Rick Burnes leads the content production team at HubSpot, a marketing software firm that produces the Inbound Marketing Blog and Inbound Marketing University. How do you turn a regional service business into an international destination for industry thought leadership? In a business driven by relationships, Geoff says that Facebook allows him to build new ones.
As he builds these relationships using social media, Geoff is also expanding his company's reach.
As a manufacturer of prefabricated steel buildings, SteelMaster was initially hesitant to get involved in social media.
Perhaps more importantly, SteelMaster found that social networks like Twitter and Facebook gives it exposure to and create demand in specific verticals where it previously had little traction. Idea Paint is a Boston-area startup that sells paint that turns surfaces into dry-erase boards.
The company blog, where employees publish videos, images and stories of product installations, is the hub of Idea Paint's social media activity.
Marcus Wilson, Idea Paint's head of marketing, says this system gives the company a level of customer intimacy and global reach and that was unheard of 10 years ago. One year ago, the marketing team at Neenah Paper, a manufacturer of high-quality paper products, confronted a growing problem: It was becoming harder and harder to reach new potential customers. Jamie Saunders, Neenah's marketing communications manager, noted that most of the company's potential customers — designers, graphic artists and printers — were spending their time in front of their computers, and that social media could be a way to better engage them. Jamie says these sales reps are finding that social media is simply a more effective way of engaging with their prospects.
In November 2008, a handful of auto executives flew their private planes to Washington, DC to testify before Congress in support of federal aid for their industry. At that time, aircraft maintenance and support company Duncan Aviation had just started using social media. Beth Humble, now Duncan's social media lead, explains that while social media is an important part of Duncan's strategy, the company doesn't aspire to create a Comcast- or Coke-like presence on the social web. As these brands can attest, all it takes is creativity, know-how and a bit of luck to run a successful campaign on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube or even Snapchat.
Why it worked: "It's not every day an organization can take advantage of an event of this nature," Ehrlich says. Background: Never mind that Facebook was decades into the future for the characters of the 1960s and 70s AMC TV series Mad Men.
Why it worked: "Besides just being absolutely brilliant, it was addictive," says Brandy Wilson, a digital and social media marketing a€?specialist at Capitol Media Solutions.
Why it worked: The campaign didn't quite reach its goal, garnering 50,265 tweets, which in turn created "an effective wind speed" of 140 mph. Background: Just as Google often changes its a€?Doodlea€™ at the top of its search page, Oreo chose to release a whimsical image on its Tumblr blog, Oreo Daily Twist, every day from June to October 2012. Why it worked: Oreo's Tumblr images "were educational and informative, they were fun, and they were totally on brand, Ehrlich says. Background: Dove's Real Beauty Sketches campaign "took real women and interviewed them about their thoughts on their own appearances," notes SEO and social media consultant Misty Faucheux. Why it worked: Instead of holding women up to supermodel standards, the campaign directly addressed women's insecurities. You hear all the time from marketers and various promoters that using social media as a customer service tool is beneficial.
This time we’re going to discuss why everyone should be adopting a customer service strategy with social media and how it will actually generate a positive reputation. Many companies tend to overlook this idea, but the first thing some customers do is share their experience with others. Companies that reach out to their customers via social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook are not only building success stories, but they are also proving to everyone else in the world that they can offer their customers positive experiences. After an issue with some lost luggage, Hassan Syed paid to promote a personal tweet which said, “don’t fly British Airways [because] their customer service is horrendous.” The company failed to take notice of the tweet for a very long eight hours before offering support.
If you do your best to remedy the issue and improve a customer’s bad situation you will have earned their trust, and if the proof of such can be seen publically via social media then that trust will spread.
Surgimedics is a company that manufactures unique surgical equipment such as a medical smoke evacuator. Instead of using their Facebook profile to solely promote their products, they offer exclusive deals, tips, facts and even general industry information.
Recently, United hit the ball out of the park by using some of the same strategies discussed above.  “Stuck on the plane in Pittsburgh. Sometime later it looked like all was well, as Marybeth even praised the United social team for all they had done. Every time a company helps one of their customers they really are building a success story. Savannah Marie is a social media junkie, online marketing wizard and consultantfor SEOcompanyGo.
Subscribe to Social Media DataGet the latest updates about all Social Media News and Tools. A recent study conducted by the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business showed that nearly one in five small business owners are integrating social media into their business processes, and that technology adoption rates in the U.S. Whether your business is ahead of the curve or looking to catch up, small businesses on both sides of the track can learn from the success stories of others. In 2008, when co-owners Matt Buchan and Alex Garcia decided to buy and makeover a hair salon in Seattle, Washington, which they renamed Emerson Salon after Ralph Waldo Emerson, they decided that the Internet would be an important focus for their business. Buchan and Garcia have lent tremendous efforts towards building an online community while keeping up with the latest trends. Lastly, Emerson Salon makes it a point to stay involved with the local community and build a place where customers can gather for just about anything.
For Baugh, the focus for Butter Lane will always be on perfecting their products and delivering excellent customer service. Videos sites Blip.tv and YouTube have allowed The Social Man to get personal with clients and prospects. Liberty Bay Books is an independent bookstore located in Poulsbo, Washington that specializes in Scandinavian and nautical books. Droppert began experimenting with social media after attending an educational seminar early last year.
In the end, Droppert's goal is to share views, ideas and conversation with her customers and the authors who visit her store.

The types of connections that Droppert has with her customers are rare in our fast-paced, self-centered world — something that every business, big or small, can work towards. Set in the tourist destination of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Feather Your Nest is a specialty shop for homemade and vintage-looking gifts. Small businesses with shoestring marketing budgets should never underestimate the power of word of mouth generated by media. There are countless examples of small businesses taking the reigns of social media and leading their businesses to success. This article highlights nine companies (big and small) that have transformed their Facebook presence by implementing innovative Facebook marketing practices. If you use a contest for fan gating, make sure you abide by Facebook’s terms of service. To increase engagement, Cheese & Burger Society created a Send to a Friend app, allowing fans to send a cheeseburger to their friends. In fact, approximately 6 billion photos are shared on Facebook each month according to Pixable. IdeaPaint is a B2B company that sells a specialty paint that converts walls and other spaces into a dry-erase writing surface, eliminating the need for hanging white boards and opening up creative space.
In keeping with their creative purpose and mission, IdeaPaint makes innovative use of their welcome tab by creating hot spots with links to their social sites.
A key to building long-term customer loyalty is to give your customers a good first experience with your product or service. Another smart tactic employed by IdeaPaint is their use of NetworkedBlogs to automatically pull their blog posts to a dedicated tab. American Express also cleverly integrated their rewards program so people can redeem points for Facebook ads.
A few things to notice on his wall: First, observe how Ron has taken advantage of the photo strip by creating 5 interchangeable photos that reinforce his core messaging. Next, observe how Ron incorporated his photo in his profile image, enabling him to use his headshot as his avatar when interacting on his Facebook wall.
NOTE: Mari Smith recommends TabJuice as a great service for small businesses wanting to set up a store on Facebook.
He says it was his blog, his Twitter feed, and his Facebook account that helped him win appearances on Horse Talk Radio and HorseGirl.tv.
Geoff says that over the last year, Facebook alone has generated about 100 leads and 10-to-15 customers.
Chicken farmers and woodworkers don't typically think to use steel buildings, but when friends and colleagues share pictures of their SteelMaster buildings on Twitter and Facebook, the farmers and woodworkers become interested.
The company uses Twitter and Facebook to share content published on the blog — then to listen to, respond to, and interact with the community that content engages.
Social media is now one of Idea Paint's largest sources of leads and traffic — and it is growing steadily.
Their traditional channels — phone conversations and in-person meetings — were not working as well. While the experiment started with Neenah's marketing team, its sales team was one of the biggest beneficiaries.
This perception of corporate excess created an outcry, and the private aviation industry's image was damaged. The company discovered that the new medium could be a way to positively shape the conversation — to add its perspective and improve the industry's damaged reputation.
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Over the past year, they rolled out remarkable campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Vine, YouTube and even Snapchat. The energy drink brand often sponsors big sporting events promoted through social media, not to mention the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer.Its most notable recent example, though, was daredevil Felix Baumgartner's October 2012 record-breaking jump into the stratosphere over New Mexico, says Steve Ehrlich, global vice president of client development for TMP Worldwide. But the stunt fit well with Red Bull's brand and drove "massive engagement" across its social platforms."YouTube saw more than 8 million people watching the live-stream of the jump and gained more than 87,000 new subscribers," he adds. Images were connected to events that occurred the day they were released, says Steve Ehrlich, global vice president of client development for TMP Worldwide.Aside from the Tumblr blog, Oreo has shown a lot of creativity as well as spontaneity in social media, Ehrlich notes. The Super Bowl tweet worked, he adds, because there was no red tape to clear before it could be posted. In doing so, says Faucheux, it "created the personal connection many companies strive for but never achieve."By late May, Dove's Real Beauty Sketches went beyond viral to become the most-watched online video ad of all time, according to Unilever. Though many brands have created Vine videos, Lowe's rank among the best, says Brandy Wilson, a digital and social media marketinga€? specialist at Capitol Media Solutions.
They throw down a few examples, some ideas on how to use social media to your advantage and that’s pretty much it. A customer that chooses not to share a good experience can cause the same damage as a customer sharing a particularly bad one. The customer may not get exactly what they want or complications may arise during a transaction. They apologized for the delay and told Syed to private message with the proper reference numbers. It means that next time the customer needs one of your goods or services, they will return to you instead of a competitor because they know you will take care of them. How they use social media is a bit different, because their audience is very tight – you could say it’s a small niche.
That is, for customers, social media works just like picking up the phone and calling a support hotline but in some cases with much faster results.
Over time, a social media account will begin to collect these stories as they remain visible to a greater audience. Here's a list of five companies that are kicking tail and taking names while staying on top of their social media efforts.
Little did they know that two years later, 75% of their business would be sourced from Facebook, Twitter and their blog. Not only are they on Facebook and Twitter, but they also run a Yelp offer and manage their Yelp venue page, maintain a blog on Tumblr, run group-buy specials on Groupon and LivingSocial, and have a special on Foursquare. Co-Owner Maria Baugh said she and her team are avid users of Postling, a social media management tool that allows businesses to see all of their brand activity on various social media platforms all from a single interface. When recently asked to explain how Butter Lane had created a cult following, Baugh's response was that, "it never occurred to us that people viewed us that way, and of course, we were thrilled.
A typical session could entail a lesson at the bar, a discussion on social dynamics, or a break-down of an interview with a hot girl.

Through their channels on both sites, they run a series called "Ask the Social Man," in which Hudson and his colleagues answer questions on dating and pick-up techniques.
From a brief conversation with Owner Suzanne Droppert, you immediately understand that she places a very high value on conversation and the exchange of intellectual ideas. Her social media efforts, which are an extension of her genuine interest in her customers, have led to a growth in sales, as well as a growth in genuine connections with her customers.
Eureka Springs is a town where not even use of the Internet has begun to blossom among small business owners. This page is an innovative way to promote Wisconsin cheese by talking about something many people love—burgers and grilling. For some tips on how to take full advantage of photos on your page, see this article by Debbie Hemley. IdeaPaint does this by providing detailed videos on their Facebook page on how to install and use their product. In addition to the Like button, they use the Send button, which enables you to directly send the link to your friends.
Through a strategic partnership with Facebook, they created a massive contest for small businesses that generated lots of interest and increased their fan base. He makes an immediate impression on his welcome page by doing two things: 1) Making a charitable donation for every Like and 2) using a video. This subtle guidance will keep visitors on your page longer, increasing the likelihood they will engage with you as a fan. They have masterfully integrated their store on Facebook, allowing greater social engagement.
First, they found that Facebook is an excellent way to post pictures of customers' steel buildings.
Meanwhile, the company's Twitter and Facebook reach grew 70% in Q1 2010, and is expected to grow an order of magnitude in Q2. Picture Don Draper posting a photo of himself in a fetal position on Facebook, and you get the idea.
As of this writing, the campaign's homepage had received 18,000 tweets, 681,000 Facebook Likes, and 2,400 Google +1 endorsements. That’s why you want to go over the top when you can and surprise them enough so that they feel the need to share.
This can cause several issues, the biggest of which is that the customer ultimately ends up not being happy.
In the case of British Airways, they lost an opportunity to make things right and in turn they probably lost more than just one loyal customer. It means that even people who are not interested in purchasing the company’s products will likely still follow their social media feeds. It serves to create a humbling reputation of your business and brand, one that will garner many more customers in the future.
After talking with these savvy entrepreneurs, it was obvious that they had created a whole new business model in the hair and beauty industry, in which social media was king. Right away, they have links to all of their social profiles, links to all of their stylists' social profiles, their blog feed, and a button where users can book their next hair appointment online.
Baugh noted, "It has a dashboard where we can see on one screen the most recent tweets, Facebook posts and Yelp reviews.
Jonathan Christian Hudson, founder of The Social Man, a small social coaching business based in New York City, explained the dynamics between coaches and clients. Since they began uploading daily videos, the company has seen a rise in site visits and sales. Droppert believes it is important to stay connected with online social conversations regarding your business' space. Owner Gina Drennon, a web designer and self-starter, is a gem in the rough when it comes to Internet-savvy small business owners in her neighborhood. The Facebook comment section allows people to make comments that will show up on their wall. Not only do the pictures engage existing customers — they also demonstrate to prospective customers the range of uses for SteelMaster buildings. In the end it’s all just another form of press, and positive press is always necessary in the world of business. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that something will happen leading to some of your customers having a bad experience. We need flaps to fly.” Marybeth Cadotte wrote on Twitter, after experiencing a small delay in her travel plans. Even more impressively, after booking an appointment, a user can share their appointment with friends on Twitter or Facebook. She stays abreast on books, travel, food and local events via her store's Facebook and Twitter pages.
Buddy Media found that posts with 80 characters or fewer get 27% greater engagement than longer posts. It’s not the experience itself that can ruin your reputation, but instead how you handle it. It’s because Surgimedics is regularly giving something back to their followers by offering exclusive support and information.
Since introducing social media into the mix, traffic to their website has more than tripled. Very convenient." For small businesses who are strapped for time, a tool like Postling offers a one-stop place for staying in contact with customers.
She also keeps the community up-to-date on book signings and in-store events on the company blog and YouTube channel. This is beneficial for the company even when it comes to customers who do not purchase their products, because their followers are more likely to share and discuss related topics with others – this in turn generates exposure for the company and brand. None of the judges, nor the agencies for which they work, were involved in the social media campaigns they recommended.James A.

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