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No, seriously, while in Vegas we were working!

5/1/10 3:03 PM / by Market Hardware

A web marketing company’s VP of Marketing, VP of Sales and CEO go to Las Vegas for a tradeshow conference. And…

 

…Well, I wish I had a good punch line here. But I assure you it was a work trip! (And also my wife reads these newsletters so I don’t want her to get any wrong ideas.)

The three of us Market Hardware guys presented at the International Door Association’s Expo in Las Vegas in late April. Brian Kraff, our CEO and fearless leader, spoke primarily on How to Become #1 on Google. He also touched on social media (think Facebook and Twitter). The question he posed to a room of about 125 successful garage door dealers: have any of you bagged any new customers from Facebook or Twitter? Not a single hand was raised.

We weren’t surprised. We still think these two social media sites, while ubiquitous in our culture now, are not yet ready to produce substantial numbers of leads for the contracting and professional service businesses we work with at Market Hardware. Plumbers, landscapers, and remodelers are not likely to gain a big following for their businesses on these social media platforms and most consumers are not looking to Facebook and Twitter for business referrals – yet.

But the social media trend will likely affect all of us who deal with a buying audience that is using the Internet to communicate, socialize and find solutions to their needs. When will social media matter to your Web Marketing efforts? Well, in regard to online consumer reviews and ratings, it already does. We encourage folks to pay very close attention to what people are saying about them online at sites like Google Maps, Yelp, and Citysearch. Ratings and reviews – of everything from restaurants and barbershops to handymen and home contractors – are part of the social media world. (Email us if you want a copy of our article on Online Reviews).

But Facebook and Twitter? You can likely live well as a business owner without participating in either well into 2011. Why? Because even if your customers are using these sites, they are mostly using them to socialize and to get up-to-date information about topics that interest them. Sadly, home inspection, air conditioning, and chiropracty, don’t seem to be high on their list of daily interests – yet.

However, all of us involved with Web Marketing at Market Hardware understand social media will play a larger role in your business in the months and years to come. I could drop a statistics bomb on you that reveals the increasing use of Twitter and Facebook by large businesses and by some local businesses that rely on promotions like restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. Or you could just trust me that it’s happening and that that usage will eventually hop over to other business categories like yours. (Okay, I can’t resist, here’s just one stat for you: The University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business looked at the relationship between social media and small businesses and found that the technology adoption rates in the U.S. have doubled in 2010 from 12% to 24%.)

As a veteran Internet marketing guy, I have grown somewhat cynical about jumping on the “next big thing” bandwagon. Blogs, mobile phone coupons, MySpace, online chat rooms for local businesses and many other “next big things” have been touted as can’t-miss opportunities over the last 10 years without ever meeting our expectations. For local businesses like yours, it takes a unique combination of consumer adoption, change in consumer behavior and the development of efficient marketing methods for an Internet trend to become a reliable and cost-effective tool. Frankly, we don’t think delving into Twitter and Facebook are worth the effort for our small business comrades – yet.

 

No, you eat it! (Beware - Griff story to follow.)

I do a lot of the cooking for my wife and me. And I like trying new recipes, especially healthy ones. But if there is some exotic or strange-sounding ingredient in the new dish, I sometimes face a bit of marital skepticism when I suggest it. Things tend to go better if I make it for myself first and can provide an informed recommendation. (Recent example: parmesan dusted quinoa – thumbs up, braised fish with fennel – thumbs way down.)

Here at Market Hardware, we are going to do the same thing for you when it comes to Twitter and Facebook. We have a Twitter account and a Facebook page. We’ll be more proactive about using them to relay information about our company and share web marketing suggestions and new information about websites, search engine marketing and, yes, social media as it pertains to local businesses like yours. But we’ll also be experimenting; learning what works best and what doesn’t so that when we all get to “yet”, we’ll have better advice for you.

Stay tuned, we’ll be inviting you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter soon. And if you’ve got an account for either, we’d love to follow you too. Our goal in all of this is to cook up winning social media advice through trial and error right here in our marketing kitchen and then pass on to you the best recipes for success.

 

Power Stats:

Twitter now has 105,779,710 registered users, and it gets 300,000 new users per day. Twitter users are, in total, tweeting an average of 55 million tweets a day.

Source: Chirp – The Twitter Development Conference, April 14, 2010

Griff’s Last Stand (kinda’ like Custer’s, but different)…

Brian and I did a webinar, Social Media 101, for the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) back in April. In it we laid out the basic info folks need to understand social media and how and when it’s worth using. If you belong to a professional association and want us to conduct a webinar for your group, ask your member services representative to email our Partner Marketing Director, Matt Bechtel, atmatt@markethardware.com. And if you have some burning questions about Twitter or Facebook, drop me a line at griffslaststand@markethardware.com.

Thanks to all of you who take the time to read this column or use Market Hardware. I appreciate it and hope we always serve you well.

See you on the Web!
Griff

This article was written by Market Hardware's Griffin Davis. Reach Griffin at griffslaststand@markethardware.com or reach anyone on his web expert team at (888) 381-6925.

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