Archive for Mari Smith

The Buzz from the Small Business Summit in New York

" Mari, in her signature turquoise, and Jeannette"

Mari, in her signature turquoise, and Jeannette

That’s me with Mari Smith, the plus-ultra Facebook maven. She was in the American Express OPEN Forum exhibit area at the New York Times Small Business Summit I went to today. I’ve attended several of Mari’s webinars about Facebook — she’s about the only person who can keep up with the changes — so it was a bit of a thrill to meet her. She’s just as bubbly in person.

Thanks to Amex inviting me and other writers for the OPEN Forum, where I contributed a blog post recently about my use of LinkedIn. The day was filled with speeches and breakout sessions – all directed at small business owners with tips on growing their businesses.

It’s humbling to realize that so many highly successful social media companies were founded and are headed by 20-somethings, like Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO and co-founder of Living Social, a service that offers a daily discount deal at local restaurants, bars, spas, and theaters, and Naveen Selvadural, co-founder of foursquare, the popular location-based mobile service that enables users to share their location with friends. They were the morning and afternoon keynote speakers.

YourBuzz Social Media Dashboard

At the Forum exhibit area, I saw a demonstration of a new Clickable app that will be offered by Amex called YourBuzz. It’s in beta and you can sign up now if you’d like to try it out.

YourBuzz consolidates your social media listings and mentions into one dashboard. It seems to go a step further than popular aggregators like HootSuite and TweetDeck by allowing you to see customer reviews and ratings, get recommendations of where to list your business information, do targeted promotions and get competitive information. I signed up and when it goes live I’ll let you know how it’s working.

Image via CrunchBase

Does anyone know what’s going on with HootSuite? A friend tried to get the service and was told it won’t be offered after June 30th.  Wonder if that’s related to Twitter’s $40 million purchase of competitor TweetDeck. Twitter holds all the aces, and if wants to shut down another third-party app I suppose it can. Wonder what this might mean for YourBuzz, which has plenty of other features. But not having Twitter, if that becomes the case, would be a big gap.

Is Viral Marketing Being Oversold When a Tweet is Only Retweeted 1.4 Times?

"Please retweet me, please!"

Please retweet me, please!

[tweetmeme]I must say I was shocked when I learned  that of all the billions of tweets out there, most are only retweeted 1.4 times.  Of course, this isn’t counting Ashton Kutcher and other Influentials.  I’m talking about the tweets of mere mortals like you and me.

I learned this at the Viral Marketing Meetup held in New York last evening.  The impressive roster of speakers included Duncan Watts, principal research scientist a Yahoo! Research; Tim Schigel, CEO of; and Erik Martin, community manager at   It was a heady session because all the speakers focused on the metrics – is the frenzy around viral marketing actually producing business and building brands?

Is word of mouth (WOM) being oversold?

The jury is still out, of course, because social media as a marketing tool is still in its infancy.

But Duncan Watts, a professor at Columbia University before moving over to Yahoo, is skeptical.  He discounts the notion that highly popular Influentials are any more successful in starting a trend than the rank-and-file.  In a Fast Company article from two years ago, he is quoted as saying, “If society is ready to embrace a trend, almost anyone can start one–and if it isn’t, then almost no one can,” Watts concludes.  This article is a good read and just as timely today.  (Not everyone embraces Watts’ points of view).

Watts backs his assertions with research involving thousands of subjects, conducted while he was at Columbia, which is how he learned that most of our tweets land with a thud.  No zipping around the world for our 140 characters.

Is Intel Building its Brand on Facebook?

Coincidentally, I also attended a webinar yesterday entitled “9 Companies Doing Facebook Right and What You Need to Know.”  The presenters were Facebook expert Mari Smith, and Michael Stelzner, white paper guru and founder of the Social Media Examiner.  Intel was one of the case studies.  It was all very interesting, but I had to ask myself, what is Intel’s Facebook presence doing to build its brand?   Is this viral marketing at its best?

Currently, the company is running two contests:  one in which Intel is giving away PCs to build its database of fans, and in the other aspiring Latin, Urban and Singer/Songwriter artists are invited to upload their best original song in the Intel “Superstars” Competition.  Fans vote for their favorites with cash prizes for the top 20 winners.

I’m not being grumpy.  I think it’s great that ordinary folks can win new computers and that the company is supporting emerging artists.  But I’m trying to see how these contests are helping a company that makes core processors.  I’m sure great minds thought up these promotions, so who am I to question them.

What I learned makes me wonder if we should retrieve old-fashioned mass advertising from the graveyard.  When big companies, as well as small ones, are huffing and puffing to attract customers one at a time through WOM, reaching a few million customers with a 30-second ad sure sound appealing.

If you need assistance with improving your viral marketing, contact me today.