The Inc. 500 say Twitter is tops for sales potential, but they still don’t have a plan

Every year, Inc. Magazine posts a list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.. You gotta figure that these guys are doing something right so The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth set out to find out what.

Specifically, they wanted to know about social media marketing. They examined every company’s website, social channels and web presence and they received survey responses from 118 of the 500.

With all of that data in hand, they measured and filtered and came up with some very interesting conclusions about how America’s hottest companies are handling themselves in public.

Inc500 Social Media Usage

It begins with this chart comparing social media usage numbers from 2012 and 2013.

Small business owners shift attention from acquisition to retention

Bia Kelsey Retention ReportMore than half of small businesses get more than half of their annual revenue from repeat customers. So while it’s true that all businesses need to continuously find new customers, keeping the ones you have is becoming even more important.

According to a new report by Manta and BIA/Kelsey called “Achieving Big Customer Loyalty in a Small Business World“, a large number of small businesses are now spending half of their time and budget on their current customers. This represents a big shift in thinking but it’s a logical step in this tightfisted economy.

It can cost ten times more to find a new customer than keep a current one engaged. It’s also easier. . . if you make good use of available tools. Simply communicating with customers on a regular basis by email or through social media is a good start.

FTC cracks down on Pinterest contest rules with warning to Cole Haan

Cole Haan ContestThe world is a dangerous place for sure, but never once have I ever felt the need to be protected from Pinterest. But the FTC says brands on Pinterest are doing us wrong and they want to put a stop to it.

The current lamb to the slaughter is luxury shoes and accessories brand Cole Haan. They ran a Pinterest contest where they asked fans to create a Wandering Sole board featuring several images of products from their line. They were told to put #wanderingsole on the photos so they could be easily searched. (Also, it’s pretty much the only way to pick a winner.)

Google Plus adds view counter to profile pages. What’s your number?

Cynthia Googleplus viewsGoogle+ added a view counter to everyone’s profile page this week and I’m just catching up. Here’s mine.

I was actually quite surprised to see that I had more than 16,000 views. I rarely ever post to my account but YouTube has been doing some posting for me. Still. . . a lot of views for so few followers.

Google says the number equals the number of times your content has been seen by other people, including your photos, posts, and profile page. (Give or take)

Wil Wheaton has 73,452,925. Our own Andy Beal has 178,045 views. How many views do you have?

Clearly Google+ is trying to make a point about how active the site is but it’s depressing if your numbers don’t add up. And views are public by default so you might want to switch them off if yours are lacking.

Eat24 versus Facebook: You get what you (don’t) pay for

broken heartBy now you’ve probably heard about Eat24′s humorous but dead-on break-up letter to Facebook. “We’d love to say “It’s not you, it’s us” but it’s totally you. Not to be rude, but you aren’t the smart, funny social network we fell in love with several years back. You’ve changed. A lot.”

So true.

But to be fair, we’ve all changed. Back in the day, we had to pay to mail letters to potential customers, pay for ads in the telephone book and pay a kid to stick flyers on windshields. A lot of time, money and effort and still you’d only ever reach a small segment of the local population.

Mobile phones and tablets chip away at desktop ecommerce

This past February, US retail sales were up 1.5% over last year. Big deal, right? How about this: US ecommerce sales were up 10% year-over-year. Let’s go one better:  mobile ecommerce was up 45% compared to the same period in 2013. Amazing.

Custora Pulse did the calculations and look what’s happening here. Smartphone sales are up from 5% to 9%. Tablets are up from 8% to 10%. But look at Desktop! Sales dropped from 87% to 81%.

The overwhelming majority of sales are coming in on an iOS platform (78%) but Android is up over last year 22% vs 17%. Android isn’t taking over the lead any time soon but this is a good indicator of how many new smartphones are landing in the hands of shoppers.

Custora Feb 2014

Survey says Millennials are not a one night stand (Infographic)

moosylvania millennialsI’m always suspect of any research published on April Fool’s Day and even more so when it comes from a company called Moosylvania (any Bullwinkle fans in the house?). But “Truth, Justice and the Millennial Way” is an excellent presentation / infographic with a style that totally grabs me. Hey, I know I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover or a presentation by its graphics, but anybody who puts a retro cat clock on the page deserves your attention.

The overall point of this piece is that Millennials aren’t easy. Unlike their parents before them, they aren’t prepared to jump at what ever you dangle in front of them. They want to be wooed. They want a relationship and if you can impress them they’ll be yours forever.