Tuesday, July 26, 2016
As we progress further into a world dominated by social media, businesses are adapting it for not only marketing purposes, but also for customer service. Engaging with customers has always been the best ways to grow and develop, and social media is the tool that allows you to easily engage and keep tabs on consumers for the purposes of improving open communication.
According to a JD Power survey of over 23,000 online consumers, 67% of the respondents claimed to have contacted a company for customer support through some form of social media. Not to mention the users not directly contacting the business for support using social media. It is important that as a business you do your part to give your customers a clear line of communication to address their issues.
When you receive a request via social media, take action immediately.
It is crucial that you know where the majority of your customers are. The target audience you use for marketing and advertising will be the same audience coming to you for customer service. Knowing this demographic will help you find which channel of social media your business will thrive off of most. Keep in mind the platform that you use on your own time may not be the best for your company. Just because you spend time using Tinder, doesn’t mean your consumers use the same one.
If you are not sure what social media forum a majority of your consumers use, you can also utilize a customer service survey via email. Another option is to utilize all possible social media platforms in order to avail your services to a larger consumer base.
Now that you have the social media platform set up and familiarized, you need to monitor the traffic your company receives through the app. It is recommended that you review your feeds and check the search engines for any mentions of your company at least three times a day in order to take swift action when called for. It only takes a minute, and will benefit your company’s image greatly. Although your customers are trying to reach out to you, they may make a few spelling mistakes while doing it, for example, a customer looking on Twitter for @SpotlightPubNH instead types @SpitlightPubNH. By monitoring similar handles you can make sure your not missing out on those opportunities.
Do your best to interact with customers in the most personalized way as possible. Provide alternate contact channels to facilitate one-on-one communications. The difference between a positive customer service experience and a negative one can be seen on your bottom line.
For more information about customer service via social media, or for any similar marketing needs, contact us at SpotlightPublicityOnline.com.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Have you ever tried Planking, or The Cinnamon Challenge? Perhaps you mimicked a favorite touchdown dance at a tailgate party? In light of what the wildly popular Pokémon app is doing to social media marketing, now would be a good time to talk about recognizing and exploiting viral trends for your purposes.
Trends such as the Pokémon Go app are not always as obvious, and it can be chancy to identify with something that isn’t really trending at all just because you see just a few people doing it. Viral trends are extremely random events and can catch on at any time and move like brush fire. They can happen overnight and last an undetermined amount of time - in this day and age, social media undoubtedly drives and connects everyone and helps fuel the fury. In a recent ReCode article, it is estimated 9.5 million people are playing the game each day - To create such an event is nearly impossible, but predicting one - that's a different story.
Keeping up with trends can be beneficial in the professional environment by touching base with today’s common rhetoric and buzz words. The world is filled with people trying to make something happen, and by their very nature these consumers are infectiously intrigued by the latest fads. In other words, the trend becomes trendier just because it is trending. (Say that five times fast...). In order to key into the next big thing, look at for these factors:
- Unusual news stories that seem to gain traction by spreading out to traditional media outlets.
- Pay attention to your kids - they are always in the loop.
- Pop culture items that seem to cross generational barriers. Is your Grams talking about it?
- Is it an original idea, or a clone of an existing concept?
- How can you use it to make your concept viable?
In the online marketing world trends equal traffic, and traffic equals business. When everyone is in constant contact through social media apps like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat they discuss how and where they are participating in these viral events. Keeping this in mind, it is important to stay on top of a social movement to utilize it and to keep up the momentum as much as possible while attracting and retaining your client base.
The perfect example is how local coffee shops have capitalized on the Pokemon Go craze. Using in game features such as lures, coffee shops made their location attractive to players. Once the players stepped through the doors to capture a Pokemon, the shops had upgraded their tech to include rapid cellphone chargers to entice the players to remain for a cup of coffee or two. Some locations have reported sales increases over 600% by trying this little trick.
Any way you can use social media to propagandize your business, the smart money always says to do it. Recognizing a trend is the first step to drawing up more business, and coming up with a clever way to make it work for you is the fun part. Using the trend as a brand booster provides a tie-in that can be alluring to customers.
Another way small businesses are capitalizing on the craze is encouraging customers to share photographs taken that also showcase their branding. By sharing these Pokemon captures in conjunction with images associated with the business, the picture ingrains a sense of branding. If the app, in essence, uses the location of your business to enhance the game, why can’t you use the game to enhance your business as well?
Monday, July 11, 2016
Let's just say you've created something unique and innovative, whether it is a book, a piece of art, or a distinctive set of furniture… now what? How can you protect your intellectual property from being re-purposed by unscrupulous villains bent on cutting you out of the loop of your own endeavor? How can you properly share your material with an audience while weaving your way through rights and fair usage rules?
It might be time to get a patent for your exclusive product and begin to search the market for other companies interested in your invention. When the time comes to strike a deal, it’s important that you understand the importance and distinction of Exclusive vs. Nonexclusive Rights for Use, as well as solidifying ownership of your proprietary materials.
If a publication asks for Exclusive rights, they are asking that the piece only appear where they permit, during the length of the contract. The piece is restricted from being used or sold anywhere other than where the publication wants it. These terms usually have a time frame that varies. The contract could last anywhere from one month to a year.
Nonexclusive rights are exactly the opposite; Given a nonexclusive rights deal, Publisher 1 could feature your work on their website, while simultaneously, you may sell rights to Publisher 2 allowing them to put your work on their site as well. Just make sure Publisher 2 does not want exclusive rights while those rights are already being used by Publisher 1.
In other words, “Nonexclusive right to display, copy, publish, distribute, transmit and sell digital reproductions – Means you are allowing your material to be sold elsewhere, by someone else. This does not mean that you will see any profits from these arrangements. Although you can sell your own work to other places at the same time – be aware that the original purchaser may make your material available to fee-based databases or other content sources without ever reimbursing you another penny.” (Gilks 2000)
Reasons for Patenting Your Inventions
- Exclusive rights - Patents specify the exclusive rights that usually allow your enterprise to use and exploit the invention for twenty years from the date of filing of the patent application.
- Strong market position – With documented exclusive rights, No other company may legally invent or commercially sell anything restricted by the patent. Thus making your brand the pre-eminent player for that specific invention or intellectual property.
- Greater earnings on investments- After spending significant time and money in pioneering your products or intellectual properties, within the terms of the obtained exclusive rights, your company may commercialize your invention, allowing said company to obtain higher returns on it’s investments.
- Opportunity to license or sell the invention - If you prefer not to exploit the patent through your own company, you may sell or license the rights to commercialize the creation to another enterprise that could become a source of income for your business. Keep in mind that another company will be making money off your product that you put in so much hard work into.
- Increase in bargaining power - Simply put, the more patents your company owns the rights to, the more influence your company has over the specific markets pertaining to those patents. This causes other enterprises to gain serious interest in your patent portfolio that you have acquired through licensing contracts giving you greater bargaining power with other businesses.
- Positive image for your business - In general, patents are viewed as overall positives for a company’s image. Investors, shareholders and other business associates will perceive patent portfolios as a validation of the high level of proficiency, specialization and technological capacity within your company. The better your companies image, the easier it may be to raise funds, include more business partners, and increase the company’s potential market value.
Fortunately, with the help of the patent system, a small start-up can stand a chance against larger competitors by protecting what has taken years of hard work and millions of dollars to develop. Without the protection of the patent system, many entrepreneurs would risk having their innovations stolen by bigger, more financially established/sound competitors.
Should you be seeking help with navigating the world of start ups, small business marketing, or the publishing world, please contact us at Spotlight Publicity for a free consultation.
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), small businesses make up roughly 99% of U.S. employer firms. This massive percentage of organizations primarily outshines larger and more sweeping companies simply with a mantra of celebrating community culture and local infrastructure. They tend to be more concerned with local issues, and are intimately familiar with the nuances of their neighborhoods. They are also more likely be the first to contribute to building up their community through volunteerism and charitable giving, knowing that local investment helps everyone further down the road.
Locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community. On a social science spectrum, this works to foster self-reliance against poor economic surprises. A good example might be found in the grocery field - while Walmart profits are funneled off to Bentonville, Arkansas, your local Independent Grocer Alliance (IGA) partner places their funds in local banks to invest back into the community. They sponsor youth sports teams, and provide jobs for neighbors, all the while providing fresher and more sustainable goods for your home.
Small, local business entities also require less infrastructure, relatively speaking, making efficient use of public services. There is less of a drain on municipal resources such as sewer, power, and water that a larger company would draw from at taxpayer expense. Smaller companies maintain a level of flexibility that larger corporations cannot match due to size, allowing for speedier reactions to industry changes and market swings. This advantage parlays into getting new products to market, faster. When there exists a flexible environment, the company that has more accountability and creative wiggle room can better manage the shift and keep customer costs down. Look to Malcolm Gladwell's recent TEDtalk for an ancient comparison.
It should be noted that small businesses are not all Mom & Pop operations - far from it. The small business model has been applied to every industry from regional energy sourcing companies such as Freedom Energy Logistics to technology giants like Segway. Thinking locally has spawned a revolution in creativity, efficiency, sustainability, business ethics, and profit margins.
Then there are the more substantial elements to consider. Small businesses put a greater stress on personalized experiences, where one-on-one contact between merchants and customer service is more important to achieve. On the other side of the marketing divide, most chain stores actually outsource their customer services to agents that have very little appreciation for local issues and concerns. Smaller businesses rely on establishing long term relationships with customers with the expectation of frequent and more personal meetings, thus handling inquiries more efficiently. A larger chain sees only the sale in front of them at that moment.
Obviously the world isn't such a black and white place, but placing revenue in local small business does have both immediate and long term positive effects on the community as well as the bottom line. For more information about how the local dollar improves your company's well being, contact us at Spotlight Publicity for a free consultation.