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A Community Within a Community: How Social Media Creates Loyal Customers

As a business owner, you may be familiar with the 80/20 rule. 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. That fraction represents, for the most part, loyal customers. When deciding what resources in your budget go where, focus on your ‘loyals’. Appeal to their wants and needs. The question is, how do you figure out who your loyal customers are? There are many ways to do this. However, the most cost effective way is to publish content and listen.

Opinion leaders: The more they engage, the more you learn.
Whenever you post something to your accounts, take the time to read through comments. Often times, the top comments are good indicators of an opinion that has substance. Think about it, if other people have liked the comment, they probably support and/or agree with that opinion. You can also gauge the quality of your content by the number of shares and likes it receives. After listening to your audience over an extended period of time, you will learn what works and what doesn’t. Once you start to consistently push content that is engaging a lot of your followers, you can begin to really look into who is contributing the most. These are your opinion leaders. They will push your content to their personal channels and the sharing will continue, depending on the share ability of your content. This is why it is important to listen to your audience and find what content receives the most engagement.

A sense of belonging.
As humans, we want to feel like we belong. A sense of purpose, if you will. It’s important to create an atmosphere on your social accounts that breeds engagement. Most people don’t like to talk to strangers, right? A brand is no different, unless you build trust by pushing relevant content and encouraging engagement. When someone does decide to engage with your brand, be sure to commend their trust in you by liking their comments and replying to them. Nobody likes to be left out of anything fun so strive for exciting content that breeds engagement. The comments and shares will snowball, but once enough of your followers are engaging with your content regularly, you have created a community of loyal customers that not only enjoy interacting with your brand, but also can’t wait for the next chance to do so.

User-created content.
Nothing says community like having followers that favour your brand enough to create content like photos or videos of them interacting with your business. Not only is this a good look for your brand in the eyes of your other consumers, but it is also a way for you to show your appreciation of their hard work on a public platform. Reposting their content to your accounts will give them a sense of accomplishment. If they cared enough to create something relevant for your audience and tag you in it, then it’s worth your time to tell them they did a good job. Like a parent recognizing their child’s hard work. We could all use a little bit of gratification once in a while. If they feel like their contribution did not go unnoticed, they are more than likely to post again and keep coming back to comment because they will feel like they are a part of the brand and the community at large. User-created content is also another surefire way to learn exactly what your audience cares about.

Test your content, not your audience.
For many business owners, monetizing every single one of your promotions may sound like a good idea at first, but have you ever conducted a test to see which kind of promotion your audience would react to the best? Initially, test two versions of the same promotion on your audience. Be sure to post the two versions at similar times. The one with the most engagement is more likely to do better when you do decide to monetize it. You can also make subtle changes to one version of the promotion and keep testing to see which changes affect the engagement and how. For instance, sometimes all you need to do is change the background colour or font of a promotion to see a difference. Be careful not to make too many changes and post the same promotion to your page over and over. Nothing is more cringe worthy than a cluttered social media feed.

Forget surveys. Just ask.
Trying a new product? Promotion? You’ve probably heard the expression that two heads are better than one. Right? Whether you own a business with one or 100 employees, you can never have too many opinions, and who better to ask than the people paying for your product or service? For example, show a picture of a potential service, promotion or product you wish to implement and ask for their opinions? Often times, you will get a simple yes or no. Now that Facebook has implemented reactions to their metrics, you can gauge exactly how little or how much your audience likes your content. Not only this, but your audience will feel involved in the process, making them more likely to purchase your product or service, and recommend it to others.

Interested in hearing more? Contact us at getsocial@93agency.com or follow along on social media at @93agency.

Social Media Marketing: Luxury or Investment?

Social Media Marketing: Luxury or Investment?

Written by: Natalie Allport
Busting the Myth

We’re often faced with the situation of clients who are hesitant to make the financial investment towards social media marketing. It’s a common mis-thinking among small and medium business owners that social media is a luxury, when in fact, it’s a necessary investment. Whether you’re starting up, are highly successful, or struggling to make ends meet, social media can provide you with unmatched ROI. Not only that, but social media is a NECESSITY for achieving credibility, superior customer service, and remaining competitive. Just as you would budget for office or commercial space, social media should be worked into your base monthly expenses. We see many businesses from start-ups to established organizations focusing their budgets on marketing that produces little to no ROI. Simply because they’ve always done it that way, their competitors do it that way, or they simply are misinformed. It’s not whether your business can afford social media marketing, it’s whether it can afford not to.

Social Media vs Traditional Marketing

Is most traditional marketing outdated and expensive? Yes. Is there still room for traditional marketing in your marketing mix? Yes. However, which should you focus on first? Social media (digital marketing) or traditional marketing? Which is the more important investment? We’ll let the data do the talking.

In terms of cost per thousands metrics (CPM: how many $ you need to spend to reach 1000 people) there is no comparison to social media. In fact, social Media costs HALF as much as the next most effective traditional marketing channel.

Credit: Lyfe Marketing

 

Additionally, there are hidden costs to traditional marketing, such as advertising costs increasing during peak times and large changes in pricing due to production expenses rising.

Social Times Blog has a great Infographic that shows more statistics and key differences. You can check it out here: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/social-vs-traditional-media-marketing/466873

Ultimately some of the key differences can be outlined in the following chart:

Here’s a great infographic which compares content (digital) marketing with traditional marketing:

Credit: Marketo & Digitalist Magazine

Credit: Marketo & Digitalist Magazine

As times change, so does the way we do business. This is why social media is becoming THE main marketing channel for business of all types and sizes, including both B2B and B2C organizations.
Necessity

Why do you need social media? Out of necessity, of course.

First, social media provides your business with increased credibility. With a majority of end users or consumers going to social media pages prior to even visiting websites (and needless to say, before visiting your physical location or calling/emailing), it is important to have a professional presence on social media. Having professionally managed, aesthetically pleasing, and popular social media accounts is comparable to having a dentistry certification on the wall of a dentist office. Better than a review, a professional and strong presence shows that you are a credible tried and true business.

Additionally, social media can and should be used as a base for any other marketing campaigns you may have (traditional or not). All marketing campaigns should send people somewhere, why not send them to social media where they can positively share their experiences or post about the campaign? Imagine asking people to post photos of themselves with your product but having nowhere for the campaign to link to. This is where you can add a #hashtag and ask users to @tag your account(s) where people can find more great content, information, and links.

From a consumer perspective, I personally would be hesitant to check out a business for the first time that does not have a strong social media presence. I almost never go to a business’ physical location without checking out their products, services, reviews, and content on social media prior. The truth is that we are in the digital age, where people like to know everything before they go anywhere or do anything. If the ice cream shop down the road has a stronger social media presence than yours, then chances are I am going to go there rather than yours, despite whether you have the best ice cream in the world or not.

Lastly, social media is a necessity for providing superior customer service. We receive several comments, messages, and reviews everyday on client accounts which we are responsible for monitoring, engaging with, and responding to. Engaging with customers in this way develops long-term customer retention. In the case of negative postings, through simply listening to a customer complaint the issue can be resolved. We recently had a scenario where a customer wrote that he received untimely and unprofessional service at the physical location and would NEVER return. We responded within minutes thanking him for sharing his experience so we (our client) can improve upon this and letting him know that this is not what we (again, our client) strive for in the way of customer service. The customer was quite surprised at receiving a response and noted that the response was worthy of a second chance! From never returning to a second chance within minutes!
Generating Sales

It all comes down to this. Can social media provide a return on investment? Quite simply, yes it can. With millions of local and worldwide social media users, potential customers are out there. Using targeted advertisements and informative posts can help you reach and engage with these potential customers. We know how to take advantage of social media to generate leads, increase sales, find and engage customers, and drive traffic to your business.
Ready to Make the Investment?

Is your handshake strong or weak? As your online first impression, social media is integral to the success of your business. No matter your size, industry, or goals, we can help you achieve your social media and digital marketing goals in creative and cost effective ways.

I’ll leave you with this:

“You can’t win the lottery without buying a ticket. Thinking of social media as a luxury that you can only afford ONCE you’ve reached your goals is like hoping to win the lottery without yet buying a ticket. You have to make the investment first.” -Daniel Sesiakin
Ready to dive in? Email us at getsocial@93agency.com!

5 Steps to Building Your Relationship With Influencers

Being an agency that is immersed in the local community allows us to be more than just a familiar face. It allows us to establish relationships based on trust. While this may sound cliché, it’s the simple truth. Over 90% of consumers will trust earned media over paid forms of traditional advertising. What does this mean for your business and your marketing budget? In short, it means that you can spend thousands of dollars on advertising but all it takes is a few bad reviews or recommendations to tarnish your consumers trust in your brand. What happens when a consumer doesn’t trust your advertising? Nothing. And that’s exactly what will happen to your sales. Nothing.

As a business owner, you may already know this but you’ve also probably wondered how you could make more time to build trusting relationships with your consumers? Hiring an agency to handle your social media is like having a team of professionals networking at your events for you. Think about it, you’re going to be connecting with your new contacts through social media accounts anyways. Why not save yourself the trouble of taking that extra step?

https://www.salesforce.com/ca/blog/2016/06/establish-relationships-with-influencers.html

How To Drive Local Business Traffic With Pokémon Go

It may be just a fad, but the new Pokémon Go game is all over the media. Generously put, the game is very popular. As a business owner, what will you do to capitalize on this opportunity? For many, the answer is nothing. If you’re ambitious, there are ways for you and your business to leverage the mechanics of this game and use it to your advantage.

As a marketing agency in Ottawa, we tend to get curious with how to use new tools and strategies for our clients. When a new technology, app or game catches the world’s attention, it catches our as well. So we asked ourselves, what can we learn from Pokémon Go as marketers?

Although this is only a game, it is an augmented reality game which makes this very real for the players and the businesses that these players spend so much time at. As people congregate to a hotspot, businesses have the opportunity to increase promotions and direct marketing to the newly attained or potential traffic from the game.

Players tend to gather around places like Gyms or Pokéstops. Checkpoints, if you will. We noticed that these players would spend long periods of time at these checkpoints. Ka-ching! Any business has the opportunity to ring in new customers. Some places will get lucky and will naturally be located closer to these Pokémon hotspots and other will not be so lucky. There are ways you could swing the “luck” in your favour. There are reports stating that the game will be partnering with businesses such as McDonald’s to create sponsored locations. As you can imagine, it probably won’t stop there. McDonald’s is only one of many big name brands interested in this marketing strategy but only time will tell who will buy into this booming market.

Small businesses in Ottawa such as Kettleman’s Bagels and Kunstadt Sports have gotten their foot in the door by dropping lures at their location that will attract Pokémon and inevitably, the real world players looking to catch them. Apparently, the app allows each player only a few lures at a time (each lasts approx. 30 minutes). As an active player, you are able to attain more lures. Hint, hint. Theoretically, the more lures you have, the more people will show up. If you’re really looking to get ahead, you may start thinking about having someone from your team play the game to earn these lures a.k.a. traffic generators.

Bonus tip: Ingress is an app from the same people that developed the Pokémon Go mapping system. Ingress maps out the data usage in your area with small dots. So, as a business owner you might want to see if your location(s) is near these “data usage hotspots”. Logically speaking, Pokémon will go towards these high data usage zones. Essentially, data usage attracts Pokémon and Pokémon attract more people. Provided that you can keep people around, this would work very well for businesses that have free Wifi for their customers/visitors.

There is no recipe for success but thanks to Forbes, there are a few tips and tricks that you and your team may use to increase traffic and sales for your business:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/07/13/6-ways-to-use-pokemon-go-in-your-local-marketing-campaign/#183cf7336aae

Client Interview: Eric Kunstadt, Kunstadt Sports

LAST WEEK WE HAD THE PLEASURE OF SPEAKING TO ERIC KUNSTADT, PRESIDENT OF LONG-TIME 93 AGENCY CLIENT KUNSTADT SPORTS. ERIC DISCUSSED HOW WORKING WITH 93 AGENCY HAS BOOSTED THEIR ONLINE PRESENCE, AND HE GIVES SOME ADVICE TO OTHER SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESSES WHO ARE SEEKING RESULTS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA AND DIGITAL MARKETING.

Credit: Natalie Allport, 93 Agency

Credit: Natalie Allport, 93 Agency

*THIS INTERVIEW WAS CONDUCTED VIA TELEPHONE. THIS IS A TRANSCRIPT OF THE PHONE CALL WHICH OCCURRED ON JULY 14TH, 2016 AT 9:03AM.*
N (Natalie Allport): Good morning Eric!

E (Eric Kunstadt): Good morning back to you Natalie!
N: I’m going to get right into it and get started with questions. The Kunstadt name is a staple in Ottawa. Could you tell us more about how your business got started?

E: Well, we started it back in the ’80s when we (Eric and brother Ron) were still in high school. We ran the business out of our parent’s home. More on a part-time basis, and we operated there for about 5 years during university. In 1993 we signed our first commercial space lease and that’s where it all took off!
N: You guys reached out to me a few years ago when you wanted to get started on social media, and had done some work on your own before that. What were your social media efforts like before working with myself and the 93 Agency team?

E: About 5 years ago, we were invited to a conference that was put on by a radio station. They had a guest speaker that was speaking to about 300 local business people. He said that businesses should be focused more on social media marketing to drive sales. Since that day we haven’t spent a dollar on radio, tv, or print advertising, and focused all of our energy and resources on the online aspect. Before we started working with 93 Agency we tried to do it in-house but were not able to achieve success in the long-term. At first, we were motivated to get into it, but with everything else that needs attention in our business, our team would get into it for a couple weeks and then something would come up and we would get distracted and forget about it. We realized it was important to have someone to manage it properly and consistently in order for the audience and reach to grow and keep growing.
N: We’ve been working together for several years now! How has business changed since then?

E: There’s always ups and downs in business and there are a lot of factors that go into play. Right now, things are on the up and up and a lot of that can be attributed to social media and marketing, staff training, and the market itself, in terms of competition and seasonal demand. Whenever we have a new announcement, we definitely use all of our digital assets, whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Email… all of those are great tools for a business like ours in a city like Ottawa. We’ve definitely seen significant growth in our reach and sales since working with 93 Agency and having you guys manage these marketing efforts.
N: Would you agree that social media is something that takes full-time dedicated attention?

E: When you’re operating a business with 50 employees and three different locations, there’s a lot of projects on the go and deadlines that are happening with purchasing and receiving goods, so having a team dedicated to social media management is a huge weight off our shoulders which allows to focus on other things like delivering quality customer service and products that people love and keep coming back for. It’s aa collaborative effort and we try to do a bit on our end, but we really wouldn’t be able to able to do it without the help of 93 Agency.
N: We really appreciate the respect you have for what we do! We believe that social media is, and if it is not already, should be used as the main marketing channel for small and medium businesses. Would you agree?

E: I do. We’re almost 100% online and digital with our marketing, other than doing live events and demos. Even then, social media helps us leverage these events and activities by promoting them online and creating a conversation or buzz to get people there in the first place.
N: Has working with us given you a competitive advantage in your market?

E: Definitely! We’ve really been able to take advantage of using social media to reach our customers and keep them updated.
N: What would you say to small and medium business owners who are hesitant about starting on social media? Would you recommend they start on their own, or recruit an agency?

E: They should definitely hire an agency. It’s best to go to the experts, which is what you guys are! They should also get familiar with the forms of media that they want to be using. It will help you appreciate the success of the agency’s efforts and it will help you understand it more as you grow your business. A good idea can come from anywhere and anyone and you need to know what content to send to the agency. It helps to understand how much effort really goes on behind the scenes.
N: Thank you so much for your time! As you know, we love working with you guys and the relationship we have built. It’s been awesome to see how we’ve grown together, Kunstadt being our very first client! Is there anything you’d like to add before we conclude the conversation?

E: We love working with you and enjoy seeing how the agency is growing and helping us grow! It’s great to see how the relationship has built and will be exciting to see where we will got together in the future. We are definitely in this for the long haul and appreciate all the effort you guys put in! It’s important that we’ve built a close long-term relationship, as you guys have been able to spend time getting to know our business really well, which is why we’ve both been so successful.
From the entire 93 Agency team, we thank Eric and Kunstadt Sports for the trust they have given us. Thanks especially to Eric for the information and knowledge you shared with us throughout this interview. We hope this helps to encourage other businesses to boost their online efforts and recognize the effort it takes to reach this level of social media success.

Want to learn more about Kunstadt Sports? Check out their website: www.kunstadt.com

Looking for more information on social media management? Email us at: getsocial@93agency.com