31 March – How to effectively engage with your connections on social media

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With social media, many expect results without doing any of the real leg work. Some users will happily use social media to promote their brand … and well that’s it really, wrongly believing that’s all you need to do. If this is you, then you are missing out on so much potential. Here let me explain…

 

What makes you think your target audience only wants to hear about you and your products? Stop being so self-centred and start thinking of others, and what they may be interested in. Try and treat connections on social media the same way you would, if you met them in person.

Now consider these 5 key points:

 

  1. Be polite

 

It goes without question, always show appreciation to those that have shown you a kind gesture. This could be anything from corresponding with you, showing they like your content, or even promoting your content to their connections. Put it this way, if you don’t show your appreciation it is unlikely they will show as much interest again.

 

If anything it is a way of building a relationship. You can show them what exceptional customer service you offer, whilst creating a memorable, positive experience. This will encourage your brand to be chosen over competitors.

 

  1. Give credit where it is due

 

If someone impersonated you, and sold your ideas as their own, you would not be best pleased. The same goes for social media. When you read a really insightful article, ensure you credit the writer for their content, by mentioning them. You never know they may even do the same back and start corresponding with you.

 

  1. Ask questions

 

Everybody likes to be included in a conversation, and this can be highly valuable if they can bring a fascinating perspective to the table. Why not ask questions on social media, and mention a few people that may be interested in sharing their opinion. Not only will you get an impressive conversation going, but you may also encourage others to join in the debate. To outsiders, it will first of all show you’re a thought leader, and secondly that you are influential in your field.

 

  1. Review others

 

When someone presents a different perspective in conversation, it is only natural to add your own thoughts. Why not do this in social media. For example by saying ‘purechannelapps presents an interesting point on increasing engagement, but what about considering ….’. This way you are not only mentioning others viewpoints and sharing their content, but you are also adding your own thought leader interpretation. To others you are showing them that you know what you are talking about, and are knowledgeable in your industry.

 

 

  1. Pass on useful information

 

If you hear something you believe to be of great value to others, you pass it on, sharing what you have heard to others. You do this in person, so why not follow the same principal on social media? Share this information to your connections. You never know they may even share it to their own connections. You need to bring value, so consider what they may be interested in hearing about. Think about your target audiences’ demographic and potential interests and how this could tie in with your brand.

 

 

Why not use a social media platform, such as socialondemand® to schedule your own social media posts. This will also allow your channel partners and/or employees and/or other brand advocates in just one click to share your posts to their connections, reaching an even wider audience to engage with.

 

So for once, forget that you are using a computer and instead imagine these people you are trying to attract are in the same room as you. And REMEMBER being silent and self-centred never works, and it certainly won’t work on social media, you need to engage. It’s the word of the week you know.

25 March – 7 rules you must follow for email marketing

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Let’s be honest, no-one likes to keep to the rules… it’s much more fun to break them, right? Well unfortunately it is not so for email marketing, unless you’re prepared to suffer the consequences that is. Here I have prepared 7 rules you would be silly to break. Can your brand risk losing their reputation? No? Read on and find out how to prevent this.

 

1. Unsubscribe:
Often through no fault of your own, some people will unsubscribe from your newsletters. But how many of you can say you have promptly removed these recipients off your mailing list? I personally have been subject to these annoying emails. Even though you have pressed unsubscribe, you continue to receive them. It really makes you despise the company doesn’t it? Why would anyone in their right mind ever want to buy anything from that company again? You are damaging your potential for repeat business. Ensure you actively remove these individuals before they despair, and write something horrible for all to see on social media. No-one wants that!

 

2. Keep it fresh:
I’m sure you’ll agree, everyone thrives on a bit of variety in their life. The same goes for email newsletters. This may be an unwritten rule, but it is nevertheless as important. Why would anyone want to receive newsletters that first of all always look exactly the same, and second of all showcase recycled content that has been used in previous emails? If there’s nothing new in it for your recipients, they will not open your email, it is that simple.

 

The answer here is to plan, plan and plan again. Get organised and decide way in advance what topics and themes you would like to adopt for your emails. Start by considering what information recipients would be interested in. Stuck for ideas? Why not subscribe to competitors newsletters, obviously with your personal email address. This may just give you some ideas of what you could implement.

 

3. One size does not fit all:
If you are expecting to receive high engagement, creating a targeted email is essential! This could entail sending a variety of emails based on your product range or potentially demographics of recipients. This way recipients will only receive content they are truly interested in.

 

But how can you achieve this I hear you ask? Software such as newsondemand® makes this easily achievable. This software allows recipients to receive content solely based on their own preferences. This includes frequency of emails, language and topics. And the sender only has to open the dashboard, add a title, content and upload. The software will do the rest. Easy!

 

4. Keep it personal:
A simple ‘Dear Mrs Jones’ will make all the difference to your engagement levels. Personalisation makes your emails look like they are solely aimed at the recipient, and will encourage then to read your content. It may sound small but it will make all the difference. Why not try it.

 

5. Visual impact:
Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all about the content. Images play a vital part in engaging readers. You don’t include images? Well expect a high bounce rate. Recipients want easy to read, clear content, and if images help this process then use them. This may be a basic rule, but believe me, it’s a rule many forget.

 

6. Subject titles:
Nothing annoys me more than misleading subject titles. The ones that trick you into thinking you have signed up to something or the ones that look like they are responding to your email. If you are looking for recipients to only click on your emails once, then use this method, but if you are expecting recipients to read and be interested in your company, then this is not going to work. A reliable, trusted brand takes years to build but will only take a second to break. Don’t make this silly mistake.

 

7. Check, check and check again:
Spelling mistakes, ugly formatting and hyperlink gaffes. These are all errors which are unforgiveable. One of the most important rules is to portray your professionalism. By double checking all emails before sending, you can rectify all issues before they are received.

 

So save the rule breaking for another day and adopt these pointers. Trust me, you will thank me later.

17 March – ATTENTION: Subject Titles Should be Noticeable… Mine is!

If my subject title hadn’t intrigued you or been prominent enough on the webpage you would not be reading this. Crazy aye! This puts into perspective just how important subject titles really are, whether they be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, email newsletters or just in generic emails to your channel partners. Everyone wants their content to be read, but what is the best way to achieve this?

 

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Keep it snappy

No one appreciates a long subject title. Instead adopt a short and snappy approach. Get to the point you are trying to make in a few words. Don’t make it hard for your reader to follow. Being clear and concise is the best formula. 6 to 10 words is plenty.

 

Originality

Time and time again I see the same, boring subject titles. Instead try and be different. This could be by creating an amusing subject title or perhaps a familiar play on words. It’s up to you what approach you adopt, but whatever you do, make it different. Good different, not bad different. Your readers do not want to question your content topic, keep it obvious.

 

Add a figure

Statistics add value to content so provide a specific measurement that intrigues readers to find out more. Up to date statistics for a given topic are often hard to get hold of. Illustrating to readers that you have this information in your subject title, already provides you with a unique advantage over others.

 

Keywords

Consider appropriate keywords when choosing your subject title. Adopt a similar approach to your pay per click campaigns. It’s all about reaching a wider audience. By doing this, your articles are more likely to appear on Google searches and in turn you will receive more engagement.

 

I know you may be thinking well this is obvious, but perhaps look back at past subject titles you have written. Do you think you could have been clearer, maybe a bit more interesting? Or perhaps used a few more keywords?

 

It’s not just about being engaging for potential customers, but also being eye catching for your channel partners, who I am sure receive your content on a regular basis. Could you make your subject titles a little more appealing to them? They probably deal with lots of other brands like yours, who are all fighting for their attention. A subject title may be all that is required to win this battle and receive a response.

 

If you are still thinking that it won’t make any difference, why not test it. Perhaps test a few variables and perform some A/B split testing. I am certain you will be more than surprised by the results.

12 March – 5 reasons every brand should embrace social media employee and channel advocacy programs

Social media… it’s a tricky one many brands shy away from. Making it work, whether you sell through a direct or indirect sales model, can be a real challenge. But just because it’s tricky, does not mean you should avoid it. Instead, embrace it and all that it brings. These 5 points below will explain why..

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1.Buyers spend 2/3 of their buying decision online
Influence is key. With users spending on average 1.25 hours a day on social media, this is a great place to target potential customers and be at the forefront of their minds.

Yes I’m sure some of you are thinking I’m already doing social media, but are you being a thought leader? And what about your resellers, and sales employees? Do they help your brand stand out from the crowd? Are they all influencing potential buyers as effectively as they could? If not, it is unlikely consumers are going to pick your products over competitors. Relevant, informative, and compliant content is essential. Over time you, your employees and your resellers will become social trusted advisors, and when consumers are ready, you and your advocates will be the ones chosen.

But how can I control what my resellers and employees post, I hear you ask… By using a social media amplification platform such as socialondemand®, you can send your brand messages to all of your brand advocates and enable them to share this content with their own friends, followers and business contacts.

Remember it’s not that your partners and staff don’t want to post your content; it’s that they seldom have the time or in fact know what content to post. Here you are solving this issue for them.

2.Wider target audiences
So like every organisation, I’m sure your overall aim is to grow your business and increase your revenue, right? What better way than to use social media to reach a global audience. With users all over the world, this is now possible.

And you don’t even need a huge marketing budget. Social media employee and channel advocacy programs can help you reach the audience of all your brand advocates. So, instead of limiting your reach to your immediate network of followers, use the extended reach that your employees and resellers have.

3.Engage with your audience
It’s true you may occasionally receive some negative comments on social media, but use the ability to reply to show what impeccable customer service you provide. This then puts you in a favourable light to buyers researching your products. There are numerous methods to encourage interaction, one example being competitions to obtain a response and truly engage your audience.

4.Online word of mouth
With customers doing their research before making a buying decision, it’s crucially important that they can examine how creditable your business is, and how your product could work for them. Social media allows consumers to review your offering and brand validity. Reviews are a very powerful thing, negative ones can in some cases break businesses reputation if they are not handled correctly and even worse, ignored. But they can also be hugely positive. Customer reviews are vital to assure potential customers of your trustworthiness and social media can harness this. Be translucent to buyers, it’s the best way to be.

5.Competition
Social media is a really great way to analyse what your competitors are doing. You can then determine how to stand right out from the crowd.

The size of your business does not matter when it comes to social media. It allows any business to potentially compete with the huge global players. Show buyers what you are capable of and what you are all about. Show them that you work with great partners. Show them how experienced and knowledgeable your sales staff is. If you get it right your ROI could be huge!

So whatever you do, don’t ignore social media hoping it is just a fad. It has many benefits that you should embrace. Work with your brand advocates and socially enable them. And why not make it easy for yourself and use a social media amplification platform like socialondemand to manage yours and your resellers’ accounts? Don’t just take my word for it, Microsoft, one of our customers, reach 21 million prospects every day by using social media. That could be you. Give it a go.

04 March – Microsoft’s channel social media algorithm- sshh it’s a secret.

Social media can be a real challenge at times, especially when your organisation sells through a complex network of channel partners. Relying on partners to promote your products and services to end-users can be a headache. Not only do they have you on their backs but they also have your competitors.

purechannelapps™ spoke with Microsoft (Alex Beere, Social Media Manager) and Microsoft’s channel partner (Anna Nicholls, Axon-IT) to reveal how they have overcome this.

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The issue
Recent studies show that IT buyers are spending up to two-thirds of their buying decision online or on social media. Essentially by the time they speak to a supplier or one of their partners, their decision has already been made! So if your channel partners are not posting your content, and influencing their customers or prospects, you have little chance in becoming recognised as a thought leader and being considered as a viable option.

60% of Microsoft’s partners admit they lack content to share and a further 80% confirm they do not have the time to get involved with social media; this highlights the full scale of the issue.

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Microsoft’s secret
Microsoft use a social media amplification platform called socialondemand® to reach a much wider audience. It includes the followers and friends of their own employees and partners as well as other brand advocates.

Microsoft share their content onto the platform, and users are then able to edit, schedule and ultimately publish this content onto their own social networks in just a couple of clicks. Easy! As Alex Beere confirmed socialondemand has two major advantages: it enables Microsoft to amplify its brand messages to new audiences and it also enables partners to be socially active, and closely engaged with Microsoft.

Recent results from using the platform
1,094 posts have been created to date by Microsoft. Partners have published these 71,840 times and these reposts have generated 299,600 clicks and 5,873 retweets/ likes. This would never have been possible before so partners see this platform as a major advantage for both them and Microsoft.

In fact, 87% of partners feel that this has added real value to their business.

Microsoft's key stats

Microsoft’s social media strategy for socialondemand:
•Provide thought leadership content to partners
•Post content at least 8 times a day
•Post content at the weekend as this shows great returns (# of clicks)
•Expire posts sent to partners that are older than two weeks to keep content up to date
•Encourage their partners to use the lead generation feature on socialondemand to track engagement levels and make follow ups.

Anna Nicholls from Axon-IT, a Microsoft partner, confirmed that finding the time to source and produce then post content was a huge issue they previously faced. With only a small team, one post a day was hard enough. Their social media presence was very limited, with minimal reposts. But by using MicrosoftSocialOnDemand, this has dramatically changed. With Microsoft’s recognised brand on their posts, their online presence has dramatically increased. And with leads being generated on Twitter and LinkedIn, it has been a win, win situation.


The trick here is to make it incredibly easy for channel partners to repost your content. socialondemand is the answer. The professionals are using it, so why don’t you?

Click here to watch the full webinar.