Archive for May, 2011

Social Marketing: It’s Relationships, not Numbers

I’m a numbers man.  Yeah, it’s a competitive guy thing.  Today it’s marketing metrics.  Seven years ago it was social media.

I saw the top Dallas LinkedIn member had 1,200 connections.  In the words of a A Chorus Line, I said “I can do that”.  And I did, and much more.  In three years I was number three in the world.  Objective achieved.

Value modest.  Cost in time great. Return low. Recommended no.

The past two years the game has changed, expanded to Facebook and Twitter.  But there is one difference.  At least with LinkedIn I had access to connection data like location and industry to target contacts.  I had an email address I could mail (for now, until LinkedIn takes that away). It’s a real contact.

You don’t have that with Facebook and Twitter.   The value of a marginal unengaged contact is nil. And 100,000 times 0 is still 0.  As Paul Gillin writes in Do fans and followers really count?, anyone can buy or acquires tens of thousands of followers.  So you can keep your 45,293 twitheads.  I’m not impressed.

Our updated scorecard for the Twitter numbers studs:

Value negligible.  Cost in time modest. Return negligible. Recommended never.

And it’s a good thing.  Because you can focus on the numbers that really count – customers, sales, and engagements.  You can build relationships that have real enduring value … not big numbers filled with hot air.

Now if you still want to build those LinkedIn connections, have I got a deal for you …


Take credit cards?

Credit card terminals have been around for decades and are even wireless to serve retail sales.  But unless you have a physical store or lots of transactions, a terminal and those merchant agreements can be expensive and bulky.  It’s overkill  when you already have a powerful computer in your handy smartphone.

One alternative is to use a laptop or phone browser and manually enter sales on PayPal or your bank site.  But that’s a lot of info to type and your rate is higher.

Startup Square successfully shook up the market with iPhone and Android apps, plugin card reader, and terms that any small business could love.  The reader is free and there are no transaction and monthly fees.  Now you CAN take credit cards even if it’s just for a few charges a month.

Gopayment is now competitive.  They’ve removed fees and work with a Blackberry, which Square doesn’t.

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