Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Positive Online Engagement, Good Clean Fun in the Rubbish Business: Our Top 5 Social Media Tips

By Luke O’Donnell, one of our in-house customer centre superheroes on social media’s role in the service sector.

When we began business in 1997 solar-powered calculators were ‘cutting edge’. Fifteen years on, links and feeds no longer refer to heavy duty chains and offduty lunchbreaks, and Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and our website are as much a daily staple of the bin business as red trucks and black boots.

Today’s commercial market competes not simply on price and service, but profile too. Social media offers massive market saturation at a fraction of the cost and the blink of an eye; revenue once spent on television and radio ads, newsprint page space, and roadside billboards and all hitting the streets quicker than a Galway raindrop. As such, competition is fierce and in order to gain ground a healthy digital business profile is essential.

The City Bin Co. first appeared on Facebook around Easter 2010, garnering a whopping great four likes with its second post. It was infinitely more successful than the first.

Last Tuesday’s post gleaned 2437 views. The company’s YouTube efforts have won nearly 40,000 views, Twitter is our real-time communication portal, and we’ve about 7000 likes on Facebook. More than 26,000 people have read our blogs.  They’re following, feeding, linking and liking us on the web’s foremost digital media networks, just like we do.

#Tweetieinspire awardwinner Samantha Kelly @Tweetinggoddess is something of an authority on Twitter in business. She concedes the little blue bird can be a daunting prospect for first-time newbies, but refuses to accept it as an excuse not to partake. Her message is simple: keep it upbeat.

Positive tweets, she says, not only promote positive responses but they appeal to positive people. Taken to the shop front, the net gain not only boosts content but the catchment too. Given Twitter’s foremost Irish demographic comprises 35 to 45 year old urbanites it’s small wonder we’re so fond of it.

Boston-based online marketing strategist David Meerman Scott @dmscott is all about the “now”, and the internet is about as “now” as it gets.

“Now is when things are happening."

“On the web, you are what you publish and if you’re publishing great information on the web, you’re great. If you’re publishing nothing on the web you’re nothing,” he says.

So, with Meerman Scott and Kelly in mind, here are The City Bin Co.’s five fundamentals for positive online feedback.

1. Be fresh, be focused

The Great Wall of WOWs @ The City Bin Co. HQ
Don’t update feeds for the sake of change. Very few customers need to know what the world or weather looks like from your office and fuzzy phone pics don’t exactly scream “PROFESSIONAL”. Bombarding customers with incessant irrelevance to stay atop news-heaps dilutes messages of more importance. Ever heard of the boy who cried wolf? Our customers are getting rid of rubbish, the last thing they want is a whole lot back, and the same likely applies to yours. Our posts are pertinent to us and our industry, be they Creative Recycling and Throwback Thursday, our WOWs or latest achievements.

2. Promise, provide and excel

Unless you ARE Facebook, or have 100,000 hits financing your lifestyle you’re probably not an online forum. You’re a service, a hotspot, a trade or profession. If we weren’t online, for instance, we’d still be picking up rubbish. If your core functions are hunky-dory, you have a product or a service to showcase with pride. If not, then getting crucified online is about the least of your worries.

3. If you trip up; get up, and front up

By-and-large people on both sides of business accept mistakes will happen. Your clients are infinitely more interested in how you fix them than what caused them in the first place. Too much sauce on the pizza, tool few on the phones, the customer doesn’t care. The “why” is your concern, not your client’s.
And apologise. It won’t make it all better, but it’ll do a great deal to stop it getting any worse.

4. Be face-to-face (or at least act like it)

Logistically, even small businesses will struggle to maintain intimate connections with all clients. If you can’t tell your clients all your good news in person, you’re busy. It’s a good thing. Where online communications are concerned, as with phonecalls, it needn’t matter you’re not pouring from the same pot of tea. Your readers, viewers, subscribers and followers still pay their invoices and fund your salaries. They deserve all available attention and every conventional courtesy.

5. Share the love

Going solo is for pilots. Your online profile reflects your company, not the boss by herself, not the over-enthusiastic and well-meaning intern who can’t spell, and not Gollum from IT who spent Christmas Day at the office because he’d nothing better for doing. Quite aside from spreading the load, multiple contributors add variety, and appeal to multiple readers. Pick up a paper and you read plenty of writers. The same voice is going to get stale. Mix it up and make it interesting.

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