• Phone: (414) 395-7939
  • Email: phil@milwaukeesocialmedia.com

7 Ways to Provide an Exceptional Customer Experience [infographic]

Now more than ever, you’ve got to be providing exceptional customer experiences to your customers and prospects. This fantastic infographic shows 7 ways your organization can deliver that customer experience so they do business with you for the first time, or so they continue to do business with you in the future.

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How to Provide Online Customer Service for Ecommerce — Brought To You By Desk.com

Speaking at Office Max Grand Opening

phil gerbyshakI’m very excited to be speaking at the grand opening of the Office Max small business center in downtown Milwaukee on May 7th, 2013. It’s from 7:30 AM until 9:00 AM, and it’s open to the public. No registration is required, and you can just show up at 275 W Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee WI. I’ll be sharing my best thoughts on social media for small businesses, focusing on the why and how they can get started, in 90 minutes.

One thing I am not sure I’ll have time to cover is that small businesses have many advantages over big businesses when using social media. Sure, you can’t beat a big brand for size of marketing team, but there are MANY things you do have as a small business owner that you can really leverage for your (and your customers’) benefit.

A few of the advantages small businesses have when using social media include:

Closer connection to customers – Often the reason small businesses do well is because their customers have gotten to know the owner and other key employees personally. This doesn’t happen nearly as often in big businesses, and it is a big advantage for small businesses. Closer connections lead you to knowing your target audience better and being able to talk in meaningful ways to your customers and prospects.

Small businesses are seen as part of the community – even if you own a national franchise, often small business owners are seen as local business owners and thus as part of the community. Again, this is an advantage because many people are intent on buying local and want to buy from others in their community. As part of the community, you can share the goings on of the community on your social media page, and often can partner with other small businesses to create bigger online promotions (and potentially bigger online communities) than you could do by yourself.

Small businesses offer more rich job experiences – Because small businesses don’t have many, if any, departmental layers, employees get to do a variety of tasks every day. For the employee who doesn’t like to do the same thing every day, this is a big advantage and is a reason many employees may stay at a small business for years and years. On social, this manifests itself with employees being empowered to handle problems because they know what they’re doing, as well as offers them the ability to tell richer stories because they’ve seen more aspects of the business and interacted with customers in a variety of ways over a longer period of time.

If you want more insights like this, and a free copy of the ebook the Naked  Truth of Social Media, sign up below and then confirm your e-mail address.We’ll handle the rest, and we’ll NEVER spam your inbox.

LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn Feature Removal: What Happens When You Can No Longer Reply to an Invitation

LinkedIn LogoIn all the LinkedIn training classes we teach and all the LinkedIn articles we’ve written, we always explain the option of how you can see if someone is a real connection or just a spammer when they send you an invitation request: Instead of accepting the invitation, instead of ignoring the invitation, and instead of reporting it as spam, simply hit Reply and ask the person why they want to connect with you. If they reply, they are clearly human. If they don’t, they are a spammer. Simple test right?

Unfortunately, as of 4/12/2013, LinkedIn has decided it is no longer a necessary function of LinkedIn. You can read about this change and some of the discussion about it in this thread on the LinkedIn forums.

NOTE: As of 1:45 PM central time on 4/15/13, this functionality has been restored. This article still offers good solutions into how to deal with connection requests on LinkedIn. Thanks for listening LinkedIn!

What can you do when you can’t reply to a LinkedIn invitation?

Instead of just whining about the change, like many will do, I want to offer some solutions for you, for both sending invitations – and receiving them.

Sending LinkedIn Invitations

If you have someone’s e-mail address, send them an e-mail BEFORE you send the LinkedIn connection request, asking them if it’s ok to connect on LinkedIn – While this will take some time, it reduces the chance of spam, though you will likely build a much more personal relationship this way, and thus, the connection will be much more valuable to you and to the other person.

Write a detailed reason for why you want to connect with the person – focusing on the recipient’s needs – If you see something you can help the person you’re sending the invitation to, or you have something or someone in common, say it in the invite. NOTE: You CANNOT customize the text for an invitation if you’re using the mobile app or if you click on the connect button from the “People You Might Know” screen. You MUST go to their profile to customize an invite.

Throw caution to the wind and keep inviting random people to your network – If you want to get your LinkedIn account shut down, this is the fastest way to do it. Anyone, anywhere, anyhow, belongs in your network. Bonus loser points if you do this without customizing your invitation and keep saying that I’m someone you trust – or that we’re friends – and we’ve never met in person.

Stop inviting people you don’t know into your network altogether – or understand you risk getting your account shut down. While this is extreme – this is also the safest thing to do for your LinkedIn safety. It means you’ll only grow your network with people you actually know – and LinkedIn will go back to the way it was meant to be, a network of TRUSTED connections.

Receiving LinkedIn Invitations

Accept all invitations – If you want your network to grow quickly, this is the quickest way to grow your network. If someone invites you, just accept – and trust that the sender isn’t a spammer.

Accept invitations from people who look reputable – Reputable people have real profiles, with a real profile picture, they are connected to more than 1 person, and have a completed profile. If you don’t have a reputable profile, you will be ignored or worse, marked as spam.

Accept invitations from only people you actually know – This is the slowest way to grow your network, but the most authentic. If you only connect with people you know, everyone in your network will be people you know and (hopefully) recommend or at the worst, connect to another person in your network in a meaningful way.

Do a Google search for this person’s name and e-mail and contact them off of LinkedIn – Admittedly, this one is the most work, but this might be the best one of all. If you don’t know someone well, look for them online. Find their e-mail address – and send them a note. Ask them why they want to connect with you, how you can help each other. Use this like the old LinkedIn invitation reply.

All of this just solidifies my belief that you need to create a personal connections strategy before you use social media. It’s definitely causing me to rethink mine.

NOTE: No matter what you do, I strongly recommend you regularly backup your LinkedIn Contacts and your LinkedIn Profile just in case someone accidentally clicks on the Ignore button and gets you banned from LinkedIn.

Your turn: What do YOU think about this feature removal? Is this a big deal to you – or is it just much ado about nothing?

The Incomplete Guide to Hashtags [infographic]

Hashtags (#anyword or serious of letters and numbers) are powerful stuff. When used correctly, they help your information be more easily searchable, and help extend their normal reach.  For instance, this week, I spoke at the AATH 2013 conference. What was their hashtag? #AATH2013.

But they also are confusing to many people. Thankfully, there’s an infographic to explain many of your hashtag questions, or at least give you a basic understanding of the power of hashtags.

incomplete guide to hashtags

Happy Hashtagging!

11 things to know about social media marketing

What’s Next for Social Media Marketing?

Our clients often ask, “What’s next for social media marketing?” We have some great ideas on what we think is next, and we happily share those thoughts with them.

But earlier this year, I thought it would be even smarter to ask other smart people what THEY think is next for social media marketing. Some people who actually use social media to grow their business, and to grow business for their clients’ businesses.

And what they came up with is now put together in this free ebook, packed with insights from 11 of the smartest people we know in the marketing space.

Contributors include:

  • Aaron Biebert
  • Berni Xiong
  • Carol Roth
  • Catherine Morgan
  • Colin Deval
  • Gini Dietrich
  • Jeannie Walters
  • Jesse Petersen
  • Jonathan Brewer
  • Mallie Hart
  • Ron McDaniel
  • and me, Phil Gerbyshak

So go ahead! View the ebook in your browser – or download it and save it for later. It’s up to you.

What do YOU think is going to happen to social media marketing in 2013? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.