The news has been filled with how United Airlines physically removed a paying passenger from one of its flights to make room for one of its crew members. The passenger sustained an injury and the United CEO called it re-accomodating the passenger. Then after he received negative feedback from his initial statement, he put out another statement blaming the passenger.
The company has now lost $800 million dollars over this incident and its negative domination of social media simply continues to grow. The public is angry, appalled, outraged, fascinated, and engaged. As a business owner, you need to be paying attention to this story.
First, what kind of corporate culture would make employees think it was okay to call guards to physically pull a paying customer off a plane to make room for a crew member? What happened to the customer is always right?
In a scene reminscient of “The Lottery”, a story in which an individual is chosen to be stoned to death by pulling slips, an elderly doctor was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight with multiple passengers recording the event on their cell phones. These videos then played over and over again on TV, on laptops, desktops, Smart Phones, Tablets, etc. A snap decision by this crew may end up bankrupting this Mega Company. The power of social media.
Lesson 1: Treat customers with respect. Always. No matter what. If a customer becomes belligerent, find a way to to resolve the situation. Never resort to violence or a physical confrontation. I’m really appalled I have to even put this in print.
Then the CEO put out a statement saying that the cusomter had re-accommodated. I’m not sure that anyone would think that was an appropriate way to “re-accommodate” a customer.
What the CEO didn’t understand is that every person saw themselves in that scenerio. Anyone who travels, knows what it feels like to be delayed, forced to wait, bumped from a flight or other way inconvenienced. They thought about what it would be like to be forced off a flight when they had to get home. The passenger refusing to leave the plane was standing up for all the passengers who had ever had a negative experience with an airline.
Lesson 2: If your company messed up (overbooked) in order to squeeze every dime out of every flight, then you need to pay up. For a high enough price, someone would have gotten off that plane. Think how much money offering someone a thousand dollars to get off would have saved the company. If you forget Lesson 2, go back to Lesson 1.
When people took offense at his language, he doubled down and blamed the now victim/hero passenger.
Lesson 3: Apologize, even when you’re not wrong. Even when its not your fault. Apologize and go back to Lesson 1.
Lesson 4: Talk to your employees about this situation. Ask them how they would have handled it. If you don’t like the answers, go back to Lesson 1.
Finally, if it’s your competitor who is attracting negative attention, take advantage of it. During United series of unforunate events, Southwest tweeted out a revised slogan, “We beat our competitors. Not you.”
As a business owner, take notice, learn lessons and touch base with your employees so they understand that this type of response is never acceptable. It’s much better to go viral on social media for your exceptional customer service than for a bad decision made by and overworked employ.
Stay tuned: I smell resignation by the end of the week.
That blasted Facebook algorithm has been a challenge to business owners everywhere. The Facebook algorithm decides which stories users see in their News Feeds making the idea of organic reach all but nonexistent for small business owners. Although Facebook states that the algorithm is used to enhance the user experience and hide “boring stories” (edgerank.net/), many business owners know that the algorithm seemingly suppresses posts on users feeds delivering it to a limited number of followers. The only way to increase reach is to boost posts or a business page through advertising.
However, there is another way to increase visibility without spending money. Business owners can raise post reach and outsmart that algorithm by increasing interaction. Interaction is defined as anytime a post receives a like, comment or is shared on another page. When interaction is increased the Page posts will begin to naturally or organically be seen more often in users news feeds. Larger companies and organizations do this through encouraging employees to like a share company pages, but what about small businesses. What can a small business do to increase its organic reach?
No one is quite sure of how the Facebook algorithm works and if they tell you they do, they are lying. However, interaction does seem to improve visibility. Getting company employees to like, comment and share posts from company page through their personal pages can help. However, if you are a small company, that may not be enough.
Instead, it may be time to enlist help from outside your company ranks. Hopefully, you have friends and family who are willing to like and share your posts. Although this is helpful, these individuals may not be your ideal customer. In addition, think of the power of partnering with complimentary businesses so that you can work together to promote each others posts and pages.
For example, if you have a florist shop, perhaps you could work with the local bakery to not only like and share posts on each other’s business pages, but also encourage employees to share on their personal pages as well.
How might this work?
A group such as a Chamber of Commerce or a group dedicated to creating leads for one another’s business, could publish a list of all the Facebook pages of its members. Businesses could review the list and see what companies would be a good compliment. The leaders of the groups could even make recommendations as to which businesses might be able to work together.
Then, the businesses and employees would work together to improve the visibility of these companies. It is similar to creating leads. This list might also be an opportunity to create cross marketing for contests or other promotions.
Of course, the trick to this working is to find businesses who are willing to work as hard as you are to promote their business and yours.
This same technique cannot be applied to Instagram. The Instagram algorithm will simply show you more posts from whoever you like so if you employ this technique on Instagram, businesses will simply see each other’s posts.
To start, find one or two businesses that are interested in increasing their organic reach on Facebook. Try it for a month and see how it works. Like any business deal, it is important to right to have the right partner.
Another way to increase reach is to hire a professional Social Media Management company like ItsAllGeek2Me. For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I really had no idea what to expect when this little (she is very small in stature), blonde, women jumped onto the stage of Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. As a member of the Beach Body Family, of course I knew who she was, and was impressed by her lively spirit and vitality. What I didn’t expect was that she was a social media marketing genius.
Her disarming style belied her cunning as a marketing genius. Where the marketing professionals had failed, she was able to achieve amazing results with very little outlay of funds.
After several failed attempts to promote her fitness training programs through professionally directed and choreographed Infomercials, Chalene decided that if the audience saw the real Chalene, then her product would be successful. So she asked her promoter’s if she could shoot the Informercial herself, on her cell phone. They said, “Why not?” So she shot it and edited it on her iPhone with little professional assistance.
She started promoting her video through social media and then after being wildly successful on the Internet, she put it back on television. If you haven’t seen her smiling face on one of your screens, google her. Her motto and formula for success is, “Be real.” Her video in her home with her dog has been more successful than an expensive studio shoot with a big time celebrity.
Another lesson she revealed was make sure you collect emails so you can connect with your clients and potential clients. She stressed the importance of having a direct means to connect customers and build an email list. Someone may say no the first time, but after receiving several offers, the browser may turn into a buyer.
However, in her opinion, you must offer something in exchange for an email. She offers exclusive content to individuals who give her their email address: an Ebook, white paper, etc. Once she has the email, she promotes her products through various offers and has a good conversion rate.
Her products are fitness programs, but what she is selling? Chalene is selling a solution to people’s weight loss, health and fitness issues. She says it’s important for you as a marketer to define the “problem” your product will solve, let people know what you figured out, how you figured it out and what is the possibility if they choose your solution. Throw in some expert testimony and individuals who have been successful using your solution and you are almost there.
But what about price? Since price is often a huge concern for potential customers, Chalene suggested comparing the price of your solution to alternative options and explaining why it is a better option. She also recommended tempering customers’ concerns, by reducing the risk to taking action. She offers a money back guarantee. Not everyone can do that, but she has found it to be an effective marketing tool.
Of course, Chalene includes call to action (CTA) in all her marketing whether it be email, video etc. She wants to close the deal.
Of course, she wants to make money, but Chalene also wants to help people fulfill their goals and she believes, she has the answer.
Chalene has found that by marketing an outstanding product, creating a real message and designing an effective marketing campaign, that not only can she achieve her goals, but can also help others achieve theirs.
She lives by the motto, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel” — Carl Buehner.
Have you ever met someone who has recently converted to a new religion or discovered a new idea and can’t stop talking about it? What if that new idea was your business?
Can we talk? Are you excited about your business? Do you go in everyday saying, “YaHoo, I get to work today? I get to take care of my customers and help them get great service.”
No! Well, then, if you’re not excited, then why should anyone else?
I know of which I speak. As a social media marketing consultant, I felt like life simply consisted of posting content on Facebook. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but really, it doesn’t inspire. Then, I learned the concept of content marketing and my whole philosophy changed.
I started to get excited about providing great, consumable content that people wanted to know. I started to think how this could change my client’s lives and business and I became evangelized (not sure if that’s a word, but its ok).
I saw this concept in action when I worked at Weight Watchers. The company always had a new crop of potential employees willing to work cheap because employees have to have lost weight through Weight Watchers in order to work there. So employees are evangelized. They then create customers are evangelized. And that turns into big profits for the company.
That is not to say that all of your employees need to have been customers before they come to work for you. It does mean that they need to believe in the product and that HAVE to believe that helping the customer get the services that they need is their number one priority.
So how do you make that happen? How do you evangelize employees and customers. Let’s go back to the one of the first questions. Are you excited about your business? If you’re not, then why should anyone else be.
Think about what you could do to get excited again. If you opened your own small business, then at some point, you must have been excited. Do you think you offer the best service at the best price? If not, change it. If you don’t want to do that, then get out of business.
So how do you evangelize your business?
- Step 1: Give a crap! Start thinking about why you are the best business and how you can SHOW potential customers why you are the best business.
- Step 2: If you are not the best business, then change or get out of business.
- Step 3: When customers start giving you compliments, and they will, give them an outlet to share those compliments.
- Step 4: Repeat! Repeat! Repeat! Every day until you retire to Bermuda.
So today is the day you reinvigorate your business. You find the joy in what you do and you let that show to every potential customer.
People like to express their opinions on social media. Politics. Religion. Social issues. But will expressing your opinion be bad for business?
These are difficult times and emotions are running high. Many business owners are finding it difficult to keep their emotions in check when it comes to politics. In fact, some have decided to ditch conventional wisdom and let their “freak flag fly.” They are voicing opinions on social media that in the past, they would have kept to themselves. However, that can be bad for business. What are your choices and what are the possible ramifications ?
Traditionally, business owners, particularly, small business owners, have not expressed their feelings with regard to hot button topics. This is still the safest policy. You can have an opinion, but instead of blasting across your social media channels, you can express it with family and friends over a drink at the end of the day. Just like in the old days.
However, perhaps your opinion lies deep in your soul and you can’t imagine not expressing yourself. It seems disingenuous not to let people know how you feel. What opinions do you have?
When one shop owner found that women were buying pink yarn at her shop to make hats for the wome ‘s March, she told them she didn’t need their business. Not only did they not buy their yarn there, but they also called for a boycott on social media. She became a national figure in the middle of a hot button issue, damaging her business and her profits.
However, another business owner, I know, became a community leader in the Black Lives Matter movement. She posted on both her personal and professional social media taking a slightly different approach on each. In her case, she found that customers who had never even considered her business, were now interested and asking questions. She lead with her heart and people responded. I was recently at a conference and Guy Kawaski, an influencer and social media figure, said he had started posting pretty blunt political opinions on his social media page. “Sure I get negative comments, but out of 20 million followers, I got four negative comments and a lot more likes.”
Some business owners choose to only express their opinion on their personal pages. However, as a small business owner, you are your business. If you make your pages public, then your opinion will be public. However, some sites give an option of targeting your audience. This may be a great option as you can share your opinion with like minded people.
The most important thing to remember is that there may be consequences for supporting a cause, but if it is truly important to you, it may be worth the price.
Mind blown! My universe shifted. I know the secret to marketing and maybe to the Universe. Post Good SH*T – Guy Kawaski, social media guru.
He introduced me to the idea of content marketing during the conference. I had heard the phrase, but didn’t really understand it.
Everyone in the workshop laughed at the simplicity and vulgarity of the message. But the concept didn’t really hit me until Marcus Sheridan reinforced the message with, They Ask You Answer. He said to think about what questions your audience would ask and answer their questions. Boom! Mic drop.
Now you might be sitting there like, duh! But how many businesses actually do that. Instead, they tell the customer what they think they should know. Or worse, what they want them to know.
The concept of social media marketing without content marketing is like cleaning your house during a fire. The first thing you have to do is PUT OUT THE FIRE!
If you aren’t providing people with the information they need. then it doesn’t matter how many flipping ad words you buy, they’re not going to consume it.
Why do I say consume? Because, it doesn’t have to be written. It can be a blog, stupid name, or it video, podcast or Webinar. Give people the information they want and they will come to your Website, or your Facebook page, or you blog.
Some people would say that customers don’t know what they want. Yes they do! Customers know what questions they have and the first thing they do is — wait to it — Google it! (I know excessive use of ! is frowned upon, but I am excited.)
But they don’t Google, “Why is my carburetor making that noise?” They don’t know what a carburetor is and if they did, they would probably fix it themselves. They want to know, “Why is my car making that funny sound when I turn the key?”
- How can I make my flowers last longer?
- How can I tell if a cantaloupe is ripe?
- Or how much will it cost?
We’ll handle that last one in another blog. For now be thinking, what are the questions real customers have and how can I help them get the answers. If you do, you will have a customer for life.
In the age of social media, one misplaced tweet or post could cost a company millions of dollars or could cost you your job.
This week Uber found out how quickly a misplaced tweet could cost a company not only millions of dollars, but also its reputation.
When the New York taxis imposed a one hour strike at JFK to oppose Trump’s Muslim band, Uber thought it would step in and help. Offering, not only to give travelers rides, but also to forego its premium pricing. The CEO Travis Kalanick, claims he was not endorsing the Muslim band nor was he trying to break the strike, but that hasn’t stopped thousands of individuals from deleting their Uber app. Not only that, but his also presence on the President’s Strategic and Policy forum has branded him a Trump sympathizer.
Not only has the movement to #DeleteUber taken hold, but also Lyft has taken the opportunity to offer donations to the ACLU for every ride.
No matter your political affiliation, multiple lessons can be learned.
- Think through and plan all tweets.
- Know your audience.
- Take advantage of the missteps of your competitors.
At this point, its unclear as to whether or not Uber will be able to come back from this. If nothing else, it will be an expensive proposition trying to regain its reputation.
In another social media lesson, a social media manager of Frederick County in Maryland was fired after making fun a student’s spelling in a tweet. Neither the child, nor his parents complained, but the manager is now out of a job. She was new to the job and thought the school system should have given her a warning. They did not.
Social media is a powerful tool. Used incorrectly, it may be the most expensive mistake you ever make.
The news has been filled with stories about employees making comments on social media that their employers have deemed inappropriate, harmful, even libelous. In one situation, the employee accidentally used a corporate account rather than his personal account. That blunder resulted in his termination. With an infringement such as that, the company was clearly within it’s rights to terminate the employee, but what if the comments are made on a personal account. That situation is much more complicated.
It’s important that your employees know your expectations and how their actions may affect their employment. Rules and guidelines need to be put in place before a public relations crisis happens.
i worked at an organization where an employee was making negative comments about customers on her Facebook page. Although she did not identify the organization or the customers, there were details of conversations that were quite identifiable and she identified her employer on her “About” information. In addition, she made disparaging comments about her supervisor’s sexual orientation. Although inappropriate, the organization had no policy concerning this behavior and could not take action against the employee.
The first step is deciding whether or not your organization wants to be involved in monitoring employees social media accounts. As this seems daunting, many organizations decide not to deal with the situation until there is a problem.
But it’s not about monitoring accounts, it’s about setting expectations and making your employees an advocate for your business.
1) Set clear expectations for employees as to what is acceptable and what isn’t concerning company identity.
2) Encourage employees to like and share posts. Employees supporting your posts on social media will raise you in the algorithms used to display posts. Offer awards and incentives for the most active employees. I have found something as simple as candy bars can encourage employees to interact more with company social media.
3) Check with your legal department, if you have one, as to what action you can and cannot take against employees who disparage the company brand.
4) Most importantly, create a positive company environment where employees are treated fairly and want to be your corporate cheerleaders.