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 Page Marketing: Three Tips To ‘Spring’ Forward Your Page Promotions Today!

Spring is here!!  And you know what that means . . .Spring Cleaning! No one really likes doing it, but its one of those things that need to happen.

But hey,  you always feel better once it is over anyway.

So you’ve probably already tackled your house . . . now what about your business?  I say we use this motivation to finally spring ahead with Facebook Page promotions.  Continue reading

Social Media ROI

There’s been some heated discussion recently about social media ROI on various Print Service Provider listservs. Michael Neubarth, a Contributing Editor to, assembled some opinions and insights regarding the ROI question. We’ve published them below. Neubarth chose quotes that support his thesis: if social media ROI was ever a relevant question, it isn’t any longer. With 350,000,000+ people on Facebook alone, social media is well on its way from novelty to communications infrastructure.

Continue reading

SAP and Social Media

Mark Yolton of SAP orchestrates the large, open communities of innovation for the benefit of customers, partners, and SAP. These include:

SDN – SAP Developer Network –
BPX – Business Process Expert Community –
BOC – Business Objects Community –
SAP EcoHub –
UAC – University Alliances Community –
SAP TechEd & SAP Tech Tour –
SCN – SAP Community Network –

Together, these communities have ~1.7 million members in 200+ countries, with forums, wikis, blogs, eLearning, downloads, whitepapers and articles, plus 400,000 bi-weekly newsletter subscribers.

Yolton uses an interesting phrase in his response to the question below: richness of relationship. Everyone says relationships matter, and implicit in that statement is that they matter from a financial perspective. He goes on to say that “communities have brought SAP tremendous financial and non-financial benefits.” What is a non-financial benefit? Is it perhaps a financial benefit that just can’t be measured the traditional way?

Q: According to Charlene Li’s Altimeter Group’s recent report that deep brand engagement correlates with financial performance – do you think that’s true? Or is it the reverse? SAP was listed as a brand using best practices for engagement – your engagement is not limited to a few social media experts, but extends across your brand.

A: It’s a chicken and egg question. Are successful companies more engaged in social media because they can be – because they are successful, or are they successful because they are engaged in social media? There is a correlation…we don’t know if there is causality. I can say that being engaged in community and social media has brought SAP tremendous benefits, including product adoption, market penetration, and so on — and also richness of relationship which can translate into customer satisfaction and success – and I would guess that would translate into customer loyalty. I know that these communities have brought SAP tremendous financial and non-financial benefits.

FanTools for Facebook from Four51

Social Media and Marketing Management from Four51

Okay, here we go again….

Just like 10 years ago when Four51 paved the way in e-commerce, we’re now leading the way into the rapidly growing social economy by introducing Four51 FanTools for Facebook. We’ve been working on social media for the better part of a year.  And now we’re excited to unveil Four51 FanTools for Facebook.  Our ultimate vision is total social media and marketing management via support for the most popular social tools.

Here’s what we’re doing…we think these tools will help your business thrive in today’s 24-hour marketing cycle. We’ve reached an age in which instant marketing on Facebook, Twitter, and in the Blogosphere can work seamlessly with more traditional printed and branded communications tools (direct mail, brochures, promo items, etc.).

You now have the ability with the push of a button to post, tweet, update, blog. And with Four51’s widely embraced e-commerce platform you can now synchronize these real-time social media channels with the traditional marketing mix. Online and offline: fast, synchronized, cohesive.

Simply put, Four51 FanTools for Facebook allows brands, their agencies, and their sellers in segments like retail, franchising, distribution, and manufacturing to quickly and simply implement a Facebook Fan page strategy. And in doing so, get a head-start on competitors in building your (or your client’s) dynamic, vital social communities, comprising customers, prospects, partners and other important participants.

Four51 focused its initial launch in the social economy on Facebook for one simple reason: it’s huge. This is a market of 200 million-plus members, growing rapidly week-in and week-out. Facebook is becoming the standard for the social economy. As it strengthens its hold, more and more of your customers and their customers are going to be doing business – buying and selling – in this environment.

Four51 FanTools for Facebook is an excellent fit if you’re a brand, agency or seller wanting to nurture your community online. With it, you can configure your own, and/or your customers’ Facebook fan pages quickly, making offers to targeted prospects based on gender, geography, age, and lifestyle.  Further, now you have excellent ways to create reports showing those accessing offers, accepting them, rating and sharing them.

Central to Four51 FanTools is the DealStream, a configurable, dynamic portal platform consisting of four distinct yet integrated programs:

  • The Offer Portal, supporting unlimited offers via coupons, gift cards, mobile SMS messaging
  • The Dealer & Location Portal, allowing fans to quickly find nearby locations
  • The Brand Central Portal, an online source of branded video communications
  • The Brand Store Portal, featuring immediate “buy-now” e-commerce integration via Four51 ecommerce technology

There are a number of benefits. For example, Four51 FanTools for Facebook lets you:

  • Implement a social commerce strategy with minimal investment risk
  • Manage the presentation of more dynamic brand content as a Facebook “Application”
  • Control your social interactions
  • Measure your campaign and communications effectiveness

Best of all, you now can seamlessly coordinate the emerging social media environment with traditional offline activities, ensuring that messaging and materials in both environments are in synch and delivering ROI.

As you know, we’re in an age where people and communities are exerting more and more influence over the brands they prefer. I learned this from my four kids who are in their teens and early 20s. Maybe you have too.

Say “so-long” to the brand manager, the agency, the distributor, the manufacturer mired in long planning cycles, extended production runs, dead-on-arrival messaging and repetitive static campaigns. That approach is so 24 hours ago!  Today’s the day to plan how you need to message and market and sell tomorrow, based on what the world is tweeting or posting about you right now.  And tomorrow’s the day to start planning for the day after.

Welcome to the 24-hour marketing cycle.  Welcome to Four51 FanTools for Facebook.

Drop me a line if you want to learn more and see a demo.


PS Look for Four51 FanTools updates on Four51’s Facebook Fan Page.

Kodak’s Take on Social Media

Four51 is passing along a link to a Social Media Guide we received from Kodak not long ago. It arrived via the email you see below. The email’s author, Jeff Hayzlett, claims that this Guide “has done alot for Kodak” — presumably the proper spelling of a lot will be covered in a subsequent Guide. Continue reading