Friday, August 08, 2014

Conquering the Awkward Line Between Social Media Marketing and Customer Care

Brands often have a difficult time, especially when handling hundreds of thousands of customers a day (even if only a small percent is on social media). Their social media teams have to straddle a very thin line between marketing and engagement.

Take the @AmericanAir account on Twitter. It can't possibly be easy to act fun, friendly (and civil) while unavoidable delays leave customers stranded and then fling a stream of abusive obscenities at the brand?

I've been watching the last hour of their stream. American Airlines has handled Tweets from customers uncomfortable in their seats, upset about having to check a bag gateside, a plane being too warm, a worn out traveler complaining about the amount of people in the Admirals Club and an Executive Platinum flyer thrilled with his upgrade.

Anyone remember the days when there was no one with whom to vent? When you just wanted to scream at the top of your lungs? Now at least there is someone listening to your pleas for service, and they are also answering.

Aside from handling cranky travelers, they partake in conversations, share information, fun facts, promotions and incredible photos 24/7. They have a target response time to comments of 15 minutes. They seem to be doing this all very right, because according to a report from Sprinklr, American is the world's most social airline; "American is not just relying on its large audience, but is also producing content that effectively triggers a consumer response."

Their social media specialists tweet from the AA #TweetSuite and respond over 1000 times a day. They are a tight knit group of employees devoted to customer care. Unlike other brands, American has chosen not to have each team member include their names in the company Tweets. The preference is that the airline speaks in one brand tone of voice. They train their members for consistency.

I personally think the Twitter team is #AAwesome. They once helped me out when I was making a connection and accidentally walked out of security. They've also kept me company with funny tweets
So when I got an email from American saying they would like to interview me as a featured AAdvantage Member in the August 2014 "American Way" Magazine, I was (admittedly) over the moon. I responded right away - and was sworn to secrecy!

Marsha Collier American Way Magazine
I wasn't allowed to talk about it online, even with my Twitter friends or @AmericanAir. This was tough because (as I said in the article) I love tweeting with the crew when I'm flying (although I am convinced that someone from the social media account suggested me for the piece).

Thank you to everyone who is posting picures of the article on Facebook and Twitter and tagging me. It's so much fun to meet you and see when you travel. (I haven't actually seen a hard copy of the magazine yet).

If you'd like to see the article, it can be found online at the American Way emagazine here on page 94 or to see a magnified version, please visit this page.

Since we can't mention names, on the top of this article is a photo of my favorite team of Twitterati  #winning!

Monday, July 28, 2014

How Authentic Are You? Your Audience and Social Media Personna

by Marsha Collier

Well designed quizzes are a go-to quick take on almost any topic. I came across the quiz below: "What is Your Social Media Type" designed by Kevan Lee, Content Crafter at the buffer blog.

Take this quiz and you'll have a better idea if you are on social media to express - or to impress. It will give you a clear picture of your type; hence the kind of audience you attract. The data behind the quiz comes from a Wharton School study by management professor Nancy Rothbard and colleagues. Their study, 'When Worlds Collide in Cyberspace: How Boundary Work in Online Social Networks Impacts Professional Relationships, looked at the different strategies people use to manage their social media communications, and how varied approaches impact their outreach to an "invisible audience."

The portion of the study's title, "When Worlds Collide", refers to work and life balance; hoping to answer the question of how on-line social media impacts our lives. They also use the word minefield. to represent the challenges as to how we manage these relationships:
“We have both a new world opening up where social media has so many amazing opportunities to connect … but it also poses challenges as we think about how to manage the relationships we have.”
They identified four strategies that people use and different types of social media personalities.
  1. Open Sharer: Is willing to connect with anyone and willing to post and share anything
  2. Audience Sharer: Carefully chooses the audience they connect with and are therefore still willing to share openly and authentically
  3. Content Strategist: Eager to connect with anyone and picky about the content that they share
  4. Custom Strategist: Separates their audiences to create custom silos of sharing

Monday, July 21, 2014

3 Proven Practices to Build Your Twitter Reputation, Grow Followers and Get Retweets

Twitter can be a daunting platform for the beginner. I know that the first thing you want to do is build your audience size and you'd like to get people to follow you. This can be accomplished (it can't be done overnight - sorry) and in this post I give you simple tools to build a great reputation and a stellar community.

Follow people and make connections

Start first with selecting keywords that describe your interests and your business. Then use them to find people to follow. When you find interesting people, follow them and pursue an alliance.
  • Search for people on directories by topic at Tweetfind, and Followerwonk where you can search Twitter bios for keywords. Enter your favorite topics and find others in WeFollow. Twitter search is also a good tool. I'd use each tool.
  • Look for Hashtags (the # symbol used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet) on Twitter that relate to your business. You can also click on a hashtag that you see on Twitter (or a trending topic) to see who is talking about it. 
  • Find twitter lists from influencers. You'll find people who have hundreds, thousands (in some cases hundreds of thousands) of followers. To organize large amounts of people, pros curate Twitter Lists (which can be private or public). To find people in a specific niche, go to a profile page and click the down arrow next to the word More. You will find a link for public lists that the user has created (and has subscribed to) as well as lists on which other people have listed them. This is a great resource to find like-minded Twitter members. For example, Margie Clayman (Director of Marketing at Clayman & Associates in Ohio) has a list of her Top 100 on Twitter. I have a short one on eBay sellers.
  • Embrace #FollowFriday. On Fridays you will see hashtagged Tweets with #FF or #FollowFriday. Click on the names in the Tweet and read the person's bio, if you like what you see, you've found somebody new to follow. Be sure to say hello too.
Once you follow someone? Don't immediately Tweet or send them a Direct message requesting a favor or to follow you elsewhere. Get to know them first. Start a conversation! Most importantly, don't un-follow them because they don't follow you back immediately. Follower churning tells everyone that you're not interested in engagement and that you're just trying to build numbers.

Friday, July 11, 2014

6 Steps to Painless Social Media Self-Promotion

A common topic for discussion is promotion for small businesses and personal brands. When it comes to social media, the responsibility for promotion falls on the shoulders of the owner (chief cook and bottle washer). Even though my books are published by one of the top 10 publishers in the world, I still need to take responsibility for my own brand.
I’ve personally been promoting my work and books in the real world and online for over 15 years and it’s the most difficult task on my plate. Even on the “About” pages of my websites, I am loathe to blow my own horn. I might consider myself an introvert, or I might just feel the mere act is bragging.

To be fair to those who do it well, it takes nerve to think there are thousands of people waiting around to hang on to your latest words or hot new project. We may have products, businesses or books to promote, but not everyone has a similar promotional style.

Friday, May 16, 2014

National Small Business Week. Entrepreneurs are the future!

When I wrote my Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide, I mentioned that small business often has the edge over large. Being able to change quickly and stay closer to customers and employees are a couple of the main advantages. This week is National Small Business week and I'm glad that that small businesses are getting their due.
A few facts have stuck in my mind (these are from the Small Business Administration (SBA):
  • Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
  • Employ just over half of all private sector employees.
  • Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
  • Have generated 64 percent of net new jobs over the past 15 years.
  • Create more than half of the nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers).
  • Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
  • Made up 97.3 percent of all identified exporters and produced 30.2 percent of the known export value in FY 2007.
  • Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms; these patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.
I'm proud to be a small business entrepreneur and it's nice that our nation chooses to salute the backbone of our economy.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Pure Social Shopping in Twitter - Click to #AmazonCart

In a huge innovation, today Amazon unveiled #AmazonCart. When you see an item posted on Twitter with the hashtag #AmazonCart, you can just click the link and the item will be placed in your Amazon Shopping cart for your purchase at a later time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Testing New Gogo Text & Talk Service at SXSW

gogo flying lab
By Marsha Collier

Duty Calls. When an email arrives inviting you to join the likes of Bell, Edison and Marconi, you definitely need to read it. I was lucky enough to be one of the first to use Gogo’s new Text &Talk service on Gogo One, the company’s “flying test lab.”  Not only would I have that honor, but I was to be part of the first in-air BBQ food truck with incredible Texas barbecue from Keith’s BBQ of Austin.

The Gogo twin jet is a Canadair Challenger 600 flying test lab, and features their latest Air To Ground system (ATG-4), along with our business aviation system, Iridium phone service, Inmarsat Swift Broadband satellite service and the Gogo Vision entertainment system. I had to poke around and see where the magic happens. Across form the lav was a closet, filled with the latest in technology.
We were given the tail number of the plane so we could log on to to track our progress as we flew at 600 miles per hour, 30,000 feet above all the revelers at #SXSW in Austin.  Alternatively, I could log on to the Glympse app, which would have allowed me to send real-time location information and estimated time of arrival with anyone while up in the sky. After sending a Glympse of your location to your earth-bound friends, you can shut down your mobile device and your friend or family member will remain updated with your location through the duration of the flight.