Wondering how to transform social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter into powerful marketing tools for your business?
If you're like most small-to-medium business owners, you know that your clients, customers, and prospects are already spending a significant amount of their day browsing through their social media feeds, but did you know exactly how much time?
Recent studies reveal that the average American consumer spends about 5 hours per day on their mobile device, and half that screen time involves social media sites. This makes social media an obvious place to focus your marketing efforts, however, chances are good you either don't have the time or the know-how it takes to manage multiple social media feeds - that's where automation can help.
Social Media Made Simple With Automation Services
There's a number of online tools and services designed to make social media management simple and stress-free for companies, providing you with a seamless, worry-free way to attract and retain your online audience.
Some of the most well-known social media automation apps for businesses include Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and Buffer. While the features vary slightly between each product, each one is designed to give you a one-stop interface that allows you to quickly monitor all of your social media accounts at once, schedule posts, and track tags and mentions.
Social media automation tools also provide advanced features like analytics that allow you to track which posts are most popular, monitor for negative comments, and link with other apps like YouTube Analytics.
Turn Your Blog Into A Newsletter
Another valuable way to increase the ROI of your social media efforts is turning the content in your blog into a newsletter that you can share through your feeds and distribute through your email list. Transforming your blog into an email newsletter is simple using the five steps outlined by the Content Marketing Institute here.
Share Content From Industry Experts
Social media isn't all about you and your business - it's about sharing content that supports your messaging and aligns with your brand. Look for opportunities to pass on information about your industry on your social media feeds. Not only does sharing relevant content save on the volume of unique content you need to create, but it also helps to position your business as a subject matter expert in your field.
Maybe you've heard the value of word-of-mouth advertising; according to Nielsen ratings, 92% of consumers trust their friends' and family's recommendation over traditional advertising. That doesn't mean you can simply sit back and assume that the quality of your product is so much better than your competition's that customers will be raving about it to their friends without any extra effort on your part.
We want you to get the answers you need to the questions that will grow your business. How can you turn satisfied customers into loyal repeat visitors? How can you get customers to become promoters, so impressed with their experience with your product or service that they can't wait to tell everyone they know? The answer is a little trick called customer engagement.
Increasing Customer Engagement
For hospitality businesses like hotels and sit-down restaurants, it's easier to craft a lasting user experience because your guests spend more time in your establishment. For people who own retail stores and quick-service restaurants, however, it's a little more complicated.
Your customers only spend a little time interacting with your business, no more or less than they do with your competitors, so customer engagement turns into a war for the attention of patrons whose time in your location is fleeting at best. It's one thing to make a purchase that you're satisfied with — it's a whole other ballpark when trying to create a lasting impression.
That's why customer experience matters so much. And for businesses that don't have the advantage of having their customers' full attention, creativity is key to creating a lasting experience without actually getting to spend significant time with the customer in question.
How Much Does User Experience Matter?
This theory is far from unfounded. According to a study from the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, 80% of consumers said they would pay more for a better experience. This means engaging with customers in and outside of your brick & mortar establishment, creating a friendly interaction between your brand and your customers.
Take Chik-fil-A, for example. When the chicken chain first opened, the founder had a firm idea of what he wanted the experience of the restaurant's guests to be. Every cashier says something like "my pleasure" or "have a nice day". People crave this type of friendly encounter with customer service pros and will go out of their way to get it.
But what about when customers aren't in the physical confines of your store? Then it pays to use digital marketing tactics that give your brand a personality. Make sure your company twitter account is interacting with people in a positive way, whether you're responding to requests or complaints or simply about promotions your business is running. Personalize your emails with a survey that shows that your brand truly wants to get to know the customer and their tastes.
The Bottom Line
When you become more than just a faceless brand, and something like a helpful companion, dare we say even a friend, to your customers, that's when they'll be inclined to recommend you to their peers, friends, and family. That's the process of turning a customer into a loyal promoter.
David Aaker is well-known for his expertise in marketing and his ability to help businesses thrive and exceed their goals. His branding concepts, including identifying customer's interests and creating a community or story around those interests has made him an icon in the business world. In a constantly evolving marketplace, David Aaker's work can teach us to develop strong leadership in the workplace.
Business owners of all sizes rely on Mr. Aaker's expertise and training to improve their marketing, but he doesn't stop there. David Aaker recommends training the entire workplace, from sales people to accountants, to obtain top results.
Seven Tips to Be Better People in Business
David Aaker helps companies and their employees improve their leadership skills. The Chamber provides resources to help your company reach it's full potential within our community. Stop in or call to learn more about our workshops and meetings.
Everyone likes to save money. Some save it in an account. Some save it under the mattress. But, if you could save money, while actually spending money. Counter-intuitive right? Well, we here at the Chamber of Commerce would like to show you this wonderful way of saving money. If you have just a little patience, you can save hundreds and possibly thousands every year. So, shall we start saving money?
The secret to saving money while shopping is not clipping a whole bunch of coupons. No, the secret is to have patience, and by items at end of each season. Then, if you insist, clip those coupons and save even more money.
Best Things Wait Until Spring to Buy
Home Gym Equipment - With more people doing their workouts outside, due to warmer weather, manufacturers are eager to get rid of excess inventory.
Boats - It's offseason for boats and manufacturers want this big-ticket item off the books.
Cruises - Prices fall dramatically between January and March.
Ski & Snowboarding Equipment – We're pretty no one is hitting the slopes.
Don't buy spring fashion, furniture or new cars.
Wait Until Summer and Save Big
Large Appliances – Manufactures are preparing for gear up in the fall.
School Supplies, TV's and Electronics - Prices drop in preparation for markups for Fall and Christmas.
Automobiles - With new models soon debuting in the fall, you could save 15 percent or more.
Don't buy suits and accessories, FYI weddings are the most expensive in Summer
Prices on These items Will Fall in the Fall
Patio Furniture - As the temperature cools, so do the prices.
Lawn Mowers - The grass is no longer growing and neither are the prices.
Grills - the Bar-B-Cue season is unfortunately gone, but so are the markups.
Try to get your Christmas shopping done because the markups and crowds are coming to town.
Winter Wonderland of Price Cuts
Most of the things that you would buy in the Winter, should probably wait until after Christmas. After Christmas, they are generally steep, steep markdowns, as manufacturers race to get products off their books, in preparation for the following year's taxes.
Sports Equipment - Home gyms are out, gym memberships are in.
New Cars - The last week features the years best pricing on vehicles.
Clothing – You could see mark-downs as much as 70 or 80 percent.
Here at The Chamber, we hope that these shopping tips will keep you shopping -- but more importantly saving -- throughout the year!
Major disasters like earthquakes, acts of terror, and widespread power outages, though relatively rare, can have a devastating impact on your business. However, even more common and seemingly less detrimental emergencies like burst pipes, electrical fires, or server failure can have a surprisingly crippling effect. Many companies have a plan in place for worst-case scenario but neglect to put a plan in place for the small-scale crises that threaten businesses every day.
Having a disaster preparation plan can mean the difference between keeping your business up and running, even when the unexpected happens, or being forced to close up shop for days or even weeks while you recover from an emergency. Here are a few steps to take to create an effective disaster preparation plan.
Understand What Threats Your Business Faces
Unless you evaluate the types of situations that are a threat to your business and the potential costs of responding to them, you can't create a workable disaster preparation plan. A risk assessment and a business impact analysis can help you understand whether or not you could even recover from a given disaster, how long it would take for your business to recover, and what costs you would face if operations went down.
Create an Action Plan
A robust action plan will make provision for a variety of emergencies, including life safety (bomb threat, active shooter, or chemical spill), severe weather or environmental disasters, a problem with your supply chain, and any other types of emergencies that may be specific to your industry or geographic region.
Train Your Staff
No matter how well-rounded and carefully thought out your disaster preparation plan may be, if your employees don't understand what is expected of them in an emergency, your plan won't benefit anyone. Take the time to talk about your disaster preparation plan and run drills to ensure that your staff knows what to do if the unexpected should happen.
Fine Tune Your Plan
As you're going through training exercises and drills, you may identify what works and what doesn't. Make tweaks to your plan to streamline your processes and update it as procedures change.
Consider Your Supply Chain
While your disaster preparation plan should focus on crises that your business could face, you don't want to forget to consider disasters that could face those in your supply chain. For example, if one of your main suppliers goes down, you don't want to assume that they have a system in place to ensure that their buyers receive their products and services without interruption. A disaster at a supplier could pose a significant problem for your own operations, so developing a business continuity plan is important.
Monitor for Threats
In the event of a disaster, minutes matter. As much as possible, monitor for oncoming threats so that you can respond appropriately and as efficiently as possible.
Emergency planning can seem like an overwhelming task, but having an organized approach and taking it one step at a time can ensure that your business is able to weather nearly any disaster.
The Durango Chamber of Commerce
The Durango Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization that promotes and supports the local business community through communication, advocacy, education, leadership and financial viability.