Social Media IS Word-of-Mouth…right?

Let me give you four numbers from an Small to Mid Sized Business (SMB) survey I read recently:

  1. 35% of SMBs plan to invest in Marketing in 2012 (the top area for investment).
  2. 25% of SMBs believe Word of Mouth will be their primary source of getting customers.  (Tied with Repeat Business) (Social Media was 5th, just ahead of Other).
  3. 40% of SMBs don’t plan to use social media tools next year.
  4. 37% of SMBs won’t use Social Media BECAUSE their business relies on word-of-mouth as a referral source.
Huh???  I’m confused.  Or at the very least I think some SMBs are confused.  No matter how I do the math or cross-multiply and divide I come to the conclusion that:  Some percentage of SMBs who will be doing marketing as a top priority and believe Word-of-Mouth will bring them customers, won’t be using Social Media Tools BECAUSE their business relies on said Word-of-Mouth.  Huh?
Social Media is Word of Mouth
Let me give you an “original” thought – not from a survey:
In 2012, a huge part of Marketing is Social Media.
Now a second, more important “original” thought:
Social Media is so word-of-mouth, the phrase should be changed to word-of-mobile or word-of-digital-device.
Whether you are an SMB and you believe and will spend in Marketing or you’re an SMB who doesn’t want to spend money on “Capital M Evil arketing”, but believes that Word-of-Mouth will make it rain – you should be doing something with Social Media.  You shold be doing this because:
  1. In 2012, a huge part of Marketing is Social Media.
  2. In 2012, Social Media IS word-of-mouth.
And, this just in…
    3.  This trend will continue in 2013.  And 2014.  And 2015.


In the early 1900′s Mark Twain popularized the phrase “There are 3 kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”  Over time this phrase has endured and spread throughout our society.  I would venture to say it spread a little bit through independent reading of Twain’s works and a lot through “word-of-mouth”.  The point of the phrase is that numbers can tell a lot of different stories depending on how they are read and who they are read by.  Maybe I read these numbers wrong and maybe these all make sense to you…I’d love to hear your interpretation.  Check out the full survey here and send me you thoughts via social media on Twitter to @BS_is_me (that’s no lie).

We understand the challenges of SMBs – we are one and we work with hundreds of them on a daily basis.  We strive to design solutions that provide value without onerous effort or time constraints.


Facebook Marketing for Beginners- It’s never too late to start!

“Facebook Marketing” could be one of the most used ‘buzz’ phrases of all time. But, there is a good reason as to why we are still hearing it, and why it probably won’t go away!  It’s where the people are!

So you’ve probably read the stats, but I can’ help throw them back at you one more time… the Facebook audience is over 800 million!!  That is A LOT of people.  With predictions of Facebook reaching 1 billion this year, it is where everyone, including your customers, are hanging out.  Start interacting with your customers, and turn your paper promotions and marketing efforts digital.  It is your best chance to get in front of your customers. If you still haven’t taken the time to get yourself or your business on Facebook, seize the day!

Okay, I’ll slow down.  For those of you who may be a little nervous because you aren’t exactly what you would call “computer saavy,” not to worry!  I’ve pulled a great resource from Entrepreneur Blog’r that will take you through a Facebook Marketing Workshop.  You can get started today by clicking HERE.


Social Media Marketing, Getting Started on Facebook

Many people have been on Facebook for a long time, or have had a business page on Facebook.  The difference of being on Facebook and utilizing Facebook is where people get caught up.

Social Media Marketing, Getting Started on Facebook

Are you ready to get started marketing on Facebook? You might think that Facebook is simply a social network people use to meet and chat about their personal life. While that is certainly true, it is also true that Facebook is where people share their positive and negative thoughts about companies, products and services. Marketing on Facebook is one of the most cost-effective ways for you to attract and engage millions of prospective customers.

Perhaps you’ve heard that if Facebook were a country, it would the 3rd largest. With half of its 750 million fans logged in at any given moment, a world of opportunity awaits you and your brand. All you need to do to capitalize on this phenomenon is to get started.  Sounds easy, right?

It is easy if you grew up with PCs, iPods and smart phones. For those of who didn’t, you may be wondering: where do I even start? To get going, here are four easy steps to getting started.

Sign up!
Remember the old saying “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?” First things first, stop talking about your Facebook page and just do it. The first thing you need to decide is what kind of Facebook page you want to create. You can create Facebook pages for a Local Business or Place, Company, Organization or Institution, Brand or Product, Artist, Band or Public Figure, Entertainment, Cause or Community. To sign up, start here.

Be Thorough
You may be tempted to just jump in and signup. However, if you intend to use Facebook to market your business, it is important to fully complete your profile. Make sure you take every opportunity to tell the Facebook world what you and your business are all about. Make sure you have a profile picture and fully complete your information tab. Some business owners use a photo of themselves. Others use a photo of their business logo, their business address or some other image that represents their brand.

Take some time to plan what you want to accomplish with your Facebook page. Make sure that your plan involves integrating social media into your broader marketing plan. With regard to generating leads with Facebook, getting a large number of fans is very important.

Your plan can be as simple as writing down challenging, yet attainable goals on the number of fans you want to secure or the number of leads you want to generate. Plan to implement some potential tactics and commit them to schedule. For example, on Monday post information, on Wednesday ask a question and Friday offer a deal.

Most importantly, give your plan enough time to succeed. Social media marketing takes a little time to get moving. Don’t just update your status twice and give up. Once your base starts growing you’ll be able to see your true reach.

Developing and implementing a plan to market your business on Facebook is one of the most cost effective ways to build brand awareness and generate new leads for your business. Remember, if it were a country, it would the 3rd largest. With half of its 750 million fans logged in at any given moment, you could have a world of opportunity!

(Post originally posted on the Main Street Chamber’s Blog.)

Turn ‘Likes’ Into ‘Loyalty’

I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz, Fan Acquisition, in the race for those ‘Likes’ on a brand’s Facebook Page.  Well,  just getting ‘Likes’ doesn’t mean you’ve hit your target.  As Debra Aho Williamson in the article So You Like My Brand on Facebook. Now What? states it well, “likes are easy; loyalty is hard.”

It is becoming increasingly more important for businesses to figure out how they can reach their Facebook market and turn those ‘Likes’ into ‘Loyalty’.  Marketers are in need of a long-term strategy.

In the article it is pointed out by Williamson, “Yes, consumers still say coupons are one of their top reasons to like a brand on Facebook, but as with any promotion, giving a freebie in exchange for a like only gets someone in the door.  Having a firm long-term strategy is what keeps them a customer.”

So what are you going to do when your customer asks, “I feel I have a good fan acquisition program, now I want to start engaging these people again.  I gave them an offer, got them to ‘Like’ my page, and I now have 2,000 consumers sitting here with no interaction.  What is my next step?”  This is the perfect opportunity to offer your Social Media Services, combined with the Four51 FanTools technology, and provide them with an answer.  You can help your client continue acquiring fans of their brand, and obtain lasting fan engagement and loyalty.

Wall Post Engagement- Obtained from AdAge

Read the entire AdAge article highlighting the importance of turning ‘Likes into ‘Loyalty’ here.

Tag You’re It!

I stumbled across some new research on taglines and slogans on Brandchannel.  Tagline Guru, an agency dedicated to taglines and slogans, has released its analysis of more than 150 corporate taglines debuting in 2009, aiming to “discover the most frequently used words in this year`s taglines, and whether they reveal how companies are strategically recasting their brand message to forge a closer connection with their customers.”

Do you think you can name some of the top ten words used in new taglines? I got five of 10.

The most commonly used words or concepts (alphabetically):

  1. believe
  2. far/further
  3. future
  4. imagine/see
  5. innovate/innovation
  6. more
  7. new
  8. save/savings
  9. together
  10. you

This info would be more interesting with some historical perspective. For example, I would like to know if numbers eight and 10 have recently cracked the top 10, or are they perennial favorites.

Paola Norambuena, Interbrand’s head of Verbal Identity (ed. yes, that’s really his title), says that keeping on top of commonly used taglines is important for two reasons:

  • First, it can highlight how companies are responding to shifts in the market
  • Second, it highlights what to avoid. Using only popular words creates lack of distinctiveness

Norambuena notes that different words aren’t enough to create distinctiveness. The same idea can be expressed in dozens of ways. Take, for example, Target’s “Expect More. Pay Less.” It feels very similar to Wal-Mart’s “Save Money. Live Better” and even similar to Home Depot’s “More Saving. More Doing.” In the current economy, we know consumers are looking for ways to save, but what in the taglines truly drives differentiation?

Keep in mind that brand identity and equity consists of much more than a tagline. That’s why I wonder if these monster brands worry much about overlapping taglines/messages. They are simply tweaking and reinforcing what they’ve already come to stand for in the mind of the consumer. And what they’ve come to stand for is the sum total of many types of inputs.

When choosing taglines, most companies explore options along a continuum of “descriptive” to “timeless.”  There are arguments for both, especially if taglines and slogans are to be applied at the corporate, divisional, and product levels. (The only universal rule is to never invite lawyers or accountants to these meetings.) Four51′s current tagline is On-Demand Smart Catalog Technology. This is mostly descriptive. A tagline like “Think Ahead. Stay Ahead” is timeless. In other words, it’s hard to imagine a time when this tagline would clash with the company’s strategy and goals.

Parting thought: remember that the burden of telling your company’s story doesn’t rest solely on the tagline. Don’t try to make it do too much. It can’t. It needs help from the compelling content on your website, the skill and friendliness of your customer-facing employees, and the professionalism of your reps.

Humans Listening to Humans

You could probably name dozens of products that broke too fast or were impossible to use or tasted lousy.

Here’s one that is delightful because the people who created it were tuned to the voice of their customer and experience of a fellow human.

You may have been this human being if you just spent 12 hours wide-awake on a long-haul overseas flight from somewhere like Minneapolis to Tokyo scrunched into seat 64A in the tail of a stuffed 747-400 who sleepwalked on arrival to an airline lounge to see someone somewhere in this wonderful world had thoughtfully and deeply reflected on who you are at that exact moment in the universe within the arc of all time and responded with passion to quench, not world thirst, but something way more important, that being your thirst right there, right then.

If Four51 were a beer machine we’d work really hard to be what you see here:

Here’s to humans listening to humans.

-tim morin