83% of purchase decisions are influenced by Word of Mouth (source: Groundswell). Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogs, Forums and Rating & Review Sites are a virtual smorgasbord of comments that can persuade us to buy or stay away.
But some people have more influence over our decisions than others. It might be that they are actively involved in the communities we’re members of, or are trusted sources of information on a particular subject, or they simply have a vast network of connections. These people are called Influencers.
Social Influence Marketing is primarily the act of leveraging Influencers to amplify a message. But, getting people to help shape your customer’s purchase decisions isn’t easy. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
I’m going to be speaking at The Special Event Show 2011 on the topic of Social Influence Marketing on January 25, 2011 at 4:00PM.
Jeff Hurt over at Velvet Chainsaw wrote a great post about WOM Marketing for Event Marketers.
In this new era of Social Media, words like engagement, community, relationships, listening all feel a bit like a tune playing over and over again from a record stuck on repeat . And for good reason…but these aren’t the words I’m referring to.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen the recent firestorm surrounding Price Chopper. It all began when someone tweeted the following message about Price Chopper:
Now, let’s face it. This is not a remarkable tweet. In fact, I’d wager a guess that Price Chopper gets quite a few of these sorts of tweets every week. But what happened next was remarkable.
A Price Chopper PR Associate (originally reported as the Price Chopper PR Team) took it upon herself to look up the author of the tweet, identify their employer through their Twitter Bio and call the employer directly to complain about the employee. The fact that a corporate employee would address a negative comment in such a way has resulted in a lot of heated conversation – specifically around liability and ethics.
Risk & Mitigation
I hope that every single business who reads this post will not only take the time to read the original report as well as the flurry of comments that ensued, but also sit down with key employees within your organization to discuss the potential exposure your business has to similar experiences. Small businesses do not spend enough time talking about risks as well as what to do to mitigate those risks.
No one can predict the future. But, we can learn from other people’s successes as well as their mistakes. Many, like Comcast and Dominos have been able to turn similar negative situations into opportunities that turned their businesses around. But if you ask them, they’ll likely say they wish they had learned their lesson the easy way.
So please do yourself a favor and spend time thinking through risks and mitigation.
I have a really short answer to the title of this post. But first, let’s talk about why ‘getting more subscribers’ and ‘attracting more fans’ is paramount to business professionals. We want immediate results. We live in a culture bombarded with messages like: “Lose 10 lbs without diet and exercise!”, “Get your MBA in 2 weeks”, “Look 10 years younger without going under the knife”. We seem to be on a constant quest for silver bullets and magic pills. Most of us know these promises of immediate results and riches are equal to that of the snake oil salesman, yet many of us still get tempted.
In the past week I’ve come across a post on Twitter promising a Newsletter Subscriber Exchange and a LinkedIn post promoting a Facebook Fan Page Exchange.
Here’s the issue with both of these strategies to build followers. Quantity means absolutely nothing on its own. What matters is what you want people to do with the content you create and how many people took that action.
If you have 300 people on your newsletter list who care not about what you’re writing about, what is the value of your list? Nothing. If you have 300 followers on your Facebook Fan Page who do not actively engage with what you post, what is the value of your followers? Nothing.
How do you get more newsletter subscribers & facebook fans?
Work hard, invest time, add value, solve problems, listen, respond, build relationships…but whatever you do, don’t get tempted by the silver bullet.
I recently came across a blog post by Skyline Tradeshow Tips that highlighted how 10 experts define Marketing. Definitions on the meaning of marketing that were included are below:
This post really got me thinking. The biggest problem with the experts’ definitionas were their obvious disparity. And for this reason, I want to express my concern that Marketing is Broken. As this list demonstrates, it has become an overly-complex and ill-understood practice. If we, as marketers, can’t come to a consensus about what our business is, how can we possibly expect those who don’t practice marketing to understand it…let alone pay for it?
I would like to challenge everyone who is a practitioner of marketing to toss out the hogwash industry speak and self-sustaining descriptions and get real about what marketing really is:
In my opinion, Seth Godin said it best:
Marketing is the art of telling a story to a consumer that they want to hear that lets them persuade themselves that they want to buy something.
What do you think?
I have presented at many conferences and events and have also attended my fair share, but until recently I had never heard of Pecha Kucha (pronounced Pech-ack-cha). First devised in Tokyo in 2003, it’s been taking the rest of the world by storm because it is an easy to digest format of presentation. Presenters have to design 20 slides and have 20 seconds per slide to convey their message. Forget about long-winded 90 minute how-to presentations that leave you watching the second hand of the room’s wall clock, these presentations are concise and on-point. The most common comment I received after my presentation was that people were left wanting more.
For Event Camp Twin Cities, I decided to talk about a topic I’m quite passionate about – that’s The Art of Storytelling. If you’re interesting in learning how our brains absorb stories & discard facts and figures. And, how stories can help to persuade and influence others, have a listen. Let me know what you think. And, how stories have helped your business.
As you may already know, a fantastic event was held in Minneapolis, MN for the events industry. On September 8 & 9, 2010, Event Camp Twin Cities made waves in the community by holding a hybrid event focused on Social, Innovation, Experimentation and Collaboration. I recently wrote about the bleeding edge elements of the event in my monthly column with Event Solutions Magazine…but I wanted to blog about 1 very specific takeaway for me: The Importance of Taking Risk
Recently, MyEmma, an email marketing service that I blogged about in the past, had a security breach…a deliberate attack on MyEmma’s account holders (and their contacts) in a specific geographic area. This type of issue could be disastrous for many companies.
I have a great deal of respect for how MyEmma dealt with this problem. I wanted to share this with you because I believe they’re essential issue resolution tools for any business.
1. They were proactive. The first I heard about the problem was from MyEmma. This is such an important point. Too often, companies deal with issue resolution when they have to – and that’s usually when their customers or the general public are demanding answers. MyEmma notified each of their customers about the security breach by email, even those who weren’t affected. Hearing about it from the service provider builds trust. It tells customers that ‘we want you to hear about this from us because we care about you’.
Dealing with an issue quickly does not happen by luck. It requires a great deal of forethought. It’s important for any business to discuss potential business risks and develop processes for how those risks should be mitigated.
Does your business have a risk mitigation process?
2. They made it easy for customers to get more information. They used their blog to provide customers with updated information about the situation. This was a great tool for a few reasons: 1) It’s easy to update with the latest developments, 2) Customers can choose to subscribe to the blog so they are updated by RSS or email and 3) They have a running archive of developments so customers can see how the issue has progressed over time.
3. They took responsibility. There was no pointing of fingers, there was no diminishing their part of the crisis. They took responsibility for the issue.
4. They provided solution proof. Not only did they outline how the issue was resolved, but they hired external experts to validate the solution.
5. They were clear. Ambiguity when trying to resolve an issue only creates tension, anxiety and mistrust. I love the way that MyEmma organized their blog post about the issue. They segmented the post into two categories: 1) What Happened? and 2) Was it fixed? These are the same two questions that most people will ask in a crisis. They were clear and succinct with their answers.
6. They made it easy for customers to get more information. Yup, I’ve repeated this point. In addition to the blog, MyEmma also extended their help desk hours to accommodate customer questions.
7. They listened to the community. They invited comments on their blog, made comments transparent and used comments as an additional tool to provide their customers with additional answers.
What tactics has your company used, that worked, to resolved an issue?