What Can Your Business Learn From ‘The Great Social Customer Service Race?’

The following is a guest blog post from Ashley Verrill, a market analyst with Software Advice.

metrics measured“The Great Social Customer Service Race” was to created to evaluate how efficiently the nation’s top brands provide consumer support on Twitter. We wanted to learn what kinds of tweets received a response, and how quickly.

To conduct the race, four Software Advice employees used their personal Twitter accounts to send customer service tweets to 14 leading consumer brands in seven industries. Each company received one tweet per weekday for four consecutive weeks. During the first and third weeks, our employee participants used the brand’s Twitter name with an @ symbol. Using the @ triggers a notification to the account owner that they’ve been mentioned in a tweet. In the second and fourth weeks of the race, only the brand name was used.

The questions fell into five categories: urgent, or I need help right this second; positive (“thank you!”); negative; a question from their FAQ page; Technical, or needs more than one interaction to solve. The evaluations in the infographic are based on the time it took the brands to respond and the percent of total tweets that received a reply.

Here’s a snapshot of the results:

  • 90% of the responses occurred when the @Brand was used, less than 8% came from Brand mention with no @
  • The negative questions by far received the least amount of responses (5%). Others: Urgent (24%), Positive (22%), FAQ (24%), Technical (24%)
  • Bank of America and Home Depot were the only ones who responded to no @ mentions
  • Bank of America had the overall best response percent at 17.5%
  • MasterCard responded the fastest when they did respond with an average 34-minute response time
  • Starbucks, Visa and Apple didn’t respond at all

Some lessons learned include:

Don’t leave the customer hanging. Coca-Cola and McDonald’s committed huge errors when two of their replies came several days after the questions were sent. For the instant-gratification customer, this is the same as not responding at all.

Don’t miss messages with important keyword triggers. When we designed questions for the race, we specifically included questions with important intent, sentiment or risk of switching brands. Social listening software can be programmed to send service messages to the front of the line if they contain keywords such as “help,” “mad,” “thank you.” These rules are imperative for brands that need to automate tweet prioritization.

Don’t be a robot. Customer service expert, best-selling author and speaker Micah Solomon told me recently that being human in your engagements with customers on Twitter is one of the most important considerations. Twitter is a social platform, your responders need to talk and act like they would interact with their real friends and family. Say thank you. Be personal.

Listen for your brand, @ or no @The social customer service innovators watch and respond to non-@ mentions because they see the opportunity to really surprise and delight. Most social listening software can be programed to listen for mentions without the @, with the @, and #brandname.

The Infographic:

social customer service race

About Ashley Verrill

Ashley Verrill is a market analyst with Software Advice. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising. She is a University of Texas graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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How to Take Awesome Pictures with your Smart Phone

Suddenly, everyone’s a professional photographer. Or at least we can fool people into thinking we are.

There are now more smart phone photo and camera apps than what you can possibly fit on your device because of storage limits.

In my last blog post, I shared this: “With the onslaught of photo sharing sites such as Pinterest and Instagram in 2012, it’s not a surprise Vintage Polaroid Camerathat photos are what people choose to share the most of and engage the most with.”

While the strategy for sharing photos remains important, so is the quality and “awesomeness” of the photos themselves.  

Growing up in the 80′s, sure we took pictures. We had Polaroid Cameras that were amazing, giving us the physical picture in a matter of seconds. Now I have the Polamatic™ iPhone App which brings back the instant nostalgia of Polaroid pictures. Very cool.

These camera apps (there are now over 5,000 of them) make taking pictures exciting.  Because of their ease of use, they make learning how to take them even more fun.

One of my favorite photos apps I’ve downloaded recently is the Camera Awesome app by the folks at SmugMug. They recently shared this Infographic visually showcasing a sampling of some fun facts and tricks to help you take awesome pictures with your smart phone.

How to take better pictures with your phone

Infographic credit: SmugMug

What are some of your favorite camera and photo sharing apps?

What tips do you have? Please share in the comments below!

One Social Media on Pinterst

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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The Four Major Consumer Segments and How to Reach Them

Fashionistas, Knights, Techies, and Mamas “oh my!”

Don’t be scared. These are the four consumer segments that you are probably misunderstanding, yet are the most likely to engage in your online community and be an advocate for your brand.



Here’s what we all now know. Social media is about much more than trying to get the most fans, followers, and connections. It’s about more than getting the most retweets, likes, comments, and shares.

It’s about building (over time) a meaningful relationship online with the right audience for your brand.

It won’t happen overnight, but over time you can build authentic relationships with your online community, drive real engagement and reap measurable business value from your efforts. This happens when you understand your customer, what drives them, and what moves them to action. 

Recent market research conducted by The Incyte Group suggests there is a gap between the way customers want to connect with companies they care about online and the way that brands are actually using social media to reach them. The research identified four major consumer market segments that have a high tendency to join customer communities when making purchasing decisions and explained the best ways to incentivize each of them to do so.

Check out this infographic below to better understand the demographics of these segments and the best ways to connect with them:

(Original infographic source: Get Satisfaction)

What do you think the disconnect is with how brands interact online with their targeted customer market segments? I’d like to hear your comments and insights below! 

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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The Most Famous Celebrity and Big Brand Social Media Blunders

We can learn a lot from how celebrities and big brands use social media. We can also learn what “not-to-do” from them as well.

Well known celebrities, athletes, and brands are now using social media more and more to connect with and interact online with their followers. However, that doesn’t mean they are always using it well. What may seem like a casual tweet or conversation online could strike a chord in a fan or two…or a few thousand.

What’s great about this social media Infographic from creative agency MDG Advertising, is it takes a look at some of the most notable social media blunders of the past few years and what the results were.

Social Media Mistakes

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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5 Quick Tips for Creating Fresh Visual Content

Fresh ContentThe pressure is on for marketers to come up with fresh content, consistently each week. It’s particularly challenging for business start-ups who want a fast start social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and their Blog.

What should you or your company be blogging about? What will be informative, interesting, educational or entertaining enough to attract them? What content will your community actually enjoy seeing posted and engage in? Perhaps you should just ask them.

To give you a head start, here are some quick tips for creating fresh visual content.

1. The Expert Interview. Record an interview with an expert in your field and post it to your blog. You can do this via telephone conference or via video conference using Skype. Recommended resources: For phone interviews try FreeConferenceCalling.com, for Skype: try Ecamm.com (mac) and Camersoft.com (windows).

2. Create a step-by-step guide on how to do something in a screencast, how-to video tutorial, or show the steps in a series of photos. Resources: Camtasia, Screenflow, Screencast, Jing, Prezi, Snap Guide (mobile).

3. Do a simple case study about one company, or offer a few visual examples of how other companies do something successfully. In a recent blog post, I visually showcased brands using social media well and how some were using it poorly to talk with their customers.

4. Poll your community on Twitter with Twtpoll or on Facebook with a Facebook Question and post the results on your blog.

5. Give your community visual choices. Here are two examples of this:

Example 1: One of our clients asked their community which of the author’s books is their favorite. It quickly became the most popular post for that Facebook page since it started with over 200 Likes and over 200 comments.

Og Mandino Books

Example 2: We asked our community to choose which one character Mike most resembled that day.

mike bal

Visual content is the hottest trend, and it’s not going away. The popularity of Instagram alone should be waking people up to this. And video content will rule in 2013 and beyond.

When thinking through your social media content strategy, think about what content will add value and/or attract prospects to your blog or social media sites. Attracting them is only the first step, but it’s perhaps the most important as you refine how to convert and then analyze the results to see which of these ideas works best for your brand and audience.


Social Media Mistakes

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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Is Social Media Marketing Starting to Annoy You?

It’s becoming an epidemic. More and more businesses are using social media as another mouthpiece for their promotions. They somehow skip over learning how to use it to connect with potential customers, or how to us it to earn customer loyalty from their existing customers.  We don’t give big brands our loyalty nowadays. They have to earn it. Social media is their direct link to us.

Unfortunately, some brands insist on just using social media poorly to just promote and broadcast. The cartoon below is the result.

Social Media Cartoon

This is Especially True on Twitter.

For example, I’ve been watching Office Max waste their time on Twitter for nearly two years now. When they do Tweet, it’s usually just for a promotion or some special savings. There are often more than a hundred tweets a day that  that mention “Office Max” in them. They just haven’t figured out how to use Twitter yet to get engaged in these conversations and talk to their customers. Instead they tweet promotions, asking these same customers for their money. Promotions once in a while are ok, but every tweet is annoying and a misuse of Twitter.

I happen to like Office Max, I just get annoyed with their behavior on Twitter. And they aren’t alone (e.g. Old Navy).


We tend to gravitate to those brands that ‘get it.’

Is it possible for the big brands to talk back to their customers on Twitter?  Some notable big brands are proving it’s possible such as:

Panera Bread

Panera Bread on Twitter






The Home Depot

The Home Depot on Twitter






Hertz on twitter






Jet Blue

Jet Blue on Twitter






Marriott on Twitter







Rubbermaid on Twitter






In all of these examples, they are talking back to their customers. They are engaging. They are conversing in real-time online. Think about it. If these big brands can find a way and the time to talk back to their customers (and they have thousands), any size business can and should.

Using social media for business isn’t rocket science, it’s human relations 101. [TWEET THIS]

What are your thoughts? Do you believe those brands that aren’t actively engaging with their customers on social media are going to suffer in the long-term and that it’s just a matter of time?

Social Media Mistakes


Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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How to Use Social Media to Generate Leads

So you want to use social media to generate leads for your business?  If that’s true, then you must also be willing to take the steps necessary to put your business and brand in a position to attract leads online. And those steps may take some time.

Social media is a powerful tool, but cannot stand alone as an online marketing solution.  Social media marketing comes after you have discovered your voice through blogging and have a key word strategy in place.

Does Blogging = Leads?

You can’t expect to put your business online and expect the online buzz to suddenly rocket you to online social media stardom. Leads won’t fall from the sky either.

Generating a lead is the end result. And while Stephen Covey has taught us to “Begin with the end in mind,” you must first focus on answering the question, “How can we be valuable to others, consistently over time, so we organically attract people to our business online.”

Then you must have a plan to create the valuable content people want to read, share and comment on. Content people will share and will lead others to you (traffic), who will then want to learn more about how you might be able to help them (conversion) so you can then have a qualified prospect (lead).

You do this from blogging. And how often you blog matters also. 

The Impact On Lead Generation

The Impact On Customer Acquisition


It Doesn’t Matter if You Are a B2B or a B2C business, You Need to Be Blogging

Every week I speak to a business owner who thinks his/her business doesn’t need to blog at all, let alone a lot. Thinking that way is similar to thinking back in 1995 that your business wouldn’t need a website. Blogging is the new SEO, and it’s an important part of consumer culture so you better start capitalizing on it.

B2C Blogging Works!


B2B Blogging Works Also!


If Google Can’t Find You, Neither Will Anyone Else

Ranking high on the search engines (particularly Google) is no longer optional, it’s critical. The more keyword rich content you create (and blog), the more search engines will find you.  In order for Google to find you often, you need a lot of pages that link to your site. You can control this by blogging often and making sure to use the keywords that will lead people to you.

Are You Showing Up?


More Blog Posts = More Indexed Web Pages


What does this teach us?

That you need to generate as much (keyword rich) content as possible, before your competitors pass you by. Social Media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and YouTube all give you the platform to share your content in different ways, but you have to generate the content first.  And oh yeah, that content needs to be interesting. The leads will follow.

The great business management guru Peter Drucker’s most well known quote is “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” Social media can certainly help you create and keep a customer. But you have to be willing to do the work [online] that it takes to get there.

I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts (contribution, feedback) in the comments below. Also, be sure to check out my upcoming Webinar for an in-depth training expanding on this post on “How to Use Social Media to Generate Leads.”

Joe Soto

Joe Soto

Joe Soto is the CEO of One Social Media. A leading expert in social media marketing, Joe has over 16 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing.

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Diversify Your Social Media Portfolio

In high-school speech class, we’re taught that speeches typically have at least one of three purposes: to entertain, to inform, or to persuade. Whether it’s Dane Cook doing stand-up comedy, a campaigning politician at a rally, or a professor giving a geology lecture, if somebody’s talking, it fits into one of these categories.

But this isn’t limited to spoken word– the same can be said for almost anything written, including social media. Try going to your Twitter feed, reading through the top ten tweets, and figuring out which category each tweet belongs in. See what I mean?

Unfortunately, hot-shot orators have an edge that common Twitter users don’t: people’s time and attention. This gives them the opportunity to combine the three kinds of speeches with ease. If a speaker gets on a stage for even half an hour, for example, they have more than enough time to inform their audience, persuade them, and do it in an entertaining way. How is anyone supposed to accomplish that in a Facebook post, let alone the 140-character confines of Twitter?

You can’t.

But here’s something you can do: mix it up.

Instead of trying to persuade people to buy your product all the time, teach them something that might add value to their lives. Instead of writing sarcastic or witty commentary about everything, post something genuinely deep and thoughtful. Throw your friends and followers a curve ball, and they’ll realize that there might just be a side of you they never knew about. Being multi-dimensional like this is a great way to attract a wider audience while keeping your current audience more interested.

Don’t get me wrong– consistency can also be important. If you’ve got a particular image or reputation to uphold, you don’t want to do a complete turnaround. Still, I’m willing to bet that you’ve got more wiggle room than you want to admit.

Here are a few examples of people diversifying their social media portfolio:

1. The Australian Census

In July 2011, a Twitter user sent a goofy question to the Australian Census’ Twitter account. What he probably didn’t expect was for the organization to play along:

Why it works: The general public wants to see that the government is made up of real people. We all like it when the folks in charge are a bit less stuffy than usual, and this is one heck of a start.

2. The White House Rick-Rolling Someone via Twitter

After someone had complained about a boring correspondence briefing on Twitter, The White House’s Twitter responded to them with a link that sent them to the infamous video of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”:


Why it works: Mostly for the same reasons as The Australian Census example, but The White House gets extra points for being trendy and including a popular American prank.

3. Cake

If you’re not familiar with them, Cake is a California-based alternative-rock band, known for their absurd lyrics, great trumpet parts, and a fun, funky sound. Based on their music alone, the last thing you’d expect is for them to get all dark and serious on their Facebook.

But that’s exactly what they do:

Of course, there’s still the occasional music video, recording footage, or tour update, but this kind of content is also sprinkled throughout their timeline.

Why it works: Honestly, I can’t really say whether it does or doesn’t. Cake have actually alienated some fans by straying too far away from the music. This is a very extreme example, and while I don’t recommend it to everyone, I also can’t help but respect Cake for having the guts to stand up for what they believe in.

Whether you’re representing yourself or a business, take a look at your Tweets and Facebook posts and ask yourself this question: do I need to diversify my social media portfolio?

Tom Hummer

Tom Hummer

Tom’s two biggest passions in life are writing and music. In his free time, Tom reads, writes, and works on musical projects.

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Can Social Media Be an Artistic Outlet?

In my last blog post, The Language of Social Media, I wrote about how social media is changing the way we write. Our vocabulary, grammar, and punctuation all take a back seat to being casual and brief.

Whether this movement is good or bad is entirely debatable: there’s no objective answer. But regardless of your view on the matter, some people are embracing this change and seeing it as an opportunity instead of an obstacle. Here’s one of them.

Teju Cole is a Nigerian-American writer, who has spent time living in both countries. Cole’s experiences give him a unique perspective on life, death, and the different social issues that America and Nigeria face. Along with being an accomplished author and photographer, Cole uses his Twitter account as an artistic outlet of a different kind.

Cole’s tweets mix social commentary, American history, and Nigerian culture– only he writes them as poetry. This unique blend of content and delivery often come off as morose obituaries or headlines, and they certainly aren’t for the weak-hearted. Still, Cole achieves a goal that most of the Twitterverse has yet to reach: he makes you think. Here are some recent examples of his tweets:

What Cole proves without a doubt is that social media can be used as an artistic outlet. And I don’t mean in the way that bands, artists, and authors use it to promote their newest product– I mean it in the sense that social media is providing the actual basis for creation. Twitter is Cole’s canvas, not just a place where he can post a link for people to view or buy his canvas.

On top of that, Cole hardly ever self-promotes on his Twitter. After going back through a week’s worth of tweets (probably about 100), the only kind of posts I could find besides the ones shown above, are the occasional wordy (albeit macabre) joke, and a lot of interaction with his followers.

Cole is showing how to make a personal brand through social media while keeping his integrity as an artist. So what can we take from his example? A lot of things:

  • Be unique.
  • Provide value in a way that nobody else is.
  • Don’t be overly-promotional.
  • Write about what you know and care about.
  • Don’t be afraid to be provocative.
  • Be persistent.
  • Don’t complain about or shun change: use it to your advantage
  • Be consistent.
  • Turn obstacles and restrictions into opportunities.
Tom Hummer

Tom Hummer

Tom’s two biggest passions in life are writing and music. In his free time, Tom reads, writes, and works on musical projects.

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Friday Clicks [Volume 20] | The Best of the Social Web

This was a full week with a bevy of digital April Fool’s jokes and the mega-popular app Instragram finally coming to Android phones everywhere. It’s also a good week to think about what kind of message your company sends out over a holiday weekend. Do you feel comfortable posting about Easter? If not, that’s okay, it’s just wise to have that discussion before the time actually comes.

The Links:

  • Photo-sharing is becoming more and more popular as people’s attention spans for reading go down. So which sharing site is right for you? Our opinion is probably some combo of Tumblr and Instagram. (Click here)
  • I’ll again highlight my love of craft beer with a blog post from New Belgium Brewing Company. They launched a new beer, and with it one of the more creative marketing campaigns I’ve seen this year. It includes: an infographic, a mobile app and even a Pandora radio station. (Click here – you’ll have to go through an age-gate)
  • There have been a number of companies jumping on Pinterest lately, but Kotex seems to have embarked on the first true marketing campaign using the new-ish site. Pretty interesting! (Click here)
  • This is one of the more incredible infographics I’ve seen detailing the rise of Draw Something. It’s the fastest app to ever reach 50 million downloads. (Click here)
  • Yes, Google+ IS still around, and folks ARE still using it. All kidding aside, Chris Brogan featured an infographic on his blog detailing how people can use it for 10ish minutes a day and find success. (Click here)
  • Singer Kimberly Cole held a dance audition for a music video, and a nerdy guy showed up with incredible dance moves. It’s clearly a joke, but the dude is a totally legit dancer. It’s quite awesome.

Did we miss anything? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy Anderberg

Jeremy is a blog-reading, report-writing project manager. In his spare time he enjoys reading a good thriller, drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee, and spending time with his wife.

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