The idea for this digital marketing post popped into my head while sitting abroad an Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Dusseldorf in Germany last night. There I was reading their excellent in-flight magazine called ‘Cara’ (‘Friend’ in Gaelic). Now according to this magazine, Aer Lingus offer Wi-Fi on long haul flights, and this brings me to number one on my list of sins (pet hates):
The 5 sins of digital marketing for small businesses
1. Include links to your official online presence.
Travellers are encouraged to take in-flight photos and send them to the Aer Lingus Facebook page, chat to them on Twitter and view their videos on YouTube. What struck me with advert (shown below), was there was no mention of any of the account addresses that they are promoting!
Yes, I understand people can search any of these platforms, but with many spoof accounts, it would be easier to include official links? If you are a small business please, please add your official pages as its unlikely you will appear first, second or third in any of the searches these sites may do.
Just for the record these are the official pages
2. Get a real email address.
Often as I drive around in Uk, Germany, and Ireland I see lots of small businesses promoting themselves on the side of company vehicles using some fantastic graphic designs, then they let themselves down with their email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Now a Uk domain (and email account) costs a few pounds a year to register, go out and buy one for your company it looks far more professional and gives you an air of credibility that a free email account just doesn’t.
If you do not know how to do this or have any one who can help you set one up, please drop me a line, and I will help you set it up for free (you just pay the cost of domain and hosting). This way I can keep my sanity knowing there a few more small businesses out there no longer using free email for their business.
UPDATE: 23/07/15 – My preferred hosting provider now offers email only plans for €9.99 per year! blacknig.ht/dog
3. Don’t just join any and all social media platforms just because you can.
There are lots of digital marketing / social media platforms out there, and most are free to join, don’t be tempted to join everyone just because you can. When choosing your social media platform, these are some of the things worth considering;
- What’s your companies target market?
- What platforms does your target market use?
- Make sure you know what each platform does (see image below)
- What type of content will you be sharing, text based, videos, images or a combination of all?
4. Don’t ignore negative comments or criticism from your followers.
As your online following grows, you will hopefully gain lots of lovely comments and posts but what happens when somebody criticises or complains about you on your ‘official’ page? Do you just ignore it and hope it goes away? Alternatively, maybe get in a public spat with them? No, you respond, do not ignore it. These are some of my key tips:
- Don’t be afraid of complaints, use negative comments as a way to learn. Social media is the largest focus group you are ever likely to have access to.
- Respond quickly, positively and if necessary take it offline. This will show your customer base that you are listening. If it is a faulty product or a bad customer experience, ask the user to send more details and an email address for you to follow things up once you have investigated things. This will also enable you to take things out of the public glare.
- Look out for the trolls, some customers cannot and will not be placated on social media. Once you feel you have done all you can don’t feed the troll, leave the conversation. In 99.5% of complaints, things dry up.
- Have a plan for dealing with complaints. Regardless of who you are you will get complaints on Social media, have a plan or strategy on how to handle them. If you are new to this then Google is your best friend, there are lots of tried and tested examples of ‘social media response flow charts’.
5. Keep your content relevant, fresh and fun.
Social media by its very nature is supposed to be, well social. It is about getting involved in the conversation and connecting with people you may not ordinarily have had contact with in the past. Here are some ideas for your digital marketing content:
- You have fun at work, right? A team lunch, winning a prestigious award or an in house award. Write about, all of it. Pictures are worth 1000 words, or so they say, and social media lends itself to this very well.
- Product launches, refreshes or promotions – digital marketing in its very raw form
- Surveys, invite your followers to vote on their favourite product within your range.
- User selfies with your product. User generated content is the best form of content, there is nothing better than your customers posing with your product(s) and shouting about how good they are.
- Focus on customer service. If you receive positive feedback about your service, post it!
- The frequency of your posts is important. Too many and you will annoy your followers, too few and people will forget about you. Use the tools available on many of the social platforms to identify the next times to post.
Above all have fun!