Thursday, July 30, 2009

On A Roll... Another 25 Words...

Oh, what the heck? Here's another "25 Words of Social Media Wisdom"

"20% of clients provide 80% of referrals. Each referring client is Golden Fuel - worth 16x non-referrers. So do unto them as they unto you."

Submitted to Liz Strauss' "25 Words of Social Media Wisdom" Project.

25 Words of Social Media Wisdom - Submission

"Good fences make good neighbors." But small gardens.

Don’t wall yourself in. Connect with your customers and neighbors who are talking about you right now.

Submitted to Liz Strauss' "25 Words of Social Media Wisdom" Project.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Do Local Businesses Need a Social Media Strategy?

They do if they want to grow like crazy!

Business finds success through social networking

(Excerpted from 7/28/2009 NECN report by Peter Howe) - Louis E. Page Inc. , a 116-year-old Massachusetts company is proving to be a raging success story for how to use social networking and other online tools to increase sales and sales leads.

The company supplemented its mailed-out catalog and ads in specialty magazines with a website about five years ago, but the big breakthrough came last December, when Duncan Page added a blog that he calls The Fence Post.

Since then, he has had an 850 percent increase in sales leads.

One article Duncan wrote was about how to use something called woven wire fencing to build a horse paddock. Guess how many people have downloaded it? More than 1,500.

Page said his typical blog post is "just an article about the products. We don't say you should buy this from us. We don't really refer to ourselves at all. It's really important to the whole marketing effort to blog and sort of become known as an authority and a trusted authority on what you're selling.''

"One of the things I've learned is that it really works,'' Page said. As Louis Page & Co. enters its 117th year, the namesake's grandson's looking ahead ... to video blogging. "I would like to get into video, is one thing, because that's very effective to be able to actually show somebody rather than have to write and describe it with words.''

My Take

What a perfect illustration of a trusted, established business using social media to leverage its reputation and its profile among its customers and prospective customers.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"I washed my windows and I liked it?!" - Guest Editorial

Linda Pulford, owner of New Hartford-based Farmington Valley Organizing offers this great motivational piece in today's FVO newsletter.

I hate to wash windows! I have 47 of them and I usually just get streaks. I always put window washing on my gift wish list. But, it never materializes.

So, after pollen season passed, I had no excuse. Why couldn't I get it done? It was too big and overwhelming a chore. So, I had to work really hard at getting started. First I thought I would just do the insides. Still, too many windows. Then I thought about just doing the downstairs (29). Still too many. Then I thought, maybe just the insides of the kitchen windows (5). OK, deal.

I sometimes tell my clients to put on music they love to help energize them for a task. I needed all the energizing I could get, so I put on a Doo Wop CD.

I had tried the newspaper tip before with streaky results. But, just heard the ladies from "How Clean is Your House?" say the papers must be at least 2 days old to work. Who knew? I used some old newspapers and window cleaner and it worked great! The rough papers took the film off the windows quicker than a soft cloth. After I cleaned them with newsprint, I just ran a clean
paper towel into the corners.

I was having such success, I kept going... All the insides of the downstairs windows (29). The music played a big part. It's hard to have a bad time while listening to "I love a girl named ramma lamma lamma lamma lamma ding dong!"

What does this have to do with organizing?

One reason you are not getting organized is because the task is too big and overwhelming. Whatever it is, breaking it down into a very small piece will work.

* If it's the office, just start with one small part of your desk.

* If it's a pile of papers, just start with one inch.

* If it's a storage room, just start with one square foot.

Get the idea? It works. And don't forget the music!

Linda has been a Member & Trusted Service Provider since March 2008. She was the first TSP to gain a new client by a Member referral. Please visit FVO's page - or you may reach Linda at 860-558-1747.

Friday, July 17, 2009

My Take on "Does Facebook local ad biz help advertisers?

Adotas may be missing the bigger picture when it comes to pronouncing Facebook ads a waste of money for small businesses.

Excerpted from "Facebook soaks up local ad biz, does it help the advertisers?" (July 17, 2009):

"74 percent of Facebook's ad revenues is from local businesses, according to Borrell. What are advertisers getting for this? Facebook’s best bet is as a portable data warehouse as advertisers ask for targeted buys, but considering the far flung nature of social networks, it seems wasted money for local businesses."

My Take

"considering the far flung nature of social networks, it seems wasted money for local businesses."

Far flung - perhaps. But local too. As more 30-60 year olds get onto Facebook - which they're doing - their local neighbors, friends, and trusted businesses will be on as well.

Local businesses get most of their business from word-of-mouth now. The local ad market, estimated at $100B, is primed to mine the communal knowledge of trusted local relationships.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Watch Your Eyes - Does Social Media Lower Our Guard Against Ad Overexposure?

Excerpted from 7/16/2009 MediaPost article"Eye Tracking Study Reveals Search Going Social"

Marketers face the constant challenge of keeping up with and understanding consumer search behavior. An eye tracking study conducted by Oneupweb on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube by a digital marketing company reveals trends about the way people interact with paid ads in social media sites.

Oneupweb found that not only do people spend time viewing paid ads on social networks, but they often looked at the ads more quickly once they landed on the search results page. For example:
- 65% of participants engage with sponsored ads within the first 10 seconds of their search.
- survey participants revealed they log into Facebook
  • 29% several times daily
  • 39% every day
  • 17% weekly
  • 17% less than 3 times per month.

Contrary to expected behavior, the participants viewed the sponsored ads prior to viewing the second and third results. The Oneupweb study indicates similar behavior was observed throughout the YouTube search.

The study conducted with 25 survey participants was done from late June through early July.

My Take

Users of social media sites exhibit more interest in ads on social sites than non-social sites. Sponsored ads are viewed at a higher than expected rate, demonstrating that social media users are more open to being influenced by advertising they know is paid for.

Although paid-for advertising does not take full advantage of the crowd-wisdom potential of social media, this study indicates that social media users are more ready to be influenced, perhaps as a result of their elevated trust levels for social media content.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seth Godin's 3:1 and 1:5 Principles

Excerpted from Seth Godin's Blog "Gotcha" (7/15/2009)

"There are lots of things you can do to make the sale. They often are precisely the opposite of what you should do to generate word of mouth. I know, you can't have word of mouth unless you have a sale, but a sale that leads to pain is hardly worth it.

"My rule of thumb is this: every person you turn away because your product or service isn't right for them turns into three great customers down the road. Every bad sale costs you five."

My Take

Acquiring the right customers is the key to your profitability.

Success breeds success. Happy customers result in more happy customers.

So stop spending your time hunting for bad customers via expensive, traditional advertising. Use your network of satisfied customers and friends as a "Connection Engine"(tm) to find - and be found by a better clientele that provides a recurring source of qualified referrals.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Local Ads Moving to Social Networks

Excerpted from Borrell & Associates blog:

- Nearly 20% of all ad spending is by local businesses.
- Local advertisers will account for about $641 million of nearly $3.3 billion this year trying to reach consumers via these sites.
- Total is less than 3% of all locally spent online advertising.
- 57% of all that local social-networking advertising is going to two sites, Facebook and MySpace.
- These are the only two sites generating more than $100 million from local advertising placement. This relatively small amount may not seem like much, but the swift growth of these networks appears to be causing a corresponding upswing in local ad placement.
- Keep an eye on Facebook. It is the biggest share-getter. In fact, 74% of its ad revenues are from local businesses.

My Take

OK - I "get" that local businesses are buying Web 1.0 banner ads on Web 2.0 social sites. And hey, if it works, why not?

But soon the advertising will be the network, not just a banner. The word-of-mouth that occurs in actual relationships will be harnessed to benefit not only trusted businesses, but consumers and their communities as well.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Word of Mouth Tops All Other Media

Excerpted from World Advertising Research Center's 7/9/2009 article
Word-of-Mouth Works for Consumers"

Based on a survey of 25,000 adults in 50 countries, Nielsen research finds online and offline word-of-mouth are regarded as being the "most trusted forms of advertising."
  • 90% of consumers around the world trust recommendations from people they know when discussing brands
  • 70% accord the same status to online consumer reviews
According to Jonathan Carson, international online president of The Nielsen Company, the "explosion in consumer-generated media" means the importance of word-of-mouth "has increased significantly."

My Take

With the growth of social networking sites and the dominance of social media usage, the Web-inization of local word-of-mouth is inevitable. If consumers begin sharing trusted word-of-mouth referrals it at a rate similar to their adoption of social media, it will tip the $100 billion US local ad market.

About is a local and Web-based (Web 2.0) social network that provides businesses with a means for connecting with their customers and neighbors encouraging more word-of-mouth sales leads rewarding their network of referrers

The purpose of is three-fold:
1. to facilitate “word-of-mouth” referrals among consumers for the local businesses they trust
2. to increase sales revenues for trustworthy businesses
3. to benefit the not-for-profit organizations that are supported by the network members

Membership in the network is free.

The mission of is “Rewarding the community by empowering trusted relationships.”

The goal of the is to “turn local advertising upside down and inside out”. “Upside down” because businesses only pay for advertising after it has been effective – not before. “Inside out” because businesses pay the advertising fee to their neighbors and satisfied customers who brought them the qualified sales lead – not to a third party publisher.

Related Web-based Services:
No other services offer the combination of social, local, affiliate, not-for-profit features which comprise's process. (see chart)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

My Take: Mark Cuban and "Free" vs. "Better than free"

In his June 30 blog article, "Free vs Freely Distribute, Mark Cuban dives into the debate stirred by Chris Anderson's new book about the Web, "Free".

Consequent and perhaps ancillary to the "Free" argument is the question, "Exactly what is 'Better than free'?" - a trademark of YouGottaCall since 2007. No - I'm not claiming trademark infringement - rather pointing out an important distinction which will become more clear as the Web evolves.

Mark describes that Web content such as YouTube and news articles are "better than free". My comments to Mark:

I’ll argue it’s “better than free” if you either directly save money that you would have spent or else (even better) receive money.

The examples you give (Youtube, magazine articles, newspapers reports, TV shows on Hulu) don’t do either. Do they? In most cases they’re “just free”.

I’m quibbling over your wording to illustrate an important point. While the Web provides a flood of media that we browse for free and Web 2.0 brings us user generated content, also also available for free, the future Web will provide new opportunities in a social economy that actually provide cash – and are really “better than free”.

When on the social Web I am paid for my affiliation with the businesses I trust or can earn money for my favorite charity through my Web-based or Web-facilitated transactions then I’ll agree that it’s “Better than free.”

“There’s value in them thar relationships”,

– - Tim

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fences Make Small Gardens

According to Robert Frost, "Good fences make good neighbors." Business owners may add, "But they make for small gardens."

Growing your word-of-mouth referrals takes hard work. It's like tending a garden, needing constant time and attention, weeding, pruning, watering and feeding.

But in the midst of your networking, business card collecting and after-hours socials with fellow business people don't wall yourself into a small garden.

Your customers and neighbors - the people who like you and are talking about you right now - are a much bigger garden than your fellow networkers.

Your referrals naturally come from satisfied clients and people who trust you. So take down the garden wall separating you from your bigger opportunity. Social media provides small business owners with new tools allowing you to connect your business networking efforts with your existing network of fans.

The result - a growing source of
recurring, qualified referrals.