For the Best Customer Testimonials, Grab Your iPhone

In business, we’ve long utilized customer testimonials to help us attract new prospects. Typically, we’ve done it in text form but how convincing is that? Anybody could have written or edited them. And text does little to convey emotion and enthusiasm.

Even so, we rely on written customer testimonials because we know that what others say about us is more credible than what we say about ourselves. More than 75% of people trust what they hear about us from their peers. According to the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer, just 17% “trust a great deal” what we say about ourselves.

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The Power and Benefits of Social Media

From my vantage point, social media has the power to transform your business for good.  Here are some of the benefits I see:

Social networking allows you to expand your knowledge exponentially.

Social media tools accelerate learning by inviting input from a wide range of stakeholders, including current and potential customers, dissatisfied customers, team members, and industry experts, all of whom are willing to freely give you their ideas and share their expertise.  The tools allow you to create forums in which people can build on each other’s ideas, creating synergies and developing solutions well beyond the capacity of individuals

Social networking provides two-directional learning,

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Picking off Prospects Dissatisfied with Competitors’ Service

Did you know that Google and Twitter have services to monitor what people are saying about your competitors in real-time? If someone complains about your them in a Tweet, blog post, review site, discussion forum, Facebook Page, or almost anywhere else on-line, Google and Twitter will notify you. These services are free and take just a few minutes to configure.

You can get started at and

It reminds me of an old joke about two guys hiking in the woods. They come upon and startle a bear.  

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Best Market Research – Learning About Any Industry Using LinkedIn

I’ve discovered a great way to learn about any industry using LinkedIn Groups. I do this every time I land a client in an industry that I’ve not served before.

For example, when I signed a new client in the digital printing business, I joined the “Digital Printing” group in LinkedIn. Not only does the Digital Printing group have more than 38,000 members, there are also subgroups for specialties including Wide Format printing, Label printing, and such. In the main group alone, there are 250 discussions ongoing right now – on the important issues and opportunities of the day.

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Handy Link Shorteners

Yesterday, a friend sent me a link to a video he thought would be of interest:[email protected]&l=3516_HTML&u=1034392&mid=7001668&jb=20

Since this was in an email message, it was easy enough to click, but beyond being big and ugly, there’s a simpler and more powerful way to share links. This is especially valuable when we’re sharing verbally, or otherwise require more concise communication. Twitter anyone? This link alone (without any accompanying message) is 177 characters, far beyond Twitter’s strict 140-character limit.

Interestingly, much of the information in the URL is tracking data that is not required to reach the destination site.

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iGoogle While You Still Can…

Google announced recently that they will be discontinuing one of the most useful free tools on the planet. Do not panic! It’s still available until November 1, 2013, and maybe longer as this may be a simple marketing stunt to raise its visibility (arrrggh, it appears that I’ve fallen prey to their dastardly plan).

I’m talking about iGoogle and you’ve got just 12 months left to experience it. If you’re not familiar with iGoogle, your intuition is right on; it’s going to be way cooler than the regular Google — because it’s got the “i”.

iGoogle is an RSS reader (for the record,

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A Big Idea You May Have Missed

It’s a big idea that’s important to any type of business (B2B, B2C, B2G, or even Not-for-Profit). Like me, you may have missed it initially. It’s in Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s letter to his shareholders. It articulates Facebook’s compelling vision of the future:

“We think a more open and connected world will help create a stronger economy with more authentic businesses that build better products and services. As people share more, they have access to more opinions from the people they trust about the products and services they use. This makes it easier to discover the best products and improve the quality and efficiency of their lives.”

Notice the phrases “authentic businesses” and “opinions from people they trust”.

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It’s a B2I World

Recently, I was speaking to a group of CEOs in California about using social media for business. The host introduced me tothesomewhat skeptical audience by suggesting that whether their companies sold B2C (business-to-consumer), B2B (business-to-business), or B2G (business-to-government), indeed, they all sold B2I (as in to “individuals”).

It’s a brilliant observation and an acronym that I intend to use regularly from now on. Recall the old sales adage that “People buy from people.” It’s especially true for B2B companies. What “social” allows us to do (on LinkedIn, by writing a blog, by using Google+ Circles,

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Billy Joel (and Everybody) – Let’s Restart the Fire

Usually, I write about some useful social media application for business. And now for something completely different, but still important…

Social media has amplified the power of 1… that is the power of one idea and the power of one person. It means that in business, we have to be more tuned in and more responsive than ever, to minimize the likelihood of one very dissatisfied customer, one very unhappy former employee.

Two years ago, Betty White appeared in a Superbowl commercial for Snickers that rated among the best as measured by USAToday’s Peoplemeter.

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Improving Your Online Reputation

Have you noticed the proliferation of consumer review sites in the last few years? It’s not just Yelp (restaurants, etc.), TripAdvisor (hotels, etc.), and Angie’s List (contractors, doctors, etc.). It’s also Amazon (everything they sell), iTunes (albums, podcasts, Apps, etc.), RottenTomatoes (movies) and countless other sites.

It used to be that in business we controlled our message, our image, our brand… because we were the ones investing in PR, marketing, and advertising. These days, it’s no longer about what we say; it’s about what they say.

It used to be about your “brand”. Now it’s about your “reputation”.

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