The New Influencers

Karl Long writes today in MarketingProfs: Daily Fix on the subject of influence in the age of social media and new marketing.  A web site, Heat.Eat.Review offers reviews of microwave heat & eat meals.  It’s just one
example of how third-party reviewers can influence potential customers.  For instance, the reviewer says Star
Kist Lunch to-Go
smells like cat food.  Ouch!  Sorry Charlie.

In the "good old days" we knew who the influencers were and acted
accordingly.  Some years back, one of our dealers here in St.
Louis sold some ceiling fans to a local TV anchorman.  He had a
problem with one of them.  The dealer moved heaven and earth to
make sure the guy was happy.  Everything worked out ok. 

Whether a celebrity deserves any better treatment than anyone else
is open to debate, but the point is, today everybody has
influence.  Anyone with an internet connection can set up a blog
or post to any number of on-line consumer sites.  We have the
technology to spread the word, both good and bad, instantaneously
around the world, not just to our limited circle of acquaintances.

Where a TV personality in a medium-sized market like St. Louis can
influence thousands of people, a kid with a computer has the potential
to influence millions.  Scary, isn’t it?

To protect our reputations and our businesses in the twenty-first century, there are two things we must do:

1.  Treat every customer as if they could make or break our business, because they can.

2.  Take the time to find out what people are saying about us. 

To expand on number two, when was the last time you Googled
yourself?  Enter your business name, enclosed in quotation marks,
into the one or more of the major search engines, like Google or Yahoo.  Do the same for your major product lines.  If you
find anything, take care of it!  Don’t forget to search Google News and Google Groups.  Do the same with one or more of the major blog search engines like technorati
or feedster.  Again, if you get any hits, follow up on
them.  Your reputation is too important to leave it up to
chance. 

By the way, I like  Lunch  To-Go.

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