Social media | BlitzLocal

At the Webby Awards, we are constantly monitoring social networking platforms to bring our fans our unique view into the ever-changing landscape of what’s happening online, in order to provoke and inspire by highlighting some of the most innovative work and trends on the Internet. One such trend that we’ve come across is what we call the “Golden Age of Complaining.” In this culture of dissatisfaction, everyone is an instant critic. Consumers are taking to platforms, such as Twitter, to air their disappointment with brands that have done a disservice to them.
Brands and companies have understood the importance of communication with their customers. Traditionally, in a somewhat antiquated means of communication, chagrined customers would call a 1-800 number or write (if you were even less technologically inclined) to express their displeasure with a company. With platforms such as Twitter and Facebook that allow for instant response and timely interaction, good brands and companies have created accounts on these sites that are staffed full-time by a customer service representative.
1. Responding requires a high-touch and thoughtful approach
Some great examples of brands that have taken to Twitter are:
– Airlines:
Delta’s @DeltaAssist
American Airline’s @AmericanAir
– Cable providers:
Time Warner’s @TWCableHelp
Comcast’s @ComcastCares
– Motor companies:
Engaging customers about their complaints is one of the best ways to retain brand loyalty and encourage their continued use. That being said, there is a right way and a wrong way of communicating with customers. There are two basic categories in which complaints fall: 1.“[brand] sucks” and 2.“[brand] help” – and knowing which to respond to is important. If a Twitter user merely tweets, “@Delta, you truly suck”, how is a brand supposed to respond? There is nothing in which to engage them with. However, if a Twitter user posts “@DeltaAssist traveling with an infant and had a confirmed seat on window but got moved to aisle”, it is Delta’s duty to respond to this customer.
However, one to three tweets should be the maximum for exchanges online; after that, the conversation should be taken offline by exchanging contact information. Sometimes, the problem can be resolved in just one tweet – for example: “@DeltaAssist: I’m sorry about your seat, please DM your confirmation # so we can check your next flight for you.” This takes care of the situation head on without going back and forth.
We’ve also noticed three great ways brands are responding to their fans on Twitter:
1. Take advantage of over-share
If you’re in NYC, you’ve probably eaten at a food truck or three. The great thing about many food trucks is their ability to be mobile – they are restaurants on wheels! Brands such as the Souvlaki Truck have created Twitter accounts to monitor what they’re fans are saying about them. We recently tweeted to the @SouvlakiTruck recently about missing their food – they used to be right around the corner from us – once they saw our tweet, they responded by offering a care package to be sent to our office. The following week we were all dining on their delicious Greek food. And because they were tuned in, the Souvlaki Truck was able to be proactive and garner 60,000 impressions from our tweeting our appreciation.
2. Reveal the human side of brand
Recently, one of our interns tweeted to his colleague that we were out of sweet potato chips and hummus. Another great brand @PretzelCrisps, took it upon themselves to offer their snack as a viable alternative that goes great with hummus. They engaged him and asked for mailing address. Sure enough, that afternoon, bags upon bags of Pretzel Crisps were dropped off at our office. By revealing themselves as real people behind the social media platform and not just an automated bot that responds, the Pretzel Crisp brand was able to create a relationship with a new customer.
3. Create personal interactions
One particular brand that has an interesting campaign on Twitter is Jell-o, which launched their “Pudding Face Mood Meter” in an effort to gauge America’s current mood. Jell-o is tracking tweets that contain smiling and frowning faces and are taking the opportunity to tweet to those users that tweeted frowning. While they are cued in to the collective American feelings at a current time, they are not making the interaction personal. It seems more insincere to tweet to someone who is having a bad day: “here, have a coupon for a free Jell-o pudding” as opposed to engaging the user if it’s appropriate to your brand message. This misguided effort to connect with new fans and the connection between the brand and the message they wish to convey is not obvious.
The few things we’ve learned from the culture of dissatisfaction are:
1. That even though consumers are increasingly venting on Twitter and Facebook, certain brands are proactively transform complaints into praise.
2. Brands can strengthen their existing customer relationships and create new ones by engaging the right way.
3. As long as you make it a good story – the word will spread itself.
Guest author David-Michel Davies (DMD) is Executive Director of The Webby Awards & the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. He also serves as Chairman & Co-Founder of Internet Week New York. DMD has appeared on CNN, Fox News Channel, and Good Morning America to discuss Internet trends and news, and he has lectured to audiences at a diverse mix of conferences and companies including Interbrand, Microsoft and the Institute for the future.
Let’s say you run a business making websites for dentists. You might buy the keywords “dentist”, “dental marketing” and “dental websites” on Google. In between the consumers who are looking to get some cosmetic dentistry, teeth cleaning, or other procedures done, there is a sprinkling of dentists who are looking for marketing help.
Depending on the term, it could be 90%+ of these searches not being relevant, and at $5-10 a click, that’s a lot of irrelevant clicks to pay for to find a winner, even if that winner will pay you $10,000 for a new website.
The biggest problem with B2B is that when someone types in “dentist”, you don’t know if they are a dentist or if they are looking for a dentist.
The die-hard PPC folks will argue that you’re just not choosing the right keywords (go for more specific terms), don’t have enough negative keywords (exclude anyone searching with city terms—since these are likely consumers), or you’re not writing specific enough ad copy (supposedly, consumer won’t click on your ad if your title is “Hey Dentists!”) While these comebacks are true, they are missing the big point.
In B2B marketing, you must target WHO the user is, not WHAT they are searching on.
In search, you don’t know who the user is, but you have a clue by the nature of their search terms. In social, you know WHO the user is and you’re catching them before they search.
STEP 1: Isolate the Target
So while you can get a ton of consumer traffic by targeting “dentist” in Google, when you interest target “dentist” on Facebook, you’re targeting by job title and profession. Try it. In fact, try a number of job titles and see just how many chiropractors, teachers, plumbers, administrative assistants, and marketing managers there are out there.
Voila! Now you’ve pinpointed all the dentists, dental assistants, students studying to be dentists, retired dentists, and folks who have a dentist fetish—all of them on Facebook. Now narrow down to the specific target you want by age, location or even specialty—maybe you want to talk to just cosmetic dentists in California.
Add in lateral targets—magazines they read, associations they’re a part of, and so forth. You can read more about micro-targeting here.
STEP 2: Get Your Testimonials and Trust Signals
You probably thought I’d next talk about ads, which is what most people do. Nope, in social people don’t search—they are interrupted with banner ads. You can focus on ad copy in Google PPC because people are actively looking. In Facebook, you have to gently nudge people to take a look at you and momentarily distract them from spying on their friends, or whatever they happen to be doing on Facebook.
So you need distraction-worthy content, which comes in the form of what their friends are doing. If that potential dentist client of yours is perusing through what her friends did yesterday, she might be persuaded to click on news where those very friends are talking about your business—maybe how they used your software to get more traffic to their website, streamline billing operations, etc.
When you have a TON of testimonials (across Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on), paired with content that you’ve published in major outlets, paired with positive things that other reputable organizations have said about you—then it’s more likely they are coming to you versus you coming to them. Some people call this “inbound” or “pull” marketing because you’re leveraging that prospective friends to do the selling for you. Because, despite your Harvard MBA and years of business experience; sorry Charlie, they trust what their friends have to say more.
Ideally, get this content to live on your website or Facebook page, although this is not completely necessary. Let’s say that you wrote some compelling article in an industry journal. Send ad traffic directly to that site so you can leverage their trust. If you wrote your article correctly, the by-line (about the author piece at the end) will have a line or two about what you do. And if you did a good job creating real value in that article, as opposed to selling, they’ll contact you. No need to scream at them or place popup windows in their path—they’ll find you.
Step 3: Turn Your Ads On
You wouldn’t have a grand opening party without first making sure your place has plenty of food and drinks, right? In the same way, make sure you have the compelling content from Step 2 before you start advertising. Otherwise, you’re just wasting money.
Take the interest targets that you set up in Step 1 and pair it against the content you have in Step 2. Think about WHO you are talking to, not WHAT they might be searching on. For example, if they are a dental hygienist, what content is most compelling to them? What if they are a receptionist—what might they find interesting? You’ll find that you might not have super relevant content for everyone. That’s okay—you’re just testing at this stage. Later you can mix and match what combinations work best.
Note that this is NOT landing page optimization, which is more superficially about elements that comprise the landing page—the image, the size of the button, the headline, and so forth. We’re talking about the whole lead gen. lifecycle—creating a clear path between the targets, what we say to them, and what we want them to do. That last piece is the landing page—to get them to call the phone number, fill out the form, watch the video, etc.
Step 4: Run the Math
Set your Facebook campaign budgets low, perhaps $10 a day. Use the default CPC bids, since you don’t need to get into the nuances of how bidding works—this is not Google. What you care about is your Cost Per Click and conversion rates. CPC divided by conversion rate is your cost per lead, by the way. We created a calculator for your use, in case you are rusty on first semester statistics:
This is B2B, so your cost per lead could be over $100. Maybe you’re at $2 a click and 1 in 50 clicks results in a phone call. Maybe it’s a lot more because you’re selling something that costs thousands, so that a hundred dollars is an acceptable price. Or maybe you’re competing in New York City, where the price is exorbitant from all the advertisers that overlap one another from poor targeting.
Whatever the case, if you’re doing this on Facebook, you have to be prepared for seemingly negative ROI for the first few months. Why? Because we are catching people well before they are searching, so it could be months before they want that new website, CEREC machine, billing system, or whatever it is you’re advertising. With Google, the conversion timeframe might be that same visit. This is unlikely in your case, unless your product is an impulse buy and also under $100.
Some final thoughts:
We are often asked a common set of questions, so let’s address some of them here:
How big should my interest target be? You don’t need a thousand ads—just a handful that target just the people that you want to hit. If your interest target is over 10,000 people, then either you’re doing something wrong or your audience is nationwide.
Do I need new landing pages for Facebook? Probably. Video is what converts nowadays, so you probably need to fix your other landing pages while you’re at it. Camera shy? They aren’t choosing you for your good looks, so get your Flip video, some good lighting, and film a 2 minute intro. Say what you’d say if that dentist was sitting right in your office—don’t be “fake” or talk like a newscaster.
Will BlitzLocal do this for me? Sure, if you have at least $10k to spend in fees, not counting advertising budget. If you’re a dentist, we require only $2k a month in total (labor plus ad spend), since we’re targeting just one region and because our dental campaigns can be replicated. If we have to build something that is not reusable across many clients, then we have to charge more for it. We are not the cheapest game in town.
Do you offer free articles and training? I would love to use your service, but cannot afford it. Sure. Send a note to and we’ll send you some of our internal training materials. You can also post a question at, where others can see and benefit from what you ask.
About the Author:
Dennis Yu is Chief Executive Officer of BlitzLocal, a Webtrends partner that builds social media dashboards to measure brand engagement and ROI, specializing in the intersection of Facebook and local advertising. You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, his blog, or good old-fashioned email at BlitzLocal is a leader in social and local advertising and analytics, creating mass micro-targeted campaigns. Mr. Yu is an internationally sought-after speaker and author on all things Facebook, and has been featured in National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur Magazine, CBS Evening News, and other venues.
Sentiment analysis, though not a recent term, is nevertheless generating a lot of new buzz within the online business world, due in part to the proliferation of social networks that are generating huge streams of user chatter about companies, products, and services. Social media pundits have drilled businesses with the message that their customers are talking about them, whether they like it or not, and whether they are participating in the conversation or not. As these businesses begin to accept this fact, they realize that they need to do several things if they want to take part in those conversations:
Locate the conversations
Gauge the overall sentiment of those conversations
Participate in the conversations
Work towards increasing positive sentiment
Tools to help businesses locate the conversations that are taking place around their brands, products, and services have proliferated over the years, so achieving #1 is generally a piece of cake.
Participating in the conversations simply requires good old-fashioned customer service, as does increasing positive sentiment, although a fair amount of training may be required to teach employees how to navigate different social networks, and help them understand just how public their interactions really are. Despite the extra training, numbers 3 and 4 are still hands-on, human-touch activities that that businesses already understand how to handle, and they generally don’t handle being automated very well. Customers would rather have no interaction with a company, than to have nothing more than automated robots attempting to solve their problems.
So if number 1 is easy to solve with automated tools, and numbers 3 and 4 are handled primarily with human-touch activities, what about the second need – gauging the overall sentiment? This is an area that into that fuzzy, not-quite-sure-how-to-handle area. People and businesses are trying to automate this process because applying a sentiment grade to huge datasets is beyond the capacity of manual human power. At the same time, trusting a machine to correctly analyze sentiment is fraught with problems.
Let’s first consider the ways that a machine might analyze sentiment.
Methodology 1: analyze human-scored data, in which humans first analyze and rate sentiment of each piece of data, and the machine then analyzes those ratings to produce reports and aggregated summaries.
Methodology 2: the machine applies a human-scored dictionary of phrases to incoming data, then analyze the data to produce reports and aggregated summaries.
Both methodologies require manual human action first, and neither is a perfect solution. Either humans must score data, as in methodology 1, which is not scalable, or humans must score dictionary phrases, as in methodology 2, which is much less accurate because the phrases cannot take things like mixed messages or sarcasm into consideration. “I love my ugly shoes”, has both positive and negative dictionary words (love and ugly). How should a machine evaluate that? Or “Wow, that’s the most awesome mullet I’ve ever seen!” might sound positive to a machine, based on words such as “wow” and “awesome”, but that algorithm will miss the fact that the user was being sarcastic.
For now, the best solution seems to be the human/machine/human process. Humans must first create phrase dictionaries (or use ones created by others), possibly run actual data through a group of humans who score the data as the basis for which machine learning can rely on, then let the machine classify new, incoming data using the human-scoring process as a way to improve the machine algorithm. The entire process should be repeated as often as deemed necessary. Eventually, the classifier should improve, but humans will always be needed to oversee the results.
Clearly, this process is not merely a matter of humans vs. machines. Both are required to properly handle sentiment analysis.
“It’s hard enough to determine sentiment via email– think of when you may have misinterpreted tone in your own personal communications. Now try to determine sentiment when you have only 140 characters or when a third of these interactions come through a mobile device. Irony, sarcasm, and humor are hard to convey via a 4 inch touch screen. Thus, automated sentiment analysis is problematic, at best, but can at least give you a general sense of how your customers feel. Then manual checking of sentiment can sit on top of your automated monitoring.”
– Dennis Yu, CEO of BlitzLocal
So how should companies gauge sentiment if automated tools aren’t sophisticated enough to pick up on sarcasm, for instance, but humans aren’t scalable to meet the growing flow of data?
There may not be a “correct answer” to this question, but I believe a smart strategy is to choose the best tool to meet your particular needs, and then use intelligent, business and marketing savvy humans to “analyze the analysis”. This human-based analysis of the analysis will ensure that the data reports are not only correct, but are also actionable. After all, knowing that 93 customers are unhappy is a meaningless metric. Understanding which customers are unhappy, and why they are unhappy, leads to being able to take the necessary action to accomplish goals 3 and 4 – participating in conversations and improving sentiment.
Let’s take a look at a few ways that sentiment analysis an be turned into direct action:
Customer service: find specific complaints and negative sentiment, so those users feelings and issues can be addressed, before they cause widespread brand damage.
Promos and offers: determine how a new promotion is doing, enabling quick decisions on what to promote further, and what to discard. Sometimes, a promotion backfires, and should be pulled (and perhaps explained) before negative sentiment explodes.
Understand conversion problems: make note of potential blocks within the conversion funnel that is creating negative sentiment, thereby causing potential sales to fall off the cliff.
As I mentioned early on, there are many tools to help locate and monitor the conversations taking place about your business. These tools range from the simple Google Alerts tool to the more robust and complex Radian6, with most small businesses choosing a tools that fall somewhere in the middle, such as socialmention or Trackur.
Some tools that are either entirely focused upon sentiment analysis, or include sentiment analysis as one feature of a broader social monitoring tool, include:
Which tool is chosen will depend heavily upon company needs and budget. Regardless of the tool used, however, the question businesses need to ask is, “Do we have the manpower needed to properly assess the results, and then take action to enhance or improve sentiment?”
A smart marketing team, in conjunction with a customer service team, should do “an analysis of the analysis” to determine the next steps to take. Understanding the causes of sentiment and making smart marketing and customer service decisions based upon that understanding requires people who are trained and highly skilled in these areas. These people may be in-house, or may be a part of an outsourced social media marketing agency such as BlitzLocal provides, but what is clear is that while machines may be necessary to process large datasets to calculate sentiment, humans are a crucial factor in not only refining the analysis, but in taking necessary actions based upon that analysis.
When I googled “social media vs. seo” (in quotes) this morning, 12,400 results were returned. Restricting the same search to only the past year, over 800 results are returned. Obviously, many people are pitting the two against one another, and have been for some time.
There’s little sense, in my mind, in postulating whether social media is better than SEO or SEO is better than social media. Making these two marketing channels adversaries is akin to pitting shirts against pants/shorts. For those people who don’t wear dresses or jumpsuits, they’ll likely be wearing a shirt and a pair of pants. Asking them which is better will probably only result in having them give you a look that implies they think you’ve lost your mind.
Cross-Channel Marketing Rules
When promoting anything, whether it’s a business, a website, a product, or a brand, promotion works best when it covers a broad spectrum of marketing channels. Television ad campaigns work best when they are reinforced by radio campaigns, magazine campaigns, newspaper campaigns, email campaigns, etc. Cross-channel marketing succeeds because the layers of reinforcing messages work together to create a connection with the target audience.
Waves of Data Engulf Users
People today are absorbing external stimuli in huge waves of data, much like a whale ingests enormous swarms of krill. It is unlikely that a whale would be able to pick out the one particular krill that tasted peculiar amongst the millions he ingested. Likewise, the data we absorb each day is so large and diverse, that recognizing and remembering one marketing message amongst the continuous data flow is rather low. It’s much easier for a lone marketing message to be lost in the flow than it would be if it were repeatedly reinforced by entering the data stream in various ways, from various places, and at various times.
Be Where They Are
The goal should always be to interact with users where they are. If they are searching via a search engine, then an SEO campaign can help reach them during that process. Of course, a PPC campaign also works hand-in-hand with SEO to cover both the organic and paid listings that are returned in the search results for the queries relevant to your brand, service, or product.
Users are spending a considerable amount of time on social networks, so a social media campaign is needed to reach them there. Like the concept of using both SEO and PPC campaigns to cover organic and paid search listings, social media campaigns will include organic interactions such as tweets, Facebook Likes and wall posts, etc., in addition to paid interactions such as promoted tweets and Facebook ad campaigns.
Value In Each Piece Reinforces Overall Value
Each channel will reach users at a different point in the marketing funnel, so the value should be calculated and compared in relation to other marketing efforts aimed at that same audience. In most cases, a search user is likely to be in one part of the marketing funnel, and a Facebook user is in another (or may even be outside of the funnel altogether). Pitting the value of an SEO campaign aimed at the search user against the value of a social media campaign aimed at the Facebook user will only result in a confusing matchup. There is value in both, with each being one important part of an entire cross-channel promotion.
Give each marketing channel its own level of respect, evaluating the effectiveness of each using data that is relevant to that particular channel. Analyze how well the campaign is working within its channel, adjust, re-analyze, adjust again, until you are satisfied that it is accomplishing the goals you set for that particular channel.
Make sure each channel’s message is consistent with the messages from other channels, so that every channel reinforces the others. As the daily influx of data streams through each person, those reinforcing messages will build upon one another and help the entire package of marketing messages stand out in the user’s mind.
The key isn’t to compare seo vs. social media, but to use the right messages in the right formats to ensure the best chance of reaching users at the right time and in the right place. The more often you can accomplish that, with consistent messaging, the more successful each campaign will be, no matter which channel it was focused upon.
Let us know if you’ve found a particular combination of cross-channel marketing especially successful, or if you’ve had problems connecting various channels to create a tight overall campaign.
This webinar was presented by: Brendan King, CEO, Vendasta Mike Hartrich, Director of Digital Products, LocalEdge
Greg Sterling, Opus Research
Small business are increasingly interested in social media and “conversational commerce”. However what does that actually mean? After the Twitter account or Facebook page is established, what next? SMBs and the sales channels and publishers that serve them are struggling with how to divide the labor and bring social marketing to SMBs but in ways that are efficient and still preserve the “authentic voice” of the local businesses.
Greg begins with a few words about himself and Opus Research and then presents a series of surveys that were done which helps us see the current state of the rise of social media and its impact upon small businesses.
The Rise Of Social Media For SMBs Occurred Because Of Several Factors:
SMBs claim that most of their business comes from WoM (word of mouth)
Reviews/social media are an extension of WoM, and they can be very powerful.
Social tools and sites are free or cheap
Social media is more intuitive, giving SMBs the confidence that they “can do it all by myself”
SMBs are following the consumer, going where they are (e.g. 600 million facebook users)
Survey: Are You Marketing Savvy?
In one survey, 65% of the respondents chose either “neutral” or “not savvy”.
Survey: How Do Customers Find You?
82% word of mouth
66% search/internet
37% “advertising”
23% yellow pages, etc.
Survey: Current and Future Media
Most Used Media Right Now: Created a social profile, IYP/newspaper site, email marketing, print yellow pages, blog, direct mail, print newspaper
Plan To Use Soon: email, video, blog, direct mail, print newspaper
Won’t Use: TV, local radio, groupon/deals
Survey: Current Marketing Methods
Company website, social media, email marketing, seo, ppc, online display, video, blog
Survey: Top Sites Used By SMBs To Promote Business
Google/Google Places
Survey: Why Do You Have A Facebook Page?
41% had a Facebook page vs. 27% a year ago
It’s an easy / affordable way to create extended awareness of the business
Best way to communicate with customers
We have to to stay competitive
Important way to generate sales
Survey: Social Media Benefits
41% better relationship with customers
37% increase visitors to site
29% increased phone calls
28% increased sales
New: Facebook Deals
The Groupon / daily deals phenomenon is now coming together with the Facebook pages platform.
Social Media Challenges: Time, ROI
66% of SMBs said they updated Facebook at least weekly
63% feel social media has helped make customers more loyal
56% feel social media has taken up more time than they expected
25% estimate that they made a profit on their social media spend while 15% estimate they have lost money. The remaining respondents said they broke even
Many SMBs often think that social media has fallen short of their expectations
Mike presents next:
Social Media – A Small Business Perspective
What Are Business Owners – HEARING?
Customers are saying to SMBs:
Where can Ii find you online?
Is your site up to date?
What about this review I read about you?
Can I find you on Facebook?
Do you have Foursquare coupons?
Other business owners & analysts are saying to SMBs:
You need to be on Facebook
You need a mobile strategy
You need to be on deals site
You need to engage more
What Are Business Owners – SEEING?
New technology
New articles
New studies
New growth stats
New sites
New channels
What Are Business Owners – FACING?
Engagement segmentation
In the past, small business owners split their focus between main business activities. Now owners must:
Assure their website is updated
Monitor their SEM PPC campaigns
Review their organic SEO listings
Update social media
Monitor business reputation
SMBs are finding it tough to stay authentic and still push sales.
What Are Business Owners – SAYING?
They need help.
They cant keep up with their website, blog, SEO, PPC, Facebook updates, online reviews, daily deals
Confused, distracting, cluttered
How are my competitors doing?
How can I track online?
Is there a service that manages all this?
What Are Business Owners – MISSING?
Many SMBs dont have:
Basic CRM
Social presence
Many SMB owners are:
Too busy
Lacking experience
Behind the curve
Too sales-focused
Missing the point
Not able to track
What Are Business Owners – CHANGING?
Focused on online
Engaging their users
Building knowledge
Sharing their experiences
Seeking partners
Gaining confidence
Running out of TIME
What Are Business Owners – DOING?
Finding Success:
Testing self-service
Finding online agencies
Expanding traditional relationships
Hiring talent in-house
Social presence
Reputation management
Online CRM
Content creation is a challenge – or rather, doing enough of it. For example, posting on Facebook and Twitter on a regular basis is hard. They are looking to partners to help them build that content.
Brendan begins his presentation now.
The explosion of reviews and UGC content is everywhere.
What is Reputation Management?
Social engagement
Competition/industry benchmarking
The medium is two-way, not just push – consumers can participate so it has implications on reputation, which makes it scary for the business owner. The brand becomes what your customers say it is, not what you say it is.
Their company released some stats and wants to qualify the data they used. They chose 2000 random accounts from all users who use their services. These random accounts came from secondary and tertiary markets rather than the large markets such as New York or Los Angeles, so that the numbers would be more representative of the typical SMB. Here is what they found.
They look at what kind of presence the SMBs have across 25 social networks, to see what the business’ current visibility is. They found that 32% have 10-14 social media listings, 27% have 5-9 listings, and 15% have more than 15 listings, with the rest having fewer than 5 listings. Even in small markets, 49.8% of SMBs that use their services already have a Facebook page, while only 5% have a Twitter account. In addition a large number of them have a page on Foursquare that they don’t know about, so they have not claimed those pages. Many of those unclaimed Foursquare pages have check-ins, which the business owners are unaware of.
22.3% of all those SMBs have reviews, which is up from 8% last year.
Yelp: 51.1% of those SMBs have Yelp reviews
Google: 17.4% of them have Google reviews
Reviewed Businesses By Category:
40.4% – local services
13.4% – restaurants
12.6% – local shopping
The remaining business are across many smaller categories
99.7% of the SMBs had “some” mention of them online
SMB Usage Of Their Reputation Management Tool
Within one month of receiving alerts, 13.6% of SMBS logged in to interact with the tool. At some point, over time as they use the tool, they have a lightbulb moment, and they come back more frequently. The average time per visit is just over 7 minutes, and 20.1% spend over 10 minutes per visit.
This was the end of the presentation. What follows is the Q&A:
Q: Someone wanted to know if they believed the SMBs when they stated that most of their business came from WoM?
A: Everyone agreed that if the business owners were to dig deeper, they would likely realize that they lumped together a few different channels into WoM, mainly because they dont really know where the leads are coming from.
Q: How should SMBs manage the task of dividing up labor between themselves and the partner(s) helping them keep up their content creation (both on site and on Facebook, etc)?
A: They’ve found that partners are helping SMBs craft the message that goes out, including idea generation, and that is effective. It is challenging, however, to get a small business owner to get focused on building out those relationships, rather than just concentrating on making sales.
Q: PPC vs. social media? Are SMBs becoming less focused on paid search as they move towards social? Or are they embracing both?
A: They are seeing more SMBs branching out – not replacing – just adding social to the marketing mix. SMBs are looking for a balanced approach. They want to work with trusted partners that direct them into channels which are good fits for their business – showing them what works best for their vertical.
Q: SMBs are screaming, “Help me, Help me!” How do you scale that?
A: Instead of just selling, selling, selling, SMBs need to build relationships. They need tools and guidance to help them do that easily.
Q: Look into the future. Predict major trends in a year or a year and a half.
Mike: As SMBs get more engaged and spend more time and priority on content creation and doins more CRM, they will be seeing the effects of what they’ve done.
Brendan: The future holds more social media. The nature of advertising has changed, and SMBs need to catch up. Reviews won’t go away. SMBs need more transparency, direct contact, and more openness. They’ll see more complexity and confusion, which is why guidance and tools is so important.

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