A new feature from Alaska Airlines may soon put an end to time wasted on the phone waiting for travel help and text message instead. Fliers can message to connect with a customer service representative for answers to simple travel questions.
An estimated 70 percent of people who contact Alaska are using a mobile device, according to the airline. Of the calls that are made to the airline, Alaska believes 40 percent of them could be handled through text messages.
In the US only Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Air now offer the option to connect with airline customer service representatives over text, but nearly all provide some level of customer support through Twitter and Facebook Messenger. (Hawaiian launched its service in August.)
The help you can get via text includes: flight delays and schedule changes, emotional or service support animal requests, seat assignments, upgrades, requesting accessible travel services and questions about the Alaska frequent flier program, Mileage Plan
We’re told text message customer service can’t help with making new reservations, voluntary flight changes and cancellations, paid seat upgrades, and enrolling in Mileage Plan if you don’t have an upcoming reservation.
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Facebook, even for all its faults with data privacy, is one the most amazing ways to target specific locations and interests! Ads on Facebook can be targeted to specific locations, demographics and individual passions. What this means for you is that your advertising dollars have a better chance of reaching the right people in the right location who care about what you have to say!
Get Hyper Focused – Target Your Neighborhood
Social media and local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can work together to help you drive even more of the right people to see you and what you offer. For example, when you run Facebook ads for a certain neighborhood, they will help establish your business as a leading provider in that geographic location.
If you run Facebook ads for a year that use keyword variations including “Stylist West Hollywood” or “West Hollywood Stylist” this will send a message to Google about what you specialize in. Over time, your company’s name will show up higher in Google results when people type in “West Hollywood Stylist.”
Spread the Joy – Share a Coupon
Who doesn’t love a deal? Even better if it’s for the massage therapist around the corner! Everyone loves shopping local and supporting people in the community and sharing a coupon helps to drive immediate action.
Since sharing a photo of a coupon will only go so far, we recommend sharing your discount via Facebook’s advanced targeting options. These allow you to promote your coupon to a specific audience based on the demographics you describe. After a few tests, you can view the analytics to learn which audiences are most receptive to the discounts.
When you set out to market yourself and your business it feels like there’s a never-ending list of options and it’s hard to choose the right ones that are a fit for you locally.
How to Kickstart Your Local Marketing
We’ve outlined some tips to help small businesses get the right marketing out in the community for maximum impact.
I’m certain that most of your current and future customers live within a 10-mile radius of where you work. So, before you start investing in ads on social networks like Facebook and Instagram, you need to get a great understanding of what your customers like and need.
Creating content on social media will help you figure out what’s the most interesting for your audience.
Not sure about which content you should post or where it should be promoted, here are three simple, but solid suggestions for both Facebook and Instagram.
- Build a Local Guide
Taking advantage local interests and events is a big part of local marketing. To do so, you have to think about your customers as part of the local community and as individuals as well. Where do they go on days off? How do they choose to unwind at the end of day? Which local spot is the best for watching ‘the game’? Creating a guide to your town, especially if it’s something like ‘The Top 5 Places Locals Choose for Happy Hour’ helps you see how you show how people behave locally and will give you ideas of how your services and your business fit in. If you in the beauty industry, you can tie your services in as you want to make sure people look there best for a night out! This is just the kind of information that is clickable & shareable on Facebook and Instagram.
- Start a Giveaway
Everyone loves FREE stuff! And, giveaways are easy ways to generate interest and engagement.
A great way to increase value beyond your own business and extend the power of your giveaway is to partner with some other local businesses. How great of a gift is a one hour Massage and a new Haircut – Feel Good, Look Better! When you work with another business you can reach into new groups of potential customers who might not know you yet!
Giveaways also give you a chance to collect and build a list of prospects for future communications and marketing. Collect emails and phone numbers for everyone who enters!
- Sponsor a Local Event
When you’re putting efforts towards local marketing, every minute and cent counts towards your bottom line. Sponsoring a local event is a simple effort that yields a big return on your investment.
Whether its a charity run, a school fundraiser or a county-wide bake-off, every community has its fare share of local events. Signing up to sponsor a festival or event can help you boost your brand ethos and increase awareness amongst new, qualified audience members near you.
If you’re not sure how sponsorships tie into your sales goals, consider how the event can leave customers intrigued and wanting more. For example, sponsorship will usually get you a branded table at the event. View this as an opportunity to share information about your brand, give out free samples, and ask for email sign ups. All of these things establish a memorable connection in consumer minds between the event, your brand, and what you offer.