Should You Let Your Sales Staff Participate In Social Media

It’s been the bane of employers everywhere: staff using social media on company time. So if you have sales staff, should you keep them from using their social media for work and on work time? Actually, it might be a good idea to let them check their Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest while at work… within reason.

Social Media and the Salesperson

Should You Let Your Sales Staff Participate In Social MediaEmployers complain about the time suck that is social media. Many have blocked the websites from their computer systems so that it doesn’t distract employees from doing their jobs. Is that a good idea?

Sure if you have an employee who doesn’t need to stay connected to other people in order to successfully do their jobs. In sales, being able to have a forum to prospect easily is important. Social media does that for a salesperson. Yes, you probably have a bunch of social media for your business, or you should, but how much more reach will you have if you let your sales people use their own social media to prospect?

Good Guidelines Needed

Think about it. They have their own lists of friends on their profiles and pages. People who might not know about your business. Letting your sales people use their personal social media to market and advertise your business just broadens the list of people who know about your business. That means they may be on their personal accounts at work. That also means there will be a need for guidelines in work use.

A Written Agreement

Set up guidelines for the time they should be allowed to use it at work. If it becomes an impediment to helping customers actually in the store, then you have a problem. So, calendar times during their work day when it’s allowed, and times when it is not. Have a written agreement with them about how they can post. Obviously you want posts that are appropriate, grammatically correct and spelled well. What they post about your business reflects on your business.

So let them post, comment, like and push your business on their social media!

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Social Selling: Can Retail Compete By Using Social Media?

You hear it all the time, all businesses should be using social media or they can’t compete. But does social selling work for retail? Yes and no. Some forms of social media are great for retail, others, not so much.

So what doesn’t work? Retailer blogs. A survey done by Compete Inc. showed that less than 8% of shoppers read retailer blogs or forums. They may be a great way to reach others, but if you are relying on a retail Social Selling: Can Retail Compete By Using Social Media?blog to attract customers, don’t. A better idea may be to use the shorter blog functions on social networks like Pinterest or Tumblr.

There are a few things that work well. Facebook and Twitter pages do get traffic. Using it to post sales and promotions will get you noticed. Compete found that 55% of people visit Facebook pages ad 52.1% visit Twitter pages to keep up on offers, sales and the like. About half also visit and enter sweepstakes or giveaway contests on both sites. What works too is when other customers “like” or follow (for Twitter) your page. What happens is their friends see the “like” and come to see what is there that got their friend’s interest. Call it a virtual “word of mouth” that is very effective in getting you a broader range of potential new customers.

The key to which social media to use also depends on your target audience. The survey also made that very apparent. Here’s why. More men use Twitter for retail information, but people over 55 tend not to have a Twitter account and those who do don’t follow retailers. Twitter is good for getting information out quickly on daily sales and offers. More women use Facebook and Pinterest for shopping. Pinterest is a great creative outlet for retailers in food, lifestyle and fashion.

Social media is effective for retail, just know what works best for you and don’t spread yourself too thin using media that doesn’t work.

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Best Apps for Social Media

If you have profiles on most social media you probably use them on Best Apps for Social Mediayour smartphones and tablets. Many find it easy just to use the mobile apps that each social media platform provides: Facebook provides the Facebook app, Twitter the Twitter app, etc. It makes sense, but is their better working mobile apps for social media out there? In some cases, the best social media apps aren’t what you would think. Here are some examples.

HootSuite: HootSuite is a social media management app that uses your internet browser to work. It allows you to update several social media sites at once and has great options, settings and features. You can read and post to social media like Facebook personal profiles and business pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and others. It has an analytics feature that gives you the ability to monitor selected keywords and schedule posts. One stop social media.

TweetDeck: TweetDeck is another social media management. TweetDeck is a stand alone app that doesn’t use your Internet browser. It also works on your PC as well as smart phone and tablet. It streams in real time updates from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google Buzz and more.

Seesmic: Seesmic is an app that integrates every major platform, both mobile and web-based. It streams from your networks and looks and feels like typical email platforms. It includes social media management of sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and also allows more than 90 third party integration options including sites like Klout, Zendesk, Salesforce Chatter, Yammer and Stocktwits.

SocialOomph: SocialOomph is another management app that works like the others, but also allows you to manage and schedule posts to your blog as well. You can schedule tweets, track keywords, promote profiles, shorten URL’s (ever important for those limited 140 characters), purge your direct message inbox, and create an unlimited number of profile accounts completely free of charge.

Ping.fm: Ping.fm allows you to update all your social media at one time. All your social media, as in they support every social networking website in the world. You can also update your accounts via SMS text messaging and via email. For business users of social media, this is a fast way to update all your business profiles at once.

Try any of these as mobile apps and see for yourself!

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How to Convert Sales “Leads” into Sales Using Technology

You made the decision to jump into social media marketing and using technology to expand your business reach. Good idea, now you need to know how to convert those leads coming from that expanded marketing into real sales. The easy answer is the same way you got them, through social media and with technology.

How to Convert Sales "Leads" into Sales Using TechnologyIn business, you get sales leads from multiple sources. Some from mailings, by phone, in person and through referrals. You respond to these similarly. You talk to the person on the phone or in person. You decided to use social media to reach more people with your product or service, and now you are getting leads through email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even through text messages. So what’s to stop you from responding differently?

Today people are used to using social media for everything. They will check out a business on Facebook, or respond to offers that you post on Twitter. It wouldn’t seem odd to them for you to respond in kind. So answer their initial inquiry with a tweet or Facebook message back. From that get their contact information and then contact them via email, or telephone to make that lead into a sale.

Use your system and make those leads into true prospects. Social media leads are no different than any other kind of lead you may get. They are certainly better than cold calls because someone contacted you and has an interest.

A few things to keep in mind. You will have to contact them personally and off social media to convert the lead to true prospect status. Social media is useful, but for business it isn’t the personal rapport building effort that a phone call or face to face meeting can be. Use social media for what it is best: building excitement for your business and bringing in solid leads.

Social Media and Selling – Does it Work

Social media and marketing go hand in hand, but what about social media and selling? They can! Social media is an expected way to communicate with sales leads and prospects. Selling is just the natural end game. It will still take more than a few computer clicks to turn those leads into loyal, satisfied customers.

Social Media and Selling - Does it WorkSocial media has been a boon for business marketing and lead generation. People who use social media both personally and to transact business with others love the ease and cool ways that businesses are leveraging it. They know they can fire off a quick question via Facebook or Twitter and get a quick response. Businesses love to be able to put offers out to customers that reach much larger audiences much more quickly than traditional marketing outlets. They can do it less expensively too. It can only help your selling.

So what do you do when the offer you posted on Facebook gets you a bunch of leads? You follow up. You start with responding back via the same way they contacted you, or how they request you to if it’s different. Can you get a sale immediately that way? Sure, it happens. More likely you’ll have to call and do a bit more work than that. Prospects still expect personal service, regardless of how they heard of, or connected with you. So respond, and then ask to call or set up a meeting with them to continue the conversation.

Use social media to expand your prospects, and get people excited about your business. Don’t rely on it for straight out selling. Nothing is usually that easy. Besides, having the chance to connect personally will make those pictures on a screen into loyal customers. At the end of the day, a loyal customer will bring you even more through referrals. So use social media wisely, and keep on making those sales.

How to Extend Your Event Marketing Reach

How do you extend your event marketing reach to finally pull your business into the big leagues? Here are some tips for your event that will help with marketing reach.

How to Extend Your Event Marketing ReachFirst, of course, you have to tell people about your event, AND that you will be there. The event staff itself will market the event. They want people to attend as well, but you want your customersand their friends and family to show up for YOU. So, market your event. Send out a direct mail piece. Sounds old fashioned, but for a target area it works.

For a wider market reach, use your social media, blog and website, as well as email. A few things about using email. First DO NOT spam people. The will just hit “delete” without opening the email. Use a targeted, personalized message. It takes a little more time, but people will actually read them. Also, don’t send out 50 emails. Send out key reminders, like registration reminders, one with event content information and so forth, but be sure to make them relevant to the recipient. If you send out one about hotel rooms running out, those who have already reserved one really don’t need to get that one.

Your emails should also not “throw up” all over your recipients. You don’t have to tell them everything! Give them the information they need, point them to the event website for more detailed information about your event. You don’t need to keep secrets, customers today are rather savvy about knowing where to find information, but don’t give away everything.

Use your blog posts and website as well as Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to increase your market reach. Writing a blog post about your event and sending it to all your social media will certainly expand your market reach and tell the story of your event.

Plan your space at your event. Use it as a place to promote your product. Really, think outside the confines of the booth. Make it a fun space to visit, a comfortable place to talk, Move the tables and provide some chairs for customers to sit and rest a minute. Don’t make it a typical table in the front, people lined up mess. But do have some signs with things like QR codes, or places to interact with your products.

Make your event the fantastic success you think it will be, just don’t be typical!

Looking for event staffing that makes sales (not just connections!) Check out RBD’s mobile and event staffing services

Retail Sales – Social Media Policies for Retail Stores

In retail sales, social media for your business is a good thing, but should you allow your staff to blur the lines and promote company events and sales on their social media and on company time? The answer is a resounding YES! Doing so will boost your retail sales.

Retail Sales - Social Media Policies for Retail StoresIf you ask your employees who has social media profiles, it will be the odd one out who doesn’t. Most will have a Facebook profile at the minimum, others that and Twitter, Pinterest or several others. Your business should have its own Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. So why use your employee’s profiles too? Because then their friends and followers become yours.

A good example of how a retailer can use their employee’s social media to their advantage is Nordstrom. Their policy states “We encourage approved employees to use social networking/media (Twitter, Facebook, Nordstrom.com, etc.) as a way to connect with customers and others during working hours.” They go on to caution: “While social networking is fun and valuable, there are some risks you should keep in mind when using these tools. In the social media world, the lines are blurred between what is public or private, personal or professional.” so they created guidelines.

These guidelines include some basic manners combined with some good corporate policies:

  • get management approval
  • use good judgment
  • follow the company Code of Conduct, Privacy Policy, and Social Networking/Media Guidelines, and Conflict of Interest policy
  • be respectful and treat others including customers, non-customers, shareholders, co-workers, vendors and competitors in a respectful, positive and considerate manner
  • be ethical and don’t represent yourself as a company spokesperson
  • state that the views expressed in your postings, etc. are your own
  • be open about your affiliation with the company and the role/position you hold
  • be humble and admit mistakes
  • be a good listener
  • avoid conflicts such as blogging for a competitor or posting about sales elsewhere
  • don’t share confidential corporate information, also keep intellectual property items and privacy in mind
  • make sure you respect brand, trademark, copyright information and/or images
  • always ask if it’s appropriate to post product pictures before posting
  • remember to get permission from co-workers and customers before you post their photos
Nordstroms has always been a leader in how to provide great customer service, but it is REALLY neat to see that their policies are directed internally also. By giving their employees permission to make reasoned decisions about how to conduct themselves online, they extend that AMAZING in-store experience, even when their customers walk out the door!

Their policy has other points, but the basics above will be appropriate for any retail store. Have fun, be careful and above all have more retail sales.


 

Retailing Cloud Based Retail Solutions
Cloud Based Retail Solutions
RBD Retail 3.0 Solutions are a set of enterprise, cloud-based solutions for the mobile workforce that delivers powerful ERP, CRM, HRM, eLearning and Reporting modules to sales associates in the field, executives, management and back-office personnel. Find out more about our Retailing 3.0 business solutions

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Retail store marketing – Are You on Pinterest Yet?

Retail store marketing has been including social media for a while now. You find businesses on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Now there’s a new place for retail store marketing that has been highly successful called Pinterest.

Pinterest was launched in 2010 and is already experiencing wild growth. The site registered more than 7 million unique visitors in December, up from 1.6 million in September. And it’s driving more traffic to company websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, according to a recent report from Cambridge, Mass.-based content-sharing site Shareaholic. If you’re not there now you need to get there and soon!

Retail store marketing - Are You on Pinterest Yet?Pinterest is a website that allows the user to organize and share all sorts of things they find on the internet. It’s kind of like a virtual bulletin board. Each user can have multiple boards, and each board can be about different subjects. For instance, they can have one for recipes, another for home decorating ideas, one for clothing they like, or one for vacation spots they want to visit. The sky’s the limit because the board subject is what the user wants it to be. Even better, you can peruse the pinboards that other users have set up for even more ideas. It’s a great way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

This is where businesses can clean up using Pinterest as a retail store marketing tool by having boards about your products. When you “pin” something new, your followers will see it. They can like, comment or re-pin it to their boards. It works as a sort of “virtual” store catalog.

But remember that this is social media. If you simply display images of your products without contributing other content or sharing other users’ pins, you’ll likely find that people don’t pay much attention. Just remember to keep the things pinned on your boards fun or artsy, not like a sales flyer. In other words, don’t get too promotional. Keep other board for things that interest you and your employees to keep it personalized and fun for your customers.

The key to using Pinterest for retail store marketing is to make it fun, interesting and a place your customers would want to visit, just like your brick and mortar store!


 

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Retail Store Marketing – Use Social Media to Find Out What Your Customers Want!

Social media has become a strong retail store marketing tool for businesses. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, sites that weren’t originally intended for business marketing, are bursting with business interest pages. Foursquare was an app designed for fun and marketing. All are being successfully used by businesses to build their bottom line.

Retail Store Marketing - Use Social Media to Find Out What Your Customers Want!When most people think about “social media” they think of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare or Google+. The first two are sites that were designed for people to connect and socialize. Most people post about their families, friends, vacations, successes and life events.

Foursquare combined socializing and retail store marketing by allowing users to “check in” at local businesses so their friends can find them and meet up. The last is a direct pipeline to getting your keywords and content into the Google search engine.

Each social media site has developed from their original intent into sites that also include a place for business. Businesses can have their own profile page, a group page or interest page. The last will allow customers to “like” them, which means any posts to the page show up in their news feed. Having a sale? Post it to your Facebook page and instantly everyone who “liked” the page knows about the sale. Twitter work similarly, but also allows the business to “follow” anyone and find out their interests through their tweets. A great way to data mine!

Of course, privacy interests are always a concern when businesses look to the data available on customer’s social networks. While some people try and keep their information private, if their friends don’t, their information can be discovered and used by businesses. So remember when using social media for retail store marketing be respectful of your customers’ information and be careful how you use and store it. Either way, be prepared to watch your bottom line grow!


 

Retailing Cloud Based Retail Solutions
Cloud Based Retail Solutions
RBD Retail 3.0 Solutions are a set of enterprise, cloud-based solutions for the mobile workforce that delivers powerful ERP, CRM, HRM, eLearning and Reporting modules to sales associates in the field, executives, management and back-office personnel. Find out more about our Retailing 3.0 business solutions