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Responding to Customers on Social Networking Sites

Responding to Customers on Social Networking Sites

Responding to Customers on Social Media
Responding On Social Media

Bonding & Rapport through Social Networking is one of the most powerful tools your company has to increase sales, second only to interpersonal communication in real life.

Let’s start with some basic Netiquette:

  1. Always respond on the media you were contacted, unless asked or requires private information.
    (If you get a Tweet, send a tweet. Don’t call immediately or send an email if someone commented on Facebook. They will ask, if they want a call or better yet call you first.)
  2. There is no context for your words, so be respectful and be careful.
    (No sarcasm or innuendo. Humor is powerful on the Internet, but make sure it is straight forward and lighthearted. When in doubt, make it blatantly obvious by just adding “Ha!”)
  3. Only use shorthand that the other person has used previously.
    (LOL, JK, & BRB is not universal.)
  4. Don’t respond when you wouldn’t call though.
    (If someone comments at 3pm, don’t reply after midnight. They won’t see the message, and things like text message may beep on their phone and wake them up.)
  5. Keep private stuff private.
    (Obviously, things like credit cards and private information shouldn’t be shared online, but if you need to talk about sensitive issues, it is best to send a message on the media they contacted to that it will require a private conversation and let them know when you will call.)
  6. Stay cool while waiting for a response.
    (Everyone has their own speed on the Internet. Some people check email and LinkedIn messages 15 times a day, others once a week, so be patient when waiting for that reply.)
  7. Never use social media or email to cancel plans or send urgent messages.
    (Actual conversation is required for canceling a meeting or communicating an urgent message. No one wants to get back from being stood up to find an email saying something came up. Calling is best, but Instant Message, or text may be acceptable if they respond immediately.)
  8. Use the same picture (of your face) on all public profiles. Complete your profiles and keep them up to date. If you can’t keep up, shut them down.
    (The same picture allows people to see they have the correct person, plus people want to socialize with people, not brands, robots or question marks. Sorry, no pics of your kids as the profile picture either. Who wants to do business with a 2 year old? Also, no dead profiles. If you don’t check them regularly delete them. You don’t want to find out later that you missed a big sale because someone sent you a message on MySpace. Oops.)
    (That is considered yelling on the Internet and no one likes to be yelled at.)
  10. Respond quickly, but thoroughly to every message and comment. Do it right the first time.
    (Even if it is just to say “thanks,” make sure you get the last word or the conversation is clearly over. There is a regular give and take on the Internet because we can’t see each other, so communication works best when it alternates back and forth. Multiple messages in a row from you is confusing because the often receive them in reverse order, plus the don’t know when you are done. Send one thorough and complete response to each message your receive, then be patient.)
Do not tag me in photos that I am not in to get me to look at them. This little game does not ingratiate you to me, it makes me hate you. All I do all day is look for photos of myself on the Internet, and when I am pic-teased, I get super-angry about it. Do not be a pic-tease. – Comedian, Nick Kroll
Responding to Customers on Social Networking Sites
Responding to Customers on
Social Networking Sites

Now some more advanced techniques for communicating on social networks…

Those were sort of my Top 10 Netiquette Commandments, they provide a nice framework to keep you out of trouble, but they really don’t help you much along the lines of build trust and business relationships that result in more sales. In order to do that, you are going to have to learn some more advanced ideas about interpersonal communications between human beings.
The number 1 thing you need to know about human beings is this: We all pretty much do whatever the easiest thing is to eliminate the most pain or create the most pleasure in our lives. In short, we do what we think is best.
In a scientific study, they found that 99% of people are generally doing this. There are about 1% who hate themselves and are self-sabotaging, but let’s go ahead and assume we don’t want them as clients. Let me explain more.
When you wake up in the morning, you never think to yourself, “Let me see how stupid I can look today. I wondering if I can do something really embarrassing, and cost myself a ton of business.” Yet those things happen sometimes, if not to us, we see it happen to others all the time. Have you ever seen someone with a tattoo on their face? Chances are they didn’t think… “I want to scare small children and make sure I never get hired in corporate America.” They probably thought it was cool, tough or maybe intimidating, and it would eliminate future pain or get them future pleasure. 
So what does that have to do with responding to customers on social networking?
Well, this basic principle of psychology and communications, means a great deal to all of us. It means there is a big problem with how you communicate online, and a clue about how to fix it. It also means that there is a tremendous opportunity to stand out from the competition, because they already think they are doing their best, given the circumstances and resources.
Here is the problem. Every person on the planet is different and will evaluate what is best from a different set of circumstances. You are going to do what you think is best, but what if it is not best for the other person? Think about the “golden rule.” Treat others the way you want to be treated. There is a problem with that. What if they don’t want to be treated like you?
Here is the solution. Treat each person the way they want to be treated. This is especially true on the Internet. Each person has their own skill level of computing, internet speed, knowledge from research, social networking preferences, communication habits, as well as all the other personality and experience differences that go along with real life. That means each of your prospects or customers need to be dealt with the way they want to be, especially in how you respond online.
Here is an example. Let’s say you post your email address on your contact page, because you can formulate your responses, take time to respond at your convenience, you are a fast typer, and you can copy multiple departments if you have to. Sounds reasonable that everyone has email these days, and they can comply with this if they have a question.
However, what if prospect is an 80 year-old woman, who can’t type well, has an emergency, and she is looking up your number at a local library? Does your solution make the most sense for her?

The best way to communication through social networks is the way that your clients are communicating with you.

In order to do this effectively, you must treat each person as an individual and set up the social networks, online advertising, and response strategies for each. It sounds more complicated than it actually is, but the key is creating lots of options and then using the right tool to unlock the right door to the right customer. It is your responsibility to create an open communication channel with your clients. It is not theirs. Take some time now to think about how you can apply this concept to the way you currently communicate online.
This principle applies to much more than just the communication channel, so we will discuss this more in the future. In the meantime, keep putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, and focusing on how they want to be treated.
Setting Goals for Social Networking

Setting Goals for Social Networking

Setting Goals for Social Networking
How to set goals for your social networking behavior, results and target markets.

Getting Started With Goal Setting

Before you start setting goals for your social networking activity and results. There are a few things you need to know about goal setting in general.

  • Just the act of setting SMART goals increases your chance of success by 10 times.
  • Written goals increase that likelihood even more.
  • Sharing your goals with your team, family or accountability partner again increases your chance of success!
  • You can only manage what you can control. Setting goals for other people’s behavior is futile.
Studies show that only about 50% of people have goals in general, only 10% have written goals, and only about 1% have a plan to achieve them and share them with an accountability partner. Those people who do all three are exponentially more likely to achieve their goals than those winging it. 
I hope that doesn’t come as a shock to you. If you wanted to take a road trip, you might want to decide where you are going, get directions, and tell someone else where you are going. Chances are you would get there safely. If you just took off one morning with no goal or plan and didn’t tell anyone, you might end up lost forever.
Most importantly, you can only manage what you can control. You have probably heard about SMART goals before, but you may not have considered this. Setting goals for result, especially those that depend on the action of others is generally not helpful. They are nice to have in mind, and important for determining your behavior, but they alone will not lead you to success.
Let’s use an example. If you set a goal to get 100 likes on your Facebook business page, it sounds like a good goal. However, it tells you nothing about how to actually achieve it and what actions to take. Even worse, it depends on other people to take the action by clicking “like.” You can’t force anyone to do that, so your goal is out of your control.
If that is the result we want, there are still goals we can set. The just need to be SMART goals which we can manage and control.

Smart Goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable / Achievable
  • Relevant / Realistic
  • Time-Bound
Specific leads us to the exact location we want to be on our road trip. Measurable and attainable tell us that we need to be able to track our progress, and it needs to be a behavior we can control. It is hard to measure unspecific feelings, or generalities like “be more successful,” “be well-liked in the community.” or even “get more leads.” How can you tell if you are making progress or even achieved “being successful”?
Relevant or Realistic is also very important. If you goal seams impossible, it is unlikely that anyone will go after it. Great goals inspire action. It needs to be relevant to the outcome you want and realistic so you believe you can achieve it with the right actions. 
Finally, goals need to be time-bound to drive you to action and inspire you to achieve them. This can be done in to way. By simply adding a date that it is to be completed, or by adding how often you need to take the action. Let’s try some examples for social media.

Setting SMART Goals for your Social Networking activity

There are three categories that you will need goals for in your social networking activity. You will probably want to plan and track your progress toward what you need to be doing, who you want to reach, and the end results for your business. In other words your behavior, targets and results.


  1. Post status updates on Facebook three times per day, morning, noon and night.
  2. Write one call-to-action message, one original thought or blog, and re-share some interesting post about my industry on Facebook to fulfill my 3 post per day on Facebook.
  3. Send 5 Tweets per day, 3 Re-tweets of interesting posts, 1 original thought, and 1 call-to-action.
  4. Post one interesting article, either mine or someone else’s on Linked In.
  5. Share a link to an interesting article or +1 a website on Google+ once a day.
  6. Write one original blog about an industry hot topic per week.
  7. Send and informative email blast to my clients and prospects once per week that contains my new blog post, a call-to-action, and links to my social networking accounts.


  1. Respond to every email, direct message, or comment received within 24 hours.
  2. Add any new connections or business contacts I have made to my email lists each week.
  3. Find 1 new interesting industry expert to follow on Twitter every week.
  4. Add any new requests or suggested family, friends and personal connections on Facebook who I would like to talk to in the real world, each week.
  5. Add any suggested connections on LinkedIn who I have met in person or done business with in the last year, or I know well enough that they would take my call.
  6. Add suggested connections to appropriate Circles on Google+ each week, if they are someone I would like to keep in touch with.
  7. Update my list of the top 10 potential clients I am targeting weekly, and make at least one attempt to contact them or share an interesting article with them.
  8. Make contact by phone or email with at least 5 of my top 20 referral partners or strategic alliances.
  9. Clean out my contact lists every quarter, and remove anyone I no longer want to be associated with or have not interacted with in over a year.


  1. Schedule 1 meeting per work day with a referral partner.
  2. Schedule 1 meeting per work day with a potential client.
  3. Follow up on all leads generated through my calls-to-action on the social networks and email blast.
  4. Ask for referrals, reviews or recommendations from every new client.
  5. Thank referral partner with an appropriate reward for each referral that becomes a client, and explain why if the referral did work out.
  6. Review my Google Analytics, Facebook page dashboard, and any other reports monthly, and make notes on what generated the best response and track my progress.
There are many other goals you could set, but these are some of my favorites, because they are all things that you can control and do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It is very hard and frustrating to only monitor results because they can fluctuate on thing outside your control. Plus, if you try to manage results, you are managing in the past. Typically, the results you are getting now are based on your activity from one to 3 months ago. In longer selling cycles, it could even be that the sales you get this month are a result of networking or referrals from over a year ago.
Feel free to use any of my goals above, or discuss some more appropriate goals for your organization. The ones listed above could actually be mores specific, but I wanted them to apply to more people. For example,  “follow an interesting industry expert” would actually be better as, “follow an internet marketing expert.” 
Goal setting will set you apart from the majority of humans and businesses, so take an hour to write them down this week. Then just follow the plan and adjust as necessary. Keep them SMART, and keep them positive. If you need any help, just email me.
Not Training Staff on Lead Handling?

Not Training Staff on Lead Handling?

Many small businesses spend so much time and effort focusing on the front end of the marketing funnel that they neglect one of the most important components of the marketing process. What happens to a lead once they express interest in your business? For most small businesses, one of the most costly aspects of the marketing equation is how your staff handle the leads that come to you – whether by phone, email, fax, or in person. You’re investing a lot in generating leads, and every lead counts! That’s why training all your staff on how to properly answer the phone, respond to a customer request, and handle leads is so critical. – Tiffany Monhollon

Sales people are not the devil. Sales is not a four-letter word. 

Sales are what keeps your business or organization alive. Tiffany was exactly right, but did you notice how she didn’t use the word sales even one time…

Really, it is OK. If it makes you feel better, you can call it conversion, engagement, lead handling, customer service, account management, or any of the other dozens of made up titles for sales. I don’t care as long as you realize that it is a critical part of the process. So many Internet marketers forget that sales people are a good thing!

Nobody is any company, any where, at any time, has ever made any money, until someone sold something.

I call this process Social Media Sales. It is the process converting leads generated through social media and internet marketing into actual revenue dollars for your organization. It usually goes something like this:

  • Develop the personal relationship
  • Identify customer needs
  • Qualify customer for budget and resources
  • Assist in the decision making process
  • Present custom solutions not offered on the Internet
  • Assist in the delivery of the product or service
  • Resolve issues or concerns throughout the entire process
  • Ask for referrals and testimonials

As you can see there are a lot of things that the marketing and website team are typically not equipped to deal with. A trained staff of professional salespeople can help you take the prospects from click to close, and increase your online conversions dramatically.

A lot of people are having a hard time defining a Return On Investment for internet marketing and social media, and it’s because they have left out the sales department. If your activities all eventually lead to dollars sold, then a return is right in the bottom line. Did you sell more than you spent?

Getting Started With Social Media

Getting Started With Social Media

Social networking is the #1 online activity, used by 1.2 billion people worldwide. Nearly one in 5 minutes online is spent on social networking websites, and 75% of that is on Facebook.

“Social media is like teenage sex – everyone wants to do it. When they do they’re a bit awkward and disappointed, but as they practice and it gets much better.”

– LinkedIn’s marketing director, Josh Graff.

Getting Started:

ð       Sign up and complete your profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter.
ð       Use the same picture on all four profiles, and same logo on company pages.
ð       Make sure you include links to your company website and other profiles.
ð       Follow the favorites, join popular groups, and connect with key influencers.
ð       Send personalized invitations to connect to your network and suggested friends.
ð       Request recommendations and favorites politely and return the favor.

Being Social:

ð       Use the 80-20 rule – 80% content and 20% promotion.
ð       Update your status at least 3 times per day – morning, lunch, and night.
ð       Share and comment on other people’s posts at least once per day.
ð       Send invitations to connect to new people at least one per day.
ð       Comment or answer questions in groups 3 times per week.
ð       Cross-promote your other profiles, email newsletter, and website or blog once per week.
ð       Spy on your competition, research potential clients, and help referral partners.
ð       Be consistent, dead profiles make people think you and your company are dead too.


2.    Never us social media or email to cancel plans or send urgent messages.
3.    Avoid shorthand, buzzwords, and other jargon that can confuse people.
4.    Keep private stuff private and personal stuff with personal friends.
5.    Respond to every message from a real person, even if it is just “Thanks.”
6.    Respond on the social media site you were contact, unless asked to call or email.
7.    Don’t send out or respond to invitations for games or other timewasters.
8.    Be patient when waiting for a response. If someone doesn’t add you back, accept it gracefully.
9.    You are judged by the company you keep, so be careful about who you add to your network.
10. The internet is forever. Make posts you can be proud of. Manage your reputation.

How to Grow Your Social Network

How to Grow Your Social Network

Whether you’re an experienced social networker or just a newbie, here are 10 secrets to growing your target market network online:

1. Create an up-to-date profile and/or fan page

Before you begin a “friending” (i.e. request to become another’s friend), be sure that your profile is up-to-date with an accurate description of what you do, your interests, and your contact info. Make sure you include your website addresses. If you have multiple businesses invite people in your appropriate target market to become fans of your niche-specific fan page.
2. Follow the favorites
Follow leaders in your field/industry and “friend” them. This includes popular products, TV shows, or other specific interests of your target market. Anytime you make a friend request, include a personal note, as that will improve the likelihood that they will accept your request. Say something like, “I’m a big fan and I’d love to have you in my network on Facebook.” Once they have accepted your invitation, make comments about their status updates to help you get on the radar and in front of their thousands of friends.
3. Friends of friends
Take a look at the people in the network of your industry leaders, as they are probably part of your target market as well. Send friend requests to those of interest to you. When you friend someone that you only know by association, send a personal note as well, like “I discovered your profile in <name here>’s network and would like to get to know you better by adding you to my network.”
4. Use groups
Look for groups that may contain your target market. In your search for groups, use keywords that describe your niche, industry, geographic area, interests, or whatever other terms you might use to find members of your target market. Join and begin to participate in the group so that they begin to get to know you. Then pursue the member lists for good prospects, start with the members you’ve connected with or have commented on similar posts.
5. Invite your existing email lists and address books
You can use your existing email database to add people from your clients, prospects, and other current contacts if they fall within your target market definition. Add a note to the invitation and make sure you are clear and professional about your motivation.
6. Recommended friends
Most of the popular social networking sites will have a suggestion list for people you might know. These recommendations are pretty solid, because they are based on similar work history, mutual friends and interests. Take them up on their recommendation and add these to your network.
7. Add by interest or industry
Do a people search by job title, industry, geographic location, or interest. People with those terms in their profile will show up in your search, and you can request to add them based on common interests.
8. Build the relationship
Once you friend someone, you need to begin to get to know them and start building trust so that you become their top-of-mind expert in a particular area. Begin building the relationship by posting a quick “thank you” note on their wall, as well as a comment about something on their profile that interests you or in which you have in common. Watch for their status updates, as well, and comment on these when appropriate.
9. Create a group
Once you’ve got about 500 followers, create a group for your target market. Provide the group with useful content and ask questions to stimulate discussion and get the members to return to participate in the group. You can post articles, links to blog posts, or videos you have created. Invite group members to any free virtual or face-to-face events you’re hosting. This is where you really establish your expert status and credibility.
10. Integrate your marketing strategy
Once you have a good list of friends and credibility on the site, you can begin mixing in your marketing messages. Social networking sites are designed to be casual and personal, so don’t just copy an advertisement or sales messages. All you want to do is keep what you do and who you are on the top of your prospects minds. You can casually mention what you’re working on in your status, announce events, and make comments offering to help people with your product or service. Remember, people can remove or block you as easily as they added you in the first place.
No marketing strategy works unless you consistently implement it over time. As a newbie to Facebook, you might want to spend as much as 60 minutes per day researching friends and participating in groups. As your network grows, you may spend only 15 minutes 3 times per week on Facebook. The key to success is to put this strategy on your calendar and make it a routine part of your ongoing Internet marketing tasks.
Many of these social networking sites are strict and very particular about how its participants contact each other. Many sites limit the number of new invitations allowed in a given day or week. If you exceed this amount you can get penalized or removed for spamming. If you stick with about 50 per day, you should stay within most limits. If you ever receive a warning, you should stop immediately for that day and reduce your efforts moving forward.
While social networking is an inexpensive marketing tool, it can be effective in helping you grow your business. You should maintain your other marketing strategies, and simply add this strategy to your marketing mix. A well-rounded internet marketing plan includes social networking, and it could mean that your prospect well will never run dry.
Generate Engagement

Generate Engagement

Generate Social Media Engagement
Generate Social Media Engagement

I just read an email tip about how to use social media for marketing your business and the gave 7 easy steps to follow. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Step number 4 caught my eye though… Generate engagement. Sounds even better on paper! I will just get thousands of follower and then I will get them engaged in a living discussion about my business and they will have to buy something… They won’t have a choice!

If you can’t tell, I am being sarcastic here. If it were as easy as crossing “generate engagement” of the checklist then everyone would be successful already, and we would all be on permanent vacation. This is why, I have started this blog, “Following The Like.” I have read dozens of books, articles and emails about how to attract followers, but very little about what happens after the “like.”

So you can communicate will thousands or millions of people with a simple status update…

  • How does that make you money?
  • What do you say?
  • How exactly do you generate engagement following the like?

I have an answer for you, but you are not going to like it… You have to work hard and you have to be able to sell. These days, it seems like everyone wants to take the easy way out. They want the quick buck, the magic words, the social media bullet that destroys your old sales records and shoots you into early retirement. Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist.

Communication skills, sales skills, and the ability to engage a person in a meaningful discussion are learned and perfected over time. They don’t just happen, and they don’t happen quickly. Sure some people are born with the gift of gab, but that doesn’t mean anyone will buy from them, and more often than not they over-talk people and end up failing to listen. Great communicators and salespeople are trained craftsman. They study communications, psychology and motivation, and they practice and perfect their delivery.

Over time, on this blog, I will attempt to help you do the same. I will share thoughts, tips and stories to help you perfect the art of communication in order to motivate and mobilize your social media followers into fans and buyers.

Here is teaser of my step one:

Stop what you are doing and listen! Think about it for a second. We have a social media world larger than the population of the US online posting about themselves. People are starved for attention, and they are dying for a person who listens and who cares. People love great listeners, people love people they can relate to, people love to belong, and they love to be heard.

I will share more later, but for now just listen and be real. People are bombarded with thousands of sales messages a day; adding your two cents will most likely not be heard anyway. So many companies are out there pushing products, it is impossible to pay attention to them all. So what is a business to do? Listen. How many companies can you name that are listening and following your updates? How many are responding with thoughtful, emotionally real comments without a sales message? That crowd is a lot smaller.