Author: xAmplifier

4 Tips to Build a Relationship With Your Business Blog’s Audience

We all want our customers to trust us. To relate to us. To look to us for answers (and to have faith that we will provide those answers). But how do you build that connection and strengthen the relationship between your customers and your business?

For companies big and small, blogging can be a great tool for engaging with your customers, attracting leads, creating a voice for your brand, and even boosting followers on social media. Blogging about your business is an excellent way to foster a connection with your existing clients and catch the eye of prospective customers. It gives you a forum to get your message across and share valuable insights and information in order to demonstrate your expertise and value.

However, if you’re not careful, you can wind up boring and turning off your readers rather than piquing their interest and instilling loyalty. It’s easy to make business blogging mistakes if you’re not looking out for them. Luckily, we at xAmplifier are here to not only show you what pitfalls to avoid, but also to offer positive alternatives to make your blog required reading.

DON’T Fill Your Blog with Sales Messages

DO Offer Your Readers Content That Is Useful to Them
 

In attempting to get your message out, it’s all too easy to focus on what YOU want customers to do – continue (or start) buying your products or services. But you always need to keep your audience’s desires in mind. They don’t want to read a bunch of thinly-disguised advertisements. That won’t keep them coming back to your blog.

Instead, make sure your content offers something the audience wants. It can be useful information (“5 Small Business Website Design Tips”). It can be advice to help solve their problems (“6 Do-It-Yourself Car Care Tips”). It can be a discussion of relevant current events or trends in your industry (“10 Best Twitter Marketing Campaigns”). It can simply be something that they’ll find interesting or thought-provoking (“Why Google’s Office Environment Is Conducive to Creativity”). The key is to put the readers’ needs first. If you give them something they want or need (or, ideally, both), they’ll appreciate it and be much more likely to keep visiting your blog for more. And by discussing relevant, useful topics or solutions to their problems, you establish your expertise and trustworthiness.

DON’T Be Boring or Take Too Long to Get to the Point

DO Engage Readers with Interesting Headlines and Opening Paragraphs
 

Have you ever heard anyone talking about how patient people are these days, or extolling the virtues of the modern attention span?

Of course not. Let’s face it: people are easily bored and distracted, and there are endless alternatives online competing for their attention. If you don’t do something to stand out or hook them early, you’ll struggle to get them to even finish reading a post. Remember that interesting/useful/valuable content we told you to include? Let them know up front what value the post offers them.

You want your headlines to attract attention and provoke interest or curiosity. Including words with sensory or emotional connotations is a subtle way to make people more likely to click. Numbers also naturally stand out in a row of titles otherwise composed of letters, so offering “4 tips on business blogging” is more eye-catching than “tips on business blogging.” Titles that emphasize the timeliness of the material are also a good idea, when appropriate (for instance, “Top 10 Predictions for 2015” or “12 Christmas Gift Ideas”).

DON’T Be Too Formal

DO Engage Readers with a Conversational Writing Style
 

You want to establish a closer connection with your readers/customers. You want them to feel closer to you. So don’t write as if you’re speaking to visiting royal dignitaries. Write like you would speak in a casual conversation. You don’t have to go overboard and get too slangy or vulgar, but a conversational tone makes the reader feel comfortable and on more equal footing with the writer than formal or technical language. A little humor doesn’t hurt. And there are other simple ways to make your writing more engaging. Use the active voice rather than passive. Address questions to the reader. Address the reader directly (You’ve already noticed me using those last two, haven’t you?).
 

DON’T Make it the Reader’s Job to Find Your Content

DO Make Your Blog Accessible with Links and a Mailing List
 

If someone really likes your blog, they might bookmark it or remember to check in every few days. But why not make it even easier for them? Include conspicuous links in your posts so the reader can sign up to receive new content directly. If your posts are arriving directly to their inbox they never need to go searching for you, so they won’t miss posts or forget to visit your blog. You could even share a newsletter every week, two weeks, or month centered on one major blog post and featuring links to other posts.

You can also use social media to make your blog more accessible. Share your blog posts via your company’s social media pages and encourage your employees to do so on their own accounts. Within your blog posts, include social media buttons for one-click sharing so your readers can help get the word out. Once you build a relationship with your readers, let their recommendations bring you new readers to start the process all over again.

At xAmplifier, we aim to provide you with interesting, useful content to solve your business’ problems. You can contact us at sales@xamplifier.com or call 866.363.6434 to see what xAmplifier can do for you!

How to Run a Successful Hashtag Campaign

At xAmplifier, we want to help your company improve your digital reputation and garner a wider social media audience. One way to do so is by launching a hashtag campaign on Twitter and other social media platforms. This week, we’ll offer you tips and tricks for a successful hashtag campaign.
 
Spark Conversation with Your Hashtag

Nike’s 2013 international social media campaign shared posts containing the hashtag #MakeItCount across Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to promote the Nike + FuelBand launched in January 2012. Nike published content starring eleven athletes in three countries with the #MakeItCount hashtag to inspire fans to share the ways they #MakeItCount.
 
This well-crafted hashtag encouraged users to present their own fitness goals, moments and progress with a like-minded community. With its carryover power, #MakeItCount builds on Nike’s core values without namedropping the brand itself and sparks conversation among both fans and customers.
 
Engage Both the Digital and Physical World

Cole Haan launched their #DontGoHome campaign the week before 2012’s New York Fashion Week to project a fresher image and attract a younger audience. The shoe and accessory company advertised the hashtag on New York City storefront gates with witty lines like “Your fairy drag mother says #DontGoHome” or “Tomorrow’s story happens tonight. #DontGoHome.”
 
Cole Haan used this intersection of the digital and physical worlds, relying on social media word-of-mouth using both Twitter and Instagram hashtags to spread the word beyond New York City. The #DontGoHome campaign earned more than 800 shares within the second week, giving Cole Haan an 86 percent spike in engagement.
 
Promote a Good Cause

In May 2011, Ben & Jerry’s launched a Twitter app called “Fair Tweets,” allowing users to type in a tweet of their choice and donate their leftover characters of the allotted 140 to a good cause. The app used the remaining characters to promote Fair Trade Day with both a #FairTweets hashtag and a link to an article about the movement.
 
A company constantly involved in activism, Ben & Jerry’s used word-of-mouth to spread awareness about Fair Trade without over-promoting themselves in the process. The Twitter app microsite garnered more than 43,600 site visits from more than 100 countries and donated about 518,000 characters to the Fair Trade cause. The successful hashtag campaign came back for Fair Trade month in October 2011.
 
Prepare for the Worst

Unfortunately, some hashtag campaigns don’t go as originally planned. McDonald’s started their #McDStories hashtag campaign, encouraging the company’s suppliers and consumers to share positive stories and experiences. Within two stories of the campaign’s launch, the hashtag became a platform for unhappy customers and fostered more than 2,000 negative tweets about the brand.
 
Hashtag hijacking is a risk for any branded hashtag campaign, so vulnerable companies like McDonald’s should avoid hashtag campaigns. If such brands do decide to execute a campaign, the hashtag should be specific to the company’s goals. #McDStories opens the door for irony and negative attention.
 
Remember these tips when starting your own hashtag campaign. When executed well, a hashtag campaign can help your company cast a wider net and improve your digital reputation.
 
Interested in learning more about using social media to engage with your customers? Contact us at sales@xamplifier.com or call 866.363.6434 to see what xAmplifier can do for you!

What is the Best Way to Measure Success?

Every business wants to succeed. That’s a given. But how do we define that success? What is the best way to measure how a business is doing and tell whether it is trending in a positive or negative direction? There are a lot of metrics and ways to look at performance, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s examine some of them:
 

Month-by-Month Improvement

One simple way to measure how your business is doing is to compare your performance (be it in sales, revenue, conversion rate) from one month to the next. Obviously improvement each month is a desirable goal, and if you’re achieving it then your business is constantly moving forward and growing. But a failure to improve each month may not be a uniformly bad sign. Various factors such as relative health of the economy, advertising cycles, market saturation, holidays, and even the weather can cause unexpected fluctuations throughout the year.

Month-by-Year Comparison

The limitations above can be avoided by simply comparing a month to the same month in the previous year (or years) to track growth without having to worry about seasonal influences on the numbers. If your sales numbers go up in December compared to November, you’re probably happy. But if they’re significantly lower than last December’s numbers, you’ll want to be aware of it and figure out why you suffered the drop-off. The biggest drawback with this method is for new businesses without the past data to compare or those that have experienced major changes that make the past numbers less relevant.

New vs. Return Business

New business is always a positive, and it is absolutely essential to business growth. That is why some businesses put a big emphasis on their rate of new customers. But there are limitations to what new business alone can do for you; especially if you are a local or regional business, there are a finite number of realistic new customers out there. High rates of new customers are wonderful, but the growth they provide won’t be sustainable unless you can win their loyalty and their repeat business. The Gartner Group says that 80% of your future profits will come from 20% of your existing customers, and a Harvard Business School study found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.*

Net Promoter Score® (NPS®)

Net Promoter Score® (as we’ve discussed previously) is the most trusted metric for measuring customer satisfaction. If your customers are happy, you can look forward to their repeat business and the benefits of their word-of-mouth (both physical and digital) to advocate your brand and amplify your reputation. A strong NPS® (although there are variations by industry, an NPS® score above 50 is considered very good, a score of 30-49 is considered good but with some room for improvement, and a score below 30 is considered a red flag and threat to business growth) is a sign of a business that is performing well and can expect to experience growth going forward. You can use your NPS® to compare yourself to direct competitors in your industry to see where you stand. This is a more relevant comparison, but even within the same industry there may be factors that skew it; if you’re a regional business, for example, a comparison to a competitor in a different region may be affected by economic or other demographic factors.

Conclusion

So, which method of measuring success is best? That’s up for debate. The real question is: Why limit yourself to one? xAmplifier provides reporting and analysis using all of these methods to give our users a more complete view of the state of their business, as well as attempting to compensate for any weaknesses in one method by balancing it with the others. This multi-pronged approach means users can decide which methods they find most helpful or significant to their business, but don’t become over-fixated on one at the expense of the others (and a more comprehensive understanding of their business).

Interested in learning more about measuring your organization’s success? Contact us at  sales@xamplifier.com or call 866.363.6434 to see what xAmplifier can do for you!

Best Times to Post to Social Media

 
Social media is one of the fastest growing segments for customer interaction and lead generation, and we at xAmplifier are committed to optimizing our clients’ networking efforts across all major online platforms. This week, we’ll give you tips on the best days and times to post to your company’s various social media sites in order to secure your posts the widest audience possible.
 
Facebook
Best times: Weekdays 6 to 8 a.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.
Worst times: Weekends and 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

 
Over 750 million people use Facebook mobile and about 80 percent of mobile users check their phones early every morning. Facebook users are less likely to check Facebook during morning work hours.
 
Twitter
Best times: Weekends and 1 to 3 p.m.
Worst times: 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

 
Interestingly, Twitter engagement, unlike Facebook, actually increases 30 percent on weekends, compared to weekdays. Tweets with two hashtags and short tweets with fewer than 100 characters are the most likely to receive customer engagement.
 
Google+
Best times: 9 to 11 a.m.
Worst times: 6 p.m. to 7 a.m.

 
Nighttime Google+ posts perform the worst by far, as clients tend to only engage with the authorship tool during work hours. It’s crucial to analyze both your Google+ page and your audience in order to determine the best times to post for best results.
 
LinkedIn
Best times: TuesdayThursday, 7 to 8:30 a.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.
Worst times: MondayFriday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 
The business-oriented social media site is most often used right before and right after work hours, while posts during work hours receive less traffic. Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to receive the most social media engagement, especially from businesspeople.
 
Pinterest
Best times: Saturday morning, 2 to 4 p.m. and 8 to 11 p.m.
Worst times: 5 to 7 p.m. and 1 to 7 a.m.

 
Pinterest appeals the most to home decorators, party planners, hair stylists and anyone seeking do-it-yourself projects. The average Pinterest visit is more than 16 minutes, longer than average visit durations on nearly all other social media sites.
 
Blogs
Best times: MondayFriday and Saturday 11 a.m.
Worst times: 11 p.m. to 8 a.m.

 
Blogs flourish when posts are published regularly and consistently. Therefore, it’s best to post once per week on the same day each week and posts links to your blog on social media.
 
Use these helpful posting tips as well as your own knowledge of your customer demographics to determine the best times to post to your company’s social media sites. With these tools, you can engage your customers week after week and expand your digital presence.

Interested in learning more about optimal social media strategies?  Contact xAmplifier at sales@xamplifier.com or 866.363.6434!

Examining the Differences Between Phone and Online Surveying

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Phone vs. Online Surveying

When seeking customer feedback, there are two main methods to employ once your customers have left your business or online property: surveys conducted online or by phone. Each method brings its own advantages and disadvantages.

Online Surveying

Online surveys are less intrusive on your customers; when they get an email to complete a survey, they can choose to complete the survey at their convenience and without having to talk to a representative. However, for the same reasons it is also easier for customers to decline, ignore, or forget to fill out an online survey. This issue can be combated by re-sending survey invites that have gone “stale”, remaining unanswered for a couple days or more. As with all email communications however, there’s a fine line between reminding customers with a few targeted re-sends and “spamming” them with too many identical emails, which is why xAmplifier automatically determines whether and when to re-send a survey invite using data on the survey type, industry, and customer themselves. 

In general, customers with stronger feelings about your business one way or another are more motivated to complete online surveys, either highlighting a positive experience in a glowing review or airing grievances about a negative experience. Also, it is obviously easier and less labor-intensive to send an email to a list of your customers than to call them each individually. So while online surveying is easier both for you and your customers, it tends to generate a lower response rate that is slightly skewed toward extreme responses.

Phone Surveying

Phone surveys, by contrast, take more time and effort on your end. If customers are busy at the time of the call, they may decline to participate. Some also resent unsolicited phone calls from businesses. However, phone surveys do generate a more even distribution of responses. You get a more random and representative sample of customers, rather than just the customers who chose to fill out the survey on their own.

Another factor that needs to be mentioned is that phone surveys may include some degree of bias because customers are more reluctant to voice negative opinions when speaking directly to an employee of a business than they are when filling out an online survey by themselves. This bias can be diminished by using a third-party surveying service (such as xAmplifier) whose representatives are more objective middlemen (or women) than direct employees of the business.

Case Study

xAmplifier conducts both online and phone surveys for our clients, so we can compare the results of both methods for the same businesses. We’ll examine the survey responses gathered for two different clients, each in the elective-medical field.

As we discussed in a recent newsletter, Transactional NPS® is measured after the client has purchased a service or product from a business while Relationship NPS® is measured at regular intervals and thus gives more of a general view of the customer’s opinion of a business as a whole, rather than their most recent experience with the business. For the surveys in our case study, it also means that the customers would have more time to see the long-term results of their procedures, as we will discuss further below.

Survey

Phone

Online

% Change

Client A Relationship NPS®

7.48

5.59

-25%

Client B Relationship NPS®

7.86

6.99

-11%

Client A Transactional NPS®

7.76

7.78

0%

Client B Transactional NPS® – Service Y

8.18

8.06

-1%

Client B Transactional NPS®  – Service Z

8.23

8.52

4%

The numbers in the table represent the clients’ average response to an NPS® question (On a scale of 0-10, what is the likelihood you would recommend [Client X] to a friend or family member?), not an actual Net Promoter Score®, which is calculated in a range from -100 to 100.

So what patterns do we see? First, let’s examine Transactional surveys. We see a bit of a mixed bag: two of our Transactional surveys had higher scores online, one on the phone (Client B had one of each), but all with small differences (4% or less). This suggests a small or negligible bias between the surveying types. One potential reason for that is—in the medical fields that these clients are a part of—patients tend to be optimistic and pleased with their immediate results after their procedure, creating a “honeymoon effect”. Also, xAmplifier polls these customers directly after the event in transaction surveys—in contrast to relationship surveys which are delivered at regular intervals such as months, quarters, or years—meaning the details of the event and its outcome are fresh in the customers’ mind. Both of these factors translate to higher average results and less of a distinction between phone and online survey results.

But when we look at the Relationship surveys, where clients’ opinions aren’t tied to immediate results, we see a distinction between phone and online scores. For both Client A and Client B, we see sizable gaps (11% and 25%) between the two scores suggesting a large positive bias with phone surveys—even though on two of the three Transactional surveys for these clients online surveys scored higher. At xAmplifier we have consistently found that customers who aren’t happy with their results are generally more inclined to fill out an online survey months or even a year after the event, while more content customers often feel they have nothing new to share, so they may not respond at all. With the more direct approach of phone surveying, a broader range of customers are tapped to share their thoughts, providing a more rounded view of customers’ opinions.

Conclusions

It’s fortunate that Client A and Client B were utilizing xAmplifier’s analytics and both surveying methods. If either party had been solely conducting online surveys on their own, they may have mistakenly reached the conclusion that they had a severe customer relations problem and needlessly spent time and money trying to correct the issue. The value of surveying customers ultimately lies in proper interpretation of the resulting data, which is why xAmplifier offers comparative and market-specific analysis services to all of its clientele.

As we’ve seen, both phone and online surveys have their advantages and disadvantages. At xAmplifier, we believe that the best strategy is to combine the two, so that you get the positives of each while mitigating the negatives by including both kinds of data. Including phone surveys will boost your response rate and engage a representative sample of customers, while online surveys will provide a less intrusive experience for the customer and a less labor-intensive source of data for your business.

Interested in learning more about optimal surveying strategies?  Contact xAmplifier atsales@xamplifier.com or 866.363.6434!

How to Use SnapChat, Instagram and Vine for Social Media Marketing

At xAmplifier, we want to ensure that your company’s digital reputation is thriving. One way to maintain social media presence is by using photo and video websites like Snapchat, Instagram and Vine for social media campaigns.
 
Rather than spend your company’s time, energy and money on a 30-second commercial or full-scale magazine ad, you can easily and more effectively market your brand by creating and posting a short 10-second clip or a small image on one of these popular social media sites.
 
There are certainly a few factors to consider when using these sites to market your company.
 
Choose Your Platform

Snapchat
This photo messaging application allows its users to create photos and videos, add text and drawings and send these “Snaps” to a controlled list of recipients. Users can set a time limit for how long Snaps can be viewed, currently ranging from 1 to 10 seconds, after which they disappear. The app is a great way for companies to send short and fun photo and video messages to multiple customers. The downside is that these messages can be viewed by customers only once before they disappear forever. Taco Bell was the first major brand to launch a Snapchat campaign last year when they used the social media app to reintroduce the Beefy Crunch Burrito.
 
Instagram
An online photo and video sharing service, Instagram lets users take pictures and videos, apply digital filters and share them on a wide variety of social networking sites, from Facebook to Tumblr to Twitter, a great feature for companies looking to broaden their digital presence. Photos are confined to a square shape and videos are limited to a length of 15 seconds, but as social media evolves, shorter videos are becoming a popular way to reach customers. Mercedes-Benz used the online service to market the brand’s new car, the CLA-Class.
 
Vine
A mobile app owned by Twitter, Vine allows users to create and post short looping video clips with a maximum clip length of six seconds. Companies can share these clips either on Vine’s social network or other sites like Twitter and Facebook. Last September, Dunkin Donuts became the first company to use a single Vine as an entire TV ad during ESPN’s Monday Night Football pregame show.
 
Determine Your Audience
 
As we discussed in a previous newsletter, customer demographics are crucial when determining which social media sites to use. For example, if most of your customers fall into the 50 and up age range, they likely do not have Instagram, Snapchat or Vine accounts, so marketing on these sites would not help your company.
 
However, if your company targets younger customers, especially those in the 18 to 29 age range, these photo and video sites might just be the perfect way to reach your target market. Research your customers and figure out which social media apps they’re using. If they’re constantly posting Instagram photos, the photo and video sharing site could be the best route to improve your brand and digital image.
 
Add a Personal Touch
 
Since videos and images are available for just a short time with Snapchat, you only have a small window to leave an impression on your audience. Therefore, it’s important that you connect with your target customers during that brief window in order to build strong brand loyalty.
 
You want to leave smiles on your customers’ faces and gain their interest, so don’t be afraid to add a personal touch to your Snapchat campaign. It’s the best way to connect with your target audience and keeps your campaign from looking or sounding too corporate.
 
Maximize Sharing
 
If Snapchat’s rapid-fire action is not the best fit for your company, you can still check out the benefits of social media apps like Instagram and Vine. You can use these apps to create short and sweet behind-the-scenes videos and photos to uniquely connect with your target audience. Your followers can even share their own images and videos with you, allowing you to gain more reach than you would with direct connections.
 
With the evolution of social media comes a decrease in attention spans, so it’s crucial that you keep your marketing campaigns concise yet impactful. Vine, Snapchat and Instagram are great social media tools and can be just as effective if not more than traditional commercials and ads in inspiring brand loyalty.
 
Interested in learning about other social media strategies or services for engaging and expanding your customer base? Contact xAmplifier at sales@xamplifier.com or866.363.6434!

Utilizing Customer Profiles to Reach Your Ideal Clients

When developing a marketing strategy, it is all too easy to focus on your business: What products or services do we want our customers to buy? Which strategies will result in the biggest sales for us? How can we raise our conversion rate?

Questions like these lead to a kind of myopia that can cause you to forget about the more important point of view: your customers’. What do THEY want from you? Which features of your business do they view the most positively? What do they view negatively? Which information do they want to know before making a purchase decision? These are the truly important questions to ask before implementing your marketing strategy. The best way to keep the emphasis on the customer is to develop customer profiles as part of your plan.

What Is a Customer Profile?

A customer profile, or persona, is a description of your ideal customer. It contains broader demographic information about them, but also what their goals are in their relationship with your business, the kind of information that will matter to them, and even how they will find you. In order to build an effective customer profile, you need to consider several factors:

Who Are You Selling To?

Is your ideal customer an individual or a business? Small business or large company? What industry are they part of? Obviously, there is more than one type of customer you are aiming to attract, so you’ll want to flesh out a persona for each type of customer you’re after: the owner of a small business looking to expand, the manager looking to improve a specific element of performance, the large company looking for an outside solution to a problem.

Demographic Information

Depending on your company’s products or services, some of the things it may be useful to know about your customers could include age, gender, ethnicity, education, location of residence, socioeconomic status, income, employment status, religion, marital status, home/car/pet ownership, language, or mobility. Include whichever information (not limited to these) that may be relevant to your client base.

Customer Motivation

Think about why your customer is seeking you out. Are they looking to expand into your sector for the first time, or are they displeased with a prior service provider and looking for a replacement? What specifically will they want from you in terms of products and/or services?

Information

Consider what type of information will be most persuasive to this client. Do they want a broad overview of your services, or are they more interested in detail? Do they want to see numbers and charts? Case studies of past clients? Testimonials of your performance?

How They Find You

Factor in where your potential clients will hear about you. Will it be through an online search? What terms are they likely to search that will bring them to your website? What type of material do you want them to find when they get there, based on those searches? Will they discover you on social media? On which social media site?

Bringing It All Together

Once you’ve considered all this, you can create several customer profiles for your different client types. These personas will be general, but with enough detail to help you tailor your marketing approach to each one, giving them the type of information they want and highlighting the aspects of your company that are most relevant to them.

However, these customer profiles are only as good as the information that goes into them. If you misjudge your customers or their motivations, you may find yourself marketing to a client that doesn’t exist. xAmplifier’s software helps avoid this problem by giving you vital insights into your past, current, and prospective customers: demographic information, social media and online review site preferences, the aspects of your business that drove them to choose you or that they didn’t care for. Information like that leads to strong, accurate images of your customers and allows you build effective customer profiles.


If you’re interested in learning more about how xAmplifier can fuel your customer profile strategy, you can contact us at sales@xamplifier.com or 866-363-6434.

How to Use Social Media Buttons to Your Company’s Advantage

Social media can be a valuable tool for promoting your marketing content. However, with all the social media networks out there, it can be difficult to distinguish various social media buttons and how they function.
 
At xAmplifier, we want to make sure you amplify your X-factor by properly boosting social media campaigns to reach your target demographics. We recently covered which social media sites you should use to communicate with your target customers. This time around, we’ll help you understand the differences between the social media buttons for the top five networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest).
 
Follow Buttons
                 

Twitter: Follow button Facebook: Follow (formerly Subscribe) button, Like box LinkedIn: Follow Company plug-in, Company Profile plug-in Google+: Follow button Pinterest: Follow button
 

Follow buttons help you to boost your business’ social media presence and in turn amplify your X-factor, by generating fans and followers for various social media accounts. By placing Follow buttons on your business’ website, you can create visibility and better reach your target customers. While you can place Follow buttons anywhere on your site, it’s best to at least put them on your main homepage, “About Us” page, and sidebar.
 
While most networks simply offer a Follow button to generate a social media presence, Facebook provides both a Follow button and a Like box. While the Follow button allows customers to subscribe to the company’s updates, the Like box simply indicates the customers’ support of the company’s page.
 
LinkedIn also promotes its page with two Follow buttons, a Follow Company plug-in and a Company Profile plug-in. The LinkedIn Follow Company plug-in makes it easier for visitors to follow your company page on LinkedIn, whereas LinkedIn’s more robust Company Profile plug-in allows customers to both follow your company and view a company overview, including summary, location, logo, and number of employees.
 
Share Buttons
                 

Twitter: Tweet/Share button, “Tweet This” anchor text links Facebook: Send button, Share anchor text links LinkedIn: Share button Google+: Share button Pinterest: Pin It button

 
Share links and buttons appropriately enable your customers to easily share your content with their own social media connections. Adding Share buttons to your content allow you to extend your reach to new audiences and generate new customers. To effectively utilize Share links and buttons, you should add them to every single piece of content you create, including landing pages, web pages, individual articles and email content.
 
Twitter offers both a Tweet/Share button and “Tweet This” anchor text links. Customers can easily share content, from articles to landing pages, with their connections on Twitter, using the Tweet/Share button, while “Tweet This” anchor text links allows your company to pre-populate specific Twitter messages for customers to share.
 
The Facebook Send button enables customers to share content with specific friends, whereas Share anchor text links encourage customers to share specific images within a post. Great for visual content, Pinterest’s Pin It button allows customers to share your images and infographics on Pinterest and expand their reach.
 

Like Buttons

                                  

Facebook: Like button LinkedIn: Product Recommend button Google+: +1 button

 
Much like the Share button, the Like button allow companies to expand their reach to new audiences. Customers can Like content on your company’s sites and in turn, share it on their social media networks. You should implement Like buttons on every piece of content you create to ensure a wide reach to your target demographics.
 
For example, Facebook’s Like button, distinct from the Like box, enable customers to easily give your company’s content a virtual thumbs up. By clicking the Like button, the content also appears on the customer’s Facebook Timeline and in their friends’ News Feeds with a link back to your content, whether it’s an article or a landing page.
 
Similarly, LinkedIn’s Product Recommend button gives your customers the opportunity to recommend your company’s specific products and services. Marketers can choose to showcase the number of customers who have recommended the product on the website button to leverage their social reach. You should place these buttons on the product pages of your company’s site for maximum efficacy.
 
The buttons and strategies discussed above should boost customer interaction on most relevant social media sites, but you may want to refine your tactics to target specific demographics or take advantage of specialized features on a particular platform. If you’re interested in learning more about xAmplifier’s digital reputation and amplification methodology, tools, or consulting services, contact us today atsales@xamplifier.com or 866-363-6434.

Examining the Differences between Relationship and Transactional Net Promoter Score®

In a recent newsletter2, we explained Net Promoter Score® (NPS®) and how you can use it to measure, and improve, your customers’ satisfaction with your business. This time around we’re going to examine two different kinds of NPS® — transactional and relationship — and the advantages and drawbacks to each. We do this with the goal of showing you how to best implement NPS® tracking into your company’s strategy.

Relationship vs. Transactional

Relationship NPS® (or RNPS®) asks a typical NPS® question about your overall relationship to a business. An example would be “How likely are you to recommend Company X to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0 to 10?” This gauges your customer’s feelings on the business based on all of your past experiences with it and impressions of it. These questions are asked of all customers (or a selected subset – not just the most recent ones) at a regular interval, such as quarterly or annually.

Transactional NPS® (or TNPS®), by contrast, deals with the customer’s feelings immediately after an interaction with a business. An example of a question that measures TNPS® is “Based on your recent purchase, how likely are you to recommend Company Y to a friend or colleague?” These questions are used to elicit customer feedback immediately following (or at different points during) an interaction.

Advantages

The biggest advantage of RNPS® is that it allows you to compare your business’s performance to that of others in your industry. This gives you a tangible way to see how you stack up to the competition. It also allows you to measure your customers’ satisfaction after they’ve had more time to use your product or experience your service long-term. It gives you a regular performance benchmark track over time so you can tell when to grow (increasing or consistently high scores) or cut back (dropping scores may be a sign of overextending your business).

TNPS® has several advantages. It allows you to get customers’ opinions when their interactions with you are fresh in their minds and they can provide more specific, detailed information. It also solicits their opinions at the time when they are most likely to have undergone a shift in opinion about your business (this is most likely to occur as a result of direct experience with your business). This makes TNPS® more actionable: it allows you to find out what caused a customer’s change of opinion and either reinforce it (for a positive shift) or address the reasons for it (to prevent a negative one from solidifying).

TNPS® can serve as a diagnostic for finding specific elements of your product or service that need to be improved. Moreover, it also gives you the chance to address negative customer experiences and recover those customers before they leave you, spread negative opinions to their networks, or both.

Disadvantages

RNPS® can result in lower response rates and less specific, actionable data. TNPS® runs the risk of over-surveying; if you solicit opinions from customers at every step of the way, they may become annoyed and less likely to provide feedback. TNPS® is also less useful for making comparisons to other companies, but even with RNPS® reliable data for such comparisons can be difficult to come by.

What is the Optimal Strategy?

At xAmplifier, we favor a largely TNPS®-based approach that also mixes in an RNPS® element down the road, to compare customers’ initial impressions to their opinions after a certain amount of time has passed. This gives you immediate, actionable touchpoints (via xAmplifier’s Action Item Alerts) after customer interactions while also measuring long-term customer satisfaction. A blending of the two strategies allows you to gain the benefits of both while mitigating the drawbacks that each has on its own.

If you’re interested in learning more about xAmplifier’s NPS® strategy, you can contact us at sales@xamplifier.com or 866-363-6434.

1 Net Promoter, Net Promoter Score, and NPS are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, Inc., and Fred Reichheld.
2 https://xamplifier.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/how-to-boost-your-business-with-net-promoter-score/

Targeting Customers & Leads on Social Media

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We at xAmplifier stress the importance of harnessing social media platforms to engage customers, spread the word about your business, and generate new leads through ads and content campaigns. But just how do you determine which social media sites to target for your customer base? Below is a brief guide to adult social media use by gender, race, age, education, income and location based on the results of the Pew Research Center’s “Social Media Update 2013” report.* Check out the statistics to determine which sites your customers are using!

Social Media by Gender
When it comes to social media, it appears that women tend to use most sites more than men do. Pew Research Center’s Internet Project August Tracking survey revealed that women used Facebook (76%) and Instagram (20%) more than men, 66% and 15% respectively. Pinterest showed an even larger gender discrepancy, with women at 33% and men at 8%. However, not all social media sites in the survey were overpowered by women. Twitter showed fairly equal usership between men (17%) and women (18%), while more men (24%) than women (19%) claimed to use the business networking site LinkedIn.

Social Media by Race
The survey showed fairly equal percentages by race for Facebook and Pinterest, but Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn revealed some discrepancies. For example, black adults (29%) use Twitter more than both white (16%) and Hispanic adults (16%). Black (34%) and Hispanic (23%) Internet users were more likely to use Instagram than the white (12%) users surveyed. However, white (22%) and black (30%) adults were more likely to use LinkedIn than Hispanics (13%). Facebook is an excellent way to reach any customer, as Pew’s survey revealed that white (71%), black (76%), and Hispanic (73%) adults used the social utility the most.

Social Media by Age
Pews’ survey revealed that while Facebook can reach customers of any age, there’s a huge age discrepancy among different age ranges for Instagram and Twitter users. Those in the 18 to 29 age range use Instagram (37%) and Twitter (31%) the most, followed by 30 to 49 year olds, with 18% and 19% respectively. The 18 to 29 year olds (27%) and 30 to 49 year olds (24%) use the visual discovery tool Pinterest almost equally, while 30 to 49 year olds (27%) and 50 to 64 year olds (24%) are the most likely to use Instagram.

Social Media by Education
The survey showed that Internet users of any education level are about equally likely to use Twitter. Those who have attended some college are slightly more likely to use Facebook (75%) and Instagram (21%) than those who never attended college, with 71% and 16% respectively, or college graduates, with 68% and 15% respectively. On the other hand, college graduates are the most likely to use LinkedIn (38%) and Pinterest (25%), followed by those with some college experience, 16% and 20% respectively.

Social Media by Income
According to the Pews survey, Internet users of any income level are about equally likely to use Twitter and Instagram. However, those who make less than $50,000 per year are the most likely to use Facebook at 76%, while those who make $75,000 or more are the most likely to use LinkedIn (38%) and Pinterest (27%).

 

Social Media by Location
While Internet users of any location are about equally likely to use Pinterest and Facebook, the Pews survey revealed that those from urban and suburban areas were much more likely to use Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Those from suburban areas were the most likely to use LinkedIn (26%) and Twitter (19%), while urban Internet users were the most likely to use Instagram (22%).

xAmplifier offers its clients comprehensive analysis of customer demographics and consulting on social media strategies as part of our digital reputation services. If you’re interested in learning more about these and other xAmplifier services shoot an email to clientsolutions@xamplifier.com or call us at 866.363.6434!
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* http://www.pewinternet.org/files/2013/12/PIP_Social-Networking-2013.pdf