Make An Event Out Of It

Events are a great way to create buzz around your brand and give you and your F3’s a reason to talk about you. Even if it is something you do all the time anyway, making an event out of it will make it and you sound important!

There are a number of good event promotion social sites, the most popular of which is MeetUp.com.

In addition to special purpose sites like MeetUp, sites like LinkedIn and Facebook have support for events as well.

Make “Secret Offers” Online

One exception to the ten to one rule is for special promotions. Take Sprinkles Cupcakes for example. Each day they post a Twitter update with the “secret word” to receive a free treat or a discount. Here’s a recent tweet:

I’d like to have a word with you… The first 50 people to whisper “word of the day” at each Sprinkles receive a free dark chocolate!

Now I’m not a big cupcake fan but this is genius marketing at work. This promotional method has developed a faithful flock of followers who check in EVERY MORNING for deal of the day. As of this writing Sprinkles has 92,000 followers hanging on their every tweet.

If you pursue this pattern, your offers don’t have to be free product or discounts, although those will work the best. You also don’t have to post one every day but do post them regularly. Finally, I would not suggest turning down another customer if they ask for the same discount even though they didn’t know the “secret word.” The discount or free product will cost you pennies but the bad from refusing the discount will cost you much, much more.

Embrace Feedback, Good and Bad

It was fairly late one Saturday evening so I was surprised to be getting a call from one of my clients. After all, he’s a vet… what kind of marketing emergency could he be having on Saturday night?

He was in a panic because he had gotten a negative comment on his Facebook page, something about a long wait and a non-attentive staff. He went on to explain how it wasn’t fair because he was short a tech that day and, well, you get the story…

I asked him if he’d replied to the negative comment, he said no. I asked why not, he replied that he had no idea what to say.

“What would you say if I were that customer right now Greg?”

“I’d apologize, explain the reason for the problem, and ask you to come back, it was an unusual day.”

“So what’s wrong with saying that in your reply?”

Silence…

The social web is about relationships and just because you’re not speaking with them face to face doesn’t mean the message should change. I encouraged Greg to reply to the comment, he did, and the customer replied and was grateful. Relationship saved!

But wait…

How many other customers had the same experience that day, and rather than write about it just decided they wouldn’t go back? How many potential customers would have read that comment and decided to keep looking rather than deal with a vet that was slow and inattentive?

By responding to the comment in the same venue, you not only give the customer a satisfaction of knowing you care and you’re willing to fix the problem, you also give the scores of other readers a chance to see and benefit from the same interaction.

A word of caution is in line here as well. While I DO believe you should respond to all comments, good and bad, I DO NOT believe you should engage in a shouting match or flame war online. It is very easy to misinterpret the words of others when they are printed on the screen and thus very easy to respond the wrong way to the wrong problem.

If the reply and response break down into name calling, finger pointing, fisticuffs… just delete the comment, ban the commenter and move on. YOU WILL NOT WIN A BATTLE LIKE THAT IN THE COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION, no matter how right you are!

Online commerce if fueled by feedback and more so each day, offline commerce is influenced by feedback. You can’t stop it or control it, but you can, you must, embrace it!

Feature Your Customers’ Success

Everyone has a little drama king or queen in them and they appreciate recognition of a job well done. It is this very trait that makes emailing a congratulatory note to a local business profiled in the newspaper so effective. Even if they don’t know you, they like to be recognized.

On the social web this can take many forms. In addition to the aforementioned email, you can:

● Re-tweet messages of success on Twitter

● Share and Like successes on Facebook and LinkedIn

● Write your own profiles for your website

While it is perfectly normal to focus these efforts of successes your customers have had with your product or service, don’t stop there. In fact, it is powerfully effective to focus on successes not related to your business. This shows that your interests extend beyond a sales pitch and further solidified the relationship both with your customers and with others that see it!