Small Businesses And Social Media

    December 8, 2009

Early this year, Burger King made waves with a "Whopper Sacrifice" Facebook app.  Google, meanwhile, has achieved Twitter omnipresence with 87 official accounts.  But not every company has tons of free hamburgers and/or employees lying around, so a like-named session at SES Chicago addressed the matter of "Social Media for the Little Guy."

(Coverage of SES Chicago continues at WebProNews Videos.  Keep an eye on WebProNews for more notes and videos from the event this week.)

Jennifer Evans LaycockJennifer Evans Laycock, Search Engine Guide‘s editor-in-chief, started the session by expressing a dislike for the phrase "social media marketing."  She prefers to think of it as a dating experience – "social media dating for small business marketers," if you will – and went on to explain why.

Laycock believes there are seven common rules.  First, people must listen.  They must learn to be romantic (using what already exists for their own benefit), and not expect sex on the first date (think patience and persistence).  It’s also important to be yourself (look at how Blendtec embraced its identity), to make yourself available, to seek out the right match, and to value long-term relationships.

Jessica Kornacki, the vice president of marketing for Endless Vacation Rentals by Wyndham Worldwide, spoke next.  She talked about brand awareness.  One good example of drumming it up involved and asking people to share stories involving bad luck.  Their stories were used to show that everyone needs a vacation.

Then Eric Brown, founder of Urbane Apartments, made his presentation.  Brown stressed, "You can participate in the conversation, but you can’t control it."  You may not even want to.  After turning his blog over to the community, Brown saw site traffic go up 108 percent and actual rentals increase by 69 percent.

Brett TabkeFinally, Brett Tabke, the CEO of, shared some thoughts (and numbers).  Tabke revealed that he spent absolutely nothing on marketing and ads for PubCon 2009, instead going all-Twitter-all-the-time.  Things went up 30 percent in a down year as a result, leading him to observe, "Retweet is a marketing arm."

Tabke also said, "Afternoons are disproportionately retweet heavy . . . time of day is everything."  And Tabke recommended Klout for Twitter analytics.

WebProNews Reporter/Anchor Abby Johnson contributed to this report.

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