18 July

5 Top Tips for Super Social Customer Service

Great customer service is the key to keeping everybody happy but in our changing world where customers are increasingly online, gone are the days of in store help desks, telephone helplines and even email assistance. Customers want their customer service online on social media and wise businesses know that wherever your customers go, you should follow. Enter social customer service.

Social customer service means transferring your customer help desk from your store to your social media profiles. A recent report by Accent Marketing revealed some staggering facts about social customer service – that nearly a third of customers use Facebook to contact a customer service representative, that half of those people believe Facebook is the fastest way to solve customer service issues and that nearly half of those expect to have their comment or query answered within an hour. With statistics like that, any business that does not consider social media a customer service tool should be changing their tune and getting on board with social customer service – fast. But how do you do that? (more…)

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02 June

Experimental ideas – The Future of Film industry

As featured on connector360, our little sister website, we will now bring you a collection of innovations from film industry.

1. What about keeping your smartphone switched on at cinema? That is the challenge of Cinime that developed an interactive app to “use your little screen to get more from the big screen”. Read More

2. Civil drone and helicopter use in cinema is offering new ways to shoot action and provide a significant change in film visuals. Here is an amazing example of what can be done:

3. Have you always dreamt of living in a movie? Thanks to virtual reality in cinema the gap between real and movie world will become so close that you will feel like being part of the film. Read more

4. This behind the scene video reveals the secrets of 7 Oscars winner film Gravity and the remarkable technological innovation created to shoot the movie.

5. A new concept inspired by the trend of Slow Food just shows up on TV and proposes a different and fun way to watch TV.

For more stories like this, follow us on Twitter @connector360

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26 May

Experimental ideas – The future of Retail

As featured on connector360, our little sister website, we will now bring you a collection of innovative ideas from retail industry.

To receive our full list of retail case studies, please email team@socialmedia.ie

1.  Avenue Imperial created a digital retail experience which makes you feel like you are shopping in a store while you are browsing on your computer.

2. Technology helps to improve customer service in many ways – the interaction between iBeacon and Google Glass could be the future of retail and may change customer shopping experience forever.

3. Thanks to this Pizza Hut digital table you will be able to create your personal pizza like a real chef!  You will never be bored while waiting for your meal again.

4. Are you confused when buying clothes as there is so much choice? C&A helps solve this problem with its Facebook “Likes” campaign.

For more stories like this, please follow us on Twitter @socialmedia_ie

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20 May

iBeacon revolutionises the fashion retail world

iBeacon is a new technology created by Apple that is intended to replace the old Near Field Communication (NFC) system. NFC is used to exchange data between two mobile devices without contact. NFC allows your smartphone to act as a credit card, loyalty card and more besides.

iBeacon is a new improvement of this technology. It enables users to make payments without any network connection. The good news is that iBeacon comes with all devices that operate iOS 7.

iBeacon allows companies to push offers and promotions straight to the consumer (providing they have downloaded the company’s app first).
This opens the way to loads of innovation in digital marketing and has already been adopted by many companies.

Macy’s the famous US department store has been using iBeacons to alert customers of current special offers when they enter the store.

American Eagle Outfitters also uses iBeacon technology to send customers a welcome message as they enter the store and inform them of location specific rewards.

iBeacons may be the solution for retailers to finally bring the online offline.

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15 May

Trendy New York restaurant serves up tasty Instagram menus #ComodoMenu

We all love to take photos, with our friends, with our houses, with our favourite places, with flowers, animal, drinks but most of all, we like to take photos with our food. Because we need to communicate with each other and because we like to share things, some smart guys decided to develop Instagram. We all know the photo-sharing app and we like it. But a man still has to eat and Instagram can’t help you find food, right? What would you say if I told you that you can go into a restaurant and you can use your smartphone to decide what you want to have from the menu?

A couple from New York decided to make their dream come true and they opened a cozy restaurant in the Big Apple. They wanted to ease their clients’ lives when they have to decide what they want to have from the menu. Besides this, the owners wanted to be different. Mission accomplished. Comodo Restaurant from New York came up with a new and great idea – to use Instagram to make their restaurant menu. You can sit at the table and search through The Instagram Menu by using the #ComodoMenu hashtag. All the guests in the restaurant can add photos of Comodo’s courses and dishes. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Next time you can’t decide what to order you can search for #ComodoMenu and see what your friends recommend, simple as that.

by Anca Geangala

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12 May

2014 Social Media Awards – Sony Mobile campaign nomination

As featured on connector360, our little sister website. We are delighted to have been shortlisted for an experimental marketing award at the 2014 Social Media Awards.

Our work with Instagram for Sony Mobile at the St. Patrick’s Day festival will hopefully will pick up an award in June!

Awards sony

Please see all nominations on Social Media Awards

For more stories follow us on @connector360

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27 June

Instagram Video battles with Twitter Vine – which is best for marketers?

Instagram Video launched on June 20th to much fanfare and media attention.  Now the dust has begun to settle, we ask how has it been received and look at the inevitable Vine comparisons.   Also, what value can it create for marketers in future?

Instagram Video – The Vital Statistics

Instagram Video arrived with a strong array of user functions.  It promised 15 second clips, easily created via any IOS or Android device.  Instagram maestros were delighted to hear that it contains 13 filters, which is arguably the killer app for their existing photo platform.  To place a cherry on top, the on board stabilisation technology ‘Cinema’ is truly impressive function within a free product.

Instagram users can now create quality video and have it online within minutes.  Great news for everyone, from the #catstagram documenters of everything furry and feline, to brands and businesses looking for an easy to use, cheap way of creating visual content and sharing with their audience.  With millions of existing subscribers ready to use this new addition, has Instagram Video changed the game?

Instagram Video vs Vine

Not only are these two video apps vying for your attention, but they are steered by the two social media behemoths – Facebook own Instagram while Twitter are behind Vine.  Vine has a six month head start and now has over 13 million users. Instagram has over 100 million users who (with a simple app update) instantly have video at their fingertips.

The debate over which platform may triumph is mainly centered around the functionality of both and the 6 seconds of Vine content versus the 15 seconds Instagram offers in particular.  Getting your message or story across in these small times is a challenge, but this allows creatives types to get creative!  TechCrunch asked a professional photographer and Viner (who builds Vine content for some of America’s biggest brands) to shoot the same content via both platforms and then polled her followers over which offered the best aesthetic results.  The verdict?   Vine has the edge…  An interesting early blow in this clash of the titans.

Interestingly, just prior to the Instagram video launch, on June 8th, Topsy Analytics noted that the amount of Vine shares via Twitter for that 24 hour period surpassed Instagram for the first time ever, with 2.37 million Vine links to Instagram’s 2.17 million.  We now know that Instagram were biding their time until their video launch but Vine’s growing presence means they will not be going anywhere soon.

Instagram Video For Digital Campaigns

Instagram Video has great applications for business – from the biggest brands to small and medium enterprises too.  You can move from a campaign concept to launch in mere hours, and share your video online with your followers and fans to build social engagement (and maybe even virality if you are lucky!).  Without needing big marketing budgets or specialist expertise to create, shoot, edit and share a visual idea, both Instagram Video and Vine bring content creation into the hands of businesses of any size.  We expect to see more instances of visually creative and quirky story-telling, behind the scenes footage, ‘how-to’ guides and even customer created video content appearing on brand’s social media feeds soon.

The Early Adopters – Brands Taking the Instagram Lead

Burberry Instagram Video

Already there are many big brands active and experimenting with the new platform.  Jamie Oliver (a brand unto himself) announced the launch of his new restaurant via Instagram Video, while Starbucks show you around their first ever cafe (opened in 1912).  Many of the early adopter brands and businesses using Instagram Video are doing so to give a ‘behind the scenes’ view of their business.  This humanises brands and in Starbucks case especially so, they show that even the biggest corporations had humble beginnings.

Other brands have already released slickly edited and gorgeously shot ‘advert’ style content, none more impressive than Burberry.  Just click the image to the left to take a look.  This example is but an early indicator of the stylistic promise that this medium holds in future.

National Geographic Instagram Video

 

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We leave you with the finest examples of Instagram Video so far that we have given a well deserved standing ovation to – Burberry’s slick statement of intent, and then National Geographic’s quirky, fun, made for social sharing approach that we are sure will become a popular use of this medium in future.  Click on the photo to the right to view (Instagram have not allowed off-site embedding for their video, not yet at least).

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If your business would like assistance and guidance in creating and using video as part of a great digital campaign, we would love to offer our advice.  You can get in touch with us at team@socialmedia.ie.

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20 June

Select The Right Digital Channels For Your Next Campaign

For any type of campaign or marketing plan your business has run in the last few years (and certainly in future), digital channels may be playing an increasing role.  They make your audience easier to reach, providing instant delivery and the chance for rapid response.  Any offer or update you deliver digitally also allows easy sharing over social media and possibly best of all, digital marketing channels are so easy to measure.  Digital can now stand shoulder to shoulder with traditional marketing channels in the majority of businesses.

The various types of digital marketing channels all hold different strengths that will make some more important for your own business to focus on.  The mix you select depends on your own goals for your online marketing plan, the type of message you hope to deliver, and of course the audience you hope to reach.  Let’s start with a quick look at some popular uses of different channels.

Digital Channels – The Usual Suspects

Email – For lengthier announcements like new product launches, monthly newsletters, email is often the channel of choice

SMS – Great for bite size offers and updates.  Often includes a prompt or code to redeem on another channel (e.g. purchase online with voucher code).

Website – With the rise of content marketing, a company website often houses important areas like the company blog.  It is now usually the hub for many digital marketing campaigns.

Mobile Apps – Often used by existing customers. GroupOn, Booking.com, eBay are some of the companies keeping customers ‘captive’ while browsing this way.

Social Media: Facebook – Great for awareness based campaigns.  Allows brands to humanise themselves and improve interaction with their audience.  Useful for promoting offers too.

Social Media: Twitter - Useful for building interaction, and for improving customer service satisfaction.  Suited to important announcements, breaking company news and pop-up sales.

Don’t Overload Your Digital Audience

SocialMedia.ie consumer digital overload

As you can see above, some digital marketing channels are more suitable for certain messages than others.  It is important to bear in mind too that many members of your audience may have simultaneous access to several of these channels at once.  The smartphone means that your offer could be received by SMS, email, Facebook and Twitter all at once to the palm of the owner’s hand.  This can reduce the effect of the message you hope to deliver so consider this when planning a campaign across multiple digital channels.

 

The Power Of Measurement

Digital marketing channels offer a reliable, instant and easy to digest measurability that can be key in monitoring performance during and after a campaign.  You can actively monitor digital metrics such as responses and shares, viral reach of your social media posts, click-through rate and many more. We explored metrics such as this in a previous post.  Match what you are measuring to your own marketing goals and all can be useful signposts on the road to a successful multi channel marketing campaign.

Always be testing

It could be seen as conventional wisdom to say that younger consumers, especially ‘digital natives’ are best contacted through digital means.  Will they eagerly share an offer posted via social media, or any digital medium that pops up on their SocialMedia.ie digital metricssmartphone?  Then consider older consumers, do they still prefer the tried and tested ways, loving a letter in their postbox to offer them a discount or bonus?

If you assumed this is the ‘norm’ for these different types of consumer, this may be a good guess, but what about your customers, can you be so sure?  Don’t rest on your laurels and assume you have everyone figured out.  Your own audience will tell you by previous behaviour how they can be tickled with an offer and what digital channels they are happiest to respond by.  Your own findings may even surprise you.  Launch, test, refine, repeat!

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In Summary

Whether your next digital marketing campaign is primed to raise awareness, build customer interaction, increase sales or to generate new leads, you have many marketing channel options to ensure you can deliver your message successfully.  Match your channel mix to your own campaign focus, always be aware of what your customers are telling you by their previous responses.  Don’t be afraid to evolve the process over time.

The next time your business has a new product or offer ready to promote by digital means, delivering it appropriately to your audience is a big step in turning a good campaign into a great one.

 

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13 June

10 Killer Tips For A Sales Focused Website

Your company website is your virtual shopfront – the place online that anyone interested in your product is likely to arrive at.   Here you highlight the unique value your products can offer everyone in your target market.  As with anything that can be sold online, new markets may open up for your business worldwide.  Of course with opportunity comes competition.  Now you may not be competing only against your rival across town but with similar firms from Melbourne to Milan.

As some online shoppers will never set foot in your own physical store (if you have one), you must wow them and woo them through your website.  The question we ask today is – once they visit, do you make it easy for them to move from curious, to interested, to sold?  Here are 10 tips to help improve user experience and increase sales.

 

Tip 1: Get Your Landing/Home Page right! - Once visitors click onto your homepage or through an ad to a specific landing page, make sure they know (a) where they are and who you are (b) what they can do while on your site, and (c) why they should stay longer.

 

Tip 2: Write great copy - Ensure your copy and content is persuasive and highlights the value of your product.  Does it

  • read well and is understandable by everyone?
  • focus on benefits for the customer, not just features?
  • provide answers to any fears or uncertainties visitors may have against purchasing?
  • give clear instructions on how to buy?
  • provide information on what happens after buying (delivery, returns process)?

 

Tip 3: Use product images - This seems an obvious point, but a text heavy site with no product images or visual cues often has visitors nodding off if they haven’t already clicked away.

 

Tip 4: Offer less products per page, with better description - Rather than following a ‘something for everybody’ approach and offering dozens of product alternatives, maybe try to focus on fewer.  This way you can zero in on the benefits of each in more detail.  Some web design guru’s give advice that for online retailers, 4-6 items on any one page is the magic number.  Did you know that Amazon follow the rule of 6?  They limit their highly effective ‘customers who bought this also bought these’ list of related items to a max of 6 per screen.

 

SocialMedia.ie importance of testing

Tip 5: Test/Change which benefits you use to sell each product - You may be very proud of a certain product benefit.  Do customers feel it is equally as important to them though?  Test different benefits within your headline or sub header and see what visitors are responding to in biggest numbers.

 

Tip 6: Test layout of any call to action - anything from the headline, copy wording, placement on page or even colour scheme of any ‘call to action’ box or button can increase response rate.  Tweak, test, repeat!

 

Tip 7: Reduce clicks to get to sale - Ensure that visitors don’t have to jump through too many hoops to avail of a free trial or make a purchase.  The longer the ‘click trail’ they have to follow, the more likely they are to baulk.  Simplify when possible.

 

Tip 8: Offer time sensitive offers/stocks etc - This is a great way of keeping your website up to the minute, and keep customers coming back to your site.  A timely offer can make your product look scarce and exclusive to potential buyers.  Google loves websites that update content often too, so it won’t do your SEO any harm either!

 

Tip 9: Promote shareability - using sharing buttons on your site allowing visitors to share an offer or product with their social network can be great exposure.  An example would be a clothing or art & design site allowing Pinterest pinning to special interest community boards to gain you viral attention the easy way.

 

Tip 10: Be your customer! – The more input you have had in your website design, the more a labour of love it will be to you.  Try to take off your designer hat and wear a visitor’s hat instead.  Use your site like they would.  There may be holes in user experience that you are not seeing, looking from the inside out.

 

These tips will get you thinking about your website and any potential for improvement.  It may be purring like a kitten to your eyes, but tweaking, testing and always looking at every change from a user perspective can glean even those small improvements that can snowball into better sales.

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19 April

Trapped in a lift with your competitors and a hot lead, what happens next?

elevatorWe’ve all heard of the ‘elevator pitch’. It’s the bite size, 10 second pitch that all businesses and brands should have at the ready. It boils down your offering to it’s simplest, stand out terms.  Let’s say you and your competitors are trapped in an elevator for real and a huge potential customer is there and ready to deal.

You open your mouth to wow them and then you and your four competitors recite the exact same thing.  This may get you thinking ‘Wait, how exactly ARE we better?’  You’re ready to find your key differentiator…


Repeat after me… How to bottle your lightning

Complete these simple sentences to see if you can narrow down your differentiator

“We offer …….. that other competitors cannot match”

“We aid customers that need …. better than anyone else”

Maybe that wasn’t so easy?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone in having to think a little deeper to capture that elusive spark of advantage.  In the modern market,  it is increasingly difficult to differentiate yourself clearly on product superiority alone.  Sure, companies like Apple can, but mostly it’s the intangible elements that fit together to make a company the leader, or an also-ran.  In other words, often service, customer interaction and even your brands story can be the game changer.

Identify, Nurture, Benefit

Your brand is unique, from its origin story, to its staff, its style of communication and advertising, its owner, its passion.  That heady mix is you, and how you deal with it and help your customers might be the reason they flock to you.  The follow up call your reps make the day after a big delivery, or your service agents make after a problem, these tiny interactions could be creating the special value that your customers really appreciate.  If you want to know if this is true, ask your customers!  They will tell you what you are getting right, as well as wrong.

They may like your light hearted brand personality, your hands on rock and roll owner or the calm knowledge your staff possess.  By all means test internally for this, but you have to think ‘outside in’ i.e. look for the differences others see rather than the ones you might be the only one noticing.

Once you have narrowed down these factors, promote them to your staff and nurture all the elements that make you a success – stay the course!  The benefits of knowing what makes you tick will come…

listen-300x300-resized-600A cautionary tale – Practice what you preach

Once you recognise your key differentiator, listen to your customers for signs that you remain on track.  Make sure to treat direct customer contact seriously at all stages of a purchase (from enquiry, to purchase, to after sales, to problems).  The golden rule today is that if they are talking to you, they are also talking about you.  Monitor all social media channels for any feedback, good or bad on how you’re doing – this is your benchmark.  Take action and respond to any chatter online about your customer’s experience with you.

For example, if you pride yourself on start-to-finish customer relationships and your clients find that your sales staff are ducking them once an order is secured, leaving them to deal with HQ for any follow up or issues, this goes against the whole purpose.  Ensure that your key differentiator is visible and working well across all stages of the customer relationship.  Otherwise, the disconnect between promise and delivery will drive your clients right into the arms of competitors.

If you’d like to be kept up-to-date on the latest marketing news, tips and trends, then signup for our newsletter here!

 

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