How to Re-engage: An advocate is almost always going to be a customer who wants relevant, authentic contact and content. Many companies seriously drop the ball with their customers at this level. Instead of thinking about what customers can do for you, consider how your business can make a difference for customers. Talk with them, as opposed to advertising at them, invite good customers and loyal customers to special events, offer "tell a friend deals." Invest time in your relationships and in your Social Media.

If the reason a person followed you was Immediate Need, thhey no longer need to be in contact with your company. Not every unfollow is a personal insult.

How to Re-engage: If you've done your job and created truly Social interaction, they'll be back when they need you. Acknowledge the Tare and move on, working with those people who want to stay connected.

Losing followers is inevitable. The best thing to do is make the trail back to you appealing and open. Build bridges, don't burn them and you'll find your following growing naturally.

Project Wonderful