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It’s Time To Really Listen To Your Customers

by Stephen Monaco on December 12, 2013

This article was originally published on October 2, 2013 by Marketing Daily “It’s Time To Really Listen To Your Customers”

If you’re not directly talking with your customers, prepare to become irrelevant.

Before the advent of social media, advertisers relied on broad, generalized content based primarily on customer demographics. Now, consumers expect information to be specifically tailored to them. Thanks to the range of direct connections available through social media platforms, companies have the capacity to listen to — and understand — their customers’ needs.

Marketers should direct their focus toward consumer behavior and buyer personas instead of pigeonholing consumers with old methodologies. Putting customers and their behaviors at the very heart of a company’s marketing strategy provides valuable insights that create competitive advantages and the unique experience that customers expect.

Keep a Competitive Edge

Demographic and psychographic data both fall short in describing or predicting the behaviors of individual customers. Creating buyer personas using qualitative research can provide insights into consumers’ lives and allow marketers to more effectively target prospective customers. [click to continue reading…]

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How to Lead Your Team into Social

by Stephen Monaco on November 12, 2013

This article was originally published on September 25, 2013 by Pragmatic Marketing  “How to Lead Your Team into Social”

In a recent Harvard Business Review survey of 2,100 companies, only 12 percent of respondents rated their use of social media as “effective,” and less than half considered social to be an important component of their marketing strategy.

That shouldn’t be surprising, since less than one-third of these companies’ executives designated social media use as a high priority. When company leadership doesn’t prioritize social initiatives, it sends the message through the ranks that social isn’t important.

But more than 75 percent of people prefer and trust social media as a source of information about companies they do business with, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer. And according to BRANDfog’s 2013 survey, 70 percent of respondents said brands seem more trustworthy and honest when their CEOs use social media. Today’s consumers expect transparency and open communication. Your customers are searching for information about your company online, and if you don’t have a presence on social platforms, they’ll rely on what others are saying about your brand.

Executives who don’t engage with customers via social media are missing a prime opportunity to communicate their companies’ core values and boost their credibility. And as a leader, it’s vital to give your employees and peers the tools they need to execute an effective social strategy. You can lead this charge by becoming a socially active leader. [click to continue reading…]

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Fake Twitter Hacks Are a Huge Mistake For Brands

by Stephen Monaco on October 1, 2013

This article was originally published on September 23, 2013 by iMedia Connection “The Fallout from a Brand’s Fake Twitter Hack”

Following the legitimate hacking of two companies’ Twitter accounts this spring, a string of copycats have jumped on the bandwagon with fake attacks. First, MTV and BET pretended to take over each other’s Twitter accounts in February, and in July, Chipotle tricked users into thinking hackers had broken into its Twitter account with a string of nonsensical messages.

If blogs and online media coverage are any indication, the ploy worked. Chipotle representative Chris Arnold has declared the company’s stunt a win, saying the fake hack “was definitely thought out” as part of Chipotle’s 20th anniversary promotion. On the day Chipotle posted 20 “hacked” tweets, the company added 4,000 new followers to its Twitter account — significantly more than its typical daily average of 250.

But I find Chipotle’s attitude cavalier. A fake Twitter hack might provide an immediate swell in followers, but the surge erodes when the buzz ends and the new followers move on. Unlike disingenuous publicity stunts, legitimate promotions don’t jeopardize the trust of loyal customers. Suffice it to say, most people don’t like being tricked.
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How to Draw Meaningful Conclusions From Social Media Metrics

by Stephen Monaco on September 28, 2013

This article was originally published on September 16, 2013 by Convince and Convert  “How To Draw Meaningful Conclusions from Social Media Metrics”

How to Draw Meaningful Conclusions From Social Media Metrics

Measure Success

The wealth of information available to social media marketing practitioners is staggering. Companies typically track “likes” and retweets, but they can also track things they rarely focus on:  the qualified leads coming from social, a company’s share of a conversation, and even the amount of revenue generated from an individual social marketing initiative.

While this scope of measurement is possible, companies don’t often prioritize the measurements that truly reflect their success (or lack thereof). It’s important to focus on the KPIs that matter to your company in the correct context to optimize your social spending.

Put Fans and Followers in Context

A common misconception is that a high number of followers equates to social media success. Although “likes” and follows are where prospective customers begin their journey, these numbers aren’t meaningful as standalone snapshots. [click to continue reading…]

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Book Signing at Barnes & Noble in Tulsa

by Stephen Monaco on September 22, 2013

Thank you to everyone who came to my book signing at the Barnes & Noble in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 21st. It was a pleasure vising with all the friendly people, and I enjoyed personally signing copies of “Insightful Knowledge: An Enlightened View of Social Media Strategy and Marketing” for so many people.

Thanks again!

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Listening to the Voice of the Customer

by Stephen Monaco on September 9, 2013

Listening to the Voice of the Customer

This article was originally published on August 27, 2013 by Linked 2 Leadership “Listening to the Voice of the Customer”

Really Knowing Your Customers

There’s more to knowing your customers than just being aware of their age, income level, and stage of life; savvy companies are intimately attuned to their customers’ unique personality profiles, quirks, desires, and world views. Urban Outfitters even describes some of its core customers as “upscale homeless” — people who just do things differently.

Listening to the Voice of Customer is a concept that describes the in-depth process of collecting information about customers’ sentiments, expectations, preferences, likes, and dislikes to improve the customer experience. These insights are extremely valuable to companies for tailoring products and services to meet or exceed customers’ expectations and making the customer experience a positive interaction every time.

Positive Experiences Make Loyal Customers
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What Your Social Strategy Needs to Have

This article was originally published on August 13, 2013 by SmartBlog on Social Media “Q and A: What Your Social Strategy Needs to Have”

Why does a brand need a social media strategy in the first place?

Brands need to create a plan for the strategic use of social media just like they need to develop a business plan. The document that results from developing a strategy serves as a guide for the brand’s methodology for utilizing social media for the needs of the business and its customers, both now and in the future. A brand without a documented strategy for their social media initiatives is like a schooner without a destination or a rudder. Without charts or a rudder, strong gusts of wind that fill the sails are of no benefit to the vessel.

How is it different from a marketing strategy?

Social media marketing is an increasingly vital and very necessary component of the marketing mix. And like other components in the marketing mix, strategies must come before tactics. A brand’s social media strategy is part of the digital marketing section of much broader, yet well-defined overall marketing strategy. Solid marketing strategies are business-aligned and in sync with organizational goals — the goals that propel the brand’s endeavors.
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Book Signing at Social Media Club 5th Anniversary Bash

by Stephen Monaco on August 29, 2013

The 5th Anniversary Bash for the Social Media Club in Kansas City was about to get rolling. I was just getting set up for my book signing and people wanted to buy signed copies of my book, “Insightful Knowledge: An Enlightened View of Social Media Strategy and Marketing

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Your Social Media Marketing Initiatives Must Start With Strategy

This article was originally published on July 9, 2013 by MarketingProfs “Your Social Media Marketing Initiatives Must Start With Strategy”

Companies must create a plan for the strategic use of social media for the same reason they must have a business plan. The outcome that results from developing a strategy serves as a map for the organization’s methodology for using social media for the needs of companies and their customers.

A company without a documented strategy for its social media marketing is like a catamaran without a rudder. No wind blows in favor of a ship without a destination. Strong gusts of wind that fill the sails are of no benefit to the vessel without charts or rudders. The same holds true for companies that don’t have clearly defined plans. They set sail with social media and get straight to tactics without a strategy and are surprised when they’ve run ashore.

In my experience, the issue stems from the way members of the C-Suite are at odds about social media as a whole and their uncertainty regarding whether social media marketing delivers any value. Executives understand they need to be innovative but don’t want to crash into an iceberg in the process. Some of them want to adopt a new approach, but they fret over their perception of risks associated with uncharted waters. Companies’ captains would like to act quickly and be adaptive, but they won’t give up the helm to people who can steer the ship. [click to continue reading…]

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Persistent Listening: The Key to Exceptional Customer Experiences

This article was originally published on July 1, 2013 by SCORE – For The Life of Your Business:  “Persistent Listening: The Key to Exceptional Customer Experiences”

Persistent listening is a frequently neglected skill, both in business relationships and personal ones, but it’s crucial for mutual understanding and success. From a business standpoint, persistent listening is empathetically listening to consumers in order to learn about them, understand their sentiments and values, and put that knowledge to productive use.

Listening, really listening, is hard. We’re often too preoccupied by our own life situations to devote our full attention to what our spouses, family members, friends, and co-workers have to say, but failing to listen is detrimental to any relationship.

Persistent listening is a frequently neglected skill, both in business relationships and personal ones, but it’s crucial for mutual understanding and success. From a business standpoint, persistent listening is empathetically listening to consumers in order to learn about them, understand their sentiments and values, and put that knowledge to productive use.

Listening to Learn from Your Customers

Many companies have a Voice of Customer program in place to foster listening to consumers, but they aren’t really learning anything from their efforts. Companies aren’t paying attention to what customers are actually saying and, instead, are just waiting for a chance to pick up their megaphones and interrupt with brand messaging. [click to continue reading…]

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