social media marketing

Social Media Marketers: Memorial Day is Not a Happy Day

Social Media Marketers- Memorial Day is Not a Happy Day (1)

While we see messages promoting a fun, extended weekend, barbecues and sales, Memorial Day is not a happy day for millions of Americans. It’s not a celebratory day to have fun. It’s a somber day to remember those who died while serving in the nation’s armed forces. And while it’s become traditional to have fun and sales during this time, it’s also important to be respectful and honor those who serve and the families of those who serve.

There are many who will defend using the word “happy” in a Memorial Day social post, but keep in mind the backlash companies have gotten from doing so. Is defending your business and reputation something you want to spend Memorial day weekend doing?

Here’s some “Happy Memorial Day” examples from Facebook and the reactions they received (click on the links below the images to view the posts & comments on Facebook):

The responses were pretty consistent on these posts:

I never understood why we put “Happy” in front of Memorial Day. It is a time of mourning and remembrance.

Anyone that puts the word “happy” before Memorial Day is suspect of having never observed the holiday for the purpose of which it was created. (And the exclamation mark adds insult to ignorance.)

Just as a reminder. It’s not “Happy” Memorial day. Memorial day is a day set aside to remember those that have died serving our country.

Happy Memorial Day? What is so happy about today? Families are missing and remembering their loved ones that fought for our freedom. The ones that fought for you to be able to be free and where you are today .

Not to hate but a reminder .. Memorial Day is to celebrate the lives of the brave men that lost there lives to give u this wonderful life u r enjoying ..so it’s not a happy day .. Sad day to the mothers and children that list there fathers .. So please respect this day ..

Happy? There is nothing happy about this day. It’s a day for reflection. Poor choice of wording for such a day.

May I suggest purchasing a copy of 100 Questions & Answers About Veterans so that you will read why the statement “Happy Memorial Day” is really offensive to many veterans as well as thanking them for their service.

Final verdict? Be respectful and honor those who died in the line of duty as well as their families and save “happy” wishes for more appropriate occasions.

Want some more examples? Check out these Memorial Day social media fails from the Observer.

How to Share Reviews on Social Media So People Actually Read Them

As a business with a web presence, one of the best things you can do is get positive reviews. This is because 88% of consumers have read reviews to determine the quality of a local business. Once you get positive reviews, your social strategy should include occasionally sharing these reviews to let your fans and followers know how happy your customers are.

But there’s an effective and ineffective way to do this, and unfortunately, I’ve been seeing much more of the latter than the former. It can be very beneficial to toot your own horn, but you’ve got to put a little effort into it so it sounds less like bragging and more like a personal recommendation.

For example, if you follow any dealerships on Facebook, chances are you’ll occasionally see the following post: “We just received a 5 out of 5 customer rating on DealerRater.” If you Google that exact phrase, there’s over 11,000 results. So if you’re doing this, you’re not alone; but you’re not helping yourself either.

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When I see that post, I immediately ignore it because I guarantee you whatever comes up next in my Facebook feed is more interesting than that. And who cares? Good for them, right? I’m expected to click a link to read a review when I could be looking at something much more exciting. So there’s the key – share your positive reviews, but make sure your reviews are interesting and attention-getting.

Here’s how:

  • Include a quote from the review highlighting the best part: “They spent a great deal of time, not only finding the vehicle that best suited my needs, but thoroughly explaining my financial and warranty options!” Whether or not the viewer clicks on the link to read more, you’ve shown them the best part of the review, which is the point of sharing reviews.
  • Thank the reviewer in your post: “Thanks for the great review, Joe!” This not only makes you look good because of the review, it also makes you appear courteous and appreciative. You’re also crediting someone else for the review which is essential because 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. By sharing a review and crediting the reviewer, you just turned your marketing message into a trusted, personal recommendation.
  • Customize the post: “We hope you enjoy your new Escape!” This makes your post look less cookie-cutter and more sincere, like you’ve built a relationship with this customer.
  • Include a photo: photos are the most engaging content on Facebook with an 87% interaction rate! But don’t just include the default review site logo, make it something interesting and engaging:
    • Customer photo – if you were fortunate enough to get a photo of the customer with their new vehicle and have permission to post it, share that photo with the review! This serves as “proof” that the review is legit and is highly engaging, especially if other fans know the customer.
      • Note: in my personal reviews of multiple dealer Facebook posts in which dealers shared customer photos, 60-80% of the most engaging posts over a 30-day period were customer photos.
    • Vehicle photo – another option is to share an engaging, stock photo of the vehicle the customer purchased.
    • Thank you – what better way to show your appreciation than to publicly thank the customer? I recommend using a free and easy graphic design site such as Canva to create your own graphics and customize them with your logo. This way you’re creating your own graphics and not using someone’s copyrighted images.

Takeaways:

  • Sharing reviews is an excellent way to turn your marketing message into a trusted, personal recommendation
  • Quote the highlights of a review in your post to “force” fans to see what’s being said about your business, even if they don’t click through to read the entire review
  • Customize and credit reviews whenever possible
  • Always include relevant photos when sharing reviews, either a customer photo or a “thank you” image

A Simple Facebook Marketing Trick to Target Inactive Customers

Anyone who’s worked for a successful business knows that it’s much easier and cost-effective to keep current customers versus trying to gain new customers. While there should always be a focus on getting leads and acquiring new customers to grow the business, many companies forget the simplest way to keep a successful business is repeat customers.

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The Stats

According to KBB.com, vehicle retention is at an all-time high with Americans keeping their new vehicles for nearly 6 years and pre-owned vehicles for more than 4 years. If your dealership is only focusing on vehicle sales and not service, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Depending on mileage, vehicle owners typically require service multiple times per year, whether it’s oil changes, new tires, parts replacement or other services. What they may not know is how affordable dealership service can be. Independent oil change and repair businesses make dealerships out to be expensive and unreliable when in fact, technicians at dealerships are factory-trained and are constantly working on the vehicle makes they sell. It’s actually quite logical for vehicle owners to have their vehicle serviced where it was purchased.

So, how can you get customers to come back to the dealership? Is this something your dealership is currently doing or is the focus on new customers?

How Are You Currently Advertising?

Your dealership is probably emailing any customers with email addresses. And so is the OEM and any other business that has gotten their email address. And they are very likely ignoring all of those emails or marking them as spam.

But you’re advertising on TV right? Do you pay attention to commercials on TV? Do you actually watch live television or do you DVR it or watch it on demand? Or do you watch TV at all? Technology has made it very easy for consumers to avoid commercials, so yours may very well not even be seen, and further – how do you know your customers are even seeing your TV commercials?

Billboards? Newspaper ads? Again, specific targeting is nearly impossible and with newspapers dying out among the younger generations (and in general) and so many distractions while driving, people aren’t noticing traditional advertising as much.

Where are people spending their time? On social media.

According to Pew Research, 71% of internet users use Facebook, a statistic that has held steady and one of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook is users age 65 and older. 70% of Facebook users engage on the site daily and 45% use it multiple times a day.

So why not target your customers on Facebook?

Advertising on Facebook is very inexpensive and Facebook allows for very specific ad targeting. Polk data allows advertisers to target Facebook users who are in the market for vehicles with targeting specific down to make, models and vehicle condition. Even with this specific targeting, you’re missing out on the number 1 best market: your previous customers.

But there’s a solution for that.

Facebook also allows advertisers to create custom audiences to target advertising to. Where this benefits dealerships is the ability to target service customers who haven’t serviced their vehicle at the dealership recently.

Here’s how to target your previous service customers who have not come in recently:

  • Export a list of your service customers who have not serviced their vehicle at your dealership in the last 6-18 months (be sure to include their email addresses & cell phone numbers in the export file)
  • Use this list to create a custom audience in your Facebook ads manager
  • Create relevant service ads and offers targeting your custom audience
  • Track the success of your campaign two ways each month:
    • Export a list of service customers over the last month and compare to your previous customer list to see if any of the previous customers you targeted on Facebook came in
    • Have your team keep track of all customers using a Facebook offer (although keep in mind, this is only as successful as your team’s diligence in recording this information)
  • Repeat each month, creating new audiences and ads to continually target previous customers

Bonus Tip: Have Your Employees Share Service Content with Their Facebook Friends

If you weren’t aware, Facebook has been taking measures to encourage paid page advertising by decreasing the percentage of posts that are seen by page fans. So if your Facebook page has 1,000 fans, chances are only 20-40 of your fans will see that post, unless you pay to boost the post. However, if an employee with 400 friends shares that same content, about 280 of their friends will see it. This doesn’t cost anything. Furthermore, since the employee’s friends got a reminder that the employee works at your dealership, they are much more likely to visit your business because they know someone working there.

3 Examples of What Not to Do on Your Facebook Business Page (& Solutions!)

I follow several Facebook pages just to see what they’re doing. Some are competition, others are pages I think are run really well, and all of them provide examples of things to do or not do on your business Facebook page.

Today, I have three examples from my Facebook feed of what not to do on your page.

1. The Over-Complicated Request

I’m all for engaging your fans to help you win contests. In fact, that’s a really smart thing to do. They already like your page so chances are, you can rely on their support.

Where this crumbles is when getting their participation asks them to take several steps to help you out, especially when they get nothing in return. The below screenshot is an example of an overly complicated request. The poster asks fans to take 6 steps to vote for the company so they can have a barbeque. The fans get nothing, why would they want to go to that much trouble?

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Solution: Instead of spelling out each step, provide your fans with a clickable link that takes them directly to the voting page. Don’t ask them to search for anything or do anything complicated, just make it as easy as possible for them and you will be much more likely to get their support.

 

2. The All-Caps Post

I remember when my parents first really started emailing. My mom was perfect, a benefit of her college typing classes. My dad, however wasn’t ever really a typer and didn’t use a computer for work, so he wasn’t quite as elegant. I could always tell when my dad was emailing me from their account because it looked like the Facebook post below. All caps.

In the online world, all caps is considered yelling. While I don’t bother getting offended by all caps, it gives readers the impression that the status post was written by someone who isn’t very savvy and people could take it wrong. While I absolutely love the sincerity of this post, it could be off-putting to many audiences.

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Solution: Don’t post in all caps. An all-cap word here and there for emphasis is fine, but entire sentences is overkill. Instead, write your posts in sentence case. An even better solution is to post a photo image that conveys what you want your message to say and just add one or two heartfelt sentences to support it. Images get the most interaction so if you want the furthest reach, opt for images supplemented by text.

 

3. The “We Hired a Service to Post to Facebook for Us” Post

There’s nothing wrong with enlisting a service to help manage your Facebook page, especially if you don’t have an employee to manage your page. However, a problem that can arise in doing this is cookie-cutter posts that aren’t unique to your page.

I kid you not, 8 different pages I follow posted the same exact post as shown below. Since social media has become the new customer service platform, having robo-posts show that there isn’t a live person behind your posts. Plus, robo-posts often aren’t tailored to your business.

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Solution: Have a trusted employee who knows your business manage your Facebook page. They can read a few articles to learn some best practices to follow and it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. If you are set on having a company manage your page, discuss options to keep the voice of your posts unique and avoid the cookie-cutter posts shown on all of your competitor’s pages.

What the Heck is a Hashtag?

When I was your age, that was called a pound sign.

“When I was your age, we called that a pound sign.”

Hashtags. There’s no escaping them, even if you’re watching TV. But what are they, why are they important and what are we supposed to do with them?

What are Hashtags?

Hashtags are keywords, created by placing the pound (or hash) sign in front of a word or words without any spaces. On social media sites, when you create a hashtag, it becomes a link to all the other mentions of that hashtag.

For example, on “throwback Thursday,” the day of the week dedicated to sharing childhood and historical photos, you’ll probably notice a ton of #TBT hashtags accompanying these photos. If you click on the hashtag, you will see all the images and posts including that hashtag.

What is the Purpose of Hashtags?

Hashtags are a way for people to quickly and easily connect based on interests rather than location, network or social circles. For companies, it’s a great way to share products with people who are interested in them, but not (yet) a fan or socially connected to the company.

One audience I market to is Ford Mustang enthusiasts. While I am also a Mustang fan, I really enjoy marketing to other Mustang fans because they are very enthusiastic and let’s face it, Mustangs are pretty sweet.

So I can post a photo of a Mustang on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, but if I use the hashtags #Mustang #FordMustang or #Pony, I can reach an audience much larger than my current fan/follower base because those who are interested in Mustangs are going to be looking for photos using those hashtags. They love sharing and they appreciate each others’ posts, so hashtags are a great way for Mustang fans to connect.

Creating Social Buzz

In addition to connecting with others through hashtags, they can also be used to create buzz. If you watch Survivor, you’ll probably notice all the hashtags they use. This is to encourage social buzz online to get fans talking about the show and connect with others to spread exposure.

Hashtags are exciting for reality shows, because the show can flash a hashtag on the screen during particular points to get fans to start posting about the show on social media. It’s a brilliant strategy and it works.

If you watch Survivor at all, you may notice at the beginning of the show, they’ll use #survivor to get fans to start posting about the show. In fact, if a fan was online and forgot the show was on, these hashtags could remind them to turn on the TV. This benefits the advertisers during the show as well. They could easily post about the show with hashtags as well to expand their exposure.

During key parts of the show, Survivor changes up their hashtags to let fans know what to tweet about. They’ll post #ImmunityChallenge or #TribalCouncil to get social conversations going.

Some shows will even show tweets online to encourage tweeting among fans. They can ask each other who they think will win, what they think about results or who the most talented contestant is this season.

The point is, hashtags can start conversations that otherwise would not be happening and turn fans into advocates, exploding exposure through simple keywords.

How Do I Write Hashtags?

Always start a hashtag with a # and remove any spaces between words you want to include in the tag.

You may notice I capitalize each word in my hashtag. That may not be standard practice, however I do it as a courtesy and to ensure anyone reading my post knows exactly what I’m trying to convey. You can imagine the disasters that could arise if your hashtag was misread, giving it unintended meanings.

When Should I Use Hashtags?

Hashtags should be used whenever relevant. if you post a photo of a car, hashtag it with the model and fan lingo. If you post a photo of a local landmark, hashtag the name of it along with the city or general location. If you’re posting about how great it is that it’s Friday, use #TGIF. You get the idea.

Where Should I Use Hashtags?

Hashtags should almost always be used on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and popularity is growing on Facebook as well. You can also use them in advertising to create a social buzz about your brand or company by encouraging fans to use them on social media. Try to limit hashtags to 3-4 relevant tags for each post so you’re not bombarding your fans with too many or irrelevant hashtags.

Should I Use Trending Hashtags?

Use as relevant to expand your audience.

Use as relevant to expand your audience.

Trending hashtags are a great way to expand your audience and join in on local and global trending topics. Here’s a screenshot of what’s trending right now on Twitter  in the U.S. so if any of those topics were relevant to my business, I could use them to join in the conversation. I could also tailor it more locally.

For example, it appears people are having problems with Instagram right now. This could be a prime opportunity for a competitor to post something like “Instagram not working? Try NotInstagram instead: http://www.notinstagram.com #InstagramNotWorking” [fictional example]

So anyone looking at that would see this alternative option and the competitor could potentially get a lot of business because of a trending hashtag.

Keep in mind, however that tactics like this can backfire. In this example, tweeters could respond to that post with “NotInstagram sucks, I’d rather stare at my non-functioning Instagram. #instagramnotworking #NotInstagramIsLame”

Taking risks can lead to some of the most brilliant marketing successes, but can also lead to major PR disasters. Be cautious.

Best Practices:

  • Use hashtags when relevant
  • Limit hashtags to up to 3-4 per post
  • Capitalize each word of the hashtag to remove any confusion of what it’s meant to say
  • Think outside the box to get creative with hashtags
  • When in doubt, look up a hashtag online before using it to confirm its usage or don’t use it if you’re unsure
  • Encourage fans to use your hashtags to spread brand awareness and create social buzz