As promised in my last blog – we will be discussing seven ways to successfully blog and tweet to connect with your customer through building authentic relationships.
Benefits of Blogging!
“A blog is your ticket to creating: content, context, connection, and community,” according to John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing.
What does this mean for a vocational school?
As a vocational school, the more people who know (1) what is really taught in the school, (2) the value and benefits of the trade, (3) what employers are saying about employees with these skills (or lack of these skills), and (4) what the marketplace is demanding, the more they will realize the importance of this form of education. It is the school’s job to share their information (content) in the correct context, and connect with their audience (the community). But remember the 80/20 rule – eighty percent of your tweets and blog content should be about topics your customers are interested in. As a vocational school, you may decide to keep it in the area of education and employment skills, sharing education and employment tips, but it shouldn’t be screaming “enroll in our school today!”
Benefits of Tweeting!
Tweeting is not all talking. It’s also listening. Listening to what your customer is saying on Twitter (both your feed or others) and learning what your customer likes and dislikes, answer their questions, make them laugh, and build a relationship. You will discover what to blog or tweet about, how to provide tools for and help your customer, and show you truly care about them and want to help.
As mentioned in my last post, the majority of schools that are tweeting (which are only 33%) don’t venture outside of posting “what’s happening at our school.” There’s so much more that can be accomplished by sharing and recognizing what’s happening at local businesses and in the workforce, as well as providing tools for being successful on the job and in school. One school I found in my “search” noted above, who understands the importance of thanking the community and sharing what businesses are saying. They show their appreciation! Kudos to them!
7 Tips for Blogging and Tweeting with Success!
Listen! Begin with listening to what is already being said. Read other blogs and tweets. Get on your competitors’ sites – see what is being said. Read other blogs in your industry, what are customers saying? What do employers want in a student? What do parents need from a school? Where are students struggling?
Purpose! Determine the purpose (goal) of the blog. Without a purpose your customers may become confused and stop following you. Be sure to identify what you want to accomplish, what needs you want to meet. Remember – it needs to be two-way and must put customers first!
ROI! Estimate the return on investment and utilize the analytic tools to determine if you are reaching it. (Refer to my previous blog.)
Plan! When will you post your blogs? What will the blogs be about? Who will be responsible for blogging? It should be someone who truly cares about the customer – who wants to engage with customers.
Monitor / Reply! Be ready to monitor and reply to comments – who’s going to do this? Again, it should be someone who wants to engage with customers – to help.
Authentic Helpfulness! Be authentically helpful! Make the customer feel as though you really do want to help and are concerned with their problems. They will keep coming back if they feel valued.
Be Genuine! Be yourself. Show your human side. Even share “non-business” information about you. When customers see the human side of a business they are more willing to connect.
Blogs and Twitter are the same, yet different.
The seven tips above apply to both platforms, but the content you include and how you do it should be different, depending on what your goal is for each one. You will have many more tweets than blogs, but you still must respond to both in a timely fashion and be authentic!
Some vocational schools are just beginning to see the value of social media in relations to building authentic community and relationships with their students, parents, community, and employers, while others have a ways to go.
What is one of the tips noted above that surprises you? What is one area you are still nervous about and would like to have me share more information on?