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    7 Types of Customers on Social Media (And What They Mean for Your Business)

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Any business using social media to market their company online, share about their business, and engage with customers will quickly learn that there are many types of people who follow their brand’s social media pages. No matter what social media platforms you are using, you are likely to run across these seven different types of customers. Here’s a look a who they are, why they’re following your brand on social media, and what to do to get the most out of them!

    1) The Quiet Follower

    This customer may have quietly liked your business on Facebook or followed you on Twitter to stay in touch with your brand, but they don’t say much and may seem like they aren’t engaging with you. These types of followers don’t do any harm, but you can potentially get more engagement by creating stronger calls to action on your posts, such as by asking your followers to like or “retweet” your posts. Sometimes all it takes to create more engagement is simply to ask for it! The bonus: on Facebook, the more you can get “quiet” followers to engage with your content, the more your content will show up in their news feeds.

    2) The Casual “Liker”

    The casual “liker” occasionally “likes” your Facebook or LinkedIn posts or retweets your content on Twitter. They most likely have followed your business because they genuinely enjoy the kinds of content you share or want to showcase to their friends that they are a fan of your business. To get more out of the “liker,” types, try using calls to action on your Facebook posts that ask your fans to share your content. For example, a restaurant could share a photo of their famous dessert with the caption, “Share this post if you love chocolate!” Or, a spa could post a photo of the latest trend in nail polish color with the caption “Share this if you’re wild about green this spring!” By asking your fans to share your posts, you help turn casual “liking” fans into more vocal advocates for your brand and potentially spread the word about your business to the friends of your fans.

    3) The Deal Seeker

    This customer follows your business on social media sites for access to exclusive deals, coupons, and customer appreciation incentives and events. And there are lots of this type of follower! In fact, research shows that 58% of Facebook users expect access to sales or to receive discounts or promotions after “liking” a brand on Facebook. So, make sure you’re giving this type of customer a reason to stay up to date with your brand by posting regular deals, offers, and specials for your social media audiences. For example, some businesses offer a “deal of the week” or a special contest each month that appeals to the deal-seeker type of fan. Bonus: Businesses that are regularly sharing sales, coupons, or contests are giving new consumers a good reason to follow their social pages, so this can also help you grow your follower numbers. 

    4) The Unhappy Customer

    Negativity is never something you want to see on your social media pages, but it happens even to the best of us. The fact of the matter is, more and more people are using social media as a way to more publicly communicate with brands by leaving posts on their Facebook pages or through @mentions on Twitter, often in hopes of getting more timely or satisfactory customer service. And, due to the public, transparent nature of social media, sometimes that means that unhappy customers who want to complain publicly will be seen by more than just your business. 

    To minimize the negative impact of unhappy customers, it’s important to have a good reputation management process in place so your business can respond in a timely manner to customer complaints on your social media pages. By monitoring your pages for feedback and complaints, then responding quickly and appropriately (when needed), you communicate to that follower that your business is listening and that you care. Plus, publicly responding to these customers shows all your current and prospective fans and followers that you put the customer first. Pro tip: Set up a dedicated email address or phone number you can share publicly on negative comments like these so you can take the resolution process offline to best address the customer’s needs. 

    5) The Negative Detractor

    As much as we’d like all negative comments to come from customers who have legitimate complaints that can be resolved, we have seen case after case of businesses getting slammed with negative comments on social media from fans and non-fans alike , sometimes for issues not related to specific experiences with your business. Often, these stem from political, ideological, cultural, or other personal issues that have come into public spotlight. In order to keep your business safe from the threat of social media detractors, it’s best to steer clear of making potentially controversial public statements that risk drawing ire from the public at large. Should your business ever find itself in a social media firestorm, it’s probably best to consult with a good public relations or crisis communications firm for strategic guidance on how to proceed.

    6) The Enthusiastic Cheerleader

    Everything! Is! Awesome! Including these passionate social media followers. They may or may not do a ton of business with you, but they retweet, like, comment on, and share every single post from your business. They enter every contest and tag your business in happy reviews on their personal wall. These are great fans to have because they spread the word about your business to their networks, they add life and charisma to your social pages, and they help keep the momentum in your community going. Make the most of these social media fans by highlighting them as a fan of the week, sharing their user-generated content like fan photos, or asking them to participate in a social media campaign or promotion for your brand.

    7) The Loyal Customer

    You know them by their profile picture because you’d also recognize them if they walked through your door tomorrow. They recommend you to everyone they know, and their lifetime customer value is way beyond typical because their referral rate is so high. These are the true fans of your business because they’re the life and soul of your customer base. To really benefit from these customers, ask them to star in a video testimonial for your business or share their success stories as case studies or quotes on your website. And, offer value to them in return by showing your appreciation for their loyal business through customer reward programs, appreciation events, or loyalty discounts.

    Have you run across these customers on your social media sites? What other customer types did we miss? Share your thoughts in a comment!

    About the Author

    Tiffany Monhollon shares practical tips and insights about reaching consumers across the web as a blogger for ReachLocal. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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    Why SEO Isn't Enough: 6 No-Brainer Reasons to Use Search Advertising

    Last updated 1 year ago

    When small businesses think of Search Engine Marketing, or SEM, the first thing that comes to mind is often search engine optimization, or SEO. While getting your website to rank organically on the search engine results page (SERPs) is one of the most important online marketing tactics, it’s critical not to overlook the other half of the equation – search engine advertising. Also known as PPC advertising, it’s one of the easiest, quickest, and most cost-effective ways to drive qualified website traffic, and ultimately get more leads for your business. Here are six no-brainer reasons to use search advertising to market your business online.

    1. You Can Build On Your Existing SEO Efforts

    You’re probably already doing on-page and off-page search engine optimization for your business website — and that’s a great way to help your business get found online. Research shows that 53% of clicks on Google go to the first result on the page, and organic SEO is what can help your business rank there. It’s also true that 75% of consumers don’t scroll past page one of the search results. Now that Google shows fewer organic results, it’s becoming harder than ever to rank on page one, but search advertising can help searchers find your business on that all-important first page.

    2. You Can Get Found Immediately in SERPs

    In addition to being an easy remedy to getting visibility for your business on the first page of search engine results, search advertising also delivers immediate results. While optimizing your website to rank higher organically could take weeks, months, or even years — not to mention the expertise needed to optimize it completely and effectively — your search ad can start to appear in the search results very quickly after you set up your campaign and bid on keywords you want to rank for. This enables you to reach searchers long before your SEO efforts may take effect on your organic rank.

    3. You Can Target Specific Consumers by Geography & Search Terms

    Because search ads allow you to target specific geographic areas and keywords, such as a certain product or service you offer, you can focus your advertising efforts on consumers who are looking for exactly their type of business. This means consumers may be more likely to click on your targeted and optimized text ad rather than a less-specific organic result that may or not be relevant.

    4. You Can Try Different Text Ad Messages

    Another benefit of using search ads is that it allows you to easily change or test multiple headlines, messages, calls to action, and more to see which performs best with your target audience. You can also run multiple ad groups within one campaign, each with a message that targets a different part of your business. For instance, a dentist may want to run one search ad for braces and another one for teeth whitening within the same campaign. This not only gives you more flexibility in your content, but it also allows you to narrow your audience based on specific products or services they are looking for.

    5. You Can Promote Special or Seasonal Offers

    In addition to promoting specific products or services, you can also create search ads to promote specials and seasonal offers, like a back-to-school discount on braces. Since you can easily update your ad groups or text ads, you can remove the offer or replace it with another one in just a matter of minutes.

    6. You Can Drive Consumers to a Conversion-Optimized Landing Page

    Search engine ads are also very effective for driving traffic to campaign-specific landing pages. Running a special for $100 off braces? Create a special landing page that provides details about your offer along with a clear call to action and conversion path. For instance, your landing page might ask potential patients to call your office to schedule an appointment during a specific window of time, which increases the likelihood they will follow through with contacting you.  Having an optimized landing page can help you increase conversions from prospects that search for your business online.

    We can’t stress enough how a well-written, well-targeted, and well-executed search engine advertising campaign can help you get more customers online. To learn more about ReachLocal’s search advertising service, ReachSearch, or to request a consultation, visit www.reachlocal.com

    Tamara Weintraub helps equip small business owners with information about local online advertising, social media, and content marketing as a writer for the ReachLocal blog.

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    Local Commerce Software: The Future of Local Marketing Is Here

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Recently, ReachLocal announced new local commerce solutions, including our consumer service ClubLocal, and several exciting new software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that help local businesses convert more leads into customers.  

    ReachLocal President Nathan Hanks gave an overview of these new solutions when he spoke at Borrell’s Local Online Advertising Conference which was keynoted by well-known marketing guru Seth Godin and featured presentations by “disruptors” within the local marketing space like Facebook, Pandora, and ReachLocal, among others.

    Nathan shared his unique insights on the evolution currently happening in local marketing where the entire customer acquisition funnel is moving online. “Soon, many local service transactions will take place entirely online; in fact, the shift has largely happened in the travel and retail industries with companies like Expedia and Amazon,” he said. “We believe that everything local that can be bought online eventually will.”

    To that end, ReachLocal has been hard at work on local commerce solutions that enable merchants to deliver their high-touch service along with an Amazon-like online buying experience that helps them win more customers. This local commerce shift will unfold for merchants in two ways:

    1.     Through tapping into new consumer-focused services that connect consumers with local merchants (e.g., OpenTable for booking a restaurant table, Uber for booking a taxi)

    2.     Through new merchant software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms that enable local merchants to do local commerce online themselves

    ReachLocal has created innovative solutions for both of these models. First, ClubLocal is our new consumer brand that builds the relationship with consumers and drives new business for local home service providers. Second, our new SaaS solutions enable SMBs to manage the entire customer lifecycle online, from lead generation (already largely online) and automated lead management to online booking and mobile payments. 

    These SaaS solutions include:

    • ReachSite – a smart website solution that helps businesses convert more of their visitors into leads. It includes basic SEO, dynamic content optimization, and lead capture technology that helps businesses build their marketing list and see the effectiveness of their various marketing tactics.
       
    • ReachConvert – a lead management solution that helps businesses turn website leads into customers. It notifies the business of new leads via text message, email or the ReachLocal mobile app and helps them stay top of mind with consumers through automated emails to their prospects and reminders to the business’ staff to follow up with new leads.
       
    • ReachCommerce – a local commerce solution that takes local merchants’ entire booking and buying process online. This will not only allow consumers to book appointments and pay online, but it will digitize the business’ entire back-office operations, including scheduling, employee and fleet management, estimating, transaction processing, invoicing, retention, business intelligence and reporting. 

    These solutions will help local merchants take their entire customer acquisition process online and more cost-effectively grow their business while delivering much better buying experiences for consumers so that they keep coming back again and again.

    What’s next in the local space? Share your thoughts below about how you think this shift to online local commerce will benefit both merchants and consumers. And, stay tuned to hear more information about these and other new solutions from ReachLocal. To stay up to date on the latest news, tips, and information, you can subscribe to our blog via RSS.

    Types of Content You Should Be Posting Now (Part 1): Blogs, Videos, and Ebooks

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Content marketing is arguably one of today’s top online marketing trends. But, it’s not just large businesses that are using storytelling as part of their online marketing strategy. Today, 74% of small businesses use content marketing to help share their messages and build their brand online.

    With so many types of content you can share online, what content should you be using? In this three-part series, we’ll discuss the types of content you can use to fuel your content marketing, generate engagement, build your brand, and drive new leads online. In this post, we’ll cover the different types of long-form content that form the cornerstone of a solid content marketing program: blog posts, videos, and ebooks.

    1) Blog Posts

    A business blog not only gives you a platform to demonstrate expertise in your field, but it also enables you to optimize content around your business name, industry, and products and services so it’s found in search engine results. Plus, with the increasing amount of usability built into different blogging platforms, you can use a business blog as a hub to share all of your brand's content from.    

    Types of Posts You Should Create:

    Informational – You know that you are an expert in your field, but you can prove this to your customers and prospects through informational blog posts about your industry. Plus, by writing informational content with your target keywords in mind, you can increase your blog’s visibility on search engines, which can improve brand awareness, brand credibility, and your online reputation.

    How-To and Educational – Posts that explain a business-related process are great for building interest in your business and educating consumers about your products and services. For example, if you operate a bakery, you could explain the best types of apples to use in different desserts. Or, if you run a window-installation company, you could provide tips on how to treat windows during different seasons. You could also use this as a forum to help existing customers get the most out of your products or services if they require additional maintenance. 

    Special Offers and Events – One way to build a following on your blog is to post deals and special offers for your products or services. While your blog shouldn’t be overly promotional, occasionally giving your subscribers incentives via your blog post can help generate awareness and engagement. In addition, if you are active in charitable organizations, sponsorships, or other community events, a business blog is a great place to announce and promote the events and to give readers a wrap up after the event is over.

    2) Videos

    Video is a major form of content distribution that receives billions of views monthly. In fact, in January alone there were nearly 36.2 billion video content views, with the majority coming from YouTube. Of course, many of those views are for the viral video du jour, but videos featuring products or services are a great way for brands to encourage consumers to purchase. Research shows consumers who watch product videos are 174% more likely to purchase than those who do not. Plus, watching product videos on a mobile device is becoming more popular, with half of smartphone owners watching a product video on their mobile device within a three-month period.      

    Types of Videos You Should Create

    Customer Testimonials – Do you have happy customers who are willing to share their positive experiences about your business? Ask them to record a video discussing the benefits of using your products or services. You can then share these videos on your social pages, blog, and on your website to build trust and credibility with prospects.

    Demonstration Videos – If you have product or demonstration that is best described in action, create a video to deliver an easy-to-understand message. One survey indicated that of consumers who watch product videos with demonstrations, 57% were likely to spend at least two minutes watching a video. So, in order to get the most out of your videos, make sure they are short but informative. Plus, you can also include these demonstration videos in a blog posts about the same topic.

    Company Culture – Creating videos that show the human side of your business can help you reach consumers on a personal level and can be a nice addition to your company’s “About Us” section of your website. From a video showing your business participating in a local community event to the story of how your business began, these types of personal videos can help you connect with local consumers.

    3) Ebooks

    If you want to present a large amount of content or information, an ebook can be a useful way to do so. Because ebooks generally require a download, you can use them as a way to generate new leads and collect important information from your interested prospects so that you can effectively manage your new leads. To get the most out of your ebook from a lead generation perspective, make sure it is high quality, well designed, effectively branded, and includes conversion elements like a tracking phone number and lead capture download form.

    Types of Ebooks You Should Create

    Thought Leadership & Expertise – Are you an expert in a complex process, system, or topic related to your industry? These are excellent subjects for ebooks, because they typically include a large volume of information that you might not be able to cover in a single blog post or video. Just remember, choose topics that you have real expertise in so that consumers see you as a trusted source for solutions within your industry.

    How To – If you have a collection of similar tutorial topics, creating an ebook can be a great way to bring them all together. For these ebooks, you can arrange detailed descriptions, step-by-step instructions, tips, and multiple images into a comprehensive guide for consumers who are interested in your business type.

    Products Benefits – Do you have multiple variations of the same type of product or service? If so, you can create ebooks that describe the common uses and key benefits for different types of products and services. This is a great way to demonstrate the diversity of what you offer, and give consumers a comprehensive and detailed comparison of your products so that they are equipped with all the information to make a purchasing decision.  

    By creating blog posts, videos, and ebooks, you can give potential customers detailed information and data that proves your expertise in your field while generating new leads. Stay tuned for part two, where we’ll discuss how images and “snackable” content can help you in your content marketing efforts.

    What kinds of blog posts, videos, and ebooks have you created as part of your content marketing strategy? Do you have questions on specific types of content you can create for your business? Let us know in a comment!

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    About the Author:

    Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through online marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.

     

    Facebook News Feed Gets a Makeover: Is Your Business Page Ready?

    Last updated 1 year ago

    Last week, Facebook announced a brand new redesign of the News Feed. During the event, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg discussed how the new News Feed was created to give users a richer Facebook experience on the Web and via mobile devices. The main updates include:

    • Elements that create richer stories in the News Feed, such as larger images and detailed content
    • More control over what users see in their News Feed, with separate feeds for friends, music, photos, and pages they follow
    • Consistency on mobile devices, making the Facebook experience seamless from the Web to mobile

    Facebook is gradually rolling out these changes, and if you want to get on the early waiting list you can sign up now to have your Facebook News Feed switched to the new look and feel. But until then, there are a few things you should be doing to make sure that your fans, and their friends, see the best and most usable content from your brand.

    Focus on Bolder Images

    Images have played a major role on Facebook since the launch of Timeline and the purchase of Instagram. In fact, 50% of News Feed stories are now photos. And to make the most of images, Facebook has increased the size of the pictures across the site. So, what can you do to get the most out of the new image sizes on Facebook?

    • Images attached to articles will also appear larger in the News Feed. So, if you currently post your business blog articles on your Facebook profile, you should make sure that each blog also has a relevant and engaging photo. That way, when fans share your posts from Facebook or from your blog, they will also see an image that represents the article instead of your logo or other images that might be on the page.

    • Create and post photos instead of only posting updates. For example, do you have an inspirational quote, a compelling stat, or a new product or service? Instead of posting just a text status update, consider posting a snackable photo that conveys your message, but in a visual format. 

    Put Your Best Profile Picture Forward

    Not only are images that you post more prominent on the new News Feed, but your profile image and cover photo are also now front and center on new fans’ News Feeds. In other words, each time a new fan likes your profile page, a snapshot of your cover photo and profile picture will appear in your new fan’s News Feed so that their friends will see your photo, along with an option to “Like” your brand directly from the image. So, how can you make sure you create the best first impression of your business?

    • For your profile image, consider using a square version of your logo, as this will fit best within the dimensions. Also, avoid displaying unnecessary content in your profile image as it takes up valuable space and may not display large enough for fans to read, especially when viewed on mobile devices. 
    • When selecting an image for your cover photo, make sure that the image is an accurate representation of your business page. For example, if you run a bakery, consider a display of your best-selling sweets. If you run a dentist office, you could use an image of your staff with happy patients, with their permission. Facebook also has a few guidelines for cover photos, so make sure to follow them so that your image doesn’t get flagged or removed. 

    Add Detailed Content

    In addition to larger images, shared articles in the News Feed will also display more content in order to create a robust News Feed filled with information and details. Here are a few key details you should consider to promote your business page.  

    • When a fan checks into your business on Facebook, their friends may see an update with the check in and your location. The new News Feed will include a larger, more detailed map, so it’s critical to have your physical address listed on your business page. 

    • In addition to adding your physical address, you should also make sure your page is complete so that consumers can find your business when searching with Facebook Graph Search. This includes selecting your categories, adding your business hours, and completing your “About” section so that consumers who click on your business page from a shared article, a checkin at your location, or a Graph Search result can see exactly what your business does.

    • When a you share a link from your website or blog on Facebook, more of the article description will appear in addition to a larger image. In order to get more clicks on your article, make sure that the meta description for your blog post is detailed and enticing so that fans who see your post will want to read more. 

    Build a Strong Fan Base

    By creating multiple News Feeds for specific categories, Facebook has given users much more control over what they see. Users will be able to sort their feeds by groups, such as: All Friends, Most Recent, Music, Photos, and Following. This change is significant as it makes it more important than ever for your business to build a quality fan base and to distribute quality content. Here are some tips to help you get started:

    • Promote your Facebook page across your online presence. Your blog and website, at the very least, should feature Facebook “Like” or share options at the top of the page or every article. You can even add Facebook buttons to any emails you may send to current customers and leads. Also, consider reminding customers to “Like” your Facebook page with in-store signage or flyers.
    • Once you get customers and other consumers to “Like” your business on Facebook, make sure to give them a reason to stay connected. For example, you can offer deals and promotions through Facebook, give your fans a first glimpse at new products and services, create engaging contests and promotions, or show your loyalty and involvement in your community or charitable organizations by posting images and videos.

    What do you think about the new changes to the Facebook News Feed? Do you have any additional tips on how you are preparing for the update? Let us know in a comment! 

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    About the Author

    Tara Banda writes about how small business owners can reach local customers through online marketing for the ReachLocal blog. You can connect with her on Twitter.

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