Is your company using Twitter to connect with customers? If not, you should be. There’s no denying that Twitter is becoming more popular as a communication tool for companies – but that doesn’t mean that many companies don’t get it wrong. Having a Twitter account that feels impersonal or doesn’t respond to customers in a timely manner is worse than not having an account at all.
If you’re going to maintain a Twitter presence, then you have to be prepared to think about how – and when — to use it. More and more, customers are expecting compassionate engagement from the companies they follow on social media. With that in mind, here are four great ways to market your business on Twitter.
Put Customer Service at the Forefront
One of the biggest mistakes that companies large and small make on Twitter is ignoring customer service questions and complaints. It’s important to remember that everybody who follows your company can see that you’re not replying to questions if they take the time to look. Stellar customer service can do a lot to boost brand loyalty and your company’s reputation.
The best customer service on Twitter is personal, meaning that someone monitors your account on an ongoing basis and answers customers directly with @ Tweets. A good example of a big company who uses this strategy is airline Jet Blue. An examination of their Twitter feed shows that almost everything they Tweet is a direct reply to a customer.
While responding to customers is better than not responding, beware of responses that seem cold or impersonal. Some companies try to keep customer service off Twitter by redirecting people who post questions or complaints to call their customer service number. You’re far more likely to engage customers – and keep them in the long run – if you embrace the idea that Twitter is an ideal platform to provide great customer service.
Provide Value to Your Customers
You might already know that Twitter is not the best place to be bombarding customers with sales pitches. You already know that the people who follow you are interested in what you have to offer, but the most successful companies on Twitter know that sending out a stream of self-promoting Tweets isn’t a good idea. Instead, they find ways to provide valuable content to their customers.
Let’s look at some hypothetical examples. A local pizza parlor might Tweet out fun facts about pizza, or even tips for reheating the perfect slice the next day. A clothing boutique might Tweet pictures of people wearing the clothes they sell. A dentist might link back to articles on her blog about tooth whitening or dental cleanings.
What all of these examples have in common is that their intention is to share information that is relevant and valuable to the customer. Sharing valuable content makes the people who follow you on social media feel a sense of obligation, which in turn triggers a cognitive bias known as reciprocity. In other words, giving your followers something for free can do far more for your marketing than overtly trying to sell them on your services.
Open a Twitter Dialogue with Your Customers
One mistake that a lot of companies make is to forget about the “social” in social media. People follow their favorite brands on sites like Twitter because they want to engage in some kind of communication with them. That doesn’t mean that they want to be your friend, necessarily, but they do welcome the idea of friendly and thoughtful communication.
Let’s talk about some ways to do that. One technique that can be helpful for local businesses is to re-Tweet chosen messages from their followers. You can use a tool like Social Mention to monitor social media activity and find out when your brand is mentioned. When a customer says something positive or memorable about you on Twitter, re-Tweet it. It’s a good way of showing customers that you’re paying attention to them.
Another option is to ask your followers a question. If you do it right, this can actually be a subtle form of customer research. For example, you might ask your followers a question about how they use your product, or why they like it. If you offer an array of products, ask which one is their favorite and why. Alternatively, you could ask an open-ended question. For example, a local restaurant could Tweet “What’s for dinner tonight?” and include a link back to their menu. Yes, the menu is a sales pitch – but it’s a subtle one. If you decide to try this method, make sure to answer the Tweets you get in response.
Host a Twitter Contest or Giveaway
Another clever way of using Twitter to promote your business is to use it to get the word out about a contest or giveaway. Everybody loves the idea of being able to win a contest or get a free product, and Twitter’s an ideal platform to promote such a thing. A contest has the benefit of adding value to customers while also providing you with an easy way to broaden your reach.
One way to get the most out of a Twitter contest is to ask users to re-Tweet the information about the contest in order to enter. Using this method actually wraps several of the other tips in this article, as well. For example, a contest is a good way to add value for customers and to engage with them directly. Sponsoring a contest is an effective way to find out how many of your followers are truly engaged with your brand, and asking customers to share your Tweet about the contest may help gain you some new followers too.
The bottom line is that Twitter can be an incredibly effective marketing tool if you know how to use it. The keys are to respond directly to customer questions and complaints instead of avoiding them and to remember that the people who follow you are people, not machines. They don’t want to be hit with a constant barrage of sales pitches. What they want is something that feels like personal engagement and compassion. If you can do that, then Twitter can be a strong part of your marketing mix.
At JVI Mobile, we are passionate about creating and growing awesome social relationships. Tell us how we can help! We’ve got a crack team literally at your fingertips!
Are homepage conversions lagging behind your expectations? There is an art to designing a high-converting home page, and a lot of small businesses simply don’t give the content and appearance of their website enough attention.
The good news is that there are some very simple things you can do to increase your homepage conversions without having to spend a ton of time and money.
Our 11 Tips to Increase Home Page Conversions
The first thing you need to consider is the quality of the images on your homepage. A page that’s densely packed with text is not going to be appealing to the majority of internet users. On the other hand, a page that mixes text with effective images is far more likely to convert. A great image is one that accurately reflects your product or industry. If you can afford it, the best option is to hire a photographer to take pictures of your business and employees. However, if budget is a concern, don’t be afraid to use stock photos as long as they are unique and not cheesy. Stay away from anything that is obviously a stock photo and go for images that are striking and appealing. Also, you should strongly consider using pictures of people’s faces, which tend to draw customers in.
Use strong marketing copy that focuses on the things that are most important to your customers. When people search for a keyword, they are really asking a question – and most often, they are asking about a problem that they want to solve. When your home page uses language that plays to your visitors’ emotions, it can trigger a powerful response – one that’s very effective in terms of increasing conversions. There’s an old advertising trope that says that using fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) helps drive sales. The most effective home pages don’t market openly in fear. Instead, they focus on a user’s problem (which may be making them feel one of those three emotions), empathize with it, and then offer a concrete solution.
Make sure that your value proposition is clear. What are you offering, and why should people be interested? It’s not enough to have well-written copy. You need a strong headline that will immediately put visitors to your site in the proper frame of mind.
Small Business Services- Essential services can make or break your business. Whether you’re just starting up or heading into your second decade as a business owner, you’re always looking for the best solutions to partner with and make you more efficient and more profitable.
We’ve collected a few essential small business services that we use together into one listing for you. Whether you’re a client or not, we know you’ll find them strong contenders for your business!
Small Business Services: Payroll & Accounting
If you’ve got employees or contractors getting them paid can be a distraction- not to mention a headache if it’s handled poorly. Gusto is the payroll system and it couldn’t be easier to use. Not only is it geared for mobile but it also calculates payroll taxes automatically. If you need it you can also work in benefits, employee discounts and more!
Any business needs an accounting package, and Freshbooks isn’t only a great value, but also lets you access your books from anywhere! Though you’re not likely to need live, real-time support, it is easy to get live help quickly- and they really know their stuff!
If you want to launch email campaigns, there’s a lot of tools out there. But if you also want strong automation and great analytics you’ve got to check out Active Campaign. It’s also got a pretty darned CRM module too.
Social Media Management
We’ve got a couple of great tools that we use to grow and maintain our clients’ social media accounts. First of these is MySoPro. MySoPro is a free tool that serves as a personal social media assistant. This platform allows you to schedule social media posts in advance so you have more time to focus on the important things. You can manage all of your popular social media profiles in one location. You can also upgrade to the pro version for a small monthly fee.
Another great tool, but just for Instagram, is Onlypult. Onlypult’s great for not only scheduling your posts and reposting those of others, you can also optimize your Instagram campaigns for the best engagement.
Of course, you want to take every opportunity to make money online. Part of any key monetization strategy is landing page creation and management along with payment and upsell options. The best system we’ve seen so far is from Click Funnels. It’s powerful and robust and can have your first landing page live in minutes.
Our second essential service for monetization is AdEspresso, which is a great tool to optimize your Facebook advertising and get the most traffic back to your offers. It’s easy to setup but they’ve also got a full suite of online guides and seminars to get you started. They’ve got a 14 day free trial, but even after that it is well worth the modest investment.
If you’re ever looking for an easier way to streamline your sales process and want to close deals faster, consider using Proposify. It’s an online business proposal software and serves as a great tool for delivering proposals to Clients. With Proposify, you’re able to maximize your time, organize your sales team and close deals faster than ever.
Of all of our essential services we’ve listed, Dropbox is one you’ve surely heard of before. Dropbox is a great tool both for keeping all your key documents in the cloud and having them accessible on most any device. It also allows you to share documents with folks either inside or outside of your organization. For smaller organizations, a free account may be all you need. For extremely reasonable costs you can get almost any amount of cloud storage.
Many busy professionals and business owners have a tough time staying organized, especially when it comes to keeping up with appointments and or scheduling/booking Clients. In order to stay on track, try Book Like A Boss. It’s an all-in-one scheduling platform for you to take appointments, sell your products and/or services and manage your business effectively.
If you’re like us, you’ve already thought of a dozen ways each of these small business services can make your small business more efficient and profitable. And if you’re already pulling your hair out over a lack in resources, dare we say implementing these might even make you happy? That’s at least one of the reasons you started your own business in the first place, right?
Did we leave something out that your small business can’t live without? Anything you use that is mission critical to your success? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re like a lot of business owners, you’ve done your research about the importance of reviews. You know that a huge majority of internet users rely on reviews of businesses to make purchasing decisions, and you’ve probably put a lot of effort into managing your review pages, responding to negative reviews, and demonstrating how helpful you are to potential customers. All of that is great, and you should keep doing it.
What’s the problem, then? If you’re taking those reviews and sticking them on a Testimonials page on your website, you’re undoing all your hard work. Here’s why.
Testimonial Page and Visitor Trust
But wait, you might be thinking. Didn’t I just say that the majority of customers rely on reviews when making purchasing decisions?
Note the language. They rely on reviews, not testimonials. It doesn’t matter if your testimonials started out as reviews. The moment you pick one out and stick it on your website, it’s a testimonial – something you solicited from a customer you knew was happy and satisfied.
Even if you include a few less than stellar reviews in the mix, it’s unlikely that customers will even bother to visit the page. They are going to assume that you picked out the best of the best and that they won’t learn anything real about your company, products, or service by visiting the page.
In case you’re still not convinced, let’s envision a scenario where a company culls their best online reviews to put on their website. A customer decides to read them, and then – still unconvinced – decides to bounce over to Yelp to see what the people there have to say.
How do you think it will affect your credibility if there’s a significant disconnect between what’s on your site and your average Yelp rating? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not going to do you any favors. Customers want to see honest reviews, including the negative ones – and they want to see how you respond to the bad reviews.
It’s also important to note that the changes that Google made to local business information on Google+ mean that the only thing customers will see there are your location information and your reviews. You might as well make the most of them.
How to Link to Reviews
If you’re wondering how you can harness the power of reviews while avoiding the pitfalls I have described above, don’t worry. I’m about to tell you. The key here is to link to (not copy) reviews from your website, and to do so in a way that doesn’t step on anybody’s toes. Here’s what you need to do.
Ditch the “Testimonials” page and make it a “Reviews” page instead.
At the top of the page, put a few sentences about how you think it’s important for potential customers to hear what existing customers think of you. With that in mind, you’re providing them with some quick and easy links so they can see for themselves.
For every link you include, make sure to use the target=”_blank” command so that the review site opens in a separate tab. You don’t want to encourage people to navigate away from your page, so don’t skip this step.
Put a link to Google reviews at the top of your page. Google reviews are always going to be at the top of any list of search results, so you might as well list them first on your page.
Do not link directly to your Yelp page. That might not seem to make sense, but Yelp frowns on direct links, so you want to make it look like visitors from your site are arriving at Yelp via organic search. The way to do that is to do a Google search for [your business] Yelp, and then copy the link to the SERP (search engine results page) URL. When visitors click it, they will be taken to the Google SERP page with Yelp at the top of the listings where they can easily click it.
Do the same thing for any other relevant review sites, including Angie’s List and industry-specific sites.
The point of doing things like this is that you get all the benefit of directing customers to reviews without the suspicious element of listing them on your own website. Whether you agree with the perception that Testimonial pages are not to be trusted or not, the fact is that customers want to feel they have access to unbiased and honest reviews that are a true reflection of what they can expect if they do business with you.
Tips for Handling Reviews
If you’re worried about linking to unfiltered review pages, there is actually a very easy two-part solution that can alleviate that fear altogether:
Do a great job of monitoring your review pages and replying in a professional and helpful manner to negative reviews. I know, it seems obvious – but sometimes the obvious solution really is the best one. If you want to be sure that customers are getting a clear picture of your great products and services, show them how important customers are by giving great customer service. It’s not rocket science – nor should it be.
Some customers might leave a review anyway, but there’s no harm in encouraging them to do so. By providing a card, you’re making it easy.
If you find yourself resisting the idea of doing away with Testimonials, think of it this way. You still have them, you’re only changing the name. If you were listing only rave reviews on your site, the chances are good that your customers would go seek out the rest of your reviews in spite of that. This way, you’re being upfront with them about your reviews, which shows them you have nothing to hide.
At JVI Mobile, we are passionate about creating and growing awesome social relationships. Tell us how we can help! We’ve got a crack team literally at your fingertips!