Tag Archives: word of mouth marketing

Does B2B have a place in social media?

Is it “appropriate” for business to business organizations to use social media techniques?

The question comes from another great post from PR Squared. (Yesterday, we talked about an awesome ebook they put together.) Today, I wanted to share the question with our readers to try and get a better inside perspective.

Some may say that social media does not have a place in business to business interactions, arguing that “we already know our customers,” or “we have a very technical, specialized product,” or even “our customers are very conventional.”

But many organizations can discover the answer by starting with another question, “are our customers online?”

Nine times out of 10, the answer to that one will be “yes.”

Whether your customers are doing business online or not, they’re there. Your customers are online – checking e-mail, using Google, researching topics for an upcoming presentation.

If our customers are there, we should also be there. B2B’s MUST have a place in social media.

Check back tomorrow for more information on how to find organizations involved in social media in your industry and how to stake your claim.

What do you think? Is it “appropriate” for business to business companies to use social media techniques? Why or why not?

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Improve your marketing, ask customers to help

Sometimes, the easiest way to improve a part of your life is to simply ask for help. As it turns out, the practice of asking for help can improve your marketing, if you go about it in the right way.

I was reading a post yesterday at Rohit Bhargava’s Influential Marketing Blog (IMB) on the best “non-salesy” ways to ask your customers for help promote your business.

Rohit says the main reason why your customers aren’t recommending you to their friends is because either you haven’t asked them to, or you don’t make it simple for them to do so.

“If you ask them in the right way, however, the word of mouth referrals and additional business you can get from the experience will easily be more powerful that just about any other advertising or marketing you could do.”

Here are a few of his ideas on how to get your customers to do some business promotion for you:

  • Share credit. If a company helped you produce something, like a new training video, share the credit with that company at the end of the video by mentioning their company name. The next time they go to a trade show, they may be more inclined to use your video as an example, spreading your message to an audience you couldn’t reach before.
  • Make it easy to become a fan. “People often want to their circle of friends (and sometimes to the world) to know the brands they love.” Whether online or offline, give your customers a visual way to show their support for your brand – t-shirts, bumper stickers, a badge for their blog, joining your LinkedIn group.
  • Encourage online reviews. Online customer reviews can have a big impact on someone’s decision to buy from your company or not. “Instead of getting customers to blindly fill out surveys or registration cards, try asking them to go online to a prominent site, or social network, or even their own blog and ask them to talk about their experience.”

Read more great ideas at IMB.

You can also get your employees to help out by asking them to become your company’s friend on any of the social media platforms you belong to (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). This way, whenever you make an update or send out a message, there’s a chance your employees’ friends will also see the update and improve your online visibility.

Social media has opened the doors to a whole new world of marketing where you don’t have to go it alone anymore, where you can’t  go it alone anymore. Your success will be determined by the connections you make and how well you nurture those relationships.

Friday fun: Guerrilla marketing in action

Guerrilla Marketing – an unconventional system of promotions, usually on a very low budget, that relies on time, energy and imagination.

“For every bootstrapper out there looking to build their business exposure without breaking your pocketbooks” Guerrilla Marketing is the way to go, according to those at the Bootstrapping Blog.

When you’re marketing on a budget, a little creativity in your advertising and marketing programs can help stretch your dollar by keeping cost low.

Bootstrapper recently compiled 10 Great Guerrilla Marketing Examples for our viewing pleasure, here are just a few examples:

Great guerrilla marketing in action, dentist advertisement

Great guerrilla marketing in action, dentist advertisement

Great example of guerrilla marketing, Clue "blood" soap

Great example of guerrilla marketing, Clue

Great example of guerrilla marketing, anti-smoking advertisement

Great example of guerrilla marketing, anti-smoking advertisement

Pure WOM marketing or just child’s play?

At exactly 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 28, 2008, hundreds gathered in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, pillows in-hand and ready to battle.

One local news station reported the number of “pillow toting Facebook enthusiasts” to be over one thousand, making this brawl “one of the largest pillow fights ever.”

From West Michigan’s WZZM 13:

“It just started with me inviting about 100 people to the event on Facebook. It was originally just for a few friends and then it just exploded,” said Rob Bliss who organized the event.

Participants squared off in teams based on the color of their shirts. And then the drama started to build.

The clocked ticked down as the theme song from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly western blared from speakers.

“Then at 2 o’clock I blew my horn and I almost died basically,” said Bliss.

That was when the sea of colors swarmed the middle of the circle, and people started smacking anyone in their path with pillows.

“It was just epic. There were so many people and everyone was attacking every one and half the time you were hitting your own team by accident because they were getting in the way,” said Rick Waldmiller a member of the Black team. “I tried to bring the biggest firmest pillow I could find and work with all my Reds and it worked because I hit a Blue so hard his face paint came off,” said Mary Brandt pointing to the blue stain on her pillow.

Take a look at some video of the massive pillow fight.

With enough buzz, this week’s event in Grand Rapids just goes to show how effective word of mouth can be, especially when social media gets involved.

What do you think … was this public pillow fight word of mouth marketing at its best, or just a few hundred midwest kids having fun?

Expert advice on marketing your blog

Shama Hyder, expert marketing consultant, recently gave a presentation at BlogWorld ’08 and delivered some outstanding marketing advice. With specific advice on how to market your blog, she gave a succinct run-down of the marketing efforts you should  focus on to deliver the best results.

Shama’s advice for marketing your blog:

Customer vigilantes: When bad customer service and word of mouth collide

If a customer has a problem with your company, fix it before something like this happens:

When bad customer service and word of mouth collide

Customer vigilantes: When bad customer service and word of mouth collide

As Zane Safrit at The Society for Word of Mouth says:

“Customer vigilantes: The dark knights of word-of-mouth.”

If this customer went as far as to make a quality outdoor sign, imagine what they could be doing online. The customer could easily be writing about the construction company on their blog, creating a group on Facebook, spreading his bad experience on Twitter and connecting with other people who have had bad experiences with the company.

It is worth your time and effort to fix the problems customers have with your company. Even if the problem can’t be fixed, do something that will make them happy.

A happy customer will tell three friends about your business over the phone, but an angry customer can quickly tell 3,000 of their friends online.

Better customer service in 10 minutes or less

Tip: Listen to what your customers are saying about you and respond.

“The best companies have someone that takes 5 or 10 minutes a day and works on reaching out to customers.”

Choose one person or a few people, doesn’t matter what department they’re from as long as they’re familiar with the company and have good writing skills, to reach out to customers daily. Just ten minutes can make a “huge” difference, according to Service Untitled.

Along with what they do on a daily basis, they should spend 10 minutes reading what customers are saying about the company on the web. Regularly check outlets where your company is talked about including blogs, Twitter and forums.

If customers are saying good things about your company, thank them. If they’re complaining, help them find a solution to what went wrong.

Zappos, online shoe retailer and customer service giant, encourages employees to join social media sites to connect with each other and customers. CEO Tony Hsieh started using Twitter as a way to build company culture, but quickly found it was also a great way to connect with customers.

“We want the Zappos brand to be about the very best customer service and the very best customer experience. For Twitter, we don’t really view it as a marketing channel so much as a way to connect on a more personal level, whether it’s with our employees or our existing customers.”

It may sound like a bad late night infomercial, but 10 minutes is all it takes. Take 10 minutes everyday to connect with customers, improve loyalty and make your customers happy.