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Always On: 4 ways I understand our audience better every day, with Twitter’s Lindsay Bruce

Twitter Business content team members wear many hats. Marketing coordinator Lindsay Bruce predominantly owns the @TwitterBusiness handle, which has more than a million followers.

You may wonder, does a social platform have a target audience for their own social pages? They do!

“Our target audience is any brand or business looking to use Twitter better,” Lindsay said. “Our goal with all of our content, specifically on the @TwitterBusiness handle, is to help businesses understand what to Tweet.”

In fact, the brand is regularly faced with questions about what to Tweet, when to share inspiration, best practices, etc. So the most important thing to Lindsay is making Twitter’s content actionable, and that starts with knowing her audience inside and out.

“The more that I’ve started to understand our audience over the time that I’ve been here, the more strategic I’m able to be about the kind of content that we present them,” she said. “You have a sense of what they find valuable, the kind of questions they have, and you’re able to dial in and focus on the topics that are going to help them most.”

Here’s a look at four things Lindsay does every day to understand Twitter’s audience better.

1. Empathy drives everything

Even before taking on her role at Twitter, Lindsay understood the value of social for businesses.

“In my past life, I was a songwriter in Nashville,” Lindsay said.

She was active on social, promoting shows and releases, and her mom had a card reader on her iPad to help sell merchandise. It was a small business. She was once the audience she now tries to reach. And she brings that experience to her role, making a conscious effort to be empathetic in content. Before posting she asks herself, “Is this actually helpful?” or “Would I Retweet this?”

Lindsay uses the nature of her job to her advantage, diving into comments and notifications every day to learn how her audience communicates, the language they’re using and the vibe they’re bringing to the page. Using everything from Twitter lists to social listening, even clicking into people’s profiles to see what they share, she absorbs it all and matches it.

“It’s always fascinating to see the kinds of things people share and learn a little bit about them,” Lindsay said. “[Social] has to be more of a two-way street.”

Empathy shouldn’t be treated as a buzzword. Data shows that 64% of consumers want brands to connect with them. With social as the premier channel for connection, marketers need to reevaluate how they’re encouraging engagement and if that engagement suits their audience.

Try this: Before publishing content do a gut check and ask yourself, “Would I click on this?” “Am I proud of this?” Taking a moment to consider yourself as the end-user not only helps you cut down on jargon, but is a touch of humanity that ensures your content is thoughtful.

2. Always be testing

Social media is as much an art as it is a science. Many people in your organization may have an opinion about what you should be Tweeting, who your audience is, etc. It’s important to listen, but you also need to confidently speak to your strategy. That’s where testing comes in.

Testing is so often surprising. Lindsay understands that you can’t simply predict results. If you want to see and think about content the way your audience does, you have to put your assumptions to the test.

“Get the data to back up people’s behaviors and what they’re actually going to click on and what they’re actually going to do,” Lindsay said. By testing and measuring the results, “we get a better understanding of where we should be investing creative and design resources.”

There’s no shortage of content to create, no shortage of possibilities, but you can get spread thin. It’s more advantageous to focus on what’s working. Testing tells you what to prioritize and how to narrow down all of your ideas to what really works for your target audience.

Try this: Adopt a test and learn mindset. If you have a new idea you want to try, but it feels off-brand, treat it like a test. Run it by your manager and pose it this way: “Even if this fails, we’re going to learn what our audience doesn’t like, how to move on and officially cross that idea off our list.”

3. Ask the experts

Twitter has an audience that spans the globe, which means Lindsay frequently collaborates with regional marketers to localize their content. But even without a global team, anyone can get value from her takeaways on seeking out the experts within your own team for well-rounded support.

Lindsay realized the need for global support in one of her first meetings with the company’s regional marketing manager in Europe.

“He was talking about how it would be nice if we did Periscopes or live Tweets during his time zone because he misses them all,” Lindsay said. “It started this path of looking at our time of day engagement and trying to figure out, ‘Okay, how do we play with that?’”

The team ended up running a month-long test, scheduling Tweets and pushing out content around the clock to address other markets. And they found a sweet spot.

“It took some trial and error, but we’re more mindful of the times that we’re Tweeting, especially events, so we’re covering as many people as possible,” she said.

Lindsay leverages her global counterparts with expertise in their specific audiences for a more complete understanding of who she’s talking to. It gives her the superpower of delivering content to Twitter’s audience as a whole, rather than as fragmented markets.

Try this: Even if localization isn’t an issue for your team, collaborate with other marketers who may be the experts in different segments of your audience. Set up biweekly or monthly meetings to compare notes on what you’re creating and what can be leveraged to be a little more helpful and reach more people.

4. Make data actionable

Lindsay doesn’t just present insights from the data she collects, she brings opportunities to the table.

“Early in my career, one of my pet peeves was having to bundle up a bunch of data and make it very beautiful, then seeing nothing happen with it,” Lindsay said. “So I started playing around with presenting it differently. At the end of a deck where you’d usually have your thank you slide, I would add bullet points of how we could turn this data into something.”

Seeing is believing. Now when Lindsay presents data, she takes those bullet points a step further and mocks up the kind of content she thinks Twitter can create. Click the Tweet below to see how her team turned five tips to get your brand noticed on Twitter into a more engaging video experience.

“If you just give someone data, it takes extra work for them to think through what to do with it and to even imagine what something looks like.”

Lindsay set up a perfect solution-oriented framework to put data into action, but survey results show that there’s a more pervasive issue with data—marketers aren’t sharing it. Only 29% of marketers share their data with their brand and PR teams, 27% with demand/lead gen marketers and 26% with media buyers. Getting teams on the same page and encouraging data sharing across departments helps marketers develop social strategies that support overall business goals.

Try this: Use cross-collaborative marketing meetings in your organization to not only present your data but to share mockups of what that data can do. A rough proof-of-concept is enough to help people visualize the value of the data collected and put more ideas into action.

How will you understand your audience better?

Audiences are always changing. You gain new followers, you get people that move on. The way that you think of your audience at the beginning of the year may change in the middle of the year. It all means you need to constantly take the pulse of what you’re putting out into the world and how your audience is reacting to it, so you can know them (and serve them) better.

Are you planning to try any of these tips? Share with us on social or in the comments below.

This post Always On: 4 ways I understand our audience better every day, with Twitter’s Lindsay Bruce originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews

Hand holding one of five white stars image.

Hand holding one of five white stars image.

What’s in a review?

With the right client testimonials and customer reviews, B2B brands can increase trust and loyalty in uncertain times while strengthening existing connections and fostering new ones. Your brand may even be sitting on a goldmine of evergreen trust-building user-generated content.

Let’s take a look at 20+ tips to invigorate and expand your B2B marketing toolkit with a smart customer review and testimonial strategy.

Making The Statistical Case For Testimonials & Reviews

With some surveys showing that  90 percent of adult Internet users rely on reviews before making purchases, and others placing the figure even higher at nearly 99 percent, it’s important for B2B brands to make sure they feature the reviews and testimonials their customers have taken the time to write and share online.

Despite their unique power to build brand trust, just 43 percent of B2B businesses use reviews in their marketing toolkit.

Conversion rates can skyrocket by as much as 270 percent when online reviews are smartly incorporated, however, as shown in the Website Builder Expert data below.

Website Builder Expert Image

Some 30 percent of businesses said that customer reviews had a major impact on their overall success, and just over 26 percent said reviews also had a major impact on profitability, as shown in the following chart from a recent ZenBusiness survey.

ZenBusiness Chart

The same survey revealed that 52.2 percent of older businesses monitor online reviews weekly and 18.5 percent do so daily, while 47 percent of newer firms monitor weekly, and 39.3 percent monitor daily, suggesting that more established brands have settled into a weekly cadence, while younger firms tend to keep a more frequent watch over reviews.

Businesses tend to monitor a multitude of online review platforms for reviews, with 67.6 percent using Google, 55.1 percent Facebook, and 46.3 percent Yelp, followed by others as shown below.

ZenBusiness Chart

Only 11.9 percent of businesses said that they respond to every review left for them, while 60 percent said that they interact with either some or most reviews they receive, the same survey noted.

Younger B2B buyers are increasingly looking for reviews and testimonials to be delivered to them in methods that differ from those of older buyers, creating an opportunity for some brands looking to connect with younger audiences.

“Sixty-one percent of Millennial buyer decisions are influenced by user reviews that they trust,” Brian Fanzo recently noted in “Meet The Millennials: How Marketers Can Effectively Connect With The New B2B Buyer,” urging smart B2B marketers to not rely solely on traditional websites, and to instead “bring the testimonials — the trusted user reviews — to the buyer.”

Brian was one of the 13 B2B social media marketing leaders offering trends and predictions in our "13 Top B2B Social Media Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2020."

His sentiments are largely echoed in report data recently examined by Social Media Today.

[bctt tweet="“In 2020 social media marketing will shift from vanity metrics to transparent and authentic channels to focus on real-time customer engagement.” @iSocialFanz" username="toprank"]

You May Already Have a Goldmine of Testimonials

Many established B2B brands may already have a fantastic cache of glowing testimonials from clients, however because some firms don't have any established practice for gathering, collecting, and most importantly utilizing them in marketing efforts, they remain mostly hidden.

Gathering existing reviews and testimonials can be a great way to get new insight into your most loyal customers, unearth any points of customer dissatisfaction, and to build new mechanisms for improving communication with your customers.

“Your offerings should be so attractive to your loyalists that they have no reason to look elsewhere for additional products or services,” Rob Markey wrote in an insightful Harvard Business Review look at how to “Make It Easier for Happy Customers to Buy More.”

Client and customer kudos today comes from more channels than ever, which can make it challenging to gather and compile into a dedicated testimonials file. A list of only a few of the digital channels to search for possible existing testimonials includes:

  • Email Correspondence
  • Online Collaboration Tool Chat History
  • Private Social Media Posts
  • Public Social Media Posts
  • Mobile Device Text Message History
  • Voicemail Transcripts

Whether it's each quarter, weekly, or every day, taking the time to mine testimonials from each of the channels your firm user is a great way to unearth potentially powerful customer and client testimonials.

Tactfully encouraging clients to consider leaving a review or testimonial is a nuanced process best customized on a per-client basis, however there are also some universal methods to help guide a good strategy, such as those outlined in “14 Proven Ways to Encourage Customers to Write Reviews.”

Social media and search engine firms have also done their part to try boosting the visibility of customer reviews, such as Google adding highlighted business reviews in Google Posts.

[bctt tweet="“Whether it's each quarter, weekly, or every day, taking the time to mine testimonials from each of the channels your firm user is a great way to unearth potentially powerful customer and client testimonials.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

Testimonials & Reviews Increase Trust & Loyalty

Trust is paramount as B2B marketers seek to attract, engage, and convert new clients, and testimonials and reviews from satisfied existing customers are among the most powerful forms of messaging when it comes to earning the business of potential new clients.

It's no secret that for many years study after study has shown that testimonials and reviews hold the power to build trust, and ultimately help persuade people to engage your company's services.

Some 90 percent of B2B buyers said that they are more likely to complete a purchase after seeing a positive review.

[bctt tweet="“High rates of loyalty are a huge asset in business. They provide a necessary foundation for profitable growth.” — Rob Markey @rgmarkey" username="toprank"]

The earned power of trust becomes even more apparent when paired with survey data showing that globally 54 percent of consumers would still buy from a brand even after a negative product experience if they felt that a firm hadn’t broken trust.

When trust has been lost, however, some 82 percent said that they would not purchase again from the brand, highlighting the importance of building brand trust — something reviews and testimonials excel at.

Testimonials & Reviews Strengthen Existing Connections & Foster New Ones

Testimonials and reviews showcase the ability of your business to provide best-answer solutions so well that people take the time to personally write appreciative messages sharing their gratitude.

Testimonials and reviews also take good business partnerships and strengthen them, and help bring B2B relationships to new levels of commitment and trust.

62 percent of consumers leave positive reviews in order to help others in making buying decisions, while 52 percent say they leave negative reviews to warn others, as shown below.

Website Builder Expert Image

The connections forged through testimonials and reviews makes the relationship between your business and your clients stronger, and also serve as an important and visible example for potential new clients who are looking for information about your company.

More firms are also making it easy for customers to leave video feedback, such as a method Airbnb has implemented that mimics the ease of use users have come to expect for sharing videos on YouTube or Instagram.

The video review format has led some customers to share lengthier and more precise feedback, which in turn allows businesses greater insight into their customers.

“Videos can be richly emotional — offering the real voice and face of the customer. That emotion, transmitted directly to front-line employees and leaders, often generates the sort of empathy that inspires and motivates thoughtful action,” Rob Markey has noted.

By making video reviews a simple and optional part of customer feedback surveys, brands can have the best of both traditional text-based input and — for those who choose — the advantages of video reviews.

“If they say yes, then we've incorporated a video widget into the survey where they can just turn the camera on on their phone or computer and leave a response,” Airbnb customer insights manager Raj Sivasubramanian has said.

“The customers that chose that option really embraced it. And we actually had a lot of customers tell us in the video, ‘This is really cool. I love the fact that I can do this,’” Sivasubramanian added.

B2B firms can also utilize more formal video testimonials into their feedback efforts, as Business 2 Community explored in a helpful how-to guide, “How to Shoot the Perfect Video Testimonial.

[bctt tweet="“Testimonials and reviews take good business partnerships and strengthen them, and help bring B2B relationships to new levels of commitment and trust.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

The Challenge of Combating Inauthentic Reviews

While no firm wants poor reviews, they are nonetheless important in their own way to consumers. 62 percent of U.S. consumers found that negative reviews were just as important as positive ones when it came time to make purchasing decisions.

Customers have grown to be suspicious of businesses that have conspicuously uniform five-star reviews, however, and more now say that they look to utilize multiple sources of reviews when researching a firm.

Despite this, 65 percent of U.S. adult consumers believe the reviews they read are generally accurate, however.

Recent survey data has also shown that 55 percent of consumers see the biggest red flag with reviews that use the same wording, while 35 percent view an overwhelming number of positive reviews to be indicative of inauthentic reviews, as shown below.

Bazaarvoice Chart

Testimonials & Reviews Are Evergreen

Most testimonials focus on the things that a client or customer loved about working with your team, and these are also largely the type of praise that isn't particularly directed at a specific time, which makes testimonials excellent sources of evergreen content that can often remain relevant and convincing for years.

HubSpot has compiled an extensive list of good examples of testimonial pages that can serve as inspiration, in Lindsay Kolowich’s “14 Testimonial Page Examples You'll Want to Copy,” showing how to implement quotes, video, audio, case study, customer interview and other types of testimonials.

To help you along your path to building more powerful testimonials and reviews into your current strategy, or to begin implementing your first such plan, here are several additional recent resources that have been published:

Reinvigorate Your B2B Marketing Testimonial Strategy

We hope this introductory look at the power of client testimonials and customer reviews to help B2B brands boost trust and loyalty and strengthen connections has been helpful, and that the tips and statistics we’ve shared will help make your marketing testimonial strategy more robust and successful.

The post 5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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