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A great presentation on the new way to proliferate ideas across social media and not mass marketing:

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Hmm...

Over the last couple of weeks several studies came out that for marketers should really shake the foundation of social media advertising.

However, a week later and I don’t see a “twitter” really talking about this. Why? Social media sells targeted ad space (ala Google) and they are making a killing. So if something comes out to the contrary, it could become a huge problem for social media sites to continue revenue generation, the biggest right now being Facebook.

Here is a snap shot of 3 studies:

First comes from Oxford University, by Robin Dunbar, a recognized professor of evolutionary anthropology. He has pointed out to what some of you may already know – people cannot efficiently interact with more than 150 people at any time. Our brains just don’t handle anything larger; this is also known as Dunbar’s number.

The next study, a much smaller one, is about the psychology of people using Facebook, especially targeted to the amount of friends they have as an indicator of self-esteem. The results show that the more friend’s one has, the lower their self-esteem.

Lastly a critical study tying this all up is brought to us by Richard Edelman, SEO of Edelman in a respected ad site Adage.  The main point here is that the larger your group of friends on Facebook, the less worth each individual’s opinion has.

TO SUM THIS UP:

The more friends one has on Facebook or other online media items (twitter, youtube, etc.) the less interaction goes on between individuals (Dunbar’s number) and possibly the lower your self-esteem (easier to jump on bandwagons of information without really a need or desire to buy, or do much about it). On top of the added “benefit” that with more friends the less each individual’s opinion really matters.

THE KEY RESULT:

Consumers still require a professional opinion for product purchasing decisions, large groups of friends with random status updates don’t deliver the results. If you are marketing through social media, the bearers of opinion may not be those with 2000 friends, but instead much smaller groups with 100 or 200 friends. Changing the opinion of these people can cause a much more significant effect.

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The following applies especially to small to mid-size businesses: obvious conclusion of the week – understand your customers!

Why am I stating this most simple and basic understanding in business?

Recently I have been undertaking an SEO project for a company. I’m far from an expert on the subject and it’s somewhat of a research assignment, but by this point I should know a thing or two about marketing and customer behavior. This is based on a current, real experience.

The goal of optimizing a website to rank higher is clearly to drive more traffic to the site; now here is the kicker:

  • Image your site is #1 on Google for exactly what you do; those exact functions you perform are ranking top-of-the-class! Sounds great right?
  • Now add the following: The people who search for those exact terms want nothing to do with your service…

Some ways to remedy this problem:

  • Use Google Analytics – Find out alternative keywords that your customers use to find you.
  • Ask your customers – find out what they think of you; ask them to use your company in a sentence.
  • Research – Find out what market segments are most important to target (come back for a post about this next).

This is my shock for the week and this is why is incredibly important to understand your customers. What you think your function is could be completely unrelated to what your customers think you actually do!

Coming Soon:  Niche Marketing

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Toyota is becoming the latest case of badly managed public relations (Tiger Woods comes to mind before that). Here’s an article making a comparison to Ford and Firestone tires situation back in 2000.

Toyota is a master of quality products, but where is the marketing team now? With the easy spread of the information and a recall spanning 8 models and millions of vehicles, including complete plant halts in manufacturing, this is the most negative story on Toyota…ever?

So once again, how could have the massive Toyota get ahead of the fallout? Its as simple as publishing a letter, calming people down (including suppliers, factory workers and the public).

Instead? Go to Toyota.ca, there is no mention of any situation, then click on “news and events“, you’ll see (as of Jan 26th), 3 articles (all dated Jan 20th) – one with a great title: What To Do In The Event Of Unwanted Acceleration.

It seems to me that given the biggest recall in Toyota history, even a simple statement about how “Toyota is so committed to quality, that they won’t let a single affected vehicle go uninspected” would make a huge difference.

Stay ahead of the problem people, if you don’t, viral marketing will do it for you.

Do you think this affected Toyota’s public image?

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