Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Social Media Buzz

The Social Media Buzz
There has been a lot of talk about social media in the past couple of years, and names like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn have become very common among everyone.
So, why is there so much talk about social media? Is social media word of mouth? Word of mouth has been and will be the basis of human communication. We all love to talk. Talking makes us looks well-informed, smarter than others, helps in selling and helps us be successful in life. People used to talk before the advent of traditional media like radio, newspapers, magazines, TV etc. The media added a layer between corporations and people, and we all tuned in to hear news and the latest buzz from these channels (whether we believed all of it is a different story).
Social media is changing the entire ballgame and providing a set of tools and technology so that media can come back to where it belongs – in the hands of people. People now have the capability to express their thoughts in their own words, and the new tools enable them to share these thoughts with friends, family and everyone else with the greatest of ease.

Companies can take advantage of social media by listening to their customers and using that feedback to improve products or services, create brand advocates, create communities, innovate, recruit and communicate.
The above projection highlights the fact that companies are flocking to the possibilities of social media, but they should be cautious: Social media can be the most effective component of their marketing strategy, but it should not be their only means of reaching customers. Social media includes the following: blogs, discussions forums, social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), social bookmarking, video sharing and microblogging, etc.

The heart of any business is word of mouth because that’s how most businesses got started and grew. Using tools provided by social media can take us back to our basics and enable us to start connecting with our customers — like one of them, not as a corporate entity. And the number of people who might be discussing your product or service at any point of time using social media tools is simply mind-boggling!

To give you an idea of the power of social networks, Facebook became the most-visited site in the U.S. for the first time over the 2009 Christmas holidays, pushing past Google:

A question many businesses might ask is “My customers are not engaged in social media, so why should I join?” Well, the answer is that the power of social networks will continue to grow. Facebook currently has more than 350 million active users and is proud of the fact that it has “real users.”

Here are some benefits of using social media for your organization:
a) Your customers might be using social media, but you are not aware of them.
b) Prospective customers might be on the social platforms, and the best way to reach them is to start interacting with them on their platform of choice. c) Customers will start to expect presence on social media platforms. Many other companies are doing it, and it will become a standard just like e-mail, e-newsletters and websites.
d) Listen and learn what is being talked about regarding your brand and industry and see if there is something that can help your business.
e) Mingle and connect with people in the media, vendors and prospective employees and be part of their network.
f) Being in social media means that you are an authentic, honest and transparent company (otherwise you won’t survive), and that goes a long way.
g) Your employees might already be using social media, so why not leverage their knowledge and give proper guidance so that it can benefit the organization?
According to Forrester research findings, social media will be a bigger marketing channel than both e-mail and mobile by 2014, but still just a fraction of the size of search or display advertising ($31.6B and $16.9B, respectively).

In closing, social media is the latest buzz. It’s exciting, and everyone is doing it. But that doesn’t mean that ‘Everyone is doing it so we should, too’ is the best approach for using social media.
Well-laid-out objectives, understanding of social platforms, your organizational culture, metrics on objectives, and learning and adapting will be the difference between success and failure for any social-media venture.

Ajay TejwaniSocial Media Strategist – USAA
Fun Social Media Cartoons:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Defining Your Unique Value Proposition

Value is defined as the quality that renders something (or someone) desirable.

In an economy where many seem to be watching every penny, some think that the lowest bidder is always going to win. Think again. Best price does not always mean best value. Remember, people are still spending money on things that are necessary and important to them.
Many companies are now resorting to deep discounting in order to try to win more business. With the tightening of budgets and reduced spending, some get drawn into bidding wars, only to de-value their product, cut their margins and reduce their commissions.
Those companies which have been most successful maintaining consistency through these tough markets can attribute their success to two key factors:

1) They have a unique value proposition and can clearly articulate it to their customers.

2) They are effectively communicating their value message to their target market using a range of effective marketing techniques.

What is your value proposition? What makes your business different than your competitors and why would customers want to do business with you? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, I suggest you define your unique values immediately. If you have a value proposition and have not thought about it in a while, revisit it. You probably provide much more significance now than you did when you first got started.

Some of the most popular and effective means of communicating your message are through the use of social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. These tools enable you to articulate your value proposition through building a profile focused to a specific market. They also allow you to broadcast your message to millions of potential customers to which you would not otherwise have access. Another great feature of these tools is that they are FREE.

Do your customers know what makes your business unique? Are you the “best kept secret” around? Try taking these tips to get your business noticed.


The Farst Group, headquartered in Brooksville Florida, offers sales and marketing consulting services to companies nationwide.

With over 40 years of combined experience in business to business sales, technical marketing and graphic design services, our team understands the nuances of building an effective brand and delivering a compelling message for companies selling all types of products or services.

Additionally, The Farst Group offers a free, networking opportunity to our clients. Our clients are also our partners, and we continue to work together, even after the project is finished. We combine to promote our businesses through website links, social networking sites and feature pages on our E-zine Newsletter. The Farst Group would like to earn your business and add you to our network.


Eric Farst - President

Phone: 352-238-1642


Kim Sinatra - VP Sales & Marketing

Phone: 419-610-6222


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Monday, March 8, 2010

Attracting Clients to YOUR Business

One of the most exciting challenges that small businesses face is attracting clients. Do you agree? Sometimes the challenge is fun, and other times it’s daunting. With the right mix of marketing, branding, and promotion, you can create a repetitive process for your company that guarantees clients will be coming to YOU. Below are a few of my favorite (and often overlooked) tactics for creating a buzz around your company and its expertise:

  • Speak at an industry event – this will position you and your company as an expert. In the eyes of a prospect, you are now a resource and not a sales person.
  • Ask for referrals from satisfied customers – if they can’t give you a referral to someone they know, ask if they will write a testimonial for you to put on your website.
  • Create a press kit – this is the first step to successfully distributing a press release and networking (as well as influencing) reporters.
  • Swap articles with a complimentary company for your e-zines – this is easy and will get your business immediate exposure to new prospects. Don’t place an advertisement in their e-zine, write an article that readers will care about!
  • Send cards to your current prospects whenever you can – nowadays, this is a forgotten art and sure to set you apart from other companies!
  • Keep your head in the game – do whatever it takes to keep your attitude in check!

For more information about any of the topics above, or to learn about 100 more ways to attract clients, contact The Farst Group today!