Article first published as Social Media Transparency in Crisis Management on Technorati. A social media marketing crisis management plan is crucial to success for small businesses on social media.
If you’ve not already watched the YouTube video “Burning My Hair Off -ORIGINAL VIDEO- (Hair Tutorial Gone Wrong),” you should, it’s something we all should watch.
Not because I think it’s funny; I don’t. I love my hair and would be much less than pleased if this happened to me, but to view the way Tori Locklear handles herself post catastrophe. That’ the part that deserves to go viral.
We all make mistakes and when I watched this, my first reaction mirrored the look on her face when she realized her hair was still attached to her curling wand, and my initial thoughts were ‘how on earth did this end up on the internet?’ because I certainly don’t think I would have published this.
Then I thought about all of the social media crisis that happen to businesses and how terribly they are handled. TRESemme and whoever the maker of the curling wand is for example, had better get ready to take some Social media managers and PR directors need to take Tori’s lead on crisis management.
What’s fantastic about the video and its unintended outcome, is that she is still able to accomplish her initial goal of offering beauty tips only it turned into a what-not-to-do instead of her intended, how-to video.
This personifies “teachable moment”.
No one likes a crybaby. She published the video and laughed at herself thus stealing the thunder of anyone who wants to make fun of her misfortune. Her openness turned what could have been ammunition to harm her reputation and/or image into positive exposure and a general sense of support. What’s really great is the way she jumped in front of the criticism.
Businesses who go out of their way to protect a brand and appear perfect, are deceiving themselves. Your brand becomes more relateable when consumers know that the people who work behind the brand are human. Let your humanness show.
It’s not like the lock of hair was down the middle of her head; this could have easily been hidden, but life is too short to take yourself that seriously and it’s an even worse offense not to learn from the mistake. To avoid an even more embarrassing ordeal, let’s get to the bottom of what really happened.
Posting her video allowed her the luxury of showing the problem and not having to repeat it a million times to someone in hopes they could help . She now is being given hairstyling tips from styling experts who are falling over themselves to help her. Because of her proactive response, a mistake that could have been costly to fix, will most likely not cost her a thing.
Businesses should focus energy on creative problem solving rather than creative cover-up.
By not only publishing her video, but also creating a Facebook Fan Page for herself, she’s getting great crowd engagement and as mentioned before, help finding out where the mistake happened. She’s been on the Today show, spoken to Inside Edition and her video has already spawned a few parodies–some way better than others.
Kudos to this middle schooler for keeping her composure and not burning her bathroom down in a rage. Not one single expletive escaped her lips immediately post hair-burning realization.
Composure under fire, sometimes literally, in and of itself is a lesson that many leaders should learn. How you handle a crisis both during and after, speaks volumes about your character.
Thank you for the courage and transparency to teach others by showing your mistakes.
[dropcap type=”simple”]W[/dropcap]hether you are in a romantic relationship or a small business relationship (they’re not all that different) you need to have solid communication from both parties involved. From the beginning of the relationship it should be as interactive as possible with clear and concise motives.
[one_third]As you can see from the video above, the message was not entirely clear to the poor girl, aka the client. Even though the intent of the “business” was clear to outside parties, the customer is putting full faith into letting the “business” guide them.
original video can be found here: http://www.keepbusy.net/play.php?id=girl-doesnt-understand-trust-falls
In this hilariously pitiful video, our business never tells the client the one crucial word that sets up this whole video. Our business needed to say “fall back”, instead of “fall down” even though it was implied to everyone else, the client is “blindly” listening to every word and when you are not completely clear with your intentions of the relationship, things can get messy. Undoubtedly, there were some harsh words exchanged once the camera stopped rolling, both sides were most likely defending their own and neither was right nor wrong. But, because the business knew what was happening and the one giving the directions, they needed to make sure the client understood exactly what was about to happen.
[subheading_6]We do not own this Video it is located here and is named Girl Doesn’t Understand Trust Falls. She’ll never forget after this…[/subheading_6]
Many people have heard the theory proposed by Malcolm Gladwell that it takes 10,000 hours of dedication and practice to become an expert at anything. In a 40 hour work week, assuming you work all 52 weeks, to reach that 10,000 mark it would take you 5 years to become an expert in any given field. The hard part about inbound marketing is that aside from some core values, it is constantly adapting at the same rate of technology, by the time you become an expert, you are already 5 years behind the inbound marketing trends.
How do we define an expert? Is an expert more influential or knowledgeable? Granted it is important to have both, but does one outweigh the other? The best thing you can do is build both areas simultaneously. Below are three easy tips on how to become a marketing expert in less than 10,000 hours:
1) Gain followers in your field.
The best way to become an expert is to let others know that you are becoming an expert. On social media sites make sure you are adding/following the most influential people. On Twitter for example, if you start following the big time marketers (Chris Brogan, Jeff Bullas, etc.) you will begin to gain other followers who are following them as well. People want to be connect with other people who share the same interests. Furthermore, if you RSS these powerful top dogs, you can begin to blog/tweet about their material and have your own opinion on their take of tips and tricks of marketing.
2) Make content that is trend-setting.
I was told along time ago that there are only 3 ways to develop something in life. Cheap, Fast, and Good. You can have two out of the three, but never all three. If you want to be the first one to post something about a recent event, i.e. the Graph Search that was announced by Facebook today, most articles on this event are up moments after the press release, but the chances of the article being anything but scratching the surface are slim to none. Try to find a happy medium by doing some more in depth research on your topical content before posting.
3) Share your content. 1+2=3
Combine the previous steps to begin to develop your own credibility. The more you repeat steps one and two the faster your expertise in marketing will grow. The great thing about becoming an expert is the closer you get to becoming one to your peers, the easier it gets to be one. Follow these steps and you will begin to see blogs referencing your content and retweets about your now vital information to the public.
If you still believe in Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour theory, then by all means, try it. The infograph provided by Zintroblog shows two examples of who the theory is based off of. It highlights the art of practicing perfection, but the most important information in the infograph are the 7 Steps to Cheat the Rule.
The unemployment rate for professional and business services continues to be at 9.2% which is higher than the national average by almost a full percentage point. At Louve Notes Media Group, instead of dwelling on the problem, we’ve decided to be the solution.
Introducing S.E.E.D. Startup Employment and Educational Development.
S.E.E.D is a membership program that offers entrepreneurs and those who are out of work, under-employed or anyone seeking to better their current situations through continued education and interactive professional development. S.E.E.D. is a place to learn, collaborate and grow.
According to Forbes magazine, in an article titled 10 Things You Need To Do While You’re Unemployed, looking for ways to actively expand your knowledge is key to your finding work.
Having a worthwhile activity to place on your resume in lieu of a gaping unemployment hole, is by far more attractive to prospective employers. According to Forbes, hiring managers recommend several things you should do while you are unemployed:
S.E.E.D. offers its members the opportunity to take advantage of all that and more, right in one virtual location.
Come take a look at what could be your professional growth waiting to happen.
The Duck Song is a three minute illustration of how quickly a prospective customer relationship can go wrong. When I first watched this video, I missed the glaring small business lessons that are apparent throughout, particularly the interaction between the man and his potentially loyal customer. After watching it multiple times – don’t judge me, the tune is rather catchy – I realized the man reacted very typically to most small business owners and I found four marketing lessons every small business owner should learn if we want to build a loyal customer base.
If every day your customers ask you for things you don’t have and in turn refuse to buy what you do have, you should reassess your product offerings, or at the very least, integrate what your customers want into what you’re offering.
The customer wasn’t asking the owner to change what he was offering, he just wanted him to offer something else. The owner of the stand missed an opportunity to nurture the relationship with an obviously loyal and persistent customer.
Small business owners need to learn that you’re only in business if someone is buying what you sell; we become so married to what we offer, that we don’t listen to what our customers want. The customer wants grapes, give him grapes. An easy way to be sure you’re selling what your customers want, is to ask them. Do a test trial of your product and get customer feedback before staking your entire business on a product that nobody wants.
Don’t insist on hard-selling your product. Instead, validate your customer’s needs. Ultimately, the customer needed lemonade, but until he felt heard he wasn’t in the mindset to listen to what the business owner was saying. Listen to your customers and they’ll tell you when they’re ready to buy what you have to sell, or they’ll tell you that what you’re selling nobody wants. Both are valuable lessons.
As small business owners, we can get so stubborn about what we sell that we will actually send customers to a competitor instead of going above and beyond to make someone happy. The owner left his own business unattended to walk a potential customer over to the competition to give him what he wanted. What a perfect “above and beyond” customer service opportunity. Instead of leaving his own store, why not keep a special stash of grapes behind
“Do you have any grapes?”
“Not usually, but since you’ve asked before, I got some especially for you,” would have been a great answer. And when the customer decided on a whim that he didn’t want grapes after all, but in fact he does want some of your lemonade, you’re golden.
Even after the threat of bodily harm, the potential customer was still willing to give the business owner a shot at delivering what he wanted. This shows us that if you’re likable enough, you have to try pretty hard to lose customers.
What other small business lessons did you learn from watching this customer interaction? Have you ever had a customer continue to ask you for products or services you don’t offer? How did you handle it? Share your answers in the comment box below.
As a small business owner, your marketing is the heartbeat of your business and is what’s used to increase the number of current customers you have. It’s vital that you understand the way marketing changes and know what the most effective way is to communicate with your target market. With dramatic increases in technology over the past few years, your small business should be using inbound marketing methods to get found by potential clients and to grow your business. With this method, your message is not being screamed at your customers who are not interested in what you are offering, instead your message is being found by your customers who were searching for you online.
Inbound marketing pulls your customers into your business through the use of keywords phrases that your customers are searching for via search engines. Inbound marketing uses social media sites to help promote your business and your message. From Facebook’s Statistics page, “More than 750 million active users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.” The idea is simple: get your business on Facebook so that potential customers can find you.
Now is your chance to think outside of the traditional [outbound] marketing “box” and do something new that’s proven to work. Get on Facebook to get more clients. Use your Twitter to let clients know you’re listening to them and care about what they need.
Build your blog on your own website. If you have a blog on Facebook, that is great. But if you want to retain that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) credit, you should integrate the blog onto your own website. This way, when a potential customer searches for your business using a search engine, your website and blog will come up. It is highly encouraged to link your Facebook page back to your website as well, this way people know you are a stable company and it increases your credibility.
As we learned last time in our previous smart marketing post, Call to Action, or C2A, buttons are helpful in tracking progress of potential customers to clients. They are also useful for enticing new website visitors to learn more about your small business. Below are some valuable tips for placement of your calls to action so that your business can engage in smart marketing:
Visitors who are new to your site are there for information.
Statistics show that most website visitors that are new to a page are simply there to find out more about who you are. They just want information.
They are also very unlikely to scroll below the fold, while on your homepage. Using this information, you should place your call to action “above the fold” on your website. This means that the reader should be able to see it without having to scroll down the page at all.
Address the different buying phases of your site visitors.
You will have visitors on your site that are at different buying stages and know that about 75% of readers are in the early stages of the buying process.
These visitors are interested in what your business has to offer, but are not sure if they want to invest quite yet. Knowing this, make sure that your homepage has several call to action buttons that speak to visitors at different phases or a button that speaks to a common problem your customers may have regardless the phase. If your small business focuses on treating chronic back pain, create a call to action that jumps on your front page that says, “Chronic back pain? Click here to find out how we can help you.”
The other 25% of website visitors are in the later phases of the buying process and have probably already visited your website and/or subscribed to your blog. They are familiar with the layout and navigation of the page.
They don’t need to be convinced that your product or service works, they already know it does, and because of this you should have C2As located in lead nurturing campaigns that focus on targeting their specific needs and lead them further down the sales funnel.
Also, be sure not to leave out your current customers. You should have C2As on your site that encourages your current customer base to upgrade or check out your latest and greatest product or service. Create demand for your business with a C2A focused just on your repeat customers.
Now it’s your turn. What are some other ways and places you can use C2As to convert your website visitors? Tell us your ideas in the comments box below.
As a small business owner your ultimate goal is to grow your business. The way you do that is by reaching out to as much of your target market as you can and connecting with them in a way that relates to their needs and wants. No matter who your target market is, consumers are searching for the products and services they want online.
To get more clients, small business owners are making the shift from costly outbound methods to more effective and measurable methods that focus on building relationships with consumers and turning those relationships into a loyal customer-base. This has allowed small business owners to get found by the customers who need them and ultimately get more clients. Are you part of this select group of small business owners who have become serious about their marketing? If so, here are a few tips for you to use to join those who believe in smart marketing for smart business.
Blog for small business – An industry-related blog can be a game changer for your small business. If you’re not blogging, you’re in the minority and your customers are being pulled onto your competitors’ websites. For more information on how to get started blogging for small business, download our free e-book.
Promote your small business with Social Media – Have something to say that will help your target market and add value to their lives? Use your social media networks to spread the word quickly. Download our free report to see why you need social media for your small business.
Webinars for small business – Host informative webinars and stay in touch with the latest best practices in your industry. For more ideas on how to host webinars that are useful to your target market, you’re invited to attend our weekly webinar. Every Tuesday we host a live webinar that teaches internet marketing basics to grow your business.