Social Media Explained by Open Forum

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01 THE ESSENTIALS — Anita Campbell reviews the basics for those looking to use social media in their business 03 GETTING STArTED — John Jantsch on how to reach new customers using the most popular social media sites 08 wHAT’S NExT? — Mashable’s Adam Ostrow looks at what is on the horizon for connected business owners 10 THE BuSINESS Of SOCIAL MEDIA — Q&A with OPEN’s Marcy Shinder and business expert Henry Blodget


A Practical Guide to Business Growth



SOcial mEdia
welcome to the latest in our series of guides providing practical advice to help you manage and grow your business. In this issue we examine the phenomenon of social media – a collection of intuitive, web-driven technologies that offer the prospect of low-cost, two-way interaction with customers, prospective customers and those who can influence opinion about what your business has to offer. what’s more, the global platform these tools provide can be yours to use for no up-front cost – learn about the tools and techniques that have proved successful for businesses so far, and determine what mix might be appropriate for your enterprise. Across the burgeoning range of applications and techniques that fall under the social media heading, there’s certainly something for everyone – but where to begin? In a field so crowded with competing offers to deliver personal and professional success in social media, we’ve assembled an array of highly informed practitioners, whose independent expertise provides a comprehensive

perspective on what social media can offer the small business owner. Anita Campbell, founder of the award-winning online community hub Small Business Trends, offers an accessible guide to some of the concepts, tools and techniques available. Duct Tape Marketing founder and digital guru John Jantsch gives practical tips for getting started, while Adam Ostrow of the social media blog Mashable, provides a glimpse of what the future might hold. Describing his experience, Cardmember rafe Totengco paints a vivid picture of the type of commitment and the resulting success that can go with a proactive approach to social media. finally, renowned analyst and technology commentator Henry Blodget rounds out this issue, addressing some of the commercial implications of social media in a conversation with OPEN’s vice president of brand marketing and strategy, Marcy Shinder. Social media offers something for every business owner: we hope this guide helps you understand what it can offer you.



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SOCIAL MEDIA — ExPLAINED Anita Campbell, editor of Small Business Trends, discusses the fundamentals of social media marketing SOCIAL MEDIA — GETTING STArTED John Jantsch presents some of the best options for businesss owners looking to use the most popular social networking sites CArDMEMBEr STOry — rAfE NEw yOrk Rafe Totengco reveals how he has used social media to enhance his brand and reach new customers around the world SOCIAL MEDIA — wHAT’S NExT Mashable’s Adam Ostrow looks to the future and reveals what is on the horizon for success in tomorrow’s social media q&A — MArCy SHINDEr & HENry BLODGET The Business Insider’s Henry Blodget and OPEN’s Marcy Shinder discuss the lasting impact of social media and its role in business




Account Director, Winkreative — MEIGHAN DOBSON Project Manager, Winkreative — DIANA kEH For American Express OPEN — CHrISTINE CuOCO JAMI kELMENSON MArCy SHINDEr


ANITA CAMPBELL Founder & Editor Small Business Trends
Anita Campbell is the founder of Small Business Trends, LLC, which manages online communities touching more than 250,000 small business owners and managers each month. Her award-winning Small Business Trends online publication has been highlighted in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and has been recognized by MSNBC’s Your Business as “Website of the Week” and HP’s “Best Business Blogs.” Anita is a featured expert on the topic of Innovation for OPEN Forum. Find more insights from Anita at:

Text: anita campbell Illustration: luke Wilson

SOcial mEdia ExPlaiNEd
If you’ve ever visited a blog, set up a LinkedIn™ profile, watched a youTube video, left a consumer review on a site like yelp® or surfed through facebook® to reconnect with old college friends – then you’ve participated in social media. “Social media” refers to a type of website, application or communications vehicle where people connect with one another; discuss and interact; share content and ideas; and build relationships. The most important word in the phrase “social media” is “social.” Being more social online is a growing trend in our society. According to a Pew Internet & American Life Project tracking survey in December 2008, over one-third (35 percent) of adults now have a profile on a social networking website. That number has quadrupled since 2005 (it was 8 percent then). you can see how quickly this trend is growing. And although social media started out as personal activity, businesses have caught on and are getting in on the act. Marketing maestro Seth Godin has written about today’s “attention economy”: “In an attention economy, marketers struggle for attention, and if you don’t have it, you lose.”

Let’s carry Seth’s idea one step further. One way that a small business can get attention is by becoming more “social” and engaging prospects and the public in more active ways in multiple places online – and also by sharing expertise and content freely at these sites. This may require a change in your approach. Instead of thinking of your web presence as consisting solely of your website, think in terms of creating satellite outposts on the web at social media sites where your business interacts with others. In other words, you go to where your customers and prospects are. you join in communities where they are participating, or you start your own microcommunities inside larger social media sites around the web.

whoever coined the phrase “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” could have been talking about social media marketing. All marketing costs you something, in either time or money. Social media marketing is no exception. In fact, social media marketing often costs more


in time than in money. This reality has been a rude awakening for many a small business owner who was initially delighted with all the “free” marketing and Pr possibilities afforded by social media. Take the example of a blog. Setting up a blog is now considered a well-established technique to connect more closely with customers and the public, learn what your customers are thinking and share your messages in a conversational voice. A blog can be free and involve literally no out-of-pocket expense. But for your blog to be effective, you must “feed” it by adding content. Blogging takes time. It’s nearly impossible to write a

substantive blog entry in under a half hour – chances are it will take you an hour or longer. Like any business activity, it’s not without its cost – in this case, time – but that time can be well spent in terms of customer engagement for your brand. when it comes to large social venues like Twitter™ and facebook, it’s frighteningly easy for you and your staff to fritter away huge amounts of time. It may be fun, even addictive. But from a business perspective, if this is done aimlessly it can be more noise than signal. At the end of the day, you may have no business results to show for it – no better brand recognition, no additional sales, no


Once you identify clear goals and objectives, it becomes much easier to figure out what you need to do each day, week or month with social media. A concrete plan helps you separate the activities that are enjoyable personal diversions (or downright time wasters) from those that drive real value to your business. MONITOrING yOur SOCIAL IMPACT Sound overwhelming? It’s not, really. Some tools and utilities can make it much easier to manage. There are tools just to help monitor mentions of you, your products or your brand on the web. Set up Google Alerts and Google Blog Alerts to be notified via email whenever you or your brand are discussed online. is a similar monitoring service that will send you alerts whenever you’re mentioned on Twitter. A variety of toolbars and applications exist that make it easy to update your social presence too. for instance,™ allows you to update numerous social media sites simply by posting a message in a single place. There are even applications such as TweetLater and Adjix™ that allow you to schedule Twitter updates in advance. TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop allow you to better monitor and update your Twitter account from your computer or mobile device. New tools are being developed all the time. Try some of them out. They can make your social media activities considerably more efficient and effective. AND fINALLy... Social media is a learning experience. It presents a dynamic, constantly evolving landscape. you’ll want to refine your social media approach as you get your feet wet. you and your colleagues should spend more time on the activities that bring results, and eliminate activities that haven’t panned out. Make sure that you adjust your approach as your business grows and changes, too. what may serve you well today may not be what you require next year or the year after that in your business. whatever you do, don’t remain static. Open yourself to the possibilities of this new “social world” on the web. wHICH SOCIAL MEDIA APPLICATION IS rIGHT fOr My BuSINESS? SOME ADVICE frOM ANITA CAMPBELL — There are literally hundreds – strike that – thousands of social media sites and applications. for small businesses, the following are the digital outposts Anita Campbell recommends as giving the best rOI for the time and money spent. —

happier customers. Often this disappointment results from approaching social media without a clear strategy and plan. Social media is not a one-size-fits-all activity; it’s a rich landscape of websites, tools, applications and techniques. yOu NEED A PLAN Successful social media marketing for any business starts with a plan. It should be a subset of your overall marketing strategy, with very clear goals and a tactical course of action. To properly take advantage of social media, first step back and ask yourself some questions: What are you trying to achieve? refer back to the overall marketing objectives you created for your business. Are you trying to drive new customer acquisition? Brand recognition? Deepen relationships with existing customers to retain them? Cross-sell your products and services to existing customers? Just as clear goals and objectives are the foundation of your overall marketing plan, they should also drive your social media plan. Who exactly is your target market? Be specific. Ideally you already have a clear picture of your target market in terms of demographic requirements and other characteristics. If so, this step should be straightforward. If you aren’t sure, you’ll need to do some research to identify which social media sites and tools to focus on (start with my short list on the opposite page). But think broadly, as social media can have a viral effect. People pass along links to content. This means that your message or content may be shared in one venue, yet often reach people through indirect means. Which social media activities can help you achieve your marketing objectives? Now tie your social media tactics and activities to your marketing objectives. Do you need to find platforms to display your expertise and thought leadership? Amplify your brand by sharing your messages and content? Drive traffic to your website? Spread the word about discounts or special offers? Publicize events? Establish a dialogue with customers and the public, and create a two-way conversation? Monitor your brand at social sites? — — —

Twitter is a powerhouse for connecting with like-minded people, developing relationships, getting customer feedback and increasing brand visibility. It’s also becoming a major traffic driver back to small business websites. Twitter works especially well with a blog, if you share links to your blog content with your Twitter followers. —

Every professional should have a LinkedIn profile to display credentials. But to get real value out of LinkedIn, you need more. Consider setting up a LinkedIn Group around your business or around a topic your customers are interested in. Participate not only in your own Group, but join other related Groups too. Ask and answer questions in the LinkedIn Answers section. LinkedIn is a particularly good outpost to monitor those who market to the corporate or enterprise market – or who are hiring. —

you can set up a youTube channel to display videos that relate to your business, such as product demonstrations, how-to tutorials or website tour videos. People will find the videos by searching on youTube itself, or by finding video results through search engines. Videos are one of the most viral (shared) forms of content today. —

for many small businesses, facebook is where your target market is networking and spending free time. you want to be seen there with a personal profile (for personal branding as an expert, speaker or author) and with a business/fan page around which your business can build a community. remember to update your business page regularly. If you are in the entertainment business or market to the youth market, a MySpace™ page is a useful outpost. and other document-sharing sites — —

If you are in any kind of business or profession where you generate knowledge pieces in the form of PDf reports, PowerPoint® presentations, spreadsheets, forms and the like, then document-sharing sites are a way to show off your expertise. Set up a channel at key document-sharing sites. remember to feed your content to these sites regularly.
Vertical-interest forums —

Don’t forget the old-fashioned online forum/discussion board, especially for niche industries. you can find forums on just about any topic or any industry. Become an active participant or a moderator, answering queries and dispensing advice. Don’t forget product forums on corporate sites if you have product expertise and are a service provider or consultant – they are a great place to show off your knowledge.
For more on how small businesses are using these sites to gain brand awareness, visit


JOHN JANTSCH Founder Duct Tape Marketing
John Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, awardwinning social media publisher and creator of Duct Tape Marketing, a small business marketing system to help entrepreneurs expand their businesses. His Duct Tape Marketing blog has been featured by Harvard Business School and Forbes and selected as a “Best Small Business Marketing Blog” in 2004, 2005 and 2006 by the readers of Marketing Sherpa. He is a featured expert on the topic of Marketing for OPEN Forum. Find more insights from John at

Text: John Jantsch Illustration: luke Wilson

SOcial mEdia GETTiNG STarTEd
It’s becoming clear that social media is no longer marketing’s new thing; it’s marketing in the world we live in today. That’s not to say that social media tactics are all you need to concern yourself with, but it does mean that social media tactics need to be considered in your marketing strategy. rather than ask yourself if you should or should not use facebook® or Twitter™, the question should be “How can facebook and Twitter help me achieve my marketing objectives?” from this integrated viewpoint, social media participation can start to make more sense for each individual marketer’s needs and goals. CONTENT AS LEAD GENErATOr few areas of marketing have been more dramatically impacted by social media – and the Internet in general – than lead generation. The days of broadcasting your sales messages to willing or unwilling prospects are effectively over, with tools like TiVo®, spam filters and commercial-free radio keeping unwanted messages at bay. Lead generation today is more about being found than hunting. Online, this means appearing in the results when

people use search engines to find answers and products. SEO (search engine optimization) is one of the most important elements of lead generation, but it has changed dramatically over the past few years, becoming undeniably intertwined with social media. what this means is creating a system of places where people – and search engines – can find your brand. Add a blog and podcast to the mix. upload, tag and thoroughly describe images on sites like flickr®, and house customer testimonial videos on youTube. Create and optimize profiles on facebook, LinkedIn®, Twitter and industryrelated social networking sites. And become very proactive about generating positive reviews on sites like yelp®, Google™ Maps and Insider Pages™. Otherwise, you’re not really marketing “online” anymore. OPTIMIzE yOur ASSETS Creating a profile or uploading a video are good ways to start building your online assets, but it’s equally important that you take the time to fully optimize, tag and describe the content so that search engines can index it

and prospects can engage with it in ways that support all your other branding activities. In other words, link back to your website, but also write thorough descriptions, add images to profiles and create the most extended version of real estate possible. Give your social media assets the same care and attention that you might give a printed brochure, and they will serve your search engine efforts well. THE HuB AND SPOkE MODEL As you create these online assets, you need a primary website or blog as the central hub that ties all your social media activity together.

your activity – or spokes – functions primarily as a way to lead prospects back to the much more fully developed content that resides on your website. your hub is the place where you can engage your prospects in a total educationbased campaign that helps them understand that you have the solutions they are seeking. In fact, you can think of a great deal of your social media activity as a way to create awareness and an initial level of trust substantial enough for someone to want to know more. Social media and social networking, when combined, may be the ultimate permission-based marketing tool when viewed in this light.


campaigns. Generate awareness of your content, and you will get the chance to earn the trust it takes to actually sell something to someone. LinkedIn has a reputation as a solid place to network, find prospects and even get hired.
Take advantage of Your Profile — remind People You’re on Twitter —

BuILD ENGAGEMENT – AND TruST The social web is a tremendous place to build your reputation, earn trust and gain influence. All these attributes may indeed lead to sales and profits, but not in the direct manner so many marketers crave. In fact, building trust online requires going to far greater lengths than networking at a local event might. It requires a greater level of initial engagement, transparency and consistency. while those may sound like buzzwords to some, they are generally accomplished by a willingness to give – before anyone ever asks. This means demonstrating that it’s not about you: educating, pointing to helpful information, admitting when your company makes a mistake, thanking, referring and serving customer needs in full view of a social public. By doing so, you can not only overcome the natural cynicism that exists online, you can reap the benefits of trust – including higher profits and shorter sales cycles. EMPLOy BEST PrACTICES So how do you start reaching out and engaging? The following are my recommendations for three of the most popular social networking sites. Facebook is interesting because it has so many users and has built some very nice engagement tools.
Build a Fan Page —

use tools like the Tweetmeme plugin to make your content easy to tweet. Add your “follow me on Twitter” button to web pages, email newsletters and email signature. Add your @name to your business cards, stationery and invoices. MONITOrING AND ENGAGEMENT TOOLS It takes a powerful set of digital ears to monitor and engage in the millions of conversations going on simultaneously. By setting up filters, aggregators and alert services, you can find, monitor and even join real-time conversations about: — — — — — your customers’ ongoing experience Any brand/product/CEO mentions Complaints about competing services Inaccurate information about your organization Thoughts and needs of journalists in your industry

GLOSSAry Of TErMS — The rise of social media is introducing new concepts, terms and players into the mainstream. Here are a few (from this article) you may meet as you get started:
aggregator —

This is a great brand asset; don’t waste it. Make your profile informative, and make sure to add a photo, create a branded urL, link to your blog, products, workshops, etc.
Give First —

One of the top features on LinkedIn is something called recommendations. you should acquire some recommendations, and I find the best way to get them is to give them. Choose people in your network whom you’ve worked with and write an honest statement of recommendation.
demonstrate Your Expertise —

Software that collects content through feeds from websites, blogs, tweets and any other online publication. Can be used to help you monitor references to your company, competitors and your business sector across the Internet. —

An often-overlooked feature, in my opinion, is the question and Answer function. By answering questions thoughtfully, you can demonstrate expertise while potentially engaging contacts that are drawn to your knowledge. Twitter is probably the hottest and leastunderstood social networking tool, but with a few consistent practices, you can derive plenty of value from Twitter.
Tweet Great content —

Bookmarks are a reliable way to keep what’s interesting to you on the web within easy reach. Bookmark sharing is an important part of social media, and enables users to share topics of interest. In doing so they attract attention to popular references, often resulting in spikes of traffic to websites that carry relevant content.
rSS —

Google alerts —


Google Alerts allows you to set up customer searches for any phrase and receive email or rSS alerts anytime your phrase shows up in online media, blogs, web pages and news.
Search Twitter —

really Simple Syndication – a venerable ancestor of social media and still one of the best ways to publish all kinds of content to subscribers, independently of your website or any other online destination.
@name —

Any business on facebook can create a fan page for the business and start optimizing additional content there. Add applications, newsletter sign-up pages and events, and promote them to your “friends” on facebook. when someone becomes a fan of your page, your updates on the page show up on his or her wall, providing additional exposure.
Take advantage of the apps —

Promote events, upload or record video, hold contests and polls. All this extra engagement is so easy to do using pre-built tools. And don’t forget to integrate your facebook activity back to your website and blog using a facebook fan Box.
Use Facebook ads for awareness —

find inspiration by following people who always tweet interesting stuff, subscribe to blogs that feature great links and reviews, scan weekly and daily email news digests, cruise over to the popular page and read print publications of interest. All these sources (most of which can be scanned in a 15-minute sitting once you have them set up) are rich with content that your followers will want to read.
Get Familiar with Twitter Search —

for now, monitoring Twitter is a separate stream – using the advanced search function allows you to set up very specific searches, even including geographic details. These searches produce rSS feeds and can then be subscribed to. —

A part of your online identity that may become as important as your email or web address: this is how you can be accessed and followed on Twitter. It’s worth registering your @name now, before someone else does.
#hashtag —

you can target ads to facebook members on all kinds of criteria and run pretty low-cost ad

for many power users, search is the most important feature of Twitter. you can use the Twitter advanced search tool to create elaborate searches that filter out only the tweets that address your specific industry in your specific geography. I would also include the use of the #hashtag as a search tool. Get in the habit of using it to promote your events and promotions.

Similar to Google Alerts, but for Twitter. Set up search phrases and receive notifications anytime your selected phrases show up in Twitter conversations. —

A way to add context to your Twitter posting – and make it easier to find as part of a shared group of messages tagged in the same way. Simply prefix the term with a “#” in the body of your tweet.
Tweetmeme —

Backtype is a search engine of sorts that focuses on blog comments. Blog comments don’t often make it into the mainstream search results, so this is a way to listen in on this set of content.

An aggregation service for Twitter, providing categorized links to popular topics and enabling you to amplify their popularity by retweeting them to your Twitter network.


CArDMEMBEr STOry — rAfE NEw yOrk
Name: Company: Location: Member Since:

Text: Stuart Husband Photography: mackenzie Stroh

rAfE TOTENGCO rAfE NEw yOrk NEw yOrk, Ny 1997

rafe Totengco describes his accessories label, rafe New york – colorful clutch bags and totes, subtly stylish shoes – as a “stealth brand.” “I’m not one of those mega-fashion names that you feel almost coerced into buying. If anything, I’m the opposite – my branding and my logos are all very understated. I want you to wear the bag or the shoes, rather than the other way around. I’m looking to create a strong emotional attachment to the brand.” He grins. “That’s absolutely crucial when you don’t have a huge advertising budget to throw around. you want to make the most out of every dollar you spend.” In the past few years, however, Totengco has found a way to compete with fashion’s big guns – if not on a level playing field, at least on a slightly less skewed one – thanks to the inexorable rise of social media. “Oh, thank goodness for facebook, Twitter and,” he exclaims. “In the bad old days, if I got some amazing press, I’d have to email people all the time to let them know. It was so exhausting, clicking ‘send all’ over and over again. Now, through facebook and LinkedIn™, people get notified of new posts and updates automatically. It’s a fantastic way to toot my own horn in a not-so-blatant way.”

Totengco has embraced with alacrity the opportunity to promote rafe New york – and himself – via social media. He already has more than 2,800 fans on his facebook page and nearly 650 followers on Twitter; he’ll send out tweets or posts announcing new rafe lines or secret sales (“60% off at the online store now – run, don’t walk!”) to dramatic effect. “The evidence is very anecdotal and unscientific,” he says, “but as soon as we make those kinds of announcements our online sales really spike, to the point where we’ve had complete sell-outs.” Totengco generates further buzz for the brand through his blogs:, where he describes in chatty detail the fashion events and parties he’s attended and the various celebrities he’s encountered, and, where he posts photographs of his customers proudly sporting their rafe totes or kitten heels. “I just started blogging because I thought it was fun,” he says. “I didn’t realize how sophisticated it could be, for tracking and stuff. My early blogs didn’t even tag or link to anything. Now I’m hyperlinked and I can see who’s following me. I didn’t want it to be dry. I wanted it to be an extension of my personality, like a magazine gossip


CArDMEMBEr STOry — rAfE NEw yOrk
Donna karan, Calvin klein and Perry Ellis, thinking, that’s where I want to be.” His decision to concentrate on accessories was a purely pragmatic one. “It was a case of ‘one size fits most,’ ” he says, laughing. “I had no means to present a whole fashion collection in New york. I was fresh off the boat and had no connections. So accessories was a way for me to establish a business while producing something I enjoy.” And he went about selling his first collection in 1994, with the same artless charm that fuels his social media success today. rafe New york has picked up awards and acclaim along the way – Totengco won Best Accessories Designer from the Accessories Council in 2001 and was the first accessories designer to create a capsule collection for the mass retailer Target®, in 2005 – but the brand’s reputation was built largely through word-ofmouth. “It’s happened quite organically,” says Totengco. “I always design after my own aesthetic rather than some marketing plan. I guess I have one foot uptown and one downtown – my bags don’t look like obvious status bags, which I think helps preserve their longevity. I’ll tell you a story,” he continues brightly. “I was at a café the other day and this actress walked in with a five-yearold – that is, vintage – bag of mine. I walked up to her, told her I designed it, and asked to take her picture. She’s jumping up and down – ‘I love this bag, it still looks good, it’s still my style’ – which is such a compliment, because to keep a bag for that length of time, without trading up for this season’s must-have, is like breaking one of fashion’s cardinal rules.” you could imagine this anecdote turning up, verbatim, on Totengco’s blog, or indeed the photo of the actress in question being posted on rafeloves. There’s a sense that everyone on the receiving end of a post or a tweet is a confidante, which has spread Totengco’s brand awareness beyond his hardcore bag- or shoecrazy constituents. “It’s obvious that some fashion designers don’t write their own blogs, or that they can’t be bothered to update,” he says. “I think that if you’re not going to throw yourself into it, why bother?” But does he now feel the pressure to update his status every hour? “Oh, I’m not a ‘just had breakfast, really full’ kind of tweeter,” he says dismissively. “I might tweet twice a day, or once a week, just whenever I feel like it. Likewise, I only post on the blog when I’ve really got something

column, but with an insider point of view. It’s been seen by people around the world, and it’s really gotten my persona out there.” As for the rafeloves blog, he says it was not only an alternative way of promoting his products, but also “a way of celebrating the individuality of the people who buy my products. And believe me, at this point, no one is camera-shy. I’ve got a waiting list of around 30 girls clamoring to get on there.” He shakes his head. “It’s funny to think that people are now connecting as much with me as with the brand.” Then again, Totengco’s engaging, effervescent personality seems tailor-made for a hyperlinked world. He was born 41 years ago in a small town in the Philippines; his interest in fashion was sparked by his two elder sisters, who were part-time models. “I saw the way they could be transformed by clothes and makeup. It was so exciting, seeing the power of fashion up close at that age. I became addicted.” he says. He started a successful clothing business in Manila, growing from one seamstress working on his dining table to about 30 employees in a much bigger apartment. He left for New york in 1989. “I always had the city in my sights,” he says. “Back in the Philippines I’d be reading about

The designer’s well-heeled creations


Classic Rafe handbags; Totengco discusses details with colleague Steffanie Hyman; uptown meets downtown at Totengco’s showroom


CArDMEMBEr STOry — rAfE NEw yOrk


Esi Akaah, one of Totengco’s design team, puts her vision to paper


Works in progress

Totengco’s Can I Tell You? blog is a chatty look at what’s going on in the designer’s world

FOr mOrE iNFO ON raFE NEW YOrK SEE: If you’re an OPEN Cardmember with a story to tell and would like to be considered for a future OPEN Book, email us at:

Debating leather swatches in the atelier

Twitter keeps friends and fans in the loop about sales, collections and Rafe-related news

to say. I don’t want it to take over my life. I’ve had people say to me that they’d rather buy from a person they know is actually writing this stuff. But at the same time, I do have a day job!” Given all that, could he estimate the impact that his social media presence has had on the success of his “stealth brand”? “I can’t break it down in terms of ‘we’ve sold 10,000 more bags than we’d otherwise have done,’ ” he says. “But it’s been invaluable in raising awareness. Little pockets of customers have caught on to the cult across the uS, in Europe, even back in the Philippines. The number of visits made directly to my site and my blogs have been steadily increasing, and online sales are exceeding expectations. People are reading my posts, finding out about my life and wanting to ‘link in’ by commenting on my blogs, following me on Twitter or by buying one of my products. I think it’s a paradigm shift, and one that a lot of other businesses can and should exploit. I mean, having 20 people comment on a status update or blog entry, that means you’ve reached out and interacted with them.” He pauses. “I guess what social media has done, more than anything, is help build goodwill for rafe New york, and that’s impossible to quantify.”

Ready to get more “social”?
To find more tools and information to help you navigate the social Web, visit
oPEN MIc Listen as journalist Tyler Brûlé takes a deeper dive into the areas presented in this guide. In the first of OPEN’s new podcast series he’ll be in conversation with John Jantsch, Adam Ostrow, Rafe Totengco and other guests. coNNEctIoNs Gain insights, connections and exposure and meet all our expert authors on oPEN BooK Download any of the articles in OPEN Book: Social Media, as well as the complete guide, or forward the link to others. Previous guides on Online Marketing and Trends can be downloaded at REsouRcEs Find more articles and tips from the contributors in this guide and join the discussion by leaving a comment.


ADAM OSTrOw Editor-in-Chief Mashable
Adam Ostrow is a new-media entrepreneur, consultant and commentator. As editor-in-chief at Mashable, Adam is responsible for the editorial management and direction of one of the most widely read blogs in the world, covering the latest technologies, trends and individuals that are driving the current evolution of the Web. Adam has been frequently quoted by mainstream media, including mentions in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Forbes, BusinessWeek, ABC News and CNN, and is a featured expert on the topic of Technology for OPEN Forum. Find more insights from Adam at

Text: adam Ostrow Illustration: luke Wilson

SOcial mEdia WHaT’S NExT
The rise of social media over the past few years has left several companies and platforms in a position to dictate the way in which we’ll use technology in the future. Between facebook®, MySpace™, Twitter™, LinkedIn® and youTube, there are hundreds of millions of users across what has become known as “the social web.” There are also countless start-ups looking to either be the next huge social platform or build a business by feeding into the ecosystem that the top players have created. Determining which of these earlystage services is going to be “the next facebook” is an exercise in wild speculation, but we can look at what the social web might be like in the future and how your business can position itself to succeed in it. CONNECTED ACCOuNTS AND POrTABLE IDENTITy If you’ve spent much time on social networking sites, you’ve probably noticed an increasingly similar feature set. The concept driving much of this homogeneity is called “the social stream,” essentially the idea that you can log in to a site like facebook,

Twitter or LinkedIn and see a stream of recent activities – like new status updates, photos and events – from all your connections. while initially the stream consisted of activities taking place within a given social network, it has come to represent activities taking place around the web. for example, you can now connect your flickr® and youTube accounts, and even your blog, to facebook. This means that every time you upload a photo, share a video or write a new post through one of these mediums, it can automatically appear on the social network. Beyond simply connecting accounts, facebook, Twitter and MySpace now all offer their own options for logging in on third-party websites, known respectively as facebook Connect, Sign-In with Twitter and MySpace ID. for example, you can now log in to Citysearch® using your facebook username and password, write a review of a local business and have that automatically posted to facebook, where it’s accessible to all your connections. Similarly, many blogs and news websites will now allow you to syndicate a comment you make to Twitter.

HOw TO TAkE ADVANTAGE The rise of the social stream and portable identities has a few practical implications for your business:
amplifying Your Online Footprint —

Automatically syndicating your blog posts, videos and other content to social networks raises your brand’s visibility, improves traffic and creates new opportunities to connect with customers.
adding New Services to Your repertoire —

with the social stream and portable identities, a number of third-party apps that plug in to these platforms are worth consideration. from screencasts (Screenr ) to video (TwitVid) to presentations and documents (DocStoc), there are many opportunities to improve the quality of the content you’re publishing to the stream and, in turn, earn the social currency that can drive the growth of your online network.

improving Your Website’s Viral Growth —

you want to be where the people are – hence, setting up facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts is top priority for your business. But

By adding social features to your website, you can get further mileage out of the content you produce and further extend your reach on social sites.


the mobile environment. The combination of advances in mobile technology, a number of innovative startups and upcoming features on services such as Twitter point to a future in which cell phones are central to the social media experience and an equally important platform for businesses. — Mobile Applications for starters, the iPhone has completely changed the landscape for mobile applications. what used to be a largely closed system is now open, and more than 85,000 mobile applications are now available on the iPhone alone. Meanwhile, virtually every other device maker, from BlackBerry® to Palm™ to Nokia, is following Apple’s lead and launching its own app stores. fortunately, much of the groundwork has been laid for businesses small and large to play in this arena too. while initially apps cost thousands of dollars to develop, new do-it-yourself solutions like SwebApps™ allow you to set up your own iPhone apps, with templates for different types of businesses like restaurants and retail stores, and be up and running for a few hundred bucks. Geo-Targeted Applications Another increasingly common feature on cell phones is GPS. while this has some practical applications – like the ability to find your phone if you misplace it – it also has huge potential for business. for starters, location-aware applications are emerging that allow users to share their longitude and latitude with friends. while Twitter plans to incorporate this functionality soon, there are already applications such as Google™ Latitude and Loopt® that are location-aware. Log in and you can see where all your friends are and quickly make impromptu plans at nearby locations. The business model here should be fairly obvious: the ability to serve hyperlocal advertising to potential customers that are within a few feet of your business. This is already starting to happen. foursquare, a location-aware app that lets users “check in” at venues in a number of metro areas, recently launched a partnership with a company called 8coupons. Through the deal, users of foursquare in New york City — were alerted to coupons within a three-block radius of their current location. Meanwhile, we’re also seeing ad networks develop around the concept of location-aware advertising. AdMob, one of the leading mobile ad networks, recently recorded its 100 billionth ad impression. Like other applications, AdMob lets you target ads based on user whereabouts, but it does so across hundreds of mobile applications and websites, giving advertisers the scale that is currently missing from individual apps. SOCIAL SEArCH: BrINGING THE wHOLE THING TOGETHEr If you’ve experimented at all with online marketing, chances are it has been in the realm of search, where the bulk of online advertising dollars still go and where improving rankings in the organic results through SEO (search engine optimization) is a full-time job for thousands of specialists. However, like so many other aspects of the web, search is about to get infused with a big dose of social. Both facebook and Twitter have already provided a small glimpse of the road ahead in search. Twitter’s advanced search options let you combine a keyword query for tweets with other social modifiers – like location, if it came from a specific user, and even if it had a positive or negative attitude. Meanwhile, facebook’s recently revealed search tools let you search within your network or site-wide for status updates, links and notes about a given topic. However, social search is only in its infancy. In the long run, we’re likely headed in a direction where, in much the same way that organic search results in Google are based on page rank, social search results are based on algorithms that look at a user’s social authority – how many connections he has, how positively he’s viewed by others and the quality of the content he’s producing on the social web. further, web and social search are likely to become one and the same, where results are simply a combination of link patterns, keyword analysis and social media metrics. So how does your business position itself to succeed in this future online world dictated largely by our capital on social media sites? It may sound clichéd, but looking at the current landscape, the key seems to be to work smarter, not harder. Improve your position in the social stream by connecting accounts. Turn website visitors into marketers by enabling portable identity features. Extend your business to the mobile world with a branded application. Actively participating on social media sites remains paramount, but that will go only so far as you have hours in the day to commit. Getting ahead of future trends with simple and accessible technology will add significant scale to your marketing strategy and give you a competitive edge as we continue to move toward an ever more social web.

A Few Options:
Sharing Buttons —

Make sure your blog posts are easy to share by adding buttons that allow readers to quickly post them to facebook, Twitter, MySpace and dozens of other social sites. ShareThis®, AddThis™ and AddtoAny all provide free buttons that can quickly be added to your blog. Additionally, an increasing number of businesses are adding these features to their email marketing and newsletters.
comment Systems —

Portable identity is making blog comments a valuable marketing tool – not just for you as you browse the web, but for your own blog as readers leave comments. Disqus offers a comment system that lets readers sign in with their facebook or Twitter accounts and have their comments posted back to the social network of their choice and, in turn, be seen by all their connections. This turns blog comments into a way to generate additional traffic at no cost.
implementing Your Own Social Features —

If your website offers its own login system, consider implementing portable identity solutions like facebook Connect or Sign-In with Twitter. Citysearch online guides let users review businesses and have those reviews published to facebook; your website could utilize these solutions for enabling product reviews, special promotions and contests, and inviting friends who might be interested in your business. MOBILE: wHErE SOCIAL MEDIA MEETS LOCATION At the same time social networks are trying to aggregate all your online activities in one place, they’re also looking to extend beyond the web and into the realm of mobile. And it’s happening quickly: facebook has more than 65 million active mobile users, Twitter sees 20 percent of tweets stream in from mobile devices, and mobile video watching on sites like youTube is up 52 percent in 2009, according to a study published in May by Nielsen. However, there’s much more going on than big social networks porting their features to

CONSuMErS SIGNAL THEIr APPrOVAL — Marketers may be adopting social media in droves, but are consumers reciprocating by following companies and brands on social media sites? According to recent data, the answer would seem to be a resounding “yes.” In a study provided to eMarketer™ by Anderson Analytics, more than half of social networking users have become a fan or follower of a brand online. Moreover, users are far more likely to say something positive about a brand than something negative. “52% of social network users had become a fan or follower of a company or brand, while 46% had said something good about a brand or company on a social networking website – double the percentage who had said something negative (23%).”
(Source: Anderson Analytics “Social Networking Service,” provided to eMarketer July 13, 2009)

In other words, there seems to be much more going on beyond businesses simply setting up shop on social media sites and hoping people will show up. rather, users are actively seeking out their favorite brands online or being connected through other means – like a friend’s suggestion, a link on a website or offline advertising. All the more reason that spending on the medium is expected to continue to increase over the next five years.



Illustration: luke Wilson

Q&a: marcY SHiNdEr aNd HENrY BlOdGET

Everywhere we turn, we’re hearing something about the “social media revolution.” what do you think are the key reasons for businesses to engage? There are three key reasons. first, social media is where your customers are. Secondly, social media is where your customers are talking about you (and your competitors). And finally, social media is a simple way to communicate with customers and potentials who want to hear from you. fundamentally, the relationship between brands and customers is changing. The era of one-way communication – of brands pushing their messages to consumers through media outlets – is waning. Brands that embrace the new conversational opportunities with their customers will win. Those that do not will suffer. Experience suggests that we tend to overestimate the impact of technological innovation in the short term, and underestimate it in the long term. Is this true of the “social media revolution” ?


yes, that has always been true in my experience: If you go back to the mid1990s, Internet hype got way ahead of the reality. But 15 years later the Internet has already had a far more profound impact on the world than even the pie-eyed dreamers ever thought it would. with social media, we’ve already seen how enormously popular it is, and how quickly it’s changing the world. Teenagers don’t like to talk on the phone anymore; they don’t like to watch TV or read newspapers or magazines anymore; they don’t even like to communicate via email. Instead, they like instant messaging, texting, and facebook®. The short-term pursuit of the commercial opportunity this represents is giving rise to unrealistic expectations in terms of immediate returns. So in your opinion, does this hold greater implications for how we communicate overall as marketers, and as a society? In the short term, changes like these happen slowly enough that they may

Vice-President of Brand Marketing & Strategy for American Express OPEN Marcy Shinder oversees OPEN’s focus on social media marketing, brand strategy, product marketing, events and advocacy designed to ensure that American Express OPEN delivers on its promise to be the Card that connects its customers to the best in business. Shinder was among BtoB Magazine’s Top Marketers for 2007 and 2008, has been featured in Pink Magazine, The New York Times, Direct Marketers News and has appeared as a guest on fox Business Network’s Money for Breakfast.


CEO & Editor-in-Chief of The Business Insider and featured expert on OPEN Forum A former top-ranked wall Street analyst, Henry Blodget is the host of yahoo TechTicker, a yahoo finance® video show viewed by several million people a month. He is a frequent guest on Bloomberg, CNN, MSNBC, and NPr and has recently contributed to The Atlantic, Slate, Newsweek International, The New York Times, Fortune, New York, the Financial Times, and other publications. Blodget is the author of The Wall Street Self-Defense Manual: A Consumer’s guide to Investing.





rEad mOrE FrOm marcY SHiNdEr ON OPEN FOrUm aT: or email her at:



potential customers – and that can be worth a fortune. whether social media continues to grow depends on whether we find ways to measure it intelligently. It can be a lot like Pr: dependent on human efforts, not technology; difficult to track an rOI. But a smart social media effort absolutely needs to be tracked; how did it grow audience? How many tweets and links did it generate? And, ideally, did it lead directly to sales that can be measured? Measuring social media “buzz’’ is as challenging as measuring Pr “media impressions.” we have to get smart about quantifying results for social media to grow.

not seem earth-shattering. But you can imagine what the world will look like when all today’s teenagers hit middle age: They aren’t going to start watching TV or reading newspapers just to look at the ads and figure out what to buy. They’ll just ask their “friends” – their virtual network or what facebook calls their “Social Graph” – what to buy. And thanks to social media, that has gotten a heck of a lot easier. Anytime you have tectonic shifts like this, you’re going to have a lot of new winners... and a lot of shakeout. In the mid-1990s, it would have seemed inconceivable that companies like Viacom and Time warner would be shrinking while staring up at a giant company called Google™ that is worth more than most of the rest of the media industry put together. But that’s creative destruction at work. And as social media really gets cranking, this evolution is likely to continue.

monetized – and these platforms are getting a huge amount of attention. The “Social Graph” has the potential to be an extremely powerful marketing tool. Since the dawn of time, the most persuasive marketing message has been a friend’s recommendation. If companies figure out a way to harness that without freaking people out, the results will be awe-inspiring.

It is eliminating the dozens of promising opportunities you could go after and keeping your attention on just one or two. In this respect a certain discipline and focus is essential in your commercial dealings with social media.

So your best chance to compete effectively is to be sure you do one thing extremely well? Exactly. No company can do everything well. few companies can do many things well. Small companies really can do only one thing well – or maybe two, if they are extraordinary. So having the self-discipline to stay focused is critical. The good news is, if you’re the kind of entrepreneur who just can’t do that, it doesn’t mean your company is doomed. It just means it’s time to hire someone else to run it...while you pursue the next big thing.

Similarly, enthusiasm in the tech stock markets may tell a certain story about social media, but how can a small business owner distinguish hype from reality in terms of the bottom line benefits that social media might bring to them? As an on-the-ground small business owner, the best thing is to ignore the stock market, and just stay very aware of what your customers are doing. In her article for this OPEN Book, Anita Campbell considers the “time vs. money” aspects of social media, and notes that business owners think of social marketing as effectively free. This has been useful to many small businesses that have been cash-constrained in the past 18 months. Do you think we will see its continued growth as a marketing medium? Anita’s right: social media is definitely not free. while the volume of commercial use may have increased as a result of perceived cost efficiencies in tough times, that’s got nothing to do with quality or effectiveness. If you use social media badly, it can make you look like an idiot. But, used intelligently, it’s a cheap way to communicate with customers and

Economic downturns often appear to encourage innovation – as people try to do more with less, or perhaps become “accidental entrepreneurs” as a result of changing employment circumstances. Do you think we can expect a new wave of entrepreneurs to emerge out of the present downturn, much as Apple and Microsoft® appeared in the mid 1970s? you’ll certainly see a new wave of companies and entrepreneurs, but not necessarily because of the “accidental entrepreneur” factor. recessions have the same impact on the economy as winter does on the animal world: they cull the herd. Startups that can make it through a recession, or have good enough business plans to gain traction during a recession, will boom in good times. The rest wouldn’t have made it anyway. All the contributors in this OPEN Book are unanimous in their view that social media marketing is here to stay. As someone who interprets data for a living, do the statistics suggest to you that social media represents a viable, long-term marketing or business building opportunity? Three hundred million facebook users after five years, 50 million Twitter™ users after two years...where to begin? Companies haven’t really figured out how to use these platforms effectively yet, but they will. Attention can be

Many of our Cardmembers tell us they would love to tap into social media for their businesses, but don’t know how to begin or think it’s too risky. How would you advise them in terms of balancing their concerns with managing the commercial potential this new medium affords? for most entrepreneurs, the single biggest business challenge is not finding a promising opportunity to go after.





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Text: Jason rudman Illustration: luke Wilson

wHAT yOu’LL fIND ON OPEN fOruM OPEN forum is home to a number of articles and resources specifically selected and designed to help business owners succeed. while we are continually looking for more content and tools to better serve our members, the following is just a sampling of what OPEN forum currently offers: Expert advice and insights from: — — — — — — — Behance The Business Insider Duct Tape Marketing How to Change the world Inhabitat Mashable Small Business Trends

SOcial mEdia OPEN FOrUm
for business owners who are new to social media, OPEN forum offers a great way to step into the social media pool without feeling like you’re diving in. OPEN forum has a number of easy-to-use tools and practical tips to guide you, and you’ll be in the company of other business owners, many of whom are just as new to it as you are. with OPEN forum, we wanted to design a site where entrepreneurs could find the resources they need to help them build their businesses. recognizing that connections can be powerful contributors to growth, we also wanted to enable you to share ideas and opportunities with each other. So we built into OPEN forum the means for you to start using social media, a great tool for making connections. The following offers three simple ways for getting started. ENGAGING INSIGHTS first, there’s the Idea Hub, a library of insights and advice from experts like Anita Campbell, John Jantsch, Adam Ostrow, and Henry Blodget, as well as Guy kawasaki of Alltop, Scott Belsky of Behance™, and Jill fehrenbacher

Exclusive online articles from: JASON ruDMAN Director of Send comments to your profile can be a digital business card for your company, describing who you are and what you offer. Add a logo or other images, your business story, and a personalized urL, as well as links to your Twitter™, LinkedIn®, and facebook® pages. To create a profile and start building your network in the Connectodex, you do need an American Express OPEN® Business Card. Then you can simply log in using your user ID and password. (If you don’t have these set up yet, there is a link for more information.) MAkING CONNECTIONS Third, you can begin building your network. Members of OPEN forum have a message center in the Connectodex where they can make direct introductions after viewing each other’s profiles. you can search businesses by industry, geography, business size and more. you can participate as much as or as little as you want. As your comfort level increases you can feel confident about engaging more and even in other channels, further building your network – and your business. — — — — — — Ars Technica BusinessWeek Entrepreneur Fast Company Inc. reddit

of Inhabitat. There are also video interviews with celebrated entrepreneurs like richard Branson, segments from MSNBC’s Your Business, presentations from events like the New york Times Small Business Summit – and more. Participating in the right social media channel means finding the right audience. On OPEN forum, you’ll be in the company of other business owners whom you can engage with simply by adding a comment to an article or responding to others’ comments. Or, if you are wondering how other business owners are handling a situation, you can ask them by starting a discussion topic or using the Ask the Members feature. BuILDING yOur PrOfILE Second, there’s the Connectodex – OPEN forum’s tool for connecting business owners. It’s powerful and easy to use, providing you with a number of ways to find, meet and exchange ideas with potential partners and customers. you can search for companies that offer what you want, and if you have an OPEN forum profile, others can find you when searching for your products or services.

Video interviews with iconic entrepreneurs and experts from: — — — — OPEN’s “Inside the Entrepreneurial Mind” series MSNBC’s Your Business The New york Times Small Business Summit Plus, exclusive webisode series featuring profiles of entrepreneurs and experts, produced by Big Think and Next New Media

There is also a calendar of conferences, events and other networking opportunities, as well as the chance to read and join discussions with other business owners – and more.


we hope you’ve enjoyed the information in this OPEN Book – featuring perspectives on how to engage with social media, no matter what level of activity your business currently enjoys. To access this and other OPEN Books online, visit: If you’re an OPEN Cardmember with a story to tell and would like to be considered for a future OPEN Book, email us at for OPEN press inquiries: rosa M. Alfonso, Director of Public Affairs American Express OPEN 212-640-1712 American Express OPEN® Card products offer simple ways to manage and monitor your spending: — with OPEN Savings1, you save automatically when you use your Business Card to make purchases at participating companies such as fedEx and Hertz®. Earn Membership rewards points to reinvest in your business and save on travel, shopping and entertainment expenses.2


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