This week in the round up, word of mouth still rules the day, a manufacturer of contact lenses gets its wrist slapped, more changes to Facebook and Google, and why you need to stop sleeping with your mobile phone.

1. Some word of mouth statistics that you may not know
It’s no secret that word of mouth fuels just about every purchase decision we make. After all, we like to talk. And surprisingly, we like to talk a lot about products and services. How much? That’s exactly what the Word of Mouth Marketing Association asked survey participants recently. Here are some of the results:

  • The typical American mentions specific brand names 60 times per week in online and offline conversations
  • 66% of all brand-related word of mouth conversations are “Mostly Positive”
  • 54% of purchase decisions are driven by word of mouth
  • 49% of Americans believe online word of mouth is highly credible

Bottom Line: Whether it’s online or offline, your customers are going to talk, and those discussions will have an influence on someone else’s decision to do business with you. Make it even easier for your customers to talk by providing great experiences and giving them to tools to spread the word. Use a tool like HootSuite so you can monitor the conversations on social media.

2. Facebook “like-gating” gets a wrist slap
A contact lens business called Coastal Contacts Inc. ran a promotion on its Facebook Page that said, “Like this Page! … So you too can get your free pair of glasses!” It wasn’t until after people “Liked” the Page that they found out about all the terms and conditions of the offer. The Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division didn’t think that was too cool, and suggested Coastal Contacts modify its promotion by making the terms available before the people Like the Page.

Bottom Line: Special promotions for the people who Like your Facebook Page are a great way to say “Thank you” to your fans and encourage word of mouth around your offer. But being upfront about the terms of your offer should always be the first priority. And of course, what you do with those fans after they Like your Page is more important for your long-term success than the number of Likes you get.

3. New stats show up in Facebook Page posts
Facebook Page owners may soon see some new stats showing up on their posts, if they haven’t already. Instead of impressions and feedback, the new stats show People Reached and People Talking About This. Hat tip to Social Media Examiner for posting this picture of the changes.

Bottom Line: It’s probably too early to say what these numbers will mean exactly. But they seem like a step in the right direction as Facebook continues to emphasize the importance of engagement and the people power behind the social network. If you’re looking for more metrics to track your success, this is good news.

4. How to meet Google’s new content standards
Google is now putting even more importance on fresh content when it ranks search results. “Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven … are best when they’re fresh,” Google says. The latest change to the search algorithm has been projected to have impact on 35% of searches. This change comes just after the previous update, which focused on quality results, and weeded out low-quality content and content farms from search results.

Bottom Line: Listen carefully to what your customers find useful or are having trouble with. When you focus your efforts on offering solutions to their problems the content you create becomes more valuable. That’s the first step on the path to quality content. Then choose a posting schedule you can stick too so you’ll consistently be adding fresh content.

5. Is mobility keeping you up at night?
A poll from the National Sleep Foundation finds that more and more Americans are bringing their mobile phone or laptops into bed with them. One in 10 of these people are woken up from phone alerts, calls, and email. And the laptop users report they’re less likely to get a good night’s sleep. This may not seem like a big deal but according to the U.K.–based Mental Health Foundation, people who experience even mild sleep disorders are four times more likely to have relationship problems, three times more likely to lack concentration during their work day, three times more likely to struggle to accomplish tasks at work, and more than twice as likely to suffer from an energy deficiency.

Bottom Line: Yikes! I need to get to sleep. Seriously, though, as much as the connected world excites us with the possibilities of new marketing and business growth, we all need to take some time to unplug and give our minds and bodies the rest they need. The phone or laptop will still be there in the morning.

What were the stories that caught your attention this week? Tell us in the comments below.