Keeping It Real – Guest post by John Tabis of ShoeDazzle.com

 Social Media is one of the primary ways that brands can engage, service and sell to clients today, and for ShoeDazzle, it’s one of the hallmarks of our company and a large part of our DNA. We strive every day to deliver a relevant and authentic brand experience across our social platforms – centered on Facebook with our 2 million fans, but also on our other rapidly-growing outlets like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and our company blog, The Platform (blog.shoedazzle.com).

For our clients, we do our best to keep these experiences fresh, informative and relevant. While there are a large number of ways to engage across social, we’ve explicitly honed in on those that support our brand vision and deliver value to clients in the form of trend-spotting, product detail or “How To Wear It” advice, and even client service.

A prime example of bringing our brand of highly attainable high fashion to a mass, nationwide audience, is our recent trip to Fashion Week and the accompanying social experience (#NYFW, #DAZZLEFW) we executed in parallel. Our team of crack Social Specialists, along with a team of creatives featuring
stylists, videographers, and our Creative Director, hit the streets of New York for the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and all of the glitz and glamour that goes along with it. It was truly a team effort, bringing together key members from across the company to feature ongoing, up-to-the-minute fashion styling and news content from Fashion Week to our audiences.

And the results were phenomenal. We saw 5-25% increases in Followers vs the previous week, we had over 40 Million impressions, and we saw double-digit engagement increases as well. You can view our series of videos on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/shoedazzle, follow the action on our
@ShoeDazzle Twitter feed (#DazzleFW), read about it on our blog at blog.shoedazzle.com, or check out amazing New York styles at pinterest.com/shoedazzle.

We were able to provide live coverage of street style, behind the scenes access, and interviews with visitors and tastemaker via text, video and images. All of this reinforced our brand positioning and brought great fashion, trend and styling tips to our loyal follower base of 2 million+ fashionistas, all from the biggest fashion event of the year.

Keeping it real is a challenge in a constantly-evolving world like social media, but as our Fashion Week undertaking shows, it’s the best and only way to engage clients in a way that builds the brand.

 

John Tabis is the VP of Strategy at ShoeDazzle.com. Tweet him at @j_tabis!

Making Customers So Happy Together – Guest Post by Nicole DeRuiter, Fresh & Easy

Making Customers So Happy Together – Tips on Working with a Customer Service Team as a Social Media Pro

Working in social media, the first thing many social media pros come to realize is the true depth of the relationship that needs to form between a corporate social media practitioner or team and their colleagues in customer service. Customer service is one of the original social functions within a business.

As a social media manager (or whatever your title may be), one of the strongest relationships you should look to form within your organization is with your customer service team.

Here are 5 tips for making that relationship as strong as possible:

1) Consider their viewpoint

To a social media manager, more is more. If your community isn’t talking to you frequently, you may start to worry.

Your colleagues in customer service likely see it differently – the less they hear from customers, the better their world is.

How can this be? You both have the same goal – building a strong, happy community of loyal customers. The vantage point of how you get there is a bit different, though – in the world of customer service, it’s often true that the fewer times a customer needs to reach out, the happier they are.

2) Metrics matter

Understanding your company’s customer service metrics will help you work across team lines – and it may even help you identify your own measures, too.

A few questions you’ll want to answer:

• Will all contacts via social media be ‘counted’ among customer service metrics?

It’s easy to say no, but remember that customer service metrics are often used in measuring business performance and rolling your customer feedback via social media in to the greater customer service metrics may help both teams to properly impact the business.

• How will the customer service team get access to customer feedback left on social platforms?

There are a number of tools (such as Radian6, Conversocial and Parature) available to help capture this feedback in a way that a customer service team can integrate with.

• Does your customer service team track both positive and negative feedback?

Remember that if you’re only sending your customer service team the negative feedback, there’s a good chance you’re skewing their metrics as many organizations consider positive feedback, as well.

3) Be clear on ownership

It is becoming more and more common for customer service teams to take responsibility for responding to customer feedback on social platforms. It should be very clear to everyone in an organization how customer feedback is managed across all media.

If customer service is responding to feedback, what is the process that you’ll use to make sure the customer service team informs the social media team or vice versa?

4) Communicate often

Set-up a brief weekly (or more frequent, if you have a high enough volume of customer contact) calibration meeting for customer service and social media teams to come together. These meetings should be used to identify trends in customer feedback and agree on a consistent response for each trend area.

Also, teams should be sure that both groups have access to the same knowledge base. This may be as simple as sending an email when a new customer question and the correct answer are identified. It may be as complex as an actual shared database. Decide what works for your teams and then stick to it.

5) Practice the golden rule

This is the most straight-forward, but it’s always good advice. Treat others as you would like to be treated. It goes for your colleagues; it goes for your customers.

Nicole DeRuiter is the Social Media Manager for Fresh & Easy. Ask Nicole about the tools she uses to manage social media for a grocery chain with 200+ stores around the country. She’ll be one of four speakers at our September 24 SMCLA event on retail, ecommerce and the holiday season. See you there!

Making Smartphones Smarter – Guest post by David Teichner, Yowza!!

Chris here. Siri and Majel aren’t the only ones trying to smarten up your phones. App developers, coders, software engineers and the like are creating systems and mobile technology that they are going to soup up your already-smart smartphone. One of the companies working on making your phone work a little harder (and thereby you’re not working as hard) is Yowza!! David Teichner, CEO of Yowza!!, shares his thoughts on Yowza!! and mobile coupons. Read On!

Making smartphones smarter…how mobile coupons are empowering consumers and businesses

Despite the challenging economy, today’s consumers continue to invest in technology, and smartphones are no exception.  According to Juniper Research, over one billion smartphones will be sold annually by 2016.

What’s driving the growth? Convenience and efficiency. We all know the saying “time is money,” and the same applies here.  With real-time access to directions, the best reviewed restaurants in town, competitive pricing information and everything in between, savvy smartphone users are getting things done quicker and at a better price than those without.  Thus, despite the relatively high cost of these mobile devices, individuals see them as a tool that will save them time and money in the long haul.

One segment of the market that is taking off with the rise of smartphones is mobile coupons, which enable consumers to easily access relevant savings without having to waste hours sifting through newspapers and cutting out paper coupons, printing out coupons found online or remembering to bring the coupons to the retailer.  Yowza!!, a free GPS-based app available on iPhones and Androids, provides consumers with mobile coupons based on their location.

For instance, imagine running several errands, which include getting the car washed, finding a new pair of shoes and picking up dry cleaning.  You launch the Yowza!! app, find coupons for those items in your neighborhood, and in between the car wash and shoe-shopping, you redeem an offer for a quick lunch at half price.

And just as these mobile coupons are benefitting the consumer, they are also helping businesses. Now retailers can reach consumers where they spend virtually ALL of their time – on their smartphones.  They can create offers designed to bring in new clients, as well as those designed to keep current customers coming back.  It’s quick, easy and cost-effective – no printing costs or long lead times involved. And importantly, the offers are reaching consumers in the immediate vicinity of the business, which means no impressions are wasted.

Bottom line: better mobile technology brings consumers and businesses together and everybody wins – consumers save, businesses grow.

 

David Teichner is the CEO of Yowza!! You can ask David more about mobile technology, coupons, the future for Yowza!! and what it’s like to work for an actor tonight at our SMCLA Mobile Event at the ING DIRECT LA Cafe. See you there!

gdgt Live: October 28 – Guest post by Barry Myers

What are you doing on October 28th? Joining SMCLA at the gdgt live event at Club Nokia! gdgt‘s Barry Myers chimes in on what you’ll see and hear at the event. Read on!

See you there! gdgt live LA

Hey, Los Angeles! gdgt live is coming to town next week and you’re invited. Come hang out with Peter Rojas, Ryan Block and the gdgt.com team on Friday, October 28th at Club Nokia. You’ll be able to meet with folks from some of your favorite tech brands and play with their newest gadgets.

Sponsors include AT&T, HTC, Incipio, Lenovo, Logitech, Sonos, T-Mobile, Windows Phone and more. There will even have a couple of hot local startups on hand.

The event is FREE and open to all ages, but if you’re under 12, please come with an adult. We’ll even have a few drink tickets for the over 21 crowd. Everything gets rolling at 7:30pm and the event ends at 10:00pm.

For more details and to RSVP, click here: http://blog.gdgt.com/gdgt-live-comes-to-los-angeles-on-october-28th/

Get there early and you’ll have your choice of a sweet gdgt t-shirt or smartphone case just for showing up. There will also be chances to win some amazing gear like a Lenovo X120e laptop, a Sonos PLAY:3, the new E-PM1 from Olympus, a SHOWXX+ laser pico projector from MicroVision and lots more.

Here are some other cool things happening at (and after) the event…

Windows Phone After Party – The fun doesn’t have to end at 10:00pm, but you’ll have to keep a watch on the gdgt blog and @gdgt Twitter feed on Monday for more details on this.

AT&T Revolve Project – At every stop on the gdgt live 2011 Tour, AT&T has been asking folks too bring in their old cell phones so they can take a video of them as part of their Revolve Project which showcases the evolution of mobile technology. The best part… if you don’t want that phone anymore, leave it with AT&T and they will recycle it through Cell Phones for Soldiers, a charity organization that turns old cellphones into phone cars for our troops overseas.

WeVideo – Make sure to take some video at the show and visit the WeVideo table so they can show you how to upload it to the cloud. Once there, they will edit it all into one very cool crowdsourced video of the event.

Logitech – The first 20 people to bring an old mouse or keyboard to the Logitech table will walk away with a brand new Logitech color mouse.

Postcards on the Run – During the show, you’ll be able to turn your photos into real, old school postcards for free thanks to the winner of our startup table giveaway contest. Just snap a photo, write a message, and send it off to someone in your address book and they will receive an honest-to-goodness postcard in the mail. Just make sure you download the app in advance.