Author Archives: Jack Monson

Managing Your Online Reputation. Step Two: Check the Google+ Box Now!

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Last week, we talked about being present and responding to issues on the social channels where your customers live. Next, you need to begin to publish content that will improve your reputation. The most important place to post this content is Google+.

Google Plus? What about Twitter and Facebook?!?!

Sure, you need to post content there too, and any other social channels where your customers and potential customers are. But from an online reputation viewpoint, there is no more important place to put content in 2013 than Google+.

Let’s take a step back and talk not about your current Facebook, but about the people who have not yet Liked your page. In fact, I am guessing that there are almost 900 Million people who have not yet Liked your page. You can tell the greatest stories, share the most interesting content, and give away the secrets of life on your Fan Page and none of those people will ever see it.

But many of them – in fact most of them search the internet using Google. They will see your Google+ page appear in their Google search results if they search something close to your topic, industry, brand, keyword, or place. Google+ page results show up on the top of the stack on Google searches.

Jessica Rowe, Senior Manager – New Media at Pioneer Services says, “We use Google+ for SEO purposes. We update and add content because of Google’s reliance on their platform for social signals, not because we believe we will build an engaged and active audience there.

What content do I put on Google+?

That’s the easy part. Put everything you put on your Facebook Fan Page onto your Google+ Page as well! Status updates, photos, videos, links – anything you put on Facebook should go onto Google+ too.

Don’t create additional content specific for Google+. Don’t worry that it’s yet another social network that will suck time out of your day. Just post your Facebook content there too.

At Engage121, we call this “checking the Google+ box” as we have built into our social management application the ability to populate your content to Facebook, Google+, and dozens of other channels simultaneously but simply checking a box. Shoot me an email or a Tweet if you want to see the details.

Isn’t that over-sharing?

If you find out that you have customers who simultaneously read your Facebook Page and your Google+ Page, then drop everything and drive to their house with a bouquet of flowers!

Managing Your Online Reputation, Step One: Show Up.

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Online Reputation Management. Is there any other kind of reputation management anymore?

The days of your brand’s reputation making the rounds via word of mouth – true word of mouth, as in one-on-one live human conversations – are over. Many brands are nostalgic for the days when unhappy customers did not have an open channel to millions of other consumers at their fingertips.

But don’t be disheartened when someone does ding you on Twitter or other places online. Even the hottest brands have detractors. The ubiquitous nature of Social Media means that if no one is complaining about your products or services, then no one is using your products or services.

The good news is – for now – that you will improve your online reputation among potential customers by just showing up. Perhaps consumers are so used to brands ignoring negative comments that the simple acknowledgement of a problem seems heroic.

Showing up also means more than just monitoring and reporting on what’s being said. Lurking in the background and reporting on what consumers are saying won’t help your reputation; engaging in the online conversation will.

Don’t ignore anything. Acknowledge every complaint, question, or remark on social channels. Your legal department will disagree. But remember, this isn’t just about the one complaining customer. It’s about the thousands or millions of consumers who see your response (or lack of) in feeds or search results. Many of them will base their opinion of your brand and future buying decisions on your response.

Stop Driving Your Traffic to Facebook

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You see it everyday in retail stores, coffee shops, and pizza places:

Like us on Facebook!

Here’s the issue for the owners and managers of these stores: the people reading that sign are already in your store!

And instead of engaging them in real life, having a conversation, or selling them stuff, some retailers are pushing them over to Facebook or some other online presence to Like them, take a survey, etc. Don’t fall into this hole. Again, these people are ALREADY in your store. And, don’t worry about Facebook; Zuckerberg’s traffic will be just fine.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s extremely valuable to have your current customers join your online community. Engaging those folks on Facebook or other social channels is key in cementing your relationship, offering customer service, and perhaps creating a returning customer. Also, I think many people are drawn to the Facebook logo and would read anything on that sign!

But please don’t let your engagement in social marketing end there. So far, you’ve preached to the choir. Now you need to find a congregation.

Focus your resources on attracting people who are not currently in your store to come to your Facebook Page. Find consumers who are not already customers and invite them to learn about your business. Use Facebook to drive store traffic, not the other way around.

Remember the progression you want:

Person living in your community –>Person interested enough to go to your Facebook Business Page
–>Person interested enough to go to your shop –> Person who buys a product or service

3 Steps to Increase Engagement on Facebook

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Facebook Fan Page + Facebook Post + Facebook Ad

This week’s International Franchise Association Annual Convention included several opportunities to learn about localizing social marketing from new IFA member Facebook and its representative Brian Wheelis, Manager of Agency Management Operations.

Brian shared valuable data including new research on where consumers are spending their time on Facebook. The good news is that they are spending more and more time on Facebook. The bad news is that they may not be spending their time on Facebook with your brand. We can fix that in 3 easy steps…

1. Create Engaging Content on Your Fan Page

Many brands’ Fan Pages consist of a slick picture and a blatant advertisement. Why would anyone return to this page after his or her first visit? Very few brands will garner millions of fans due only to loyalty and without having anything interesting on their page. These include Apple, Starbucks, and … I think that’s all.

Your page must include something of value to a consumer: coupons, freebies, rewards, virtual gifts, or downloadable digital content.

Value can also be in the form of assets or tools like informational (or fun!) videos, financial calculators, “ask an expert” type features, polls, quizzes, contests, and games. Remember, it must be valuable for the consumer and potential customer, not just for your brand.

All of the above must be refreshed frequently with new reasons for the consumer to come back. Each time something new is created on your page, you must do step 2: create a post.

2. Publish a Post About Your Page’s Content

You can build the most engaging, fun, or valuable Fan Page on Facebook, but if no one knows about it, they won’t come. Facebook currently has over 800 Million users, but I’m guessing most of them are not looking at your Fan Page right now! Well-executed posts will drive some of them there.

Users spend 27% of their time on Facebook looking at their News Feed. And, with the proliferation of smart phones, most mobile users are looking at the News Feed exclusively. So on a regular basis, post a status update inviting everyone to come play your game, take your quiz, or get the new coupon. This is the quickest, easiest thing to do in all of social media! Write a little text, add a link to the tab on your Fan Page where the feature lives, and submit.

Your update will be seen by your fans on their News Feed and Ticker. Next, we move beyond your fans with step 3: create an ad.

3. Create a Facebook Sponsored Story About With The Post

The Facebook Ad, or more specifically, the Sponsored Story, is the spark that will ignite the inferno on your page.  Facebook’s Brian Wheelis says that these ads will be seen by 3 to 5 times more Facebook users than the post alone.

Why? Facebook Sponsored Stories appear not only to your fans, but also to their friends.

That’s the key! Too many brands focus only on the number of fans they have accumulated. That number is important, but the goldmine is in those Fans’ Friends.

Our team has recently launched Engage121 Version 2.1, which now includes the ability to instantly create a Facebook Ad out of your status update. More importantly, you can also instantly create multiple localized ads for each of your franchisees’ or outlets’ local pages.

A marketing misstep is spending too many resources on converting customers to fans. If that sounds backwards, it’s because it is! Yet we see it everyday: print displays or customer service messages asking current customers to become a Fan. I supposed that has had value, as you do want your customers to be a part of the community. But don’t stop there; the people seeing those “please Like us” messages are already in your store, visiting your website, or receiving your invoice! Don’t market Social Media to them; market your business to new people using Social Media. Using the above 3 steps will refocus your attention to converting Fans (and their Friends!) to customers!

Fan Pages:   Seen by your Fans
Posts:   Seen by your Fans in their newsfeed
Sponsored Stories:   Seen by your Fans and their Friends


Jack Monson, Vice President at Engage121



Franchise Social Media Summit

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I am thrilled to be speaking at Franchise Social Media Summit 2011.  As part of Social Media Week 2011, organizers Paul Segreto and Jeremy LaDuque have put together a one-day virtual conference for franchisors, franchisees, and any one involved in franchising.

Date: September 21, 2011
Time: 8am – 4pm (CT)
Place: Online and everywhere!

Here’s what you will learn at the summit:

> Why social media is different for franchising than other business models

> How to develop a social media program, including policies and procedures, specific to the franchise organization

> How to integrate new technology with traditional marketing and why you shouldn’t be afraid to do so

> Why today’s consumer and franchise candidates act differently than from years past

> How to create multiple benefits to the franchise organization through powerful brand awareness methods

> How to generate genuine interest in franchise opportunities and why a seamless transition from virtual world to in-person is essential to closing franchise sales

> Why improving communications and information sharing at all levels of the franchise organization is necessary for stability and future growth

Summit Speakers:

Keynote: Lon Safko, author of The Social Media Bible

Jon Carlston, Vice President, Process Peak

Joe Caruso, President, Capital Area Franchise Association

BJ Emerson, VP Technology, Tasti D-Lite

Jack Monson, Vice President, Engage121, Inc.

David Murray, Social Web Communications Director, re:group

Lee Plave, Partner, Plave Koch PLC

Nick Powills, CEO, No Limit Media Consulting

Debra Vilchis, COO, Fishman Public Relations

Paul Segreto, President & CEO, franchisEssentials

Jeremy LaDuque, President & CEO, Elements, Inc.

Register Here!

SXSW 2012 – Creepy or Creative Social CRM?

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Where is the fine line between Creepy and Creative Customer Service?

For the 2012 SXSW Interactive event in Austin, TX on March 9-13, we are putting together a panel discussion with BJ Emerson of Tasti D-Lite and our colleagues from Engage121. We wish to dive deep into how brands can avoid the creep factor and make customer service a positive experience.

The limits are being tested as the competition is heating up for the hearts of consumers and brands contend for trust and ultimately loyalty. This interactive session will explore these boundaries and make you both squirm and cheer as we discuss both repulsive and responsive customer service. You’ll come away equipped with ideas for bridging the gap without burning the bridge when it comes to building and managing customer relationships online.  The panel will include answering questions such as:

  1. Do customers really want a personalized and consistent online/offline experience?
  2. How do we push the envelope without pushing them away?
  3. How does Location Based Marketing fit into Social CRM and providing a great experience?
  4. How do you keep from drowning in too much information?
  5. What are best practices for Social CRM?
We would appreciate your support and your vote in making this panel happen. Please vote here on the SXSW Panel Picker and we hope to see you in Austin!

Insurance and Social Media

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At Engage121, Inc. we have clients in numerous industries.  In the coming weeks, we will be posting about social engagement as it relates to specific sectors.

Here’s a question we’ve heard from our many insurance clients:
“What’s the most important thing an insurance company needs to know in Social Media?”

Answer: What are our own agents saying?!?

This is a logical place for any marketing, operations, customer service, or other unit within an insurance brand to start.

1. Are their posts working against your messages?

2. Are their posts inconsistent with your best practices?

3. Are their posts focusing on selling services instead of engaging?

4. And, most important, is their activity compliant with FINRA’s guidelines?

It’s easy to find out with the right tools. It’s essential to do if your brand is going to use Social Media at all.

Using a Social CRM interface, you should be able to instantly see a snapshot of what your agents are saying right now, across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, their own blog if they write one, and any other social network you’ve chosen to plug into your “corporate” interface. You should be able to view everything they are saying, or filter down by those posts specifically about the brand or other keywords.

Also, let’s not only look at this as a “gotcha” tool. After all, you don’t want to play social cop all day. Plus there may be some great, appropriate content that your agents are posting. Your field agents are the front line, talking with customers face-to-face daily, and know your brand’s services better than anyone. Perhaps there’s some content they are posting that could be repurposed and shared to via your corporate fan pages or blogs.