How Much Klout Do You Have?

Posted on March 28th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories communication

Because there weren’t enough social media channels and antics to keep track of, we’re going to tell you about another one. As their site, very boldly, declares, Klout is the Standard for Influence. How does it work? Klout pools together your conversations and interactions on your social media channels and determines, on a scale of 1 – 100, how wide your spheres of influence are.
If you don’t know what your Klout score is, finding out about it involves a fairly simple sign-up process. You fill in your details using your Twitter or Facebook account, answer a few questions and presto, you have a Klout score on hand. The higher your score, the higher your Klout – or social media presence and influence.

Getting Better At It
How do you end up with a high Klout score? You build it, just the way you’d build any network, physical or virtual. The key lies in communication, really, and letting go of any control you’d like to wield. To be liked, you have to be likable. And ease up on the aggressive marketing techniques.
How To
1. Interact with everyone. Don’t be afraid to begin conversations with people who have low Klout scores. It increases score rankings of all parties involved.
2. Content, content, content! Make your own, borrow from someone else, link, re-link and repost good content. Because nothing takes its place if it’s good quality.
Consider any of these for good content: niche posts, photographs and videos. Nothing says “engagement” like pictures that inspire humor, laughter and wit.
3. Engage with Influencers without stalking them or posting links to their account with annoying frequency. They’ll listen and re-engage with you, and up goes your Klout score.
4. Persistence & Perseverance pay well in the long run. Yes, we’re in an age of click-button communication and instant statistics are great to have. But it’s important to remember that relationships develop over time – not overnight. 


Does Your Brand Have a Personality?

Posted on March 21st, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Branding

If ever there was space to show and express yourself instead of telling people about it, this is it. Over the past decade marketers and organizations have discovered, sometimes painfully, that a brand’s personality and identity can prove to be more important and valuable than just brand recognition.
A positive display of brand identity and personality tend to encompass a wide range of factors, especially those pertaining to the intangible side of marketing. How ethical are your corporate decisions? How much do you value a human connection with your customers? How much of an emphasis do you place on expedient, polite and resourceful customer service? Can you gauge how much goodwill you’ve created amongst your customers?
Don’t know? Then it’s time for a soul check for your organization. Whether you realize it or not, your clientele is personifying your company’s performance, and words like “trendy, “innovative,” “friendly,” or worse, “boring” are being tossed around when you’re not listening. 
If you’re just beginning to discover your brand’s personality, your litmus test might be your own employees. You may think you’re “caring” and “involved” but the reality may differ vastly from your own perception of yourself.
Well, why not? Your brand’s personality is what sets the tone for every interaction that your organization will have, beginning with frontline staff. It’s the point where you begin to determine everything from your communication materials to your visual style. For some brands, edgy and risk-taking is always better. For instance, imagine a Ferrari dealership extolling the virtues of playing it safe and coloring inside the lines. 
Tools for Testing
If you’re ready to dip your toes into evaluating your personality, it may help to arm yourself with a few tools that might make the journey easier. If the most you can do is aggregate anonymous responses, The Financial Brand has a list of adjectives that you employ.  Be warned, however, that this exercise may expose a few brand gaps of perception. 
If you’re looking to delve deeper, exploring marketing archetypes might be a good idea to get started. Keep a pen and paper handy, however. You may find yourself redrafting your image very soon. 

Are QR Codes a Thing of the Past?

Posted on March 14th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Branding

Not yet. There’s a lot more life left in these Quick Response images than we choose to give them credit for. Just when we thought that these square, geometric data-boxes with confusing uses were beginning to phase out, small business owners began adopting them. And to think they began as a car-tracking device.
QR code uses are definitely expanding. Lately, restaurants have been adopting them to lead customers directly to menus and online ordering pages. In the case of Manny Rai, Lakewood business owner, QR Codes outside his Wine & Beer business are helping him attract business from curious passersby’s. 
They’re clearly still a novelty in the small business arena, largely because small business owners still need to catch up to the trending technologies and understand how they’re going fit the latest fad into their own big picture. Fair enough.
Scan or Click ;)
Click or Scan! Either way, you’re in for a pleasant surprise!
But with greater adoption comes greater responsibility. And a need for better design. Without a doubt, QR Code designs could use a design overhaul and anything to add more aesthetic appeal would be an improvement, especially rounder edges. It’s finally time to soften the look of the semi-ubiquitous QR Code.
Black and White: Classic or Passé?
In the case of QR Codes, we’re voting for passé. Black and white geometry on a 2-dimensional surface doesn’t extend its appeal too much further beyond op art from the seventies. If you’re trying to draw an audience in, trying swapping out the black and white default for a white background with multiple colors or a color gradient. As long as the foreground is has a dark enough contrast from the white, there should be no trouble with scanning it.
Creativity is KEY. This QR Code just might take the cake!
Which bring us to the next factor to consider. Test your QR Code before releasing it to the market. If it doesn’t organically intrigue people or draw them in, or if it leads to an irrelevant web page, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board. 
How have you used QR Codes to launch your campaigns or raise awareness for your organization? Let us know in the comments below!


Customer Service in a Web 2.0 World

Posted on March 8th, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Customer Service

With marketing and social media gurus advocating a 24-hour turnaround time for customer service requests – and some organizations following this advice – keeping up can very quickly go into overdrive. Especially since not every small business has the resources to dedicate to monitoring their social media channels around the clock.


It’s a harried world and burnout is always looming with our constant connections. However, timely and effective management of service requests aren’t as out of reach as we might think. We’d like to offer a few suggestions to help you get started. 
1. Get Acquainted Get to know who your customers are, what channels they frequent, how much time they spend there and exactly what they’re saying about you. Your demographic will most certainly be comprised of a mix of people who engage and interact and those who silently follow just to stay updated. Once you know where they are, tailor your customer service structure to pay more attention to meet the voices where they are.
2. Be Discerning When people come calling online, it’s not necessary to drop everything to respond right away. Twitter followers, especially, seem to expect very quick responses to their queries (and complaints). It’s an easy trap to fall into, but it’s important to take a moment to understand the level of urgency with each request. If the request can wait a while, then it’s perfectly okay to let it simmer. 
3. Stay “Traditional” and flexible. Because social media channels are more economical and elicit a much faster response and metrics, there’s no reason for traditional media outlets to be ignored or left by the wayside.  You can expend a lot of effort in humanizing your presence online, but very little replaces actual human contact and a live person handling customer service interaction. 

The New Facebook Timeline- What to Expect

Posted on March 1st, 2012 by Tiffany Categories Branding

 After introducing its vast array of audiences to the visually engaging and multimedia friendly Timeline feature, Facebook has finally announced its plans to unroll Timeline Pages for organizations.




Overall, we think it’s a great idea – if it’s composed well, the Timeline offers a good opportunity for your customers to gain a close-up understanding of your company’s product offerings, your company culture, your story and your success. 
As we keep discovering, there’s no harm in gaining a reputation for being more personable or for developing a leaning towards quality customer service. Besides, Timeline Pages come with a built-in attraction for potential customers to spend more time getting to know you. Not to forget the fact that it’s simply fun.
Some of the features are still the same – the cover photo and the embedded profile picture are still where the eye is drawn to first. Therefore, it’s extremely important to keep these creative, catchy and colorful. Moreover, with the integration of Pinterest into the active social media landscape, the “new and improved” version will allow your organization to use “pinned” posts.
Also, expect to connect with your customers in a more intimate setting since they will now be able to message you directly in a closed-loop conversation.  On the more technical side of things, Facebook Tabs will be phased out in exchange for Timeline boxes. 
Content Caveat – Keeping it Real
This will sound like no surprise – especially because we love talking about the importance of quality content – but really, for all the tricks and fun-features, there will still be no replacing of good quality content that delivers a clear message and is engaging on every level, especially visually. Because most Facebook users use their News Feeds to stay engaged and updated, creative and engaging content will still be king.  Don’t plan on phasing that out.