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Humanizing your brand

10-ways-to-humanize-your-brand-on-social-media-234e08c60bWhat do business owners and customers have in common? The answer is: they are all human. Nowadays one of the challenges a business has is to demonstrate their human voice through their brand. Humanizing your brand is no longer an option, it is vital for your business growth.  No matter what industry you are in, it is in every business’s interest to find ways to better relate and engage with their customers.

Here are Oxxygen’s helpful tips on how you can humanize your brand, gain consumers ‘trust and build long-term relationships!

  • The heart of every company – The Team

At Oxxygen we affectionately call our team the “Purple Team” where we all live and breathe the same values of working hard, being professional and results driven, but still having a laugh, having fun and a cheeky drink or two on Fridays!
If you want consumers to trust and believe in your brand, start from the inside: create a welcoming, nurturing company culture. Every move of your team members has an impact on your company’s image. Which is why it is important to make your team members feel good working for your company. Create a positive company atmosphere that allows your team to be your true brand ambassadors. Let the world knows how great it is to work at your company. Consumers and prospects pick up on positive vibes, they are more likely to work with you if they feel the love and trust.

  • Adopt a personal, friendly and engaging tone

Of course it is essential to put yourself out there as an industry expert, your professionalism is what leads to credibility. However, contrary to what a lot of business owners might think, you can still have a professional attitude with a fun and human touch. No one wants to deals with business jargon, sales talk and other overtly corporate behaviours. You need to perfectly understand your audience and adapt to their way of thinking and even speaking. Remember, the closer you look like the consumers, the more “human” you will appear to them.

  • Encourage interaction through all your online platforms

Publishing content without encouraging interactions is not effective and as a result your brand’s online community may shrink. Get to know your target market, establish contact with them, post content that interests them and above all else write in the same tone of voice as if they were speaking with a member of the team, boost interaction! By giving information visitors ask for, sharing ideas, interacting and showing them that their opinions count, you bring your brand alive and humanize it.

  • Apologize and Say “Thank You” When Necessary 

We all make mistakes. Companies are run by people, so it is inevitable that at one point your company might make a mistake as well. Ensure you learn from them and grow to be better.  Always hold your hands up and say, it was me! Consumers are very smart. Be honest about your mistakes and always have a solution. People appreciate honesty and are more understanding. A fault confessed is half redressed! Most importantly, thank your customers for their understanding – this approach really generates trust. Remember to thank your loyal customers. Post a Facebook status when you reach 1000 fans, send an email during peak periods (Christmas, Easter, etc.) Tweet about their brand, product or service; share their good news and success stories.  It’s all about building long lasting relationships and real emotional connections.

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Facebook Power Page

facebook_like_logo_1One of the biggest representations of our digital world is the increased usage of social media. This digitalisation encourages companies and agencies to use social media as a proper marketing tool. However, just setting up an account/profile and posting random comments doesn’t magically maximize your business. You must use these social media tools strategically and intelligently as they are powerful tools.

As part of Oxxygen’s social media blog series, we will now focus on how you can make the most of your Facebook page. From having conversations with your customers to sharing your company’s news, your Facebook page is an incredible tool for generating more awareness and business!

  • Promote your Facebook page

Having a Facebook page is nice, but if nobody sees it or knows about it, there is no point. To get people take notice of your page you need to adopt a promotional strategy. There is no need to spend money here, there are some very simple steps you can take to increase awareness for your Facebook page.  Put a Facebook icon on your website, use all the other social media you have to promote your Facebook posts (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), put your Facebook link in your email signature or even send out a newsletter to your customer database. There are plenty of ways to get people involved in your Facebook page, be creative!

  • ONLY post socially interactive content that encourages people to engage, like and share!

Remember that Facebook is a SOCIAL medium, which means that the main goal is to create connection and increase interaction with your audience. For that to happen, publish posts with relevant content that encourages people to communicate with your brand. For example, if you want to present a new product/service, ask people about their opinion, create a poll and show that you care for their value and input. If you receive a negative comment, don’t react negatively but thank them for their feedback, ask them “what happened?”, and come up with a solution.

By acknowledging your audience and their comments, your followers will feel close to your company/brand and even share your posts, effectively increasing your brand reach. Plus, remember that each time a fan comments or likes on your page, this action will appear on their friends’ news feed. This is then an excellent way to gain awareness among a crowd that might not be familiar yet with you.

  • Be Active

Consistency is the key to success. There is no sense to have a Facebook page if you do not regularly post content. It is not good practice and it can even be perceived as an unprofessional or lacklustre attitude.  On the other hand, you do not want people to feel harassed by your ten posts a day (Remember this is not Twitter!).  You need a balanced presence on Facebook, this could be perhaps one post a day, or two to three a week. Analyse when your page has the most impact (in terms of views and comments) and publish posts at these times, morning commute, lunch hour, or straight after work as these are the most popular times for people to catch social media updates. With the schedule tool on Facebook it is very easy to plan your posts ahead of time and takes away the stress having to plan something daily!

  • Be Visual

Beautiful eye-catching layouts encourage people to stay and interact on your page and reinforces your brand image.  Ensure posts are visual stimulating as this is more likely to get you noticed in busy newsfeeds. Post with pictures are more likely to be clicked and read then a post without a picture.

  • Reward your loyal followers

Make followers feel special, and they will be faithful to your brand. A faithful follower will share your posts, talk about your products/service and even protect your brand from negative comments, so basically brand champions on Facebook. For this to happen, offer incentives, competitions or even sharing their content on your page. For example, give out vouchers or discounts, deliver them a sample of your newest product and invite them to a particular event that your company organises. This special attention creates long-term impact and favourably increases your “online” word-of-mouth marketing.

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Develop Long-Term Relationships vs One Night Stands!

b2bIs there a downturn in your business? Do you struggle to attract new clients? If so, then it’s time for a turning point and an update in your client acquisition strategy.

For many companies, especially in the B2B sector, new business development is definitely one of the most challenging aspects to ensure growth. This is often due to two things. Firstly, B2B clients are time poor, unless your prospective client is completely dazzled by your service/product after the initial meeting, be ready to go through a medium- to long-term process of regular communication before you turn them from “prospects” to “clients”.

Secondly, agencies tend to be stuck with the old fashion outbound marketing strategy to attract new customers. Wrong! If you consider yourself as a cutting-edge agency, adopt a revolutionary and effective inbound marketing strategy and tempt new businesses to come to you!

From blogging to social media, Oxxygen will share tips that allow you to fuel your B2B growth and become an inbound marketing guru!

  • Cherish your referral sources

Previous clients, current clients, partners, friends, family, all your social connections are a source of referrals. Cultivate all these relationships to make your company top of mind when they come across a business opportunity relating to your service/product. Become social proof by keeping in touch with them, showing interest, inviting your best clients to attend events together, and more. You will realise how powerful your network is for the growth of your business!

  • Promote you website

You need to put yourself in your client’s shoes. What would you do if you are looking for a specific service? Here is the answer: Your first reflex will be to look for it online. Your website is a 24/7 window to your company! It must accurately represent your business and your values. Often your website is the first port of call, so you have to make every effort to ensure that your website represents your business values, reflect your corporate personality online, and positions you as an industry expert.

  • Start, publish and monitor a blog

Share your knowledge! Not all of it though, through your blog you can give tasters of valuable and helpful information. A blog has two major functions. Firstly, it provides valuables tips and advice to your website and blog visitors/readers. The thought leadership blogs show your expertise and professionalism in the industry to every prospect. Secondly, by putting strategic words in your blog post, you will encourage search engines to drive the right people to your website. More website traffic means, more awareness and eventually more prospects and more business!

  • Get active on social media

Of course, your ideal clients are businesses but remember that individuals are the real decision makers and all of them are active on at least one or more social media platforms. Social media is now one of the most efficient way for networking. It allows you to share content, spread ideas, and manage your image with the ultimate goal of creating a community around your brand. The more you get people positively talking about your company, the more people are convinced your company is the right choice, thus higher the chances of gaining new prospect and clients. Remember, the equation is: Grow your business by increasing your visibility!

  • Have a long-term perspective

Inbound marketing strategy is a time consuming method; it takes time and sometimes it might not deliver the expected results. When you start, do not expect it to be an overnight success that brings you in leads within weeks. Sometimes it takes months even years before a client signs the dotted line on your contract.  Remember this about developing meaningful long-term relationships that isn’t a one night stand!

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Word of mouth is no longer on the street, but on the digital highway! #Hashtags

hashtag

Social media is an integral part of any marketer’s toolkit that is worth their salt. Managing an integrated social media campaign as part of your business strategy is essential, rather than just an afterthought! People often tend to underestimate the power of social media tools and the benefits they deliver for a company’s image and the powerful community it creates around their brand. Word of mouth is no longer on the street, but on the digital highway!

Now the question is, how to best use each channel and get the most out of them. At Oxxygen we realise that social media may seem a bit tricky and daunting for some businesses, but it isn’t! You just need to cleverly invest your time and be consistent! We’re here to help and will write several blogs on how to use social media.

  • Topical Hashtags

For quick wins try joining current and popular hashtag conversations related to your brand and message. This puts you in the forefront of an already engaged audience and heightens the exposure of your message. Someone else did all the hard work.

  • Make sure your hashtag is new

A hashtag does not always have to name your brand or company name; however it does have to represent your brand and values. It needs to be a catchy word or phrase that embodies your company. By using hashtags you create communities around keywords/phrases and build a network that is talking about and spreading the word for your business. Now do make sure that your chosen hashtag is original and not already in use, you can use the Twitter search function https://twitter.com/search-home to cross check. Making sure that you have an original hashtag for your company and brand increases the chances of interacting with the right target market and avoid confusion with any other businesses, especially competitors.

  • Choose a precise hashtag for a specific community/target/audience

Once you decide on new hashtags, make sure you choose a community that shares the same interest as you about a specific theme, for example Oxxygen’s theme is strategic marketing. The more specific you are with your keyword, the more targeted your audience is. When your audience feel that you share a particular interest in the same topic as them, then the engagement around your business starts taking off. This is where the Twitterful magic starts! You create a dedicated community around your brand who effectively become online brand champions for you.

  • Promote/communicate every hashtag into your others social media channels

The main purpose of using hashtags on Twitter is to engage people with your topic and generate conversation through your hashtags. For this to happen, you must be consistent with the use of these hashtags. Make sure you use the same hashtag for the same topic in every one of your social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, etc.). This allows people to make the connection between each of your platforms and also maintain the consistency of your message.

  • KISS – Keep It Short Silly

Remember you only have 140 characters for each tweet (including hashtags), so make sure you keep it short and easy to recognise.  Plus, it will allow your audience to retweet your tweets and add their own little comments to it.

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End-To-End Exhibition – Part 3 – Post-Exhibition

follow-upAfter all the excitement at the exhibition, here comes the last and final phase where you need to keep your mind focused: the Post-Exhibition stage.

People often underestimate this stage and fail to realise the full potential of a good follow up process. The whole event would be a waste of time unless you are ready to dedicate the time and effort to follow up all prospects. Your window of opportunity is small as you need to keep top of mind, which is when you have to make contact with them (before the competition does!). As they say, strike while the iron is hot!

3. Post Exhibition

  • Standard email/letter template

Set up a standard email/letter template which you send to your prospect database, this letter will allow you to thank all your visitors for visiting your stand and to again give them basic information about your company and further website links for more information.  Do not forget to attach your brochure/prospectus with the email/letter you send out. The most important objective of the message you send is to let your prospects know that a member of the team will contact them in the next few days in order to consider their requirements more in detail.

  • Organise and categorise your leads

Now that you have sent your general follow-up message to all your leads, here comes the next important step, following up with each prospect, individually.

Following a successful exhibition you will have a large database of leads which you should categorise according to the respective level of urgency and importance: hot, warm and cold.  Categorise every prospect and focus on the hot leads first, making the follow up process more effective and successful.

Ensure that your team-members understand how to follow up with each type of lead and what they should say and ask. For example for a “hot” prospect you would give them a personal call 3-4 days following the exhibition and organise a face to face meeting showing your engagement and interest to work with them. For a “cold” prospect you might want to send out a series of emails to first of all gauge interest, find out if it’s worth further follow up, and if so, set up a telcon. Maintaining a centralised database will allow all members of your team to be aware of the progress on each prospect and makes the process manageable.

  • Define your team’s tasks

Depending on your numbers of prospects, you might need to split the categorised list and get several members of your team involved in the follow-up process. The best way to split up would be by hot, warm or cold prospects or depending on your business. Take the time to brief every one about what you are expecting from each category and what their objectives are. You can set up a target number of meetings or conversions that you would like each team member to achieve as well as potential incentives when they hit the numbers.

  • Evaluate your follow-up process

Now that you have taken the first steps of your follow-up process, it is important to consistently update your database with the latest prospect information. This phase will help you to correctly manage every lead and achieve their needs. It will also allow you to determine whom you really want to take a step further. A “hot” prospect at the first stage might become a “warm” one and vice versa.

This review process is also an efficient way to evaluate the whole exhibition and determine if it is worthwhile attending again. Getting at least 5 times return on your investment is a good indication of the exhibition’s success.  Say you invest £10,000 on the exhibition and the prospects you converted are worth £50,000, then by our calculations you’ve had a successful exhibition!