Our organization is really excited that Wyoming is providing the Christmas tree for the U.S. Capitol for 2010. We wanted to be involved and also help small businesses be involved. Thus, we decided to create an event that would incorporate social media and provide a mechanism to market/showcase small businesses and show how small businesses can do the same.Webinar 2 is October 21: Presentation will be about Twitter, Facebook, and using aggregators such as PitchEngine. PitchEngine is a WY based company, they will talk about how small businesses can utilize their platform. Speaker will either be Jason Kintzler, founder and owner of PitchEngine or Fabian, one of his employees.Pod calls: Sign up to participate in weekly calls for brainstorming, discussing marketing through social media, etc.
The Social Media Landscape changes everyday. Knowing where to start can be confusing and overwhelming. We hope to lessen the confusion and decrease your learning curve with our three webinars. Even a little bit. Some of you may have vast experience with social media and we want to hear from you.
If you think social media is a passing fad, think again!
According to Google, approximately 89% of consumers search for products/services online. At the very least you should make sure you are listed correctly.Go to Getlisted.org to register yourself on six search engines. This way you will be sure your address and phone numbers are accurate. This is free. Also register yourself on Google Places. Why would you not do this?
Your SBDC director/counselor can help you create a plan. Go to http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.biz to find a SBDC person closest to you.Most social media sites are free, but consider your costs for time involved in social media, any software upgrade costs and don’t forget anti-virus protection. You can get free anti-virus software, but premium services almost always come with a yearly subscription.
Get help: Market Research Center-Ask your local SBDC directorIt does take time. What are you willing to commit to? Once a day, three times a week, once a week?How much time can you commit: 15 minutes a day, 30 minutes a day, etc.If you can’t commit any time, maybe you should see if an employee is interested or a family member. You could contract for services, be creative.How will you define success? This can be very difficult. Engaging with clients, priceless! Keep in mind you are building relationships. You are listening to your customers about your products or services. You may even receive negative feedback, don’t be alarmed, use it to your benefit. Is the negative feedback about customer service, or about improving your product or service? This is your opportunity to make your business better!
Your username would or should be your business name. Consider, however, that when you register for a site, such as Facebook, someone may already have your name registered. Consider a close alternative. You want to keep all of your names on all of your sites to be the same, or close to the same. Just because you have bought a domain name, doesn’t mean someone can’t use the same name as a username on a social media site.Upload a photo, you don’t want the default avatar chosen by social media sites. Photo, can be your logo, picture of you or your artwork or photo of your business, etc. Just be sure that any pictures you use are owned by you.Be sure to include in your profile, website, phone number, etc.Set up a social media email account, you will receive a lot of emails. Gmail is most common. But consider carefully email you want people to customers to respond to. This could be a different email than email you use to setup social media accounts.
Ease into this virtual world, don’t create accounts and then abandon them. You must be active on a regular basis. I would recommend posting something at least three times a week, check and respond to comments daily or every other day. Schedule your presence on a calendar (virtual or paper calendar). Stick to it, if you can’t find someone else or several people who can assist.Find a method that works for you. If you don’t like to be on the computer, set up your social media accounts using one of the many smart phones. Think like a consumer! Social Media is about building relationships! I can’t emphasize enough—It isn’t all about you!
You want to brand your business! If you centralize all of your activity, for example on Facebook, then you are branding Facebook as well and really asking anyone who does business with you, has to also do business with Facebook. Facebook is a powerful tool, but you want to control your info and not be limited to the constraints, policies, etc of another entity. Especially if that entity were to close down (for whatever reason) your info could be lost. Social Media sites come and go. Another consideration, if you don’t like to write or be bound to a routine, a blog may not be for you. You don’t have to write a lot and it could be merely bullet points, or drawings or whatever. The more creative the blog, the better! Don’t be limited by the usual blog formats that you see.
Whether you use a blog or website or both, be sure the content is always updated and maintained on a regular basis.
Our website with our main social media links available.
These three sites represent our core.
The very middle represents our core sites. We added Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook about a year and a half ago. As a network we use GoToMeeting and WebEx weekly. Our newsletter is distributed via email and developed and managed through Constant Contact. We use Skype constantly for conference calls or to chat quickly with another employee or client. We own an island on SecondLife. Mark Atkinson developed the island and manages all activity. We can provide trainings and events through SecondLife. We utilize Basecamp internally for committee meetings, etc. The last circle includes a mix; social media sites we use occasionally or just started to use, and tools. Google provides a myriad of very useful tools that are free. We utilize Google Analytics, Google Reader, Gmail on a regular basis, we are working on our registration with Google Places and also use Google docs, etc.
If you sign up for Twitter today, you won’t have 1,000 followers or more tomorrow, unless you are a celebrity. It will happen, but maybe not as fast as you would like. Let it happen organically. Sure you could pay and have lots of followers in a week, but they probably won’t be the target audience you were seeking.
Social media for small business
Social Media for Small Businesses<br />Debbie Gorski<br />firstname.lastname@example.org<br />Anya Petersen-Frey<br />email@example.com<br />
An Entrepreneurial Christmas Story <br /><ul><li>For the first time, Wyoming is providing the 2010 US Capitol Christmas tree!
Wyoming Entrepreneur’s companion tree will be adorned with 52 small business ornaments.
Coaching Pod calls</li></li></ul><li>Social Media for Small Businesses<br />An Entrepreneurial Christmas Story <br /><ul><li>Providing an opportunity to give exposure to our WY small businesses.
Assist businesses with a creative venue to learn about social media/digital marketing.
Reaching your markets in a viral/global market.
With or without you, your clients and potential clients are using the Internet to search, compare prices and buy products/services!</li></li></ul><li>
Social Media is Here to Stay!<br />Wikipedia—written by people (you and me). The largest reference website—684 million visitors yearly by 2008.<br />Facebook—500 million + registered users<br />MySpace—300 million registered users<br />YouTube—One Billion views per day (2009)<br />Twitter—105 million+ registered users<br />LinkedIn—75 million + registered users– more than 12 million small business users<br />Ning—80 million + monthly visitors, 70,000 paying subscribers<br />Just to name a few!<br />
Why Would I Use Social Media ?<br />Your customers are there!<br />Market your product/sell your product<br />Communicate with clients<br />Establish yourself as an expert<br />Educate/answer questions<br />Show products or services<br />Find out what is being said about your company, product or services<br />Other benefits?<br />
Before Jumping in—Have a Plan!<br />Have you heard this before?<br />Include social media strategies within your marketing plan.<br />
First Ask Yourself These Questions:<br />Who is your target market?<br />How does your target use social media?<br />Are you willing to commit the time?<br />How will you measure success?<br />If you can answer these questions, then you are on your way to developing a social media strategy/plan. <br />
How Do I Begin?<br />Choose an online name <br />Photo or avatar<br />Profile details<br />Contact info<br />Business Email Account<br />
Now What?<br />Choose one or two social media networks in the beginning.<br />Listen, observe, learn<br />Participate: engage with others<br />Share or contribute<br />Respond<br />Be first person, not third<br />Be open and honest<br />Don’t make it all about you!<br />Provide a consistent presence—make a schedule<br />
Social Media Core<br />Blogs and/or websites can be considered a primary core for your social media presence.<br />Benefits:<br />Centralizes a brand’s digital presence<br />Most valuable social media profile you have!<br />Integral to community building<br />Control the flow of your audience to your different social media sites<br />
Social Media Core<br />Blog Benefits:<br />Blogs are easy to manage<br />Publish instantly<br />Dialogue with visitors<br />Become a thought leader or expert<br />More personable<br />Website Benefits: <br />Site domain is owned by you!<br />Data obtained by your site provides invaluable insight (Can use Google Analytics to track activity). Much more in-depth info.<br />