FISH! A New Way to Spark to a Better Social Media Presence

Do you like the smell of fresh fish? How would you feel about working at a fish market where that, and dealing with slippery fresh fish greets you everyday?

I would certainly end up crabby (no pun intended), but the good people of a popular Seattle fish market turned this dynamic around.

They made their fish market a pleasant, welcoming, and fun, place to be (check out this video). Now I think going to a fish market like that wouldn’t be so bad.

And so because of this fun-loving bunch, the FISH! Philosophy to customer service was born, and has become an approach to creating a positive and engaging customer service experience that is part of customer service training.

How FISH! can help you in social media

The FISH! philosophy is about dealing with people, coincidentally so is social media. Applying this approach can have a wonderful effect to your social media presence whether it’s for small business or your personal brand. The 4 elements of can help create a more meaningful presence on the various social media networks out there.

PLAY

How many of us have liked a corporate company on say Facebook, when all their posts or statuses lack energy? Or the connection is so focused on promoting their work that the account becomes a soapbox.

FISH! Philosphy-Play

Some companies are so focused on having a clear and consistent (safe) voice that makes their posts dull to read. While other businesses have found a way to sound like a person, and bring some fun and energy to their page. The results? Their connections or followers respond!

PLAY is about bringing energy, and can be applied to your own situation, whether it’s creating awareness for a bog, business or product. Bring energy and fun to what you post, and your community will play with you.

CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE

You do not get to choose how people receive or approach you or your business on social media, but you do get to choose how you respond.

FISH! Philosophy -Choose your Attitude

For example, I recently put together a short beginner’s guide to social media. Towards the end of the project I was exhausted, frustrated and just wanted to be done with it. So I skipped a few grammar and spelling errors in my last review. A reader came across some grammar and spelling errors and decided to contact me. I could have been defensive (which I was at first) but then I decided to change my attitude, and welcome criticism, and hopefully that reader will stop back again in future.

Being on social media you will meet either complaints, criticism or negative feedback choose your attitude in how you respond. A lot of companies big and small have had scandals where they mishandled social media and it came back to bite them: Volkswagen, and the Ocean Marketing scandal spring to mind. Bring positivity to how you respond in comments, tweets, or Facebook statuses it helps reinforce positive associations people have with your brand.

MAKE THEIR DAY

I believe it’s Plato who once said, “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

FISH! Philosophy -Make Their DaySo make someone’s day today. Find people on social media you want to connect with or that follow you and comment on their work. I don’t think there’s anyone out there who does not like receiving a compliment or just simple recognition. Try and apply this by following up to every other Twitter follower you receive. Take a peek at what they are working on and comment. I don’t do this as often as I would like but think about how great is when people acknowledge your efforts.

This also applies to newsletters; instead of having some “donotreply” address why not put one that people can respond to? Every once in a while I will read something in one of the newsletters that would really spark my creativity, being able to reach out and say a simple thank you or just my response would make me more likely to read future newsletters I receive from the writer.

BE THERE

Be engaged, be present, and be responsive.

FISH! Philosophy -Be ThereFor a small business or a personal brand you don’t have to be on every social media channel out there, but you should try to be engaged and active on the one’s you do join, otherwise what’s the point?

Social media is an engagement tool, and if you have Likes, followers or connections and you fail to respond, then you miss out on the potential of deepening these bonds. Many people think social media is killing the quality of human interactions, but I think if used correctly it can create an extension of it. So be there, where your customers or audience is, and be engaged in the conversation.

Have some thoughts? Share them below, I’d love to hear your feedback.

Featured Image credit- Flickr-David L.

Daisy Quaker is a freelance internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing and internet marketing strategy. In her spare time she writes a personal style blog. Find her on Twitter and Google+ and tell her what strategies work for your business.

Get To The Point: How to declutter your e-mail campaign

By Daisy Quaker

This post is part of a series that will get published every Wednesday on E-mail marketing or social media, subscribe to this blog to receive your copy of how to and helpful small business online marketing guidance.

Email Marketing Formatting HTML vs. Plain textIs your e-mail campaign overwhelming?

A few years ago, the novel way of spreading messages was through well formatted structured, edited e-mail, “See how beautiful it looks! Such fun images! So many useful sidebar links!”

It was a welcome change from the bland messages. It allowed marketers to put more information in their direct marketing message in a pretty way so if readers did not like one topic they had other options to choose from. It was also a break from the chunks of texts that had been popular before.

Flash-forward its 2012, inboxes are full, everyone has gotten pretty used to those pretty, structured, content packed e-mails, its nothing new. In fact, it has become overwhelming.  Why, you ask? Read on.

Increasing use of smartphones to read e-mail

Smartphones have grown in popularity and so has their use as a tool for opening e-mails.

If you have a heavily linked images, graphic monster e-mail it will either not display correctly on a smartphone or it will overwhelm the small screen. If subscribers  they really like your content they might save it for later, but if they aren’t that loyal they’ll delete it (I do this a lot).

Too many e-mails

Everyone’s inbox is full of messages to attend to, even personal e-mail take a while to get to because of how many other things going on. So if getting the content is too much work, and I can’t read it while I’m waiting for an appointment or have some down time, why bother?

The Return to a Simpler Time

Why we should all appreciate plain text e-mails

The biggest argument for plain text is that it looks more like a personal message than a heavily edited flyer being delivered to your e-mail inbox. Another reason is that it will display the same no matter what e-mail program you use.
But on the flip side, plain text sucks the fun out of things. You can’t use colors or graphics, and you can’t embed hyperlinks, you must type them out e.g. Istead of saying “Click here” you have to type out https://daisyquaker.com/2012/07/18/why-click-here-can-boost-your-sales/” which comes off as…. well, ugly.

But it’s important to have a plain text version of your e-mail nonetheless incase some subscribers have automatically set their e-mails to open as plain text.

Why HTML E-mails still rock

HTML allows you so much freedom, with images, embedding links, and putting the content into tables. It allows you to separate sections, put text borders and changing background formats. It also allows you to check how many people opened your e-mail, what links were clicked on, and even call to action buttons.

But this freedom can be abused to create monster e-mails that have too many links, images, background colours sidebars, and textboxes. Which  comes off as structured and edited but also highly distracting and impersonal.

So what’s the best way to go about it?

The jury is out on whether to go HTML or Text e-mail route.

But the argument here is to make it simple for your readers to get what you are saying not harder.

The Right Balance to your E-mail Campaign

“Here is Spot. See Spot Run.”

The best e-mails tell one story, and have a few links to other stories that relate to or enhance the message. The monster e-mails try to tell 15 different stories in one e-mail hoping that readers will see it as delivering valuable content. Sometimes they do, but from a customer stand-point, anytime something is too much work to wade through my interest goes down.

My argument is that you should use a lightly edited HTML e-mail campaign:

  • Great message/content
  • Good formatting
  • Minimal use of pictures
  • Minimal use of colours
  • Minimal use of links

It’s the body and meat of your e-mail that matters more to me than how many things you can pile on it. Graphic should enhance the message not distract from it. All that extra stuff the sidebar, the clever links, the “what you missed” starts seeming as distractions, gives a reader a feeling of being overwhelmed and not enough time to go through it all.

A well worded message will outshine any fancy poorly worded message. But a well worded and lightly formatted message is better. So opt for a well-written and lightly formatted message that can be  opened anywhere from smartphones, to desktops.

Note some of the e-mails you respond well to and keep a folder of their layout saved on your computer, that way you can have examples to model your message into.

Simple, easy to read, minimal distractions. Want more? Check out this in-depth and helpful guide by Campaign Monitor on how to design compelling e-mails.

You’re welcome!

Image Credit: Flickr-jonwatson

About: Daisy Quaker is a freelance internet marketing consultant,  specializing in basic web development, social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing and branding strategy, find her on Twitter and tell her what strategies work for your business.

Content Marketing: How to Turn Strangers into Customers

This post is part of a series on content marketing, which will be published every Monday.

Content Marketing-Small Business Marketing TacticSo you have a website that’s up and running for your small business and you want to build traffic, or you have some products or services you want to sell online and want a marketing plan that drives visitors to your site. Maybe  you’re just looking for a way to build a voice for your business, and create a brand online.

This is where content marketing comes in. What is content marketing?  It is basically a term applied to selling your products or services by first building trust with your audience by giving them free information, or valuable tools and resources catered around your service, to create a trust and bond with customers. As a result when you do sell, you have an audience ready to pay attention.

Sound weird?

It is a different way to build awareness about your company and products where unlike a TV or radio ad, where the audience just tolerates your message, you build a real interest and make your site a destination to solve their problems. Because of that, people become active listeners about your services and pay attention to your message.

The beauty in content marketing is that you build an audience that is responsive to your offerings so that you spring to mind when they are looking for services.

Why you should apply content marketing to your business

It’s free

Or relatively low-cost. A small business owner can spend a lot of money pouring into an advertisement that runs on tv/radio for a short period, or they can build a responsive audience through a successful content marketing strategy, that might mean a blog or newsletter service.

Builds an audience that listens

Content marketing works in a field of marketing called permission marketing. Unlike traditional advertising methods such as TV or radio ads, people give you their attention, instead of your message being seen as a disturbance. Your business builds that connection with customers that money can’t buy, so that if they are shopping around for services they know where to go.

Long term impact

Content marketing can help your business in the long run, especially for small businesses looking to grow. By building an audience that listens, shares and tells friends and family about this site, you grow in e-mail subscriptions or just site visits. This interest can outrun any interest built from TV or Radio advertising.

How to get started in content marketing

Write what you know

It’s the advice given to writers everywhere. But don’t write boring puff pieces about your business. Write information that is useful, and applicable to your audience. The idea is if you produce free, valuable content for your customers they will give you their attention and in the long-run their loyalty.

The posts or articles can vary with the interests and needs of your audience, whether its business-to-consumer (B2C) or business-to-business (B2B).

If you already have a mailing list for your customers, then a great way to build initial traffic consider starting a newsletter that starts articles that continue on your blog.

And if blogging is not your cup of tea, consider creating more interactions through social media sites such as Facebook or Pinterest by sharing helpful articles or news that people will find useful and engaging with your audience through those channels.

Got a question? Or need some help getting started? Contact me, and I can answer it through e-mail or in a future post, I’m all about making your life easier.

 

How to Inspire Your Own Brand Cult

Wordpress Tattoo-Branding-ustomer Loyalty- Business

This post is part of a series on brand management, which will be published every Friday.

In Florida, I met a guy from Atlanta that had a tattoo of the Nike swoosh.

“Why?” I asked, more curious than amused.

“I just really love Nike,” he replied.

He was not very chatty, but I doubt this guy was in love with the corporate behemoth that has suffered many scandals in the past. And no matter how great the products are, I doubt that had inspired the permanent ink.

It’s not a unique case, even WordPress boasts a few tattooed followers, but it sparked my analysis about the intense loyalty to a brand that would inspire a customer to tattoo the symbol.

This love is like that found in cults, the difference is  in business it means strong loyalty, a personal connection and even a voluntary brand ambassador.

So how can a small business owner inspire the kind of loyalty and love for their own brand?

Target the Ideal

The way a customer views themselves (self-concept) can give your marketing a direction or purpose. Customers will use certain products or brands as a way of showing who they are to others. These brands personality traits that have been socially established. By customers linking themselves with the brand it provides a way to show the world who they are.

So the challenge is to figure out, who your customers want to be. In other words, how do they wish to be seen? In psychology, there are 6 ways people view themselves (self-concept), 4 of these can help your branding efforts:

1. Actual self: This is who I am
2. Ideal self: This is who I’d like to be
3. Social self: This is how others see me (the reflection in the mirror)
4. Ideal social self: This is how I want other’s to see me (the flattering reflection in the mirror)

By giving your brand a personality traits of the “Ideal Social Self” you can speak to a desire in your customers, that would inspire a personal connection and customer loyalty.

Be a Flattering Mirror

Target your messages, visuals, and elements of your business to speak to the ideal self. How would your customer want to see themselves?

Case in point:

In Victoria’s Secret case it’s sexy, glamorous and feminine. The brand has succeeded in creating such an overall experience that communicates this ideal (a quick Google search for the word “Sexy” places them at no.7 at the time of this post). In a recent study customers who walked around the mall for an hour with VS shopping bags felt more sexy, glamorous and feminine compared to those with regular shopping bags.

So if your brand is trying to speak of luxury, or being tough and macho, or even feminine how do you communicate this?

Establishing a particular character for your brand is the key to starting a conversation with the ideal social self, and being a flattering mirror for your customers.

  1. Figure out what the ideal self tor your customers is and describe your brand in a way that relates to this: (Company name) is ___________.
  2. Describe how you get your customers to that ideal, but instead of talking about services, refer to the benefits (expect a  post on this topic next Friday)
  3. Craft your messages to cater to that characteristic.

There is probably more than one answer, but your target can’t be everybody because that would mean you have no personality. Aim for a distinct character trait that fits your target audience,  but understand that you can’t appeal to everyone (Click here to see an earlier post on brand personality).

Need help? I can work with your business to figure out who you are, and how you should communicate that. In other words, brand strategy, contact me.

5 Basics to Online Writing That Wows Your Readers

This post is part of a series that will get published very Monday on Content marketing or Blogging, subscribe to this blog to receive your daily copy of  helpful small business online marketing strategies.

Online users have short attention spans, and no one wants to create content that gets looked over; so mastering these basics can make your online marketing campaign sizzle.

Small Business Blogging- Wow Factor-Internet Marketing

 

The beauty of these guidelines is that they can help you sell or gain attention anywhere from websites, to blog posts, to newsletters and email marketing campaigns. So whatever online marketing strategy that’s in place for your small business these tips can help inject the wow factor into your material.

1. Crappy Headlines Means Crappy Content

What’s in a name? Well when it comes to online writing everything.

Attention spans are at a premium these days, and your content faces tough competition to get your reader’s interest. So, have a promise in your headline that your writing will deliver. Find a way to communicate the benefit by spelling out what your audience will gain from reading your material (Answer this question for your readers: What’s in it for me?)

It helps to write your headline first, because it helps set an expectation for your post from the get-go. This strategy also helps narrow your focus in your writing and editing stage.

The art of writing great headlines can be mastered by applying a few basic formulas that you might have already come across. Next time you are waiting in line at the grocery store, gloss over the magazine racks and note the titles that get your attention. You might just notice a few formulas that get reused over and over, check out this great post on Copyblogger to find out what they are.

2. Sub-Titles are your friend

And not just sub-titles, but bullet points as well. These help break up your writing into smaller chunks, allowing some white space and making it easier for your readers to navigate. Avoid long blocks of text because even at a glance this can seem intimidating and too much work for your readers to wade through. Use your formatting skills to highlight important points, so that they are easier to spot and pick up on.

3. Can the “Average Joe” understand you?

Ever had to read a scientific or academic paper? They are a pain, and not very popular outside the academic community. If your online marketing efforts are targeting a wide audience, then great writing means that anyone can pick up your material and read it.

You may an expert in your field, but unless you are writing for a very specify (read: narrow) audience with a lot of knowledge in your line of business, then you ought to keep it simple and avoid using acronyms, and overly complex words.

4. Keep It Short and sweet

Putting out 5 pages of great material is not going to help your marketing strategy, when you can cut it down and save everyone’s time. Really try to get to the point in as interesting and few words as possible. If 2 sentences can get your point across instead of 5, trim it. Give your writing a 5 minute or 10 minute reading test is, it digestible? Maybe you need to simplify it, or narrow your focus.

If you really have some information that you think needs to be broken down in more than a page or two, then consider having a downloadable PDF that your reader can refer to and a short blurb about why you think its important. An even better strategy is to have it link to an e-mail subscription to receive your newsletters, that way you earn more subscribers for your mailing list, and your e-mail campaigns get a few more eye-balls.

5. Use some basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

If you want your content to rank better than making it search engine friendly is important.

What I like to do with each post is write freely then go back and review ways that I can use some keywords to make it search engine friendly. SEO is a must-have if you are hoping to get more search engine traffic. A great way to get started in learning about it is through this free guide by SEOmoz.

The point to remember here is you write for humans, not robots. So don’t get too wrapped up in technicalities and forget your readers.

Internet and content marketing is really cool because through a little time, patience and marketing tactic you can build a loyal audience that cares about what you have to say.

And that’s it, 5 basics!

If this all seems a little too much to chew, perhaps you could benefit from more one-on-one coaching and tutorials, click here to contact me to find out how we can make this work.

Image credit: Flickr Mohammed Alnaser

Daisy Quaker is a freelance internet marketing consultant, specializing in social media strategy, content marketing, e-mail marketing and internet marketing strategy. In her spare time she writes a personal style blog. Find her on Twitter and Google+ and tell her what strategies work for your business.