• Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on November 18, 2014

    The Rules of Engagement on Facebook

    If you want to make your content sharable and searchable on Facebook, you need to have a thorough understanding of Facebook principles and the general rules that apply to content and behavior.
  • Cha-ching! With a little extra effort on your part, you can see a noticeable increase in sales on Cyber Monday. Learn the most effective (and time-constraint friendly) marketing tactics to use to give your business a chance at cashing in on this profitable day.

    Cyber Monday, Black Friday’s technologically savvier cousin, is right around the corner. (Seriously, it falls on December 1 this year.)

    For online sellers, this means it’s time to stop dreaming of all that turkey you’re about to eat (or tofurkey, if you’re like me) and get your ass into high gear.

    Still not motivated? These stats from last year's Cyber Monday might help:

    • 2013 Cyber Monday sales totaled $2.29 billion.
    • Social media drove $148 million in sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.

    Sounds even tastier than that turkey, right? Let's get this last-minute guide to Cyber Monday started!

    Upload Your Products ASAP

    You know how you initially uploaded three of your products to your ecommerce site or online shop with the mental promise that you’d get to the other 30 at some point soon?

    Well, now it's months later, and you’re still offering only a few products online, when you really have a much wider and more appealing selection offline. Remember, the more products you have for sale, the more credible your business looks. And the more likely it is for you to appeal to a wider audience.

    If the idea of getting all of your products up at once is overwhelming, set aside 30 minutes to an hour each night to ensure you’ve made some serious progress come Cyber Monday. Don't forget that great product descriptions as well as captivating images can make a big difference in the amount of sales you get too.

    Now pour yourself a glass of wine (or two, if you’re like me) and start uploading products like it’s your job. (Because it kinda is.)

    Don't Go Crazy With Discounts

    We all know that consumers are going to be looking for smoking deals this day, but don’t let that pressure you into offering discounts you can’t afford. (You know the old saying, "Never write a check that your ass can't cash"?)

    Larger brands can easily discount their entire product line if they want to, but if a small business owner does that, it can kill their profit margin almost instantly. (But at least it'll be a quick death?) Instead, why not tier your discounts based on how much a consumer spends? For example: spend $100, get $20 off, spend $50, get $10 off.

    You can also give gift cards instead of an immediate discount. Spend $200 and receive a $50 gift card with your online order.

    Send Out an Email Blast

    Email marketing is undoubtedly your friend when it comes to everyday marketing tactics. But it’s your best friend when it comes to the big, profitable shopping days like Cyber Monday.

    Here’s what you need to do:

    • First, define your deal. (E.g., all sweaters are 25% off.)
    • Second, write persuasive copy. And give your deal urgency. For example: Warm, cozy, stylish… and 25% off?! That’s right! Our entire line of sweaters is on sale for one glorious day only! Get this great deal on Cyber Monday by using the promo code LETSCYBER at checkout. Browse our sweater selection now.
    • Third, use an eye-catching subject line. (E.g., Our best Cyber Monday deal ever)

    Send this email a few days before the sale to drum up interest and then send another the day-of with revised copy, like this example below:

    • Subject line: Hurry! 25% off sweaters today only
    • Body of email: It’s here! It’s here! Cyber Monday is upon us and you know what that means… 25% off our entire inventory of sweaters. But, hurry, you’ve only got today to score this smoking deal. Enter promo code LETSCYBER at checkout. Shop now.

    Always include a call to action (e.g., browse now, shop now) and be sure to include a direct link to your online shop for easy purchasing before sending your emails!

    Promote Heavily on Social Media

    Of course, you’ll want to promote your products and deal(s) on social media in advance, but a heavy push the day-of is also going to be important.

    Without over-killing it and annoying your followers, a few tweets and posts throughout the day will help remind your target market to check out what you have to offer.

    According to PFS Web, online sales peak beginning at 11 a.m. EST on Cyber Monday and hold strong until late in the evening, meaning it would be smart for you to be on the computer continually this day, tweeting, sharing, pinning, Instagramming (and so on) your deal along with product pictures.

    Use hashtags on applicable sites (#cybermonday and #cybermondaydeals) to help deal-seekers find you. Be on hand to reply to customers and join in on the online conversations to help you drive sales and engage with shoppers.

    Put Down That Pie and Get Started

    Just kidding. You can totally do all of the above whilst eating any type of pie, but pumpkin is preferable. (Heavy on the whipped cream.)

    What's most important is that you actually give your small business a fighting chance to be seen and heard, not only on Cyber Monday, but throughout the holiday season.

    And you can do this by creating a marketing plan of attack (ahem, like the one above) and committing to helping it succeed by working on it a bit every day.

    Continue on with special incentives throughout December, including email blasts and social media posts to help ensure this holiday season is your best, and most profitable one, yet!

    Share your questions below on how to increase Cyber Monday sales.

    Rooted in science and art, proper storytelling is the root of successful marketing. Stories don't just contain information, but they also have the power to influence mood and emotions. And emotional response, according to a Psychology Today article called Inside the Consumer Mind, outweighs rational analysis when it comes to influencing purchase decisions.

    It's probably not a stretch for me to claim that people have loved stories since the human race developed the ability to tell them. I can imagine the earliest hominids using grunts and gestures to tell stories around the camp as a way to educate, warn, and of course, influence their fellows. We might imagine our earliest ancestors developing the craft of storytelling until it became hardwired into our brains as part of what makes us human.

    Stories don't just contain information, but they also have the power to influence mood and emotions. And emotional response, according to a Psychology Today article called Inside the Consumer Mind, outweighs rational analysis when it comes to influencing purchase decisions. Now it's time to reflect on how you can use storytelling in your successful marketing campaigns.

    1. Be Honest

    Of course, you are telling stories. Characters might be fictional, but the brand has to deliver on the promise. A tooth fairy doesn't actually collect teeth. Parents don't promise that the fictional tooth collector will leave a pony. Kids know they can leave teeth under their pillow and expect them to get replaced with a dollar or some other reasonable reward. The Tooth Fairy, be she mom or dad in real life, delivers on the brand and everybody's satisfied. You are free to exercise creativity, but you can't do it at the expense of trust in your brand.

    2. Create Personalities

    Flo, the gecko from Geico, and State Farm's mayhem guy help differentiate similar products in a competitive business environment. Instead of just using unmemorable and dry statements that one insurance company or another reliably covers car and home accidents, the companies have developed brand personas to make them memorable. You don't have to have a mascot, but it is helpful to infuse your brand with a personality.

    3. Make Your Brand the Good Guy

    Instead of using clearly fictional mascots, like the Geico Gecko, you are free to develop a persona that is more rooted in real life. In fact, as authors, many of you will represent your brand as yourself. If you write fiction, you might pull main characters from your stories to represent your brand. Either way, be sure to present your own brand representatives as interesting characters that your potential audience cares about.

    4. Tell a Complete Story

    The best marketing storytelling follows the rules of fiction in that there is a clear problem and resolution. In simpler terms, there must be a beginning, a middle, and a conclusion. Even if you do it very quickly, delivering a complete story satisfies your audience and doesn't just confuse them. Of course, this still leaves room for cliffhangers, and that brings up the fifth point...

    5. Leave Them Wanting More

    Well, of course, we hope the end result of storytelling is leaving our audience wanting more. Crafted correctly, proper stories should influence an audience to return for more of the same, and eventually, a purchase of your products. As book marketers, you need to let your audience know where to find the rest of the story.

    What's Your Story?

    As marketers, we know we cannot just use dry phrases that emphasize features and benefits but lack any narrative quality. Storytelling helps market brands by stimulating both intellect and emotion, so now it's time for us to develop your story, and of course, give it a happy ending.

    It's easy for a business to get wrapped online with social media without connecting that activity to their brick and mortar retail locations, but that's a result of misunderstanding the way retailers should be integrating their online activity. Social media is an extension of retail locations, not a separate entity.

    It's easy for a business to get wrapped online with social media without connecting that activity to their brick and mortar retail locations, but that's a result of misunderstanding the way retailers should be integrating their online activity.

    Social media is an extension of retail locations, not a separate entity.

    That's not to say that you can't create additional revenue online, but unless you plan on closing down the physical locations your online activity should also be a bridge into your stores. There are a number of traditional retailers who have found creative and effective ways to build that bridge. Here are some things you can do to increase sales in your stores and build your online following at the same time.

    Offer In-Store Coupons and Discounts

    Although this tip seems like it comes from Captain Obvious, it's still a great idea and one of the simplest to do. We've been conditioned to give incentives out to potential customers in order to get them to like our pages and create more online engagement. That's still a good practice (even though Facebook is putting down the clamps on this), but why not turn it around? In addition to incentivizing a social following, give them a reason to get out of the house and trek to your actual location. You could do this in a number of ways, but the simplest way - and possibly the best - is to send discount codes to followers that are only good in-store. You could also do this via email or text, which would also allow you to build up a mailing list. Good social media management software will be able to integrate your sms and email campaigns as well so you can track the results.  

    Giveaways and Freebies

    What's better than a discount? A freebie, of course. Fashion company Marc Jacobs took advantage of this fact when they opened a pop-up store in Manhattan during New York's Fashion Week to show off their new line of Daisy fragrances.

    Customers who came in were encouraged to send a tweet or post an Instagram photo about the new line using a certain hashtag. Those who did so received gifts from the retailer, including perfumes, jewelry, and accessories. The result was over 13,500 mentions on Twitter and 4,300 Instagram mentions.

    Nordstrom and Pinterest

    Visit Nordstrom's profile on Pinterest. Nordstrom's use of Pinterest in their stores is now legendary among those of us who track such things. Pinterest is the fastest growing social site on the web, and the vast majority of the users are currently women, although there has been a big push in recent months to bring the guys along for the ride as well. Pinterest is also neck-and-neck with Facebook when it comes to driving sales, and beats them out in many categories. Nordstrom famously brought their Pinterest popularity into the store by creating a section of "most pinned" items, complete with labels bearing the Pinterest "P" logo. This is a great way to showcase what items are the most popular among other shoppers and fashionistas.

    Location. Location, Location-Based Shopping

    Another oldie-but-goodie that still has plenty of applications for those willing to embrace it is check-ins through social sites. Offering a discount to those who check in when in the store gives just as much advertising advantage as mentions and hashtags. Facebook might keep you from giving away goodies for liking your page, but they can't stop you from handing out discounts in real life if you can get them to check in.  

    \Digital Displays

    These might cost a bit more out your budget than encouraging tweets and check-ins with signs, but it will get attention and create engagement. Nine West is using digital displays that collect shoppers' posts that contain certain hashtags and displaying them for everyone to see in-store. That means that when they take a selfie with the new Nine West outfit they just bought or tried on, they can become part of the advertisement on display. Playing to people's vanity is always a winner. If you can't afford to get such a display, you could still have an iPad mounted for selfies and posting to social during the shopping experience.  

    Bring Home the Bacon with a Beacon

    Apple's iBeacon technology is the frontrunner in this emerging technology, and it will likely be a staple of real-world shopping in the years to come. The iBeacon searches for and connects with iPhones in reach via bluetooth, if the phone has the app on board. This tech was added beginning with iOS 7. There are also competing technologies for the same purpose, and iBeacon is even compatible with newer Android OS's - although Apple is trying to close that loophole.

    These are a few examples of how forward-thinking businesses are bringing synergy to their online and real-world commerce, but the space is wide open to new ideas. There are likely hundreds of ideas waiting to happen once someone gets the lightbulb going off in their head. Do you have a unique way that you reverse the formula and bring social media into your retail locations? We'd love to hear about them in the comments.

    Beyond creating separate Twitter accounts to handle customer service on social media, what should your Twitter bio really look like? Are there any rules you should follow? How can you truly make your customer care Twitter bio stand out?

    Beyond creating separate Twitter accounts to handle customer service on social media, what should your Twitter bio really look like? Are there any rules you should follow? How can you truly make your customer care Twitter bio stand out?

    Customers should know what to expect from the service you deliver. The way you describe yourself online says a lot about how you provide customer service and ultimately, how you do business.

    There are 5 crucial best practices to incorporate in your Twitter bio. Is your brand really hitting the right marks?

    1. Include ‘Customer Care’ in Your Twitter Name

    Be straightforward and clear. Although it seems like a small change, don’t forget to include ‘customer care’, ‘customer support’, etc. in some way in your Twitter name.

    2. Be Upfront: State That You Deliver Customer Service

    Beyond tweaking your Twitter name, don’t forget to state that you actually deliver customer service in your Twitter bio.

    e.g. “Providing customer care since”, “Customer care team, at your service!”

    3. Include Opening Hours

    When is your company able to provide social customer service? Make sure this type of information is available for everyone to see. Customers need to instantly know whether they can access you through social media or have to look for an alternative. Commonly, this is between 8am and 8pm from Monday until Friday, depending on the industry you work in.

    4. Have an Alternative Available

    Dealing with an issue after hours? Make sure you state an alternative to tweeting to your company in the Twitter bio (e.g. directing to your online help center with a link).

    5. Who’s Tweeting?

    Let your customers know who's behind your Twitter handle to give your company a human face. You will be surprised by how much this small tweak will pay off! Adding a name in the Twitter Bio isn’t possible for every company, especially in larger teams dealing with a high volume of incoming messages. But, in that case, it's a nice alternative to have your social media team and a tweet with their name.

    Schermafbeelding 2014-11-03 om 10.12.02

    One of the best examples of a company who knows how to get their Twitter Bio right is KLM, the Dutch airline company that is truly at the forefront when it comes to delivering social customer service. Updating their response time in their Twitter header really put them ahead of the game.

    Schermafbeelding 2014-11-03 om 10.11.46

    Although it’s only one step to tweak your Twitter bio, meeting these expectations is an entirely different story. Make sure that once you've agreed on the standards of service you will deliver, you are then able to live up to that promise.

    Geneneration Y’s spend, on average, two hours a day on their smartphone and use six mobile apps a day. By 2020 they will make up 50% of the workforce. Is your organisation ready for the internal mobile comms revolution

    In the past 5 years, the way we communicate outside of work has changed dramatically. With 62% of the UK population now owning a smartphone and 30% owning a tablet, most of us have 24/7 access to the Internet.

    But we aren't using our mobile devices to browse the web.

    Earlier in 2014 Princeton University published a paper, based on Google search traffic, predicting that Facebook would lose 80% of it's web traffic by 2017. The news was publicly ridiculed by Facebook which pointed out that the majority of it users (83% in the UK) access the platform via mobile devices and apps.

    Make no mistake, for most people the web search has already been replaced by one-touch mobile apps.

    And what we do as consumers is impacting on how we like to work. Generation Y (people born in the 80s and 90s) are increasingly expecting and desiring to communicate with their colleagues, customers and clients through mobile devices. 20% of all employees now spend at least 10% of their time working remotely and 56% of Gen Ys say that increased mobile working would increase their productivity.

    There's also good business sense behind this trend. 96% of senior executives cite a lack of effective communication for workplace failures and 39% of employees who use social business tools (including mobile apps) say they have experienced 'increased connectedness'.

    In spite of this, most organisations are lagging behind in their adoption of internal mobile communications. 41% of employees say the mobile devices they are provided with are old and not fast enough, and only 11% of organisations say that creating mobile apps for internal communications is a digital priority for 2014.

    Mobile Social Communications Revolution