Posts Tagged :

Website

What Terms Are Your Customers Using To Search?

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A really quick  blog post about how to make sure your website is set up for search terms that your customers are using to find your business.

Sounds obvious right? That your website should contain the phrases that your customers are searching for?

Well maybe, but it’s important to remember the difference between how you would term the services you provide, in relation to how your potential clients and customers would.

The best example I come across regularly is in the Property Industry. Often, Estate Agents use terms such as ‘letting agent’ throughout their website, and as such they can rank well for the term – for example ‘Letting Agent In Twickenham’. I would argue that from an authority point of view that this a good term to be ranking for in terms of being found for a service that you provide.

But our research tells us that the search engine user is much more likely to type ‘Property To Rent In Twickenham’ into Google – so ideally you really want your site to be found for that search term too.

Google’s latest ‘Hummingbird’ update also takes into account the more colloquial nature of search – much of which is stemming from smartphone use and the questions we ask of apps such as Siri which are now helping to dictate the way we search. So we might even ask something like ‘Where can I find a flat to rent in Twickenham?’.

So remember to ‘Tell Google’ what you do – you can do this primarily by featuring the keywords that your potential clients and customers are searching for in your website page titles, headings and regularly in your content. Make sure you link to relevant pages within your site by hyperlinking those keywords to specific pages. And if you blog about the subject – make sure you link back to relevant content too.

Got more SEO questions? We want to answer them for you! Contact us today… thanks for reading.

Written by Matt Davis | Managing Director | The Bright Click

Enhancing Your Personal Brand Using LinkedIn

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LinkedIn_ExampleOn Tuesday of this week I was fortunate enough to be asked by Nicki Kavanagh at The Juniper Co to take part in a webinar at their head office in Aldershot.

The webinar was aimed at members of their exclusive Alumni Group and was part of a series of events on how to enhance your personal brand, and the part that Social Media can play in doing so.

It was a very enjoyable hour, and in the Q+A session towards the end, I was asked some questions about LinkedIn and Twitter.

As I gave my answers to these questions, it occurred to me that many people aren’t using LinkedIn to its full potential – particularly in terms of their personal brand.

Think about going for a job interview – you’d do your research, you’d update your CV, you’d wear smart clothes, you may even have a haircut (as Dan says to me – which hair did you have cut..?!) – but the point is that all of these things, plus the way you then present yourself in the interview, form part of your personal brand.

So please do bear in mind the importance of presenting yourself in the same way on the Social Networks that you use – particularly on LinkedIn as the perceived  ‘professional’ platform of choice.  A potential client, customer or employer checking you out online may see your failure to keep your online profile up-to-date as a potential shortcoming.

So to help you avoid this scenario,  here are a few tips to help you present yourself in the best way online:

1) Profile Pic – is your LinkedIn profile pic one of you lying on a beach with a sangria and a sombrero? Or having a bit too much of a good time in the pub? Then consider changing it to something a little more sober – a simple head shot or you working in your current role for example. If you’re a teacher, a photo of you teaching is perfect for example. If it is a head shot – try and be smiling 🙂

Oh and the cardinal sin – no profile pic – there’s no excuse not to have one! How will anyone know if it’s THAT John Smith from the networking event…?

2) Your Biography – Make sure it’s filled in and don’t be scared of bigging yourself up, you’ve got a few seconds to make an impression so spend some time thinking about that killer opening line – and also how that works in conjunction with your profile picture, try and make sure the two marry together nicely if you can. First impressions are everything and online you have even less time to make an impact so make it count.

3) You Current Role – Most people create a LinkedIn profile as they are either looking for work or setting one up to network as part of a current role. However when they then move roles, the profile can simply be ‘left behind’. Bear in mind that your LinkedIn profile ultimately reflects YOU and YOUR brand – not that of the company that you work for. So if they’ve asked you to set one up, make sure that when you leave the company that your LinkedIn profile comes with you. Setting up a new profile for a new company is all well and good but someone searching for you and finding five different profiles of you working for five different companies with no end date is going to be confused. Either delete old profiles or make sure that your new profile is as up to date with your current role as it can be.

LinkedIn_Expertise4) Ask for recommendations – you’ve probably seen the ‘endorsements’ section of LinkedIn that has emerged in recent months, where you can simply endorse someone as LinkedIn asks you ‘Does Matt know about Online Marketing?’ However I’ve subsequently kindly been endorsed for random skills by people I’ve never worked for or with!

The real weight comes from recommendations, where previous colleagues and clients can write a recommendation on you as a person – adding huge value to your personal branding online. It’s great ‘Social Proof’ that you know what you’re talking about!

5) Demonstrate Your Knowledge and Authority – Make sure you post regularly about what you do and the results that you’re achieving. Do you write a blog? Make sure you link to it. Did you win an award? Post a photo of you receiving it. Seen something interesting in the news about what you do for a living? Post the link as an update. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for you to demonstrate exactly what you know about your specialist subject and role within the company. Make sure that anyone landing on your profile is impressed immediately!

Need more help with LinkedIn? Or maybe you want us to just check out your profile and let you know how it could be optimised further? Drop us a line here.

Written by Matt Davis

Looking For A New Job? – Good, Because We Are Looking To Recruit

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We are pleased to announce that we are now looking to recruit the next member of our fast-growing online marketing team.

This role is full-time, although a part-time role would also be considered for the right applicant.

Our business is growing quickly and that’s largely thanks to the commitment, hard-work and expertise of our small but dedicated team.

We have recently moved into new offices next to Twickenham station in order to support our continued growth and to create a great working environment for our team.

So who are we looking for?

Ideally you will be interested in marketing, specifically online, and will have a passion for digital and technology.

This role would best suit a school or university leaver but all applications will be seriously considered regardless.

We will provide full training but previous experience or knowledge of online marketing strategies would be a bonus although by no means essential.

Our clients expect us to be pro-active, provide value and deliver excellent account management – we pride ourselves on this and would look for the same levels of service from the successful applicant. If you’re the sort of person who enjoys ‘going the extra mile’ then we want to talk to you…

We’d expect you to enjoy learning and to be pro-active in implementing strategies and techniques in an ever-changing and incredibly fast-moving environment.

Flexibility and adaptability are also key in the areas that we work in – we work in a relaxed environment but every now and again the pressure gets turned up and we need to be ready to react when this happens.

We are a small company so as clichéd as it sounds, teamwork and a willingness to help others plays a huge part in how our business moves forward.

The main day-to-day activities will be centred around Social Media management on behalf of our clients – representing our clients’ respective businesses by promoting them and engaging with their customers and clients online.

There will also be elements of other marketing involved including Google Adwords, SEO, Facebook Ads, e-marketing, blogging, web design and more.

If you think this could be your cup of tea then please get in touch.

Email matt@thebrightclick.co.uk with your CV and a covering letter and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Matt Davis
Managing Director
TheBrightClick Ltd
07723 352 927

Event – So How Does Social Media Work?

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Juniper Event Panel

(l-r) Jane Mancini, Kevin Williams, Matt Davis

Last night I was fortunate to be asked to sit on a panel of industry experts as part of a presentation by Nicki Kavanagh at The Juniper Co to 35 business owners in Aldershot and the surrounding areas.

It was a superbly constructed event, with a great presentation by Nicki, punctuated by questions to the panel (which consisted of myself, web design expert Kevin Williams from Servon Design, and branding expert Jane Mancini of Wag Design, and lots of engagement and interaction from the audience, which created a great atmosphere.

A wide range of topics was covered including branding, which social media platforms you should use for your business, blogging, web design, customer engagement and much, much more.

You can view the original presentation here and you can find out more about Nicki and The Juniper Co here. 

Give Your Website A Spring Clean Today!

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I’ve noticed a few things about the change in weather this week. 

Firstly, it seems to make everyone a little bit happier when the sun comes out – all over Facebook and Twitter at the weekend were pictures of people out in the sunshine, kids eating ice creams – yes it was only a little bit of sunshine and a few degrees warmer but it made a big difference.

However I then realised that this change in attitude has a bit of a knock-on effect. Green Lawn - The Bright Click

The sun shining in through my living room window highlighted the dust settling on my blind – honestly I have no idea of the last time I dusted it! Also, the grass in the garden suddenly looked much too long, so I went to grab the lawnmower from the shed but there was loads of other stuff in the way where I hadn’t had to use it for a few months.

Then when I started mowing the lawn, I found loads of little toys under the long grass that I had to keep moving for fear of breaking the lawnmower by running one of them over. So it took twice as long as it should have.

Now it’s not really practical to mow your lawn throughout the winter as the weather doesn’t always permit you to, but it got me thinking that if I had mowed the lawn just once on a dry day in November, and again on a dry day in February, it would not have taken me so long this time.

If I had dusted the blind before the sunlight so embarrassingly illuminated it for me, it wouldn’t have taken me so long to clean (it took FOREVER!).

And then it occurred to me that the same really does apply to the maintenance that you carry out on your website – when was the last time you gave your website a spring clean? 

But more importantly, what do you do weekly to keep your website ticking over as it should? 

Because making these changes daily or weekly not only saves you time and hassle in the long run, it also keeps Google happy and lets the search engines know that your site is relevant, topical and dynamic.

Broken Link Example - The Bright Click

A Broken Link – Google Doesn’t Like These

Here is a brief list of the sort of thing you should be doing daily / weekly on your site:

  • Check for broken links – we’ve all done it – linked from one page to another (which Google loves) and then later on deleted one of the pages, forgetting that it was linked somewhere else (Google’s not so keen on this). Think of the user experience – you don’t want people landing on your site and within a couple of minutes getting the dreaded 404 page – nip this in the bud nice and early by using Google Webmaster Tools to highlight any broken links for you to fix. There’s also a handy WordPress plugin that does this too. 
  • Make sure your meta descriptions are up to date and relevant – that snippet of descriptive  information that you see on Google searches stems from your website’s meta description – there’s not a huge amount of SEO value to these but you’ve got 140 characters to accurately describe your website to the person who’s searching so try and make it worth reading! Email me today for an awesome ninja trick that you can use on your meta descriptions – you won’t believe how simple and effective it is…
  • Check that your images are all alt-tagged – you know that little yellow box that appears above images when you hover the mouse over it? Google takes notice of this and loves it when they are correct – make sure you get a keyword or two in there too…
  • Write a blog and then tell everyone about it. This takes a bit more effort and I’ll go into more detail on this in a future post but blogging is the best way to tell Google how important your website is AND it gives you great content to post on Social Media too…

So – a few things to be getting on with and if you spread these out throughout the year then you won’t have to do them all at once – keeping your website visitors and Google happy at the same time!

I’m off to clean out the barbecue… 🙁

Need advice on keeping your website up to date, dynamic and Google-friendly? Drop us a line or call us on 08433 832 732

Written by Matt Davis

What Google Wants Right Now – In A Nutshell

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Google LogoGoogle is constantly adapting and after the algorithm changes of 2012 it can become more and more complex and difficult for smaller websites and businesses to get noticed, especially when there are much larger companies and more established websites in competition. So how do you get ahead and make sure you still appear near the top in Google web searches? Well, 1st up on the list be, of course, do exactly what Google tells you to:

1/ DO WHAT GOOGLE TELLS YOU TO DO!

Don’t be silly. You cannot ‘outsmart’ Google. It’s waaay too powerful and important to your business. Do what it tells you to do, don’t do anything that you might think maybe it doesn’t want you to do, and everything else should be plain sailing. If you think you might need it, there are plenty of reputable internet marketing agencies out there that can help with optimization techniques.

2/ NO COPYING!

Whether you’re copying text from another website or have a range of websites with selling similar products, it’s all the same to Google. It’ll identify the repeat patterns and the sites will not be listed. Customers want choice and Google knows this. So it’s trying to prevent one company dominating a particular search by having lots of websites advertising the same product. Keep it original, keep it fresh.

4/ DON’T BUY DODGY BACKLINKS!

Google used to keep an eye on how many other websites had a link to yours and make an assumption that the more links you had, the more popular your business. Makes sense, right? Well, no actually. Because this could obviously be exploited as a good business opportunity by sharp entrepreneurs looking to sell lots of backlinks to companies in a bid to up their perceived popularity. And it was. A lot. Which was why when Google cracked down on this kind of behaviour lots of business shot down the rankings virtually overnight.  Don’t fall for it, don’t buy them. Organic (ie legitimate) backlinking does carry some weight still but is certainly no-where near the way forward as it might have been a couple of years ago.

5/ MAKE YOUR CUSTOMER YOUR FOCUS

A lot of businesses will reason that because Google are all powerful, it should be their primary concern with regards to marketing, forgetting all at once the key player in your business. The customer. Google after all, is constantly tinkering with its product to meet the demands of its customers, so this is what you should be doing. Create great, original, fresh new content regularly. Update your website with new ideas, new blogs, share interesting information and people will naturally be drawn to it. Get them reading, sharing and commenting on your content, and search engine traffic will increase as a result.

6/ CREATE A GOOGLE+ ACCOUNT

If you haven’t already, do this now. Then make sure that everything you produce has your name (and/or photo) and is linked to your Google+ account. Then, make sure that your Google+ account lists whatever it is within the contributor section of links. You are doing this because Google has recognized that social signals are a great indicator for search engine rankings. The more ‘shares’, ‘likes’, and ‘+1’s’ your content the higher up the rankings you are going to be. Plus if you regularly blog or post on a particular subject, and you get lots of comments, likes and +1’s, then you’re more likely to be ranked as an author in that particular field. You are using Google, you want Google to like you, so sign up to Google+ and show them you like them too. And make sure you engage on other Social Media platforms too – Google likes this. Social is BIG in 2013.

7/ KEYWORDS

Time was when a website, in order to be recognized in a search ranking, would insert ridiculous amounts of keywords relating to their business in order to fly up said rankings (or worse, from a customer perspective, be taken to their website when they actually wanted to be somewhere else). But Google, again, thinking of their customers, have tried to stop this. Customers don’t want to read reams of pointless keywords (in fact, they don’t, they just click the X and move on), so in order to change this up, Google will now recognize repeated keywords and penalize the offending website accordingly. Whatever you put up, read it back, aloud. Does it sound natural? Are you repeating keywords or phrases over and over again? Mix it up. Make it interesting. Using different words will not only make it far less boring for your customer to read (if they read it at all), but will also serve to increase your rankings in the other words.

Using Twitter To Win More Business

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Social Media marketing can be used for a variety of different purposes – the most important thing to do when starting any marketing campaign is to set objectives – to know what you want to achieve from the campaign.

This enables you to determine whether or not the campaign was a success.

Marketing of any kind should not be about ‘ticking boxes’ – for example – Facebook Page? Tick. Twitter Account? Tick.

These platforms can be incredibly powerful if used properly and it’s on this subject that I wanted to post an article from Sarah Blenkinsop at Golden Frog PR.

Sarah and I have been working in collaboration for a little while now and are getting some great results for our clients.

However it’s the story of how Sarah gained three new clients through Twitter that I really want to highlight – she has learned through trial and error how to best utilise the platform for her needs, and now she has a solid Social Media strategy she is seeing some incredible results – I’ll let her take up the story:

“When I first signed up to it, I wasn’t sure what the use of Twitter was – I was a bit delayed in getting involved to be honest, despite my profession.
I spent the first little while working out how it worked, and then decided to follow a load of people to see if they followed back. To my surprise they did! One day, when feeling rather philosophical I posted my favorite saying – If you live today thinking about yesterday you don’t let tomorrow happen. It was re-tweeted all over the place, and my following got huge! I guess as a result of having more followers I got more followers, and now I fluctuate between 3500 and 4000.
I have realised that some things make followers disappear. For example I lost 500 in one day by posting details of a sale that one of my clients was having. I learnt not to do that again!
The best thing about my engagement is that it has won me three new clients. I do fashion PR – it’s hard to win new clients as there are a lot of people out there doing what I do. One client approached me direct and asked me to pitch, which I did, and won. Another client tweeted that he wanted free PR, so I got in touch and we worked out a way he could afford it.

And the last was hunted out by me – I had loads of cross promotional opportunities and so tweeted offering some free PR, and approached specific companies with the offer. One took me up on it, and added a retainer on top! I never thought that Twitter would amount to actual contracts. It’s subtle, but if you play it right it can translate into serious commercial sense, for what amounts to a few minutes a day.”

It’s a fantastic case study and proof that if you do things right using Social Media then you can achieve amazing results.

Have you got a Social Media success story that you want to share with us? Let us know in the comments box below or over on our Facebook Page.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter here or The Bright Click here.

Have a great day!

Matt

An Introduction To Online Marketing – Part One

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Most businesses in 2012 understand that they should be marketing online – people are spending increasing amounts of time online, the growing number of smartphones on the market is making mobile search more abundant and more important, and Social Media use continues to rise across all platforms.

The problem for businesses is knowing where to start, and what type of online marketing will suit them best, and give them the best chance of success.

So on this basis we plan to publish a series of regular blog posts to help businesses understand the different types of online marketing, and their subsequent benefits, in as simple terms as possible.

We will always try not to use jargon, and where we need to, we’ll do our best to explain what the jargon means!

And if there’s anything you would like more info on at any time, then please email the team at the following addresses:

matt@thebrightclick.co.uk | dan@thebrightclick.co.uk | hollie@thebrightclick.co.uk

We hope you enjoy the articles!

Online Marketing – Search Engine Listings

There are two main types of marketing approaches for search engine listings. The first is known as ORGANIC; these search engine results are natural or ‘free’ listings.

The second is PAID; search engine results appearing as paid advertisements are generally referred to as ‘sponsored links’ and usually work on a ‘Pay Per Click’ (PPC) basis – ie the person who has placed the advert only pays on the occasion that the advert is clicked on by the user.

Search engines will typically rank the most relevant results at the top of the page. This is determined by the searcher’s query – the ‘keywords’ that they type in.  Depending on the search engine, the relevancy of the search is calculated in different ways – and these are changed regularly in order to continually deliver the most accurate results, and also to deter spammers or those intent on cheating their way to search engine success.

On Google, both organic and paid results will appear for the same query, however the results are separate from each other. You will see the ‘sponsored links’ as the top three results in the ‘yellow box’ at the top of Google’s search results, and also some more of these along the right-hand side of the page.

The main advantage of a PPC campaign is that the advertiser can perform well and have a strong online presence, even if their site doesn’t currently rank as well in the organic search results.

SEO

SEO is a term that you will see a lot in relation to Online Marketing – it stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is essentially the process of either creating new websites or altering existing sites in order for them to rank highly in a search engine’s organic listings, when users search on terms that are related to the site’s content.

There are two type of SEO that you will generally hear referred to – ‘On Page’ and ‘Off Page’.

‘On Page’ basically refers to getting your website as geared up as possible for Google to ‘like’ it. This means using the main keywords associated with your website regularly within the content, implementing images and labelling them correctly and accurately, using strong headings, and other factors (we will go into this in more detail in a future blog) that will all improve the ranking results of your website.

Overall, it is vital to generate engaging content and appropriate keywords in order to maximise the chances of Google ‘liking’ your site when it crawls it.

‘Off Page’ means the amount of other sites that link back to your site – and the quality of these sites.

Google has traditionally considered links to a website to be a factor of how relevant and ‘important’ that site is – if a site had lots of links to it then Google made an assumption that this added to the relevance of the site.

However over time this has led to businesses creating ‘fake’ backlinks to their site and subsequently giving them a false advantage on the search results – these results often were based more on backlinks than on content, which is of course not how it should be.

Search results were coming down to who had the most SEO ‘tricks’ rather than whether the content on the site was relevant. When you consider that the very point of Google and other search engines is to deliver the most relevant results to the searcher, then something had to change – and it has in Google’s last couple of major updates, which they codenamed ‘Panda’ and ‘Penguin’.

Although backlinks still play a part, they are no longer as prominent and ‘fake’ links are being stamped out by Google on daily basis, with sites utilising them being strongly penalised.

Content and relevance are now very much king in the SEO world – so having your site set up properly has never been so important.

Please subscribe to this blog to receive our next instalment – or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to be kept up to date!

Five Things You Should Know About The New Facebook Business Timeline

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Facebook LogoFollowing the introduction of the Facebook personal profile Timeline back in October, it was only a matter of time before these were rolled out to Facebook Business Pages too – and in the early hours of this morning, this became a reality.

This changes a great deal about your Facebook Business Page but there’s no need to panic – the new page designs don’t go live until 30th March 2012, although you can choose to publish yours before then if you wish to.

Pretty much the entire layout has changed – it won’t be to everyone’s taste immediately but I think it’s a decent improvement on what we had before.

Here are the five main things you need to know: 

1) The most startling change is the new cover image. Gone is the small image in the top-left corner of the page, or the ‘skyscraper’ image running down the left-side. These have been replaced by a comparatively huge image at the very top of the screen, which you can customise with your business branding and other images. There’s some real scope to be creative here too as you also have use of a smaller image which overlaps the cover – this also acts as your thumbnail when you post comments and updates.

Be careful when designing this though, as according to Facebook’s terms and conditions your new cover image cannot include the following:

  • Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it at our website”.
  • Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section.
  • References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features.
  • Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends”.

Facebook Timeline Example2) You can use the ‘Pin To Top’ button to highlight a favourite post as one of the main posts on your timeline. It’s simple too – just click on the upper right corner of your chosen post. It’s a great way to highlight a current offer to new and current fans landing on your page and it lasts for seven days only so it easy to stay on top of too. This feature is particularly welcome as Facebook have taken away their ‘landing tab’ feature, where previously you were able to choose which aspect of your Facebook page people could land on when visiting for the first time. You can now only send people directly to specific tabs using Facebook Ads, although the tabs are still manually accessible through the timeline.

3) You can now add ‘Milestones’ to your business page. For example this could highlight the day you opened for business, or a specific launch of a product or service. You can also add images relating to these milestones to make them really stand out and effectively record the ongoing history of your business in real-time online.

4) Audience engagement just went up a notch as fans of pages can now directly message businesses through the page itself – this used to be one of my main issues with Facebook business pages. It’s potentially a brilliant and effective call-to-action, as rather than picking up the phone or sending an email, there is now the opportunity to simply click on the ‘message’ button and send a direct message to the business immediately. Likewise, businesses can now directly message their fans in this way too – a very welcome feature.

FB Admin Panel5) The Admin section of the page has been completely redesigned, meaning that with the new ‘Admin Panel’, everything is in one place for page admins. This includes insights (to get an instant at-a-glance view of how your page is performing), new ‘likes’, notifications and also messages. Plus there is a handy ‘audience building’ tab included where you can easily invite email contacts or create an advert.

Due to the phasing-in of this change, there’s plenty of time to get used to the new features and to prepare yourself with the right images – if you need any advice on image sizes or structures then please do get in touch and I’ll be very happy to help.

Facebook have also implemented a very handy ‘preview’ feature where you can see what your new page will look like before it’s officially published as the timeline on 30th March 2012. This also means that if you’re happy with how your page looks and you’re ready to go, you can simply click the ‘Publish’ button, and you’re away!

What are your views on the timeline? Can you see additional benefits that I haven’t mentioned above? I’d love to know your thoughts – why not comment over on my Facebook page…. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

 

Three Ways To Deal With Unhappy Clients Using Social Media

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Many businesses are sceptical about using Social Media as they fear it will open up a ‘can of worms’ – giving their customers the opportunity to complain publicly on the rare occasions that things don’t quite go to plan.

However I would suggest that the opposite is true.

Think of it this way. Over 28million people in the UK use Facebook, and the number using Twitter is creeping up on a daily basis – your clients and customers are among these people, as are their friends, clients, and customers too.

If someone wants to complain about your business then they will – and they will most likely do this online. I’m not great at remembering truisms but one that sticks in my mind goes something like “If a customer is happy with your service they will tell one person, if they are unhappy they will tell ten”.

Social Media is essentially today’s word-of-mouth‘ – and therefore customers will most likely tell more than just the ten people they are unhappy – if they post this as a status update they are more likely to be telling hundreds!

And as we all know in business, things can go wrong, it’s impossible to please all of the people, all of the time (although I try :-)).

But these negatives can quickly be turned into positives – if somebody is unhappy with your service levels then you want to hear about it right?

Well having a business account on a Social Media platform is a great way of achieving that – as rather than just name your company, the unhappy customer is much more likely to seek you out and look to link to your social media account within their complaint. If they are already a regular customer, they may well follow you on these platforms already. I’ve seen this scenario on a number of occasions across my entire client range – but this is a good thing!

You have the chance to quickly and publicly respond – immediately demonstrating great customer service by showing your customer that you do care, and seeing how you can put it right.

As you engage in dialogue with your customer, their friends, clients and customers can see the conversation and see the lengths you are going to in order to get things right. And although people complain – it’s often spur of the moment and by responding positively you can quickly promote a ‘change-of-heart’ from your customer – it can often even lead to an apology from the customer for complaining in the first place!

So don’t bury your head in the sand. Whether you agree with Social Media or are yet to be convinced, take my word for it, your customers are talking about you online and surely you’d much rather know about this and be able to address it than not..?

Dominos Pizza

Here are my three top tips for responding:

1) Find Out In The First Place.

If you’re on Facebook and Twitter in particular then you will be alerted to anyone who links directly to you in the complaint so you can respond very quickly. However, I would suggest using regular keyword searches on these sites to check for general mentions of your brand regardless. Free software like the fabulous Hootsuite enable you to manage up to five accounts on the same dashboard and also run real-time keyword reports so you’ll never miss a mention. If you’re not one of the Social Media converted as yet, you can still use tools such as Google Alerts to notify you of online mentions of your brand. Remember – you can’t respond to complaints that you can’t see!

2) Act Personally and Quickly

It’s a good idea to respond as quickly as you can, even with a quick – “Thank you for your message and I’m sorry to hear that – my name’s Matt and I’m looking into this for you. I’ll respond in full as soon as I’m able to”. This gives a human element to your business (as I write about in my ‘Humanise Your Business‘ blog post) and also stops the complaint from escalating any further from your customer’s point of view at that very point. If you feel that the subject matter of the complaint isn’t appropriate to deal with in the public domain, then at this point you could also request an email address or phone number using a direct message. If you’re happy to discuss the matter publicly (which hopefully you are!), then this is perfect forum to take steps to put the experience right for the customer, and show the world that you’re doing so.

3) Apologise Properly – And Don’t Get Into An Argument!

Ultimately, it’s a good idea to apologise and do it well. If you’re in the wrong, take full responsibility and involve the customer in how you put it right. The customer already has the upper-hand from the start as they have made the official complaint and are unhappy – they also know that ideally (in most cases) you don’t want to lose them as a customer. All you can do is try and engage them in conversation and not respond to derogatory comments. If the customer should become abusive then it’s a difficult one for you to win – just stick to your principles, re-enforce your apology, and move on.

Finally here is a great example of an apology done well using Social Media. FedEx get everything right here, an apology from the top, and on the same Social Media platform (in this case YouTube) that the original complaint was posted. Let me know what you think.

I hope you find the above information useful – if you’d like any further advice or want to know how this type of thing can be managed for you, then please contact me.

 

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