Some years ago, a woman interviewing for a high-level communications position was asked her opinion about the importance of Facebook, then a newly emerging platform. While she didn’t know it at the moment, her answer lost her the job. “Facebook is just a fad for young people and will probably go away,” she prognosticated. Nothing else she said mattered after that. It all became the Charlie Brown adult “wah-wah-wah.” Oops.

Facebook has not only not gone away, it’s evolved into a whole new business and social paradigm. It’s also been joined by multiple other platforms, many of which those “young people” now prefer to Facebook.

Businesses today should not expect to survive without a vibrant social media presence. Research shows that half the world’s population is online, and 3.03 billion own a social media account. At least two-thirds of Americans get at least some news from social media, and nearly half of them have expressed their opinions about products and services on social media.

In just 15 years, social media has gone from the (perhaps purloined) brainchild of a brilliant Harvard computer science student, to a cool way for plugged-in youngsters to chat it up, to an essential element in the commercial toolbox.

But how one does social media is far more integral than simply having social media. Consider the possibilities of regular engagement with real, live customers in a single forum, one message at a time. It’s like the holy grail of consumer relations!

Even so, not all brands treat it as such. Despite overwhelming evidence, some companies still doubt the influence of social media. Or if they’re not in doubt, they’re not committed to leveraging its greatest rewards. Like the woman in the interview, they may not know it, but they’re losing out.

How can brands harness the tremendous power of social media? There are several ways (check out our blog categories), but here are two we will focus on specifically:

Transparency and responsiveness.

Assuming content is awesome in its own, non-sales-oriented right – and by that we mean engaging, informative, inspiring, moving, entertaining, educational, motivational, funny, thought-leading, groundbreaking, or some combination of all these qualities – assuming that (because your brand’s life depends on awesome content), transparency and responsiveness are next in the social media triage.

Transparency Equals Trust

Plain and simple, transparency builds trust. Going back to non-sales-oriented content, consumers will resonate with your brand only if they feel you’re being genuine with them and putting their needs first.

Online platforms practically shine with opportunities to build trust and engagement. Social media is a live world stage on which to present a steady flow of content, striking audiences’ imaginations, evoking their thoughts and questions, learning their desires, needs and expectations. Like no other, social media channels let audiences connect with the real human beings behind your brand.

Fundamentally, engagement on social media facilitates the basic need we all have to feel included – that we’ve been invited to the party. Once that comfort and trust are established, consumers are even more apt to have the conversations and offer the vital feedback you need to remain healthy and relevant. And if what they have to say is positive, that’s sheer gold. Like it or not, people put far greater stock in what fellow consumers have to say than what brands say.

A note about paid content: Always, always label paid advertisements or content as “sponsored content.” Do so clearly and prominently so that there is no doubt the content has been purchased and is not owned or earned.

When Transparency is Difficult

What if the talk about your brand on social media is not complimentary? Understanding first that a negative review or comment is not a crisis, there will most certainly be the remark (or two or more) that is not flattering to your brand. As social media is an open forum, your platform is the natural place for people to express complaint or disappointment.

This can be a good thing. First, don’t delete unflattering comments that relate directly to your brand. Unless a remark is profane, discriminatory, defamatory, derogatory, self-promoting or otherwise inappropriate, leave it. This will demonstrate not only that you are candid and forthright (fostering trust), it also provides insight into how you can improve as well as a great opportunity to rectify a problem and connect even more deeply with a valued customer.

How to Respond

Positive feedback is the wind beneath all our wings. But, lest companies get a little too high on their accolades, they must never miss an opportunity to respond with a word of thanks, news that benefits the consumer, or even a special offer.

In the case of negative discourse, rectify the details of the grievance privately with your customer, but reply publicly first. Go beyond simply not deleting the comment (unless it’s profane or derogatory); reply to it directly and for all to see. This shows concern, attentiveness, compassion, and willingness to grow. It’s also likely to go a long way toward retaining your temporarily dissatisfied customer and even gain their friends and associates.

NEVER engage negatively with negative commentary, and NEVER be defensive. Let’s look at an example scenario:

The Right Way
Consumer comment: Brand A really irked me today. My order arrived with the wrong merchandise, AND it was the wrong size! Never using them again!
Brand A’s response: We are very sorry to hear about your experience and offer our sincerest apologies for your disappointment and inconvenience. We try very hard to make sure every order meets our valued customers’ highest expectations. Please contact XXX so that we can correct this situation to your complete satisfaction. Long-lasting relationships with happy customers are our number one priority, and we want you to stay!

While Twitter and other platforms restrict longer messages, some version of this response is essential.

The Wrong Way
Consumer comment: Brand A really irked me today. My order arrived with the wrong merchandise, AND it was the wrong size! Never using them again!
Brand A’s response: We try very hard to make sure every order meets our valued customers’ highest expectations, but everyone makes mistakes. With thousands of orders coming in daily, it stands to reason that a few of them would be incorrectly filled. If you have nothing positive to say, please refrain from posting on our page.
No response: No response at all from your brand is even worse; it shows complete indifference and/or cold, distant impersonality.

What If We Can’t Do It All on Our Own?

Creating awesome social media content on a regular basis is uniquely demanding; responding appropriately is even more difficult. Many brands seek outside content marketing talent, as contract assistance is often more affordable and nimbler than hiring full-time internal staff.

Our team of certified content marketers can help you create content that will engage your social audiences, help you craft the right messages and responses, and pave the way for meaningful and lasting connections with your customers and prospects.

IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a question or would like to continue this conversation, please contact us…

Your Name (required)

Your Organization (required)

Your Email (required)

Phone (required)

Subject

Your Message

I am interested in learning more about:

Website Design/DevelopmentIntegrated Marketing PlanningContent MarketingBrandingOutbound MarketingInbound MarketingBlogStrategic Partnerships

It’s addicting!  The fast-paced, ever changing world of public relations and marketing captures your interest and keeps you charged up to learn more everyday.  I love to find the best ways to tell our client’s stories and man, they have awesome stories!

It’s my job to discover our client’s goals and then match the best processes to achieve them, within their budgets, of course.  I get to explore traditional, digital and every manner of communication to determine which tactics, whether it is direct mail or TV advertising, a new website or PPC (to name just a few) will efficiently and effectively capture the attention of prospects. 

I also get to work with great people at IVY – they’re creative, fun, caring and super smart.  We’ve all been around the industry a while so there is not a novice among us.  Our clients are very cool too and totally passionate about the services they offer.  We’ve been working with most of them for years so we know they truly care about being innovative and responsible to the markets they service.  I have great admiration for all of them and look forward to every day. 

It’s true what “they” say, if you love what you do, you won’t work a day of your life!

×

IVY was established in 1990 with a basic premise to offer professional, ethical and highly creative marketing, advertising and public relations services. We have successfully maintained our core values and have been part of many amazing projects, client growth and changes in the world of marketing that continue to happen at lightening speed. Most of our clients serve older adults in some capacity so we keep abreast of the opportunities and challenges they face.   Each day, we keep it real and fun and consistently deliver positive results to our clients and their markets.

×

As a hybrid graphic and digital designer/web developer with over 17 years of experience, I am always on the lookout for innovative digital and print visual communications. IVY Marketing Group’s broad range of projects keeps my job challenging and rewarding, as each campaign is a new and exciting opportunity to effectively communicate our clients’ messages and help them achieve their goals. It’s my passion!

My body of work encompasses a diverse design style and wide base of clients, ranging from national associations, small businesses and big name brands like Hyatt and LiftMaster. I firmly believe that form follows function and highly value the communicative power of simplicity. 

Areas of professional expertise include Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Word Press, Responsive Design, CSS3, and HTML5. The industries I’ve served include senior living, health care, hospitality and finance.

×

All my life, I have loved writing. As a child, I could often be found in my room “writing a book.” While “novelist” is not (yet) on my resume, I am a storyteller. I believe that everyone and everything has a great story, and it is my joy to find that story and share it with the world.

After earning my bachelor’s degree in journalism and completing my master’s studies in the same field, I joined a small advertising agency with powerhouse clients in the hospitality industry, such as Hyatt, Hilton International and Carnival Cruise Lines. I began as a proofreader and achieved the position of senior copy writer within a year.

After my first son was born, followed by two more, I started a freelance writing business that included (among several others) such clients as Advocate Health Care and Coldwell-Banker Realty. Clients in the education arena included DeVry University’s Becker CPA and Stalla CFA Reviews, DePaul University, and Naperville School District 203, for which I won two state public relations awards.

For nine years, I was employed as Communications Director for a large faith community, where I managed all aspects of internal and external communications. I was writer, editor, designer, web master, and content manager.

As such, I am experienced and comfortable writing multimedia for a broad variety of industries, products and services.

I joined IVY Marketing Group in 2013, when I began writing client press releases on a freelance basis. I loved the work—and my teammates—so much, I was thrilled when I was invited to come on board in a greater capacity.

I have immensely enjoyed getting to know our valued clients in the senior housing industry, the people they serve, and telling the many wonderful stories that come out of content marketing done right—with the love and care our IVY teams puts into everything we do.

×

It all starts with one idea. Working with the Ivy creative team for over two decades has always meant taking one great idea and bringing it to life to help our clients meet their goals. We enjoy the challenges offered with every creative opportunity and try to make the design process itself enjoyable for our clients.

×

Making certain that the projects IVY produces are word- and picture-perfect is my specialty. But I also love implementing marketing campaigns and programs that bring our clients success. Details are my thing, so it is a pleasure to have worked with IVY twice now, first after college four years ago and, recently, for the past two years.

The IVY Group is a terrific team of creative, positive and talented professionals that I love working with and, judging from the length of stay of our clients, I think they love our team, too!

×

Rock-climbing, training for an 80-floor stair climb event, running a 5K…This is just a tiny peek into what people 20 and even 30 years older than I am, are doing on a fairly regular basis at some of the retirement communities that IVY represents.

I’m of the generation that still has reoccurring nightmares about what the next step looked like when my grandmother could no longer live by herself. The very best option at that time was living at a “facility” and  included eating rubbery chicken and playing an occasional game of BINGO. Period. That’s why my parent’s generation begged us not to ever put them into “one of those places.”

I am so proud that IVY’s clients are at the very forefront of an industry that creates opportunities, challenges, and most of all freedom for seniors, allowing them to explore hobbies, interests, passions…the next chapter of their very full lives.

I feel reassured for my own future. Even more, I feel honored to be able to share the impactful stories about this paradigm shift in the world of senior housing. What we hear and see at our clients’ communities is fascinating and inspiring!

×

Keeping up to date on new public relations strategies, online engagement tactics, and promotional tools is my passion.

With my hospitality background in marketing top Chicago restaurants and hotels, I was eager to bring fresh concepts and communication strategies to our clients and have really enjoyed learning various industries.

Our clients have such exciting and unique events and programs, which really makes it motivating for me to make the most of their content.  Results like increased sales leads, website visits and social media connections make everyday rewarding and interesting.

×

I oversee, plan and implement projects and processes at IVY.  Often,  I am the conduit between our writers and designers, with printers, and other vendors to fulfill the marketing needs for our clients. I also manage media buys and coordinate production of advertisements.

Working for a flexible and fluid company that is constantly growing, changing and evolving is fun and rewarding. There is always something new to learn.

×

My bio has a big blank in the beginning—Mom and Dad rescued me in Wisconsin, and no one really knows my origins. They were probably ruff. What matters though is where I am now, running IVY Marketing Group. There are humans here who think they’re in charge. In truth, they do actually have amazing experience in content marketing and public relations, but I’m super important and the center of attention. I mean, look at this face. Right? And I know I’m the top dog because honestly, I’m the only one allowed to sleep through staff meetings and eat things that people drop on the floor.

The fact is though that I truly love staying awake at staff meetings. Everyone talks and laughs and they’re always excited. That surprises me a little because it’s not like anyone has thrown a ball to play fetch or anything. But I guess what gets my pack of peoples’ tails wagging is their work and their clients. I don’t know what a website or a blog is, but I do know that my pack must be good at them because they’ve earned all sorts of awards for these and other things. My bed had to be moved because the framed certificates were taking up so much room. Despite the inconvenience, I’m proud of these awards!

I serve several important purposes at IVY. I always let Mom (and the world) know when the mailman is here. When people come into the office, just one (usually) quick non-invasive (usually) sniff, allows me to determine important characteristics…like if they had anything good for breakfast, own any pets (pet owners are the best!) or if they stepped in anything on the way in. (It’s sort of like me conducting a first job interview.) I generously share my tummy because I know people like to give it a good scratch. I always give kisses, whether one is feeling lonely or not. And I’m always happy to share someone’s meal, especially if they’re trying to lose weight. My pack describes me as being engaging, amusing, and entertaining. (When I hear a siren, I “sing” along and it makes them laugh.) NPR talks about the benefits of having a pet at the workplace. Studies show pets lower stress hormones and improve morale and productivity. I wholeheartedly agree that a dog in the workplace is the best thing since rawhide bones.

As for my pack of people at IVY…they are amazing and always make my tail wag!

×