Word of Mouth Tool List from Mashable

(updated: Originally posted October 14, 2009)

You have to love the folks at Mashable for their dedication to the social media space. Their updates are simply on point and helpful. Their latest is a list of free and low cost Word of Mouth tools. These online UI allow marketers to measure brand and campaign responses on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. Tweetdeck, a very popular tool among many of my friends, is listed, as well as Radian6, and my favorite, HootSuite.

Many of these sites run a blog with news and associated how-to tips. The blogs are also useful for understanding which service is associated with another one may be using. This is helpful for selecting a tool that best integrates with other tools your firm is using.

You can read the Mashable post here.

Start your car? There’s now an app for that!

Viper

Place this in the “Yeah, I can see this coming from somebody SOMEwhere” department: Viper, an auto security system company, has introduced a new iPhone application designed to start your car. Priced at $299 if you own a Viper alarm or $499 if you need an alarm and app, the SmartStart will also unlock the trunk and lock/unlock the doors. Granted there is a Zipcar app, plus there are now vehicles like Nissan Altima, Lexus IS, and Ford Taurus that will start when a keyfob is in the vehicle. However, the SmartStart is natural extention of the idea to aftermarket, and one of the first major aftermarket offerings. Certainly not the last.

You can read about SmartStart and see the associated videos here at the Autoblog post

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Let the Public know: WordPress' "Publicize" share blogposts on Twitter and Yahoo! Profiles

Wordpress Publicize results for Yahoo! Profiles and Twitter
Wordpress Publicize results for Yahoo! Profiles and Twitter

WordPress has introduced a new feature, called Publicize, which allows bloggers to announce new posts through Twitter and Yahoo! Profiles immediately when a post is published. This potentially increases exposure for a blog — Twitter followers, for example, can see the blog updates and click to the post for reading and comment. Thus Publicize eliminates an extra step of tweeting a blog update. Combine Publicize with the scheduling post feature (see the Publish feature in the Edit Post page of your blog), and efficient blogging nirvana is attainable.

The only downside is that Publicize is not linked into third-party Twitter tools like Ping.fm, where a tweet can be sent across a number of networks, or Hootsuite, where the tweet can be scheduled. But this feature is still welcomed as a timesaver, encouraging bloggers to focus on post content.

You can read about WordPress’ new feature, and learn how to set the feature. Users should first open a Yahoo! Profile (through Yahoo! Updates) and/or a Twitter account, then follow the instructions that are included at the WordPress Publicize blog post.

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#Facebook Ads – The Benefits for Small Business (#video – updated)

(This post was first published on September 27th, 2009 – It has been updated as of January 20th, 2014)

An ABC News segment in 2009 showed a great brief overview on using Facebook Ads for small businesses. In essence the video gives examples of small businesses that have successfully used FB ads to attract visitors to a company fanpage at low cost.

The ads are also helpful in serving impressions to targeted FB audiences with a small image in the ad. For B-to-C companies this is a bit more helpful than Google Adwords (it’s the same concept but now advertisers can have a small image with the ad), though there can be benefits for some B-to-B as well. Small businesses can certainly take advantage of this advertising channel, as well as encourage fanpage participation for additional offers.

Facebook has recent undergone many steps to balance marketer’s desire to advertise. At Zimana, that’s a personal favorite, since you can track the traffic via Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics with user’s desire to socialize ad-free. From votes on ads to the recent Nielsen link called BrandLift (See the CNET article here.), Facebook is looking to leverage its audience and maintain its core features, especially in light of Twitter’s valuation news at the time.

Facebook ads provide an additional reach within the network. Ads are served based on a person’s interest, so a successful ad should match up to an intended customer’s usage.  This differs in approach from the keyword usage for a Bing or Google Ad.  The easiest takeaway from small business is to take a basic, honest assessment of how people use your services or products.

You can view the ABC news video segment  here.

Stay for the espresso, but know when to say when on the power.

New York small cafes are not getting a charge from lingering customers.
New York small coffee houses are not getting a charge from lingering customers.

Finding that your local cafe is discouraging your use of the outlet? If you are, you may be a fellow New Yorker. Wall Street Journal reported on how small New York coffee houses are limiting patron time on plugging laptops and mobile devices into electrical outlets. This article caught my attention because I recalled examples of balancing the velocity of customer service versus retaining customers who would potential get a second cup of coffee or bagel from staying around.  Acquiring a new customer is important, but so is retention, particularly when acquisition can have a high expense.

Banks underwent a similar challenge. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, ATMs provided quick services that increased customer convenience. But after the merger of investment and commercial banks during the 1990s, banks found that the same proliferation of ATMs made upselling additional financial products and services — loans, CDs, and investment management — difficult. Why? Customers were no longer inside the banks at lengthy time intervals to conduct basic transactions, let alone to offer additional higher margin products.

Small businesses must be concerned about the velocity of sales, but there can be some intangible benefits for having regulars who stay long enough for the upsale (good word of mouth, encouraging small meetings that bring additional customers). A minor sense of analytics — simply seeing how long customers linger versus number of sales during an hour can give a small business owner an idea if lingering a wee bit longer benefits the store.