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Twitter LogoSo, I’ve had a Twitter account for a while now … (2 actually) … I’ve found people, businesses, organizations, hash tags etc. that I follow. I log into my account and I browse. For the past 2 years, other than tweeting a link to a blog post, I’ve (personally) been a Twitter voyeur … but no longer!

I was watching football last night and figured I’d see what people were saying about the game … I wanted a larger perspective than what my Facebook Friends would have to say, so I opened my Twitter App on my I-Phone and went with what I thought would be an active hash tag. (I started with #Tebow).

To my surprise, I enjoyed the community … the wise cracks, cajoling and cheering … It improved the experience of sitting home and watching the game … I quietly posted a note about how watching football still wasn’t for me … no hash tags … just a thought on my own feed, sent out to those few people out there following me. To my surprise, a friend jumped right in … and there I was Tweeting, just like that.

I can now see the fun of Tweeting … how you really do need to develop a different personality for Twitter than other Social Media outlets. The pace is quick, you benefit from being succinct and clever … You create community not only with people you know but by common interests.

This is the power of Twitter … And this is why, if you’re anything like me, it is time to dip your toe into the water, open that account and poke around the Twitter-verse!

Not sure where to start? Follow Me!

CreativeRelief

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by Kim Robinson-Juhlin of Creative Relief

Social media, social media, social media…it’s ALL you hear these days. Are you posting regularly on Facebook? Did you tweet today? Are your profiles updated? Did you claim your business on Yelp? Is social media important for businesses large and small? Absolutely. It’s what I do now, I’ve seen the results it can produce when done properly and consistently. However, in the age of multimedia overload, businesses need to remember the golden rule…CUSTOMER SERVICE IS KING.

I’m connected to many businesses online, big and small. Though I may appreciate their ability to advertise and market themselves well, I am usually under-whelmed at their attention to detail, their customer service follow through. It’s true, good help is hard to find but your employees are your true connection to your customers; the front line in a competitive marketplace of winning the all mighty dollar.

A few nights ago I went to Outback for dinner with my husband and two kids. Not a usual place we go, but our neighbors had given us a gift card.  As soon as we sit our server Phil approaches the table. A big, bald, tough biker looking guy with tattoos of his kids faces on his arm. He is extremely friendly and right away engages with the kids. My husband sees that on the menu they have “Coopers Pale Ale” and orders a bottle. (Cooper is the name of my youngest son.) When Phil arrives back with the bottle my oldest son, Quinn thinks it’s the coolest thing ever. “Mom, Cooper’s name is on that bottle!!! Dad, can you get a bottle with my name on it?” We all laugh, including Phil who we explain the names of our kids to etc. He then leaves and rushes back with our kid’s dinner. He clearly assessed the situation and knew to get their food out ASAP. While eating dinner my husband requests another beer. Phil arrives back at the table with another bottle of beer with a post-it covering the label which reads “Quinn’s Lager.” Well, my son was so excited and I was so touched. Touched that a guy wrote my son’s name on a beer bottle you say? No, touched that he knew this small gesture would make my child smile and make us all laugh. Now honestly, how much time did that add to his busy shift? A minute or two tops.

This employee made my customer service experience a positive one. For that reason, I’d recommend this restaurant to friends and I will most definitely go back. Was it employee training to “go the extra mile” or simply his personality? He was a good hire, plain and simple. Dining with kids is challenging to say the least, so any positive experience is a welcomed one. Dinner was good, it arrived quickly and my kids were engaged. This made me share my experience only because it was a rare one. Isn’t that sad? A positive experience where someone goes a little out of their way is so out of the ordinary it surprises you. Because of this small act I made sure to point him out to his manager and we left him a large tip. Pay it forward right?

My mother-in-law works for a major retailer. She says it’s amazing how much more a person will purchase if you simply interact with a customer. She can usually double a purchase just by offering help and talking. Let’s face it, in the digital era people still want you to engage with them. Sometimes it really is that basic.

So what’s my point? Engage, interact and go the extra mile. People, not a computer screen are the true face of your business. Social media can help get customers in the door but then it’s up to you. Don’t blow it. A positive customer experience will go “viral” and that’s the best advertising you can get. Unfortunelty a negative experience will go viral as well. So embrace the digital era but don’t forget that attention and kindness will keep your customers coming back for more.

 

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So, I am a new member of Groupon …  and it is great … sort of … I find myself frustrated because there are no local deals for my area … I can go to NYC, North Jersey, Westchester but the Hudson Valley is missing. BUT THEN I GOT THIS GREAT E-MAIL TODAY FROM HUDSON VALLEY MAGAZINE!!! They have partnered with a discounting company and will be offering daily deals LOCALLY IN THE HUDSON VALLEY!!!

There is no additional cost to the participating company (except the discount) and it reaches a local and active audience! In the “How It Works” section, HVM explaines that they will offer the deal and the more people who buy the offer, the better the discount gets … they are encouraging you to share the deal on your social media channels so it spreads LOCALLY! A small business DREAM!

Sign up for Hudson Valley Magazine’s Daily Deal … Coming Soon!

What do you think? Will you sign up?

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LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this article. Did I mention I loved it? Whenever we meet with a new client interested in sticking their toe into the social media pool, we run into the same questions and concerns. Can you use Facebook as strictly an information outlet without interaction? Of course. Will it be as effective and beneficial to your company? Absolutely not. Embracing social media and “being social” online is tough for many, but if you want to be seen and heard it is necessary. Have a look at these 5 pitfalls posted on Mashable.com and let us help you avoid or overcome them.

http://mashable.com/2011/04/02/5-facebook-marketing-mistakes-small-businesses-make/

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Now that you’re getting your feet wet with social media, the question becomes “Where else should I be?”  Some companies find blogging a must and some people just don’t know where to begin. The answer depends on your stategy, audience and often your commitment. Setting a social media goal is crucial to your success and knowing your demographic can make all the difference. Tumblr leans towards the under 34 crowd, clearly a media savvy audience.

So is Tumblr right for your small business? Read this great article from Mashable and see if you should add Tumblr to your social media recipe for success.

http://mashable.com/2011/03/20/tumblr-pros-cons-business/

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Have you been interested in Twitter but not sure where to start? Want to build your Twitter network? Figure out how to use Twitter for business? Check out this great “Guide Book” put together by Mashable …

http://mashable.com/guidebook/twitter/

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One of the first big decisions we made at Creative Relief was about building our website. We knew we wanted our blog to be front and center, and that we wanted the ability to easily add and revise content. In the end, we decided to build our entire site within WordPress … we found a very flexible theme (we use Suffusion) and we went for it from there!

One of the points I try to make when discussing websites with our clients is this idea of incorporating Social Media into the website. A static site doesn’t keep a viewers attention as long as a site that has fresh, relevant content. Using a blog as a home base for unique content and then spreading the word through various Social Media channels is where businesses need to be going. Adding links to profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube or any other Social Media channels your business is active on is imperative.

Check out this great article by The Social Media Examiner. As usual, they hit the nail on the head and give some really great suggestions about ways to make your website more Social Media savvy.

9 Ways to transform Your Website into a Social Media Hub

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So, when talking about social media for business, we talk a lot about Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn, but what about YouTube? There are lot of great ways to promote your business with video … from giving prospective customers a tour of your business, to creating a library of content that explores your products or services. This content can be shared on your blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, even your LinkedIn profiles. The attached article from Smedio gives some great ideas about how to use YouTube for your business.

http://smedio.com/2011/02/02/7-ways-to-use-youtube-in-your-business/

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I just found this great study that the Harvard Business Review did on Social Media and business. They surveyed 2100 subscribers to their magazine or email newsletter in July of 2010. The analysis of the results are really interesting and they have created some very useful graphs that pinpoint the mindset of business owners and their feelings / attitudes towards Social Media. Check it out … see if your attitude about social media fits with their results ..

http://bit.ly/dTOKMU

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What motivates someone to “like” a company on Facebook? For Business to Customer marketing, the number one reason (not surprisingly) is deals & promotions. But looking at this survey there were some other findings worth noting: 39% of respondents “like” a company to show support for the company and 34% “like” a company to stay informed about the company. Those are strong numbers for what boils down to BRAND LOYALTY. Take a look at this great article from Danny Brown that talks about this survey and how to leverage the findings.

http://bit.ly/hoyJSy

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