Social Media Etiquette For Business

Social Media Etiquette For Business

Social media is all about interacting with others, especially as a business. Your goals should include engaging with customers, building relationships, and staying at the forefront of their minds. That is how you achieve repeat and referral business. Using proper social media etiquette is just as important as the other elements of content creation and engagement. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to acing social media etiquette.

Separate Your Personal and Business Accounts

Most people primarily use social media to stay in touch with friends and family. Of course, many businesses use social media to raise brand awareness, drive traffic to their websites, and even generate sales. Perhaps you find it annoying when friends use their personal accounts to promote their businesses. By running separate accounts for your business, you are respecting your friends who are only interested in what’s going on with you. On the other hand, using your business account for personal use could make your company appear unprofessional.

Avoid Misrepresenting Your Company

There are many good reasons for a business to establish a positive social media presence, such as reputation management, growing a base of devoted customers, and gathering feedback. However, it is critical that you represent your company openly and honestly online to build trust with your audience. Even seemingly minor embellishments to make your company appear better can cast significant doubt on the overall integrity of your business.

Respond Mindfully

It makes sense that you may get annoyed if someone disrespects your business or leaves a negative review on your social media channels. But keep in mind that you are speaking for your organization before you react and respond. An explosive or negative response could give prospective clients an unfavourable impression of your business. Before responding, take some time to collect your thoughts. Remember to be as gracious and kind as you can when handling critical feedback. Making that extra effort helps to build and maintain trust with current and prospective customers.

Refrain From Sharing Too Many Posts

Regardless of your social media goals, delivering value to your audience should be top of the list. Some businesses make the error of thinking what is valuable to them is also valuable to their audience. As a result, they exclusively use their social media platforms for advertising and sales. Being informative versus annoying is key.

It matters how frequently you publish on social media, and your profiles may be affected in various ways depending on how often you share posts.

Neil Patel states it well in an article from Forbes:

“If you post too infrequently, your audience will forget that you exist and you will quickly fade into the deep dark recesses of their minds. However, if you are posting too often, you will become a complete nuisance and they will dread seeing your posts overcrowding their feed.”

Always Review Your Posts for Grammar and Spelling

This past April, we explored the topic of grammar in our blog post, “Grammar & Brand Messaging for Your Business.” We mentioned that improper grammar can completely affect the interpretation of what you are trying to communicate. In other words, your company’s overall message is at risk of being confusing and even completely misunderstood. Because business social media accounts are public, many more people can see any mistakes. Simply double-checking a post before you send it out can save you a lot of embarrassment!

Over To You

We hope these pointers will enable you to engage in more fulfilling social media interactions. Are there any you would add? Please keep in mind that if you need help creating and managing social media for your business, we are available to help.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

The Fortune is in the Follow Up

The Fortune is in the Follow Up

Do you know how many companies lose touch with a client before they even begin collaborating with them? And, do you know the cost of letting that happen? In the world of business, you already know how important it is to make a good first impression. However, following up in a timely manner on a first inquiry or email introduction is just as essential (if not more so) than the initial meeting. And when you neglect possible customers, you may miss out on valuable opportunities. According to a recent study from LeadConnect Marketing, as many as 78% of customers buy from a company that responds to their inquiry first.

Think of it this way – when a client requests a quote from you, they are shopping! They have decided to start researching before committing and making a purchase. A quick follow-up response is your chance to show that you care about more than just a sale and are interested in building a relationship. This shows potential clients you have not forgotten about them and that you are available to them should they need additional assistance.

Also, when you follow up with them right away, they are more likely to trust your brand. Simply following up with a potential client might be what entices them to do business with you. On the other hand, a lack of communication or negative interaction could influence a customer to choose a competitor instead.

When you receive an inquiry, you should contact the person or business as quickly as possible to ensure they feel you have noticed them. You can think of following up as a form of customer service since doing so improves the flow of communication and allows you to address their concerns upfront.

Have you ever responded to an inquiry immediately with a quote or proposal and not received a response from your potential client? If you shrug and move on, the possibilities end. There could be a fortune in this follow up! So many things could happen to derail a prospective buyer from responding and your cheery follow up email or call, could spark the action to close the sale!

Many businesses who schedule appointments for their clientele have learned that sending reminders and following up to confirm the scheduled appointment a few days before, will result in less no-shows because people do forget and do get busy. Incorporating this customer service follow up is a win for your business to stay booked and busy!

Here are some simple things to consider when following up:

  • Take a few minutes to send an email, text, call, or even send a handwritten note.
  • Treat everyone with respect. Listen to what they have to say.
  • Quickly respond to an inquiry or introduction but be sure to use a message that doesn’t seem canned or meaningless.
  • Don’t assume you are being ghosted. Reach out to keep the conversation going and build the relationship.

Over to you

The bottom line is that prompt follow-ups are essential to your business’ success, both now and in the future. Effective and timely communication, especially at the beginning of the relationship, goes a long way toward a successful future working together.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Beat the Block: Tips For Dealing with Writer’s Block

Beat the Block: Tips For Dealing with Writer’s Block

Have you ever found yourself staring at your screen, wondering what to write, but the words just won’t come to you? Or perhaps you’re creating a post for social media that you believe to be original, but you can’t help but feel like you’ve written it before? If so, you might be experiencing what’s commonly referred to as “writer’s block.”

What is writer’s block? When writers are stuck for ideas, it is known as writer’s block. It affects writers at all phases of their careers, and if ignored, it can prevent you from writing for days, weeks, or even months.

The good news is that you can avoid writer’s block and keep your writing fresh! Here are some ideas for “beating the block” and staying in the zone.

Keeping content ideas fresh

Every content writer faces the challenge of keeping their content fresh, informative, appealing, and on brand. It’s essential to give your readers the kind of content they want. Consistently doing this will have a significant positive impact on your readership. What’s new? What has changed? Think about offering a new perspective to your readers.

If you’re stuck for ideas, give one (or all!) of these a try:

#1. Be the customer. Take a step back and observe your company from a customer’s point of view. What questions do you have? Share answers to those questions in your writing.

#2. Solve a problem. When you are networking or talking with other business owners, what are the common topics of conversation that keep coming up? Do they want to learn more about topics like cash flow, marketing, how to handle challenging clients, or how to target a particular demographic? What problems can you help solve?

#3. Discover what’s happening in the world. Take a few minutes to browse social media, respectable news outlets, YouTube, and even TikTok! Or, if you find yourself with even more time to spare, binge-watch a popular TV series, attend a concert, or spend an evening at the movie theatre. Find out for yourself what people are talking about right now and incorporate it into your content.

#4. Take time to prepare and plan. Make a “special-days” calendar or check out fun holiday ideas from sites such as HootSuite. Tuck away testimonials from emails or recommendations from social media. These great reviews make uplifting content to easily inject in an e-newsletter or in social media posts.

#5. Do you think you’re funny? Try your hand at creating memes! We subscribe to imgflip.com and have a lot of fun (and even internal company competitions) developing memes.

#6. Go behind the scenes. Show your readers who you are. Humanize your brand by taking candid shots of staff at work, celebrating your team members’ birthdays, and sharing staff recognition.

#7. Create a poll or survey on social media and ask people what they want to hear about. Current Revenue Canada regulations, deadlines, or news? Trends on social media? The Pantone colour of the year if you’re considering rebranding or refreshing your website? Everyone has an opinion and they’re usually happy to share it!

#8. Build a list of FAQs. Which questions do your clients, readers, or prospective consumers often ask you? Make a list of the questions and respond to each one, providing examples when possible. You can also create a few case studies.

#9. Interview experts within your industry. Interviewing someone within your field is a great way to establish an emotional connection between your company and its audience. The content you capture during the interview has the potential to supply material for your blog and social media for some time. You may even consider recording your interviews and converting them into podcasts for even more content. (https://www.myobontario.ca/podcasting-101/)

#10. Become a savvy content curator. There will be days when you’d rather not reinvent the wheel, and that’s fine. As you know, there is already a ton of content out there on the internet. Look for interesting, relevant, and timely posts and share them with your followers from time to time.

Over to you

We hope these suggestions help you get your creative juices flowing again. Do you have a tip to add to this list? We’d love to hear what works for you when you’re experiencing writer’s block.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

How To: Using GIFs in Marketing

How To: Using GIFs in Marketing

If you have been using GIFs for a while, then you’re already aware of their power to spice up your online conversations. Although they’re considered to be light and funny like memes, GIFs are becoming a growing trend for business marketing in recent years.

You may be asking yourself, “Why should I utilize GIFs for my business”? In a nutshell, GIFs are a quick and easy way to add eye-catching animations to your social media posts, emails, landing pages, blog posts, and more! Here’s what you need to know about implementing GIFs.

What Is a GIF, exactly?

GIF is an acronym that stands for Graphics Interchange Format. Merriam-Webster defines GIF as “a computer file format for the compression and storage of visual digital information; also: an image or video stored in this format.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/GIF

GIFs were invented in 1987 by Steve Wilhite, a U.S. software developer, to use animated images that did not have excessively high file sizes. So, GIFs have been around for more than 30 years—longer than the internet itself!

In the simplest terms, it’s a small graphic that moves like a video, but plays on a loop.

The advantages of incorporating GIFs into your business content

Now that you know what GIFs are, the next step is learning about their marketing capabilities. Here are three benefits you may be interested in:

#1. They grab more attention than images.

GIFs have eye-catching motion and more energy, which makes it easier for your content to stand in social feeds, emails, ads, and more. GIFs are perfect for quick-moving social media feeds because they often last for a few seconds. This means they can quickly grab your audience’s attention while effectively communicating your brand’s message.

#2. Your customers love them.

GIFs are more popular than ever! They are also a great way to insert popular culture into your content. Perhaps you’ve seen some GIFs from your favourite TV shows – The Office, Schitt’s Creek, or Friends. Chances are many of your customers like those shows too! This incorporation will allow your followers to engage with content they can relate to. GIFs are also easy for people to share onto their own social media accounts or in emails.

#3. They are mobile-friendly.

GIFs can be used instead of videos, which might slow down your site’s speed and negatively affect the user’s experience. With their smaller file sizes, GIFs will help maintain a fan’s video engagement without requiring a significant bandwidth.

Ways to use GIFs for business

Before using GIFS, you should first determine whether they will be relevant to your audience. However, for most brands, they will be well-received, particularly if you are targeting a tech-savvy demographic. You also need to determine what mood, or vibe you want your content to relate – GIFs can be excellent for conveying a feeling when you pick the right one!

Social Media Examiner offers fantastic ideas to consider for incorporating GIFs into your marketing strategy:

  • Tutorials and How-To Guides
  • Product Spotlights and Uses
  • Company and Team Introductions
  • Awards and Accolades
  • Sales and Discounts
  • GIF Collections for Customers

Source: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-marketing-gifs-in-your-campaigns/

When it comes to using GIFs in your company’s branding, you have more possibilities than you might think. Naturally, you’ll want to share them on social media. You may also consider adding them to emails, blog posts, and even your website. Here at MYOB, we occasionally sprinkle GIFs into our clients’ content. We also recently updated a client’s website with GIFs for their “Meet the Team” pictures. https://verto360.com/about/  The unique GIFs not only enhance their website, but also add a humanizing touch.

How to make GIFS of your own

Now comes the fun part – making a GIF! It turns out they’re quite easy to make and much simpler than creating video files.

There are numerous apps available for creating your own GIFs and many are free. With the help of these tools, you can upload photographs and make a GIF from scratch. You can use interesting extras like text overlays, filters, backdrops, graphics, emoticons, and other customizations in addition to your own photos. Perhaps you already have a video that you want to turn into a GIF? There are video-to-GIF converters online as well.

If you’d prefer not to make your own GIF, there are dozens of GIF search engines and libraries that house billions of them. One of the most popular sites is Giphy, which has more than 700 million daily users — and those visitors watch more than 11 million hours of content on Giphy every day. (https://giphy.com/about)

Over to you

GIFs can be a terrific business marketing tool and a fun way to bring energy to your content and messaging, and they’re here to stay!

If you’re interested in learning more about how we help businesses grow through social media and content, we’d love to talk to you about it! Feel free to call or contact us through our website.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

Talk to Human!

Talk to Human!

Have you noticed that a lot of businesses are willing to engage through online channels yet fail to provide any phone support these days? All too often, the online chat supports those businesses offer are auto-generated generic answers that are less-than-helpful. Let’s say you’re unable to log into one of your social media networks, either because you’ve been locked out or because the platform is down. Having the option to speak with a live person and resolve the issue over the phone would be helpful, right?

Research shows why people are becoming increasingly frustrated with online support:

  • 55% of customer requests for service on social media are not acknowledged.
  • 72% of Facebook interactions are never completed, in any channel.

Source: Huffington Post (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/50-important-customer-exp_b_8295772)

Why going back to the basics to develop relationships can humanize your business?

In the long run, the ability to humanize your business through live phone support can certainly help your company stand out from the crowd. Human nature dictates that people prefer to do business with real people rather than logos and bots. And although face-to-face meetings and phone calls were once the norm for business representatives, artificial intelligence (AI), email and social media have contributed to a decline in personal human interactions over the last decade or so.

As well, too many companies are overlooking a key aspect when prioritizing the digital experience: talking on the phone with a real person is faster, easier, and more effective than typing messages back and forth. It may seem old-fashioned, but in reality, most people still want to talk to a knowledgeable human being – especially when they have customer service issues or are making major purchasing decisions.

Businesses may be losing potential revenue by hiding their phone numbers and making it nearly impossible to reach a live person. Customers who are irritated have little patience for automated support, and even those who aren’t irritated will notice when your company interacts with a human touch. However, savvy business owners understand that relationships are the true currency of business. And, amongst the rise of AI, humans now have the advantage of offering something unique and compelling to customers.

Ready to provide a “Talk to Human” option? Proper phone etiquette will go a long way

If you are ready for your business to be more “human” again but haven’t picked up the phone in a while, then you may need to brush up on your phone skills. Having a repertoire of good customer service terms on hand will help you communicate with your current and potential customers more effectively.

Here are a few impactful customer service phrases to consider:

#1. “Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”

In fact, the customer who reports the flaw is actually assisting your company with quality control. In these cases, the very least your company can do is express gratitude through this simple phrase. Being courteous does not cost you anything. It is important to be genuine with this as people are smart and can detect if you’re being insincere.

#2. “I will look into this for you.”

Even when you are unsure of the outcome, it is essential that you express a willingness to find the answer. Because one of your goals is to boost your customers’ trust in your brand, this helps demonstrate to them that you’re a professional who gets things done.

#3. “I apologize for the inconvenience.”

If a customer is dissatisfied, it is critical to demonstrate empathy, validate their complaint and let them know that you understand their concerns. Apologizing to a dissatisfied customer and admitting the error is preferable to making excuses.

Source: Qminder (https://www.qminder.com/blog/customer-service/customer-service-phrases/)

Over to you

At the end of the day, it is important to provide your customers with as many contact channels as you can effectively manage. Consider having a “talk to human” as one of those options; it will likely result in a positive experience for both sides!

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger

The Power of a Hashtag

The Power of a Hashtag

When it comes to creating and sharing social media content for your business, incorporating hashtags is an excellent way to increase views, likes, and shares. When used properly, hashtags make it easier for others who are interested in your content to find you, hence increasing your influence, and following.

You have probably seen many hashtags by now. They first became popular on Twitter but have since spread to other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. In June 2014, the word “hashtag” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary and defined as “a word or phrase with the symbol # in front of it, used on social media websites and apps so that you can search for all messages with the same subject” (Source: Wikipedia).

Are you ready to incorporate hashtags into your social media plan? Here are four pointers to keep in mind.

#1. How to make a hashtag

Creating a hashtag for your content is as simple as adding the octothorp symbol (#) in front of the word or words you wish you stand out, such as #Hashtag. To hashtag a phrase, you’ll spell it out completely, without spaces, symbols, or punctuation. You can also use numbers. #MakingaHashtag is an example of a phrase hashtag. The hashtag(s) can be added to the beginning, middle, or end of your social media post or comment.

#2. Designing a hashtag strategy

It may seem easy enough to turn any word or phrase into a hashtag. However, you’ll want to utilize relevant hashtags as much as possible. This is important since the more specific you can be, the more likely you are to reach your preferred audience. Since adding the # symbol automatically makes a word or phrase clickable, you’ll want to carefully choose the ones you use.

Consider the following for your hashtag strategy:

  • Avoid going overboard with your hashtags. The number of hashtags that can be used is determined by the platform (we’ll get into more details about that below). However, in most cases, one to three hashtags can have a greater impact than having too many of them.
  • Instead of trying to fit a lot of words into one tag, keep your hashtags short and memorable.
  • Rather than making up hashtags that are obscure or cryptic, stick with more popular choices. If you choose a tag that no one will search for, it will not benefit your marketing because it will not be found!
  • Focus on using hashtags within your posts when they bring value to your audience and are more likely to spark dialogue and interaction. In other words, you don’t have to pack them into every post.

#3. Finding the right hashtags to get the results you want

Now that you’re ready to start using hashtags, the next step is determining the ones that are best for you and your brand. The key is to find hashtags that complement your content and appealing to your followers. You’ll always want to research a hashtag to get the best, most effective outcomes.

There are various websites that can help you in selecting hashtags for your brand. Here are four sites we like to use:

  1. Hashtagify (https://hashtagify.me)
  2. All Hashtag (https://www.all-hashtag.com/)
  3. Best Hashtags (http://best-hashtags.com/)
  4. BrandMentions (https://brandmentions.com/hashtag-tracker/)

Once you’ve identified the hashtags you want to use, it’s a good idea to scan the social media platforms where you intend to use them to see what comes up when you search for them. Doing this will help you easily identify whether they are popular, as well as if they are appropriate for your brand.

#4. Learn how hashtags work across social media platforms

As we mentioned earlier, the main purpose of using hashtags on social media is to let your followers know that your content falls into a specific topic or category. As such, you will also want to learn how to use hashtags on different platforms.

Twitter

Twitter is fast and furious. Without hashtags, your content will easily become lost in a flood of tweets. According to HubSpot, Tweets from businesses that include hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without hashtags. (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/twitter-statistics). However, if you use too many hashtags in a post your message will lose its value. Although you can use as many hashtags in a tweet as you like, Twitter recommends using no more than two per Tweet. (https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/how-to-use-hashtags)

Facebook

When it comes to gaining greater visibility for your Facebook posts, hashtags can help increase organic reach. Simply type a keyword into the search bar to get hashtags that are relevant to you. It’s usually best to limit yourself to one or two hashtags per post, though. More beyond that can make you appear unprofessional and may even annoy the people who read your posts.

LinkedIn

Hashtag use on LinkedIn is still fairly new, but they work on this platform in the same way as on any other network. Using hashtags on LinkedIn can help you reach people who are outside of your network, increasing engagement and trustworthiness. One to three hashtags are suggested for posts on LinkedIn.

Instagram

On Instagram, hashtags can help you reach a wider audience and enhance engagement. So, to reach the largest audience possible, feel free to use up to ten or eleven relevant and popular hashtags per post. You can actually use up to 30 hashtags per post, giving you plenty of options. Use the search box to find out which hashtags influencers and your competitors are using to engage with their followers on Instagram. Because this is the ideal platform for multiple hashtags, try experimenting with a variety of them to use in your own posts and comments.

Over to you

Hashtags are an excellent way to communicate with your followers, increase engagement, and potentially attract new customers through social media. When it comes to which hashtags to use or how to use them, there are no hard and fast rules, but the guide provided above will help point you in the right direction.

Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger