So what’s been going on this week? Well ... Groupon stumbled, Apple and Twitter's close relationship had some impressive results, and Chapstick paid lip service to disgruntled fans. Check out this week’s hot topics to get the bottom lines on how these stories can help your small business.
The one-time internet darling that pioneered online deals is falling from grace. Now that the novelty has worn off, merchants are complaining that they are losing money on the deals. And there are concerns about the viability of the daily deals business model. Oh, and then there’s the issue of Groupon’s shady accounting practices. Yikes. No wonder an analyst from Forrester Research this week called Groupon "a disaster."
Bottom line: What a surprise. A system that encourages businesses to create deals that don’t cover costs is angering its long-time customers and attracting buyers who are only looking for deals. No wonder Groupon appears to be coming apart at the seams. Save yourself some aggravation and focus on rewarding your existing customers: Create your own special offer, and give customers tools to help you spread the word about your business.
Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 5, features tight integration with the micro-blogging service Twitter. For example, when an iPhone user takes a photo, he or she can instantly tweet it with just a click or two. That's probably why, when iOS 5 was released, Twitter saw its normal daily sign up rate increase three-fold.
Bottom line: With Twitter now adding more to its 200 million user base, you might think we’d mention it’s something you should be paying attention to. Instead, here’s something else to think about: How can your business or organization partner strategically with existing businesses to grow your customer base? As Twitter and Apple have seen, these connections can fast track your business to the next level.
According to HiveFire’s B2B Marketing Trends Survey report, content marketing is the tool of choice for today’s B2B entrepreneurs. With driving leads cited as the most important marketing objective B2B marketers have found that content marketing helps them achieve those goals without using a large portions of their budget. And in related news, eMarketer reported this week that 59% of respondents to a recent study said they use exclusive content in their social media efforts.
Bottom line: You may think content marketing is only for those who can find the time to create, but the HiveFire study also finds that “content curation – the process of finding, organizing and sharing online content” – is a preferred tactic. Seventy-four percent of the respondents who implement and measure their content curation programs said the tactic is successfully driving results. If you can’t create your own content, what useful articles and guides can you find and share with your audience?
4) Apparently, Influence Is All About the Numbers Klout, which measures online influence, made some changes to its algorithm to continue its move toward “the most accurate measurement of influence in the world.” While CEO Joe Fernandez said the majority of users' scores would stay the same or go up, the change caused many people’s scores to drop, and they were not happy.
Bottom line: Numbers can at one time be a good gauge and at others completely insignificant. Our advice would be to stay focused on providing value and interacting with your audience. Do right by them and that silly little number will take care of itself.
5) Chapstick Gets Chapped by Social Media Misstep Lip balm producer Chapstick created a new print ad that offended some people this week. And since the ad itself included the call to action “Be heard at Facebook.com/chapstick,” people went to there to voice their displeasure. But rather than address the issue, Chapstick deleted the negative comments. Uh-oh! Needless to say, that didn’t go over so well. Chapstick has since posted an apology, but the damage is already done ... or is it? When was the last time you were talking about Chapstick?
Bottom line: Social media gives everyone a chance to be heard, even those who don't have positive things to say. Businesses can’t “make it go away” by deleting negative comments. That just makes things worse. You’re better off acknowledging the situation, and if necessary, apologizing. But don’t try to act like there's not a problem by trying to hide it.