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Twitter and Facebook For Business Face-Off: Help Requested!

  
  
  

Twitter, Facebook Marketing, Waste of Time?Will you help me? Will you share with me your Facebook and Twitter business success stories?

I'm engaged in a face-off on Floor Covering Weekly with a formidable flooring foe: fellow columnist Jonathan Trivers. Both of our articles will appear in the same issue in March 2012.

Jon is legendary for his 'Marketing Wit & Wisdom' which comes to life during flooring industry trade presentations and in print. Not only is he respected for his retail consulting and his experience running Abbey Carpets, but he is also author of One Stop Marketing, published in 1996. He is an acerbic observer of the flooring industry.

Jon Trivers has long claimed that Facebook and Twitter are a waste, especially for flooring retailers. He is now taking his anti-social media opinions to his Floor Covering Weekly column and plans to reduce to rubble the new, social ways of conducting business online!

I will rebut his claims in my Floor Covering Weekly column. Twitter and Facebook can be effective for business; many have been undeniably successful connecting with customers using the tools of social media.

To make the case ironclad, I need your help.

I want to prove him wrong with your help, showcasing your success stories and using the tools he despises so much. 

More specifically, let me know ASAP...

  • What you find most valuable about Twitter and Facebook.
  • How do Twitter and Facebook help you in your business?
  • What successes have you had with Twitter or Facebook?
  • What advice would you offer retailers getting started with Twitter and/or Facebook?
  • Invite others whose Facebook and/or Twitter stories should be included.

You can do so via comments to this blog, tweets to @cbwhittemore, your own blog response, as well as comments on the Simple Marketing Now Facebook fan page.

I promise to recap all responses here.

Thank you! I am counting on the most social column winning! That means we will all win!

----- 

Image credit: Is Social Media a Waste of Time?

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Comments

BuildDirect is an online company, with no bricks and mortar locations. So, engagement on the Internet is a vital part of what we do. In some ways, the embrace of social media as a mainstream activity (it’s been around for a lot longer in the fringes – chat rooms, and message boards being among the earliest forms) has been a logical step for us. 
 
We use social media make connections with parallel industry leaders who share our consumer base which enables us to build content more creatively, and more meaningfully too. Customers are not two dimensional. They are real people with a multitude of interests and motivations. In our case, our customers need to see how one aspect of homeownership and home improvement feeds into another. For that, the need to build partnerships with experts in their field, which social media is a significant engine, is pretty obvious to us.  
 
Twitter has been a huge engine to make that happen for us, allowing us to collaborate with others to make our content, and our offering, better suited to our customers. Facebook is where our consumer base lives. That’s where we’ve been able to find what’s most important to them, through “likes” and comments on stories that we’re publishing on our blog. This helps us to help them better. It’s even served as a means to get product feedback, both positive and negative, which has played into how we approach the supply chain, and customer satisfaction.  
 
Direct feedback through social media has helped us to be a better company. Blogging has added dimension to our business in the same way, while also creating a significant traffic source to our main site, educating our customers as to how to buy products more intelligently, and on how to incorporate the building materials we sell (and even some we don’t) into their efforts to transform their spaces that they’ve been dreaming about. The goal isn’t about the product. It’s about the dream. When a company helps customers realize their goals in that way, people trust them more so than they ever would before.  
 
Actually, this is the way business has always been run. There isn’t really much difference between building relationships through Twitter, or Facebook, or more recently Pinterest, and building relationships offline. Social media in one sense is just another way to educate yourself as to what industry leaders, partners, and customers, are thinking about. It’s just like taking a supplier to dinner. It’s like going to a trade show. Those activities aren’t a waste of time either, because being successful in business means growing a network of support in order to get a clearer picture as to how to serve your customer base more intelligently. Building a rapport with partners, industry leaders, and customers and then building content, marketing strategies, and even product offerings to appeal to their needs is made easier, and more immediate using social media tools. 
Posted @ Tuesday, February 14, 2012 11:22 AM by Rob
Meeting clients and potential customers via social media in the form of Twitter and Facebook is invaluable in today's fast paced, info rich marketplace. Both provide an opportunity for people interested in your business to directly connect with you and share their experiences with family and friends. 
 
We @NWRugs ( twitter:www.twitter.com/nwrugs & facebook:www.facebook.com/nwrug ) have been able to provide people with answers to questions and solutions about buying, maintaining and decorating with area rugs. Pinterest ( http://pinterest.com/nwrugs/ ) is providing another excellent platform to share our #loveofrugs (a twitter hashtag for all things rugs).  
 
Examples include sharing picture albums of rugs ( http://on.fb.me/tRsayv ), tips like rug cleaning and care ( http://on.fb.me/wyv9Rl ), sharing rug solutions in the form of several options that will work in a room ( http://bit.ly/zSEHWL ), and even providing interior paint color options for the rug of choice ( http://pinterest.com/nwrugs/rug-color-palettes/ ). 
 
Our clients appreciate the way we can use available technologies to help them solve decor problems and provide them immediate, visual solutions that theat can use to make a purchasing decision. 
 
For businesses unsure of the value and investment in social media, dive in. Getting connected is not as daunting as it may seem and the platform communities are generous with information, tips, strategies and just old fashioned support. There are excellent resources to help you get started and keep you going - Hubspot.com is a wonderful example. For those new to twitter... here's is an excellent slideshow guide that will answer all your questions and help you get started: http://slidesha.re/xk50ou And here is a wonderful eBook "Social Media Engagement and How To Make it Work For Your Business" - http://bit.ly/xMWpwo YouTube is also a great place to find quick easy answers to any social media questions and how-to's. 
 
Good luck, and we hope to see you on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest soon. Cheers.
Posted @ Tuesday, February 14, 2012 11:27 AM by Mark (@sfcpdx) tweeting for @nwrugs.com
Thanks Christine for inviting @xpressflooring to share our success story in utilizing social medias specifically Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn among others. We use them for several years already to engage with our customers daily who are also socially active. We post daily updates about our new promos or online specials, tips on how to care their flooring, send them message or DM to thank them for their inquiries. Yes! Many of them inquire about our products and services through our FB page/account and Twitter. It is so easy to engage with them and find your local target market. In our case, Express Flooring joined groups specifically in Arizona who are actively engaged in construction and/or flooring industry. There are a lot of them there. Being active in social medias offers convenience to connect with your potential customers and even to your previous customers. They like it when we respond to their inquiries. Definitely, it is not a waste of time. Maybe Jon should have them try at least to see what will happen. He is missing bundles of opportunities out there.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 15, 2012 5:27 AM by Jason V
Christine, my story is a bit different in that being a builder for over 27 years and being faced with having to make choices due to the economy, I have embraced social media. I am now pursuing a venue of social media and construction. I must say that using Twitter has been a wonderful way to network and has provided me with new opportunities as well as new real friendships. As I have moved my construction skills more into the virtual world of social media, I have been looking to work with and assist others in their social media pursuits. Through the use of blogging, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms,I have recently taken on work from a person in Fl as well as a new client in California. How well does this build relationships, trust and business? Let's say that I have spoken to these people via Skype but we have actually never met face to face. Our relationships developed starting with Twitter and Facebook and then expanded to a point where we are comfortable doing business together. 
Without these platforms(Twitter/Facebook) we surely would never have crossed paths, never would have developed a relationship and never would be doing business together. 
If you are just starting your social media program, my advice is to treat it the same as any real life relationship. Take your time, be the real you, don't sell your product, show your knowledge, be patient.. Friendships and relationships take time in the real or virtual world and take the efforts of both parties to work but are definitely worth it. 
As our world and buyers change, the way they access information will make social media another valuable tool that can assist business in their marketing program. Social media does work and I know it personally.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 15, 2012 7:09 PM by Todd Vendituoli
These are powerful stories. Thank you, Rob, Mark, Jason and Todd for sharing them here and for helping me make the case FOR social media! 
 
Best, 
CB
Posted @ Wednesday, February 15, 2012 10:20 PM by CB Whittemore
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