Today, we celebrate one full year as CreateWOWmarketing, LLC. It’s a major milestone and the mission we set out on has yet to be realized, but I can honestly tell you, it’s been one exciting, educational journey.
This is the second company I’ve run in 10 years. The first one, a design company called Studio 24, was little more than a freelancer in his basement. The kind of “company” that there seems to be a lot of in this economy. Entrepreneur, sole proprietor, freelancer, whatever you call it, it’s a far cry from actually “running a business.” And I did it wrong.
On August 4th 2010, I purchased a company that had a strong local brand, a strong regional client-base, a focused service and CreateWOWmedia was something I, as The Brand Chef, could really get cooking with (sorry). With CreateWOW, the challenges were different. The focus was different and the rewards would be VERY different. And still, the things I did wrong with Studio 24 still loomed.
So before even spending one dollar (or minute) on client work, I decided to address those issues…
It didn’t take long to realize that my passion for education and communication was going to be put to work with CreateWOW. As I embarked on moving “Media” to “Marketing,” I had the honor of educating a hungry list of clients about the applications social media “could have” in their BIGGER marketing pictures. Most took to it with a passion. Some became resistant and overwhelmed with the integration (and the costs) and disappeared. Challenge.
After three months, a client list of 20 was whittled down to five. I watched a steady baseline of income go from “comfortable sustainability” to “Oh shit, I’d better start selling.”
I learned from that that with every challenge came opportunity. To learn. To grow. To motivate.
I networked. I educated… I educated others. I educated myself. I grew the list. I grew the network. I grew my influence. I built a new company.
Now, I can say WOW is mine. After a year, CreateWOW is a marketing company that:
“provides marketing communications services to individuals and companies looking to integrate emerging technologies with proven traditional marketing tactics.”
…at least for one year and counting.
A new location, new clients, new employees and ENDLESS opportunities for us all!
I have a LOT of people to thank and I won’t do it here, but take heart that if you’ve made eye contact with me in the last 12 months, you’ve influenced how this company would grow and thrive into the future.
I’ll Keep Cooking, thanks!
Andrew B. Clark
President / The Brand Chef
As we wrote in a previous post, more social media stocks are going public this year. LinkedIn has beat Facebook, Skype, Zynga, Twitter and Groupon to the metaphorical punch. The price per share at closing time May 19th had settled on $94.25 more then doubling the IPO of $45. That means that the market value represents almost 37 times last years sales for LinkedIn or $8.9 billion. Lets compare this to Google Inc’s shares that are valued at just under six times sales for 2010.
Warning signs have been seen with other stocks this year according to The New York Times. Renren, the Chinese version of Facebook went public in early May at $14 a share and quickly shot up. The stock now sells for below the original opening price. All this poses difficulties for underwriters to accurately price a social media stock ahead of time. Some suspect that people are so hungry to buy Facebook that buying LinkedIn shares appeared to be a good second place option.
If the first day of LinkedIn’s IPO offers any insight on how the next social media stocks will rise; then the key may be buy early and sell at the end of opening day. For those that did this saw their money double in 9 short hours. At the same time offerings were only 10% of the companies total shares and considered very hard to get.
Ahh, sit back and watch the bubble expand.
There are a lot of positive signs that small businesses are starting to adopt social media marketing as an integrated component of their overall business plans. One significant change, based on a February 2010 Small Business Success Index report, is the fact that social media usage among small business jumped from a meager 12% in 2008 to 24% in the following year (Yes, doubled).
Of those using social media, 69% post regular updates / articles of relevance to sites like FaceBook and LinkedIn. Two additional stats that made me smile were: 54% monitor positive / negative feedback via social networks, and almost 40% of the small businesses author a blog pertaining to their field of expertise.
But hold on, that’s still only 1-in-5 of those surveyed.
So, let’s address some of the restraints keeping small businesses form jumping on board?
According to the report, 50% of the users say it takes more time than they expected.
This is a surprise? Okay, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, but the reason they may have been caught off guard is a result of one or a combination of following:
Of course social media marketing takes time! Just like scheduling time to check voice-mail or email, small business owners need to adapt to make time for a little proactive community engagement. It pays off in the end.
Then there’s the statistic that made me laugh the hardest. 17% expressed that social media gives people a chance to criticize their business on the Internet.
Do they actually think criticism won’t happen if they stay away? Go ahead, try it. Then, call me when the business folds. I know Realtors that need the square footage.
Come on, folks, this should stand as a call to action for all small business owners (as well as those that market to/for them). Social media is not going away any time soon. And the quicker you figure out how to use it to your advantage, the better chances you’ll have for surviving the years to come.
As with any marketing tool, social media has a unique profile in each company’s marketing plan. While a blog is a great core component to a social media marketing strategy, Twitter, YouTube and FaceBook may not always apply. Heck, If your target audience isn’t active online, don’t be a fool and put your time into broad social media integration. Just make sure to do a little research before jumping in and you’ll know what’s right for you / your company.
Where does your small business stand when it comes to integrating social media into your marketing plan? Is it an add-on that will eventually fade away? Or do you have the plan and vision to make social media work for you?
If you’re a small business that hasn’t embraced social media as a marketing tool, then I have two things to say:
Food for thought.
Keep Cooking! (Purposeful, results-oriented decisions)
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef