Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We made USA Today (Buy the paper 4/01/09)

Marketers find Twitter a tweet recipe for success
Cake decorator Suzi Finer fills in spare time during the workday updating her "status" on Facebook, telling about 2,000 customers about what she's working on.
It's no frivolous exercise: Finer is looking to boost business for her employer, Hansen's Cakes of Beverly Hills, and says that sales are up 15% to 20% since she embraced Facebook as a sales tool in September. "That's even in a recession," she says. "People are still having birthday parties and weddings, and seeing these little bits about cakes on updates get them excited about the possibilities."
TELL US: How often do you post updates to Twitter, Facebook, or other social networking sites?
Welcome to the social world of Facebook and Twitter, where you are encouraged to tell your online "friends" and "followers" about every little thing you're doing Most teens and young adults use the short space to discuss the latest movie, CD or TV show.
Business people — including folks like Finer — find that the updates also work as a valuable sales tool. "It's become even more important than blogging," says Chris Winfield, who runs New York-based 10e20, which helps businesses with their online marketing campaigns. "It's more immediate than a blog post, and if you're trying to get out a message to thousands of people in a flash, status updates are the way to do it."

Just ask Aaron Chronister, who saw his status update on Twitter grab media attention from CNN and The New York Times, and even a book deal with Simon & Schuster. Chronister of Kansas City, Mo., wanted to get attention for his local barbecue club and a unique bacon recipe.
His status post in December got "re-tweeted" by someone else (the Twitter equivalent of forwarding), the media found it, and now he has a thriving ad-supported BBQ blog in addition to a forthcoming book.
It all started with a status update, which he renews about four times daily to his 1,500 followers. "It's an easier way for people to see what's up with you," he says. "They don't have to read an e-mail, or go through all this stuff to filter through. Just a short little 140-character message."
According to measurement firm Quantcast, Facebook averages 78 million visitors monthly, compared with Twitter's 6 million. However, traffic numbers on Twitter are hard to come by, as much of its traffic is on mobile phones.
From his office in Rochester, N.Y., Jeffrey Hayzlett, Kodak's chief marketing officer, updates his status on both Facebook and Twitter as many times as possible during a busy day. He's become the face of Kodak for many Twitterers and Facebookers, as he attempts to give them "a glimpse into my life, which puts a face to the Kodak brand."
Like Hayzlett, Finer is the face of Hansen's. She offers free cake samples to anyone on Facebook, posts celebrity-sighting snapshots and talks about the latest cake she's working on, or just the scent of butter cream.
"I spend about an hour daily on this, in between cakes," Finer says.
Her advice for entrepreneurs looking to boost business: "Don't bother people with sales (pitches) — like 'Come in and see what we have today.' That is so annoying. I don't want a commercial. I'm here to spread the cake love. Write about what makes you happy."
Winfield's business used to consist of helping businesses get better placement on search engines, primarily by working on their blogs and improving their websites.
Now, his staff spends a good deal of their time helping businesses update their statuses.
"It's all about Internet marketing," he says. "If you can catch someone's attention on Twitter, and they go write a blog post about you, someone else might link to it, and that will help your Google rankings."
Matt Rutledge, CEO of Dallas-based website Woot, sends out only one Twitter tweet a day — and it's the only marketing he does.
Woot sells just one item a day and announces what it is nightly via a Tweet and an RSS feed to his website. Rutledge now has 270,000 Twitter followers — No. 18 overall on Twitterholic's rankings, and No. 1 business. Whole Foods Market and Zappos.com are close behind with 263,000 and 262,000, respectively.
He can't point to any measurable sales gains from his Twitter love but says, "It's been enjoyable to watch Twitter grow. For us, with just one product per day, it's really well aligned with a short, micro-summary."
Jason Hirschhorn, who recently resigned his post as president of Sling Media, the online programming arm for Sling, is happily unemployed but eager to broadcast his latest missives on both Facebook and Twitter from two to 10 times daily.
"It's whatever's on my mind," he says. "I love the idea of telling people what I'm thinking about without having to talk to them," he says.
On the plus side, he says he reads their posts as well. "I'm able to ingest a lot more than if I was having conversations with them," he says. "I wonder less about what to read or watch, because they post it, and I value their opinions."

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Marian B said...

I bought 3 copies! Loved the story and you deserve the recognition! That cake was out of this world beautiful and delicious! Miss Suzi, You are a cake star!
Marian Ballog

Marian B said...


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