Summary from #sbbuzz February 10th Edition

Here’s the summary from the Tuesday, February 10th edition of #sbbuzz. Thanks again to everyone who participated! It was a great success.  A few things to remember:

Q1 What is the one technology that you can not live without? And why?

mjayg: smartphone – have to leave the home/office sometime but need to stay connected to news, email, friends, co-workers, information, etc
mriggen: Q1 I’m going to be predictable & say iPhone. I used to want a computer chip embedded in my arm, that’s as close as we’ve got.
scoblitz: Q1: Gmail. It is primary means of communication and also the conduit for interaction with just about all of my other services.
csavage: Analytics. Understanding conversions/patterns of visitors is critical to knowing what messaging is/isn’t resonating.

Q2 from @sassymichelle: Been experimenting with soc media – any tips for dividing your time among all the networks? #sbbuzz

saulcolt: Don’t divide your time between too many soc networks. Find the ones that work for you and invest there
snakejw A2: I use Digsby to monitor most soc media. Mostly respond to friends and associates.
scoblitz: Q2 – I don’t divide time. I use the one or two that provide value to me and largely ignore the rest.
robertlendvai: try using a social media search engine like http://www.socialmention.com
csavage: Setup rss alerts and funnel them through pingie for email alerts. Also tools like mightybrand.com are good for managing your brand.

Q4 from @saulcolt “What is the best way to get new business in the new economy?”

inyah11: @saulcolt Speak to and serve a niche– word travels and you leverage your time and position yourself as the goto company/ expert
RoyalSaltMedia
: Word of mouth and networking both on and off line.
scoblitz
: Q4: I don’t think that it has changed. You have to pound the pavement and get yourself out there. It can just be done virtually now
AndrewNim
: I think some tools enable others enforce a top down enviroment, it depends on your needs. Id say enabling staff makes you agile.
inftek
: Customer Service!! Goes a LONG way
mindsondesign: Q4 We still find most new business is from referral. The way you work and deal with people is key.

Q4.1 frm @twdeeter: do small biz folks like doing the tech stuff themselves or would they rather focus on core biz & outsource tech? 

bradfordshimp: I think alot of entrenched small biz owners are too busy to learn something new – but those who can do it themselves will have edge
csavage
: I think that small businesses want to focus on core biz and outsource parts of tech that make sense.
sonicpages
: On handling tech stuff, we handle our own servers but have met small businesses who want to outsource but don’t know who to trust.
Yaraher
: I’ve find out that for business processes, making and using our own tools it’s cheaper and more adjusted to our workflow
selahsynergy
:  Small biz do what they have to until they have the bucks to smallsource. The time and money tradeoff are always considered
selahsynergy: smallsource is outsourcing to small businesses and from small businesses. some use term microsourcing also

Q5 Does your business have a blog? What do you write about? What works the best for you?
RoyalSaltMedia Definitely a blog. We write about our business, and areas of expertise and interest (both personal and professional)
saulcolt: The FreshBooks blog is 20% about us and what we are up to and 80% small biz advice and education  (numbers may vary by week)
wald12: business blog yes – write about store windows – constantly need engaging photos – need comments from readers (feedback)
mjayg: In the past I’ve found blogs to be burdensome if they don’t have a specific focus. Will probably stick to Tweets with my new company
benrasmusen: We have a blog and we write about stuff related to our industry, as well as use it to inform uses of new features and downtime.
Yaraher: I’ve always thought that a biz blog works great to reinforce client communication and relationships 
Q6 from @snakejw Is your data safe online? Are you concerned about data in the cloud? Why or why not?

Yaraher: I don’t have that many issues with using Gmail as a Mail server and others. I trust that kind of cloud
mriggen I’m in the cloud and proud. And a writer married to a techie. Tech by osmosis!
mindsondesign: I’m a fan of the cloud. Gmail, Amazon S3 and Jungle Disk, Slicehost …
bradfordshimp
: Backing up is always a problem for a busy small business – it may be safer on the cloud.
mindsondesign: @smallbiztrends Really depends on service. I have had some great service experiences with web app folks. Ex. Beanstalk & Slicehost
jayg: I try to move everything online so I can access it from anywhere. Email/RSS/bookmarks/etc. Need a Google Notebooks replacement now.

Q7 Is anyone using video in your business? What tools? What for?

snakejw: Q7 – Yes, I am starting to do screencasting for my blog. Good way to do tutorials and share what I do and how I do it.
RoyalSaltMedia: we are starting to use video for everything. Within the last 3 months offering full video chat to all clients via WebEx. & Skype
benrasmusen: the only video we do are screencasts at this point. we use Jing (http://www.jingproject.com/).
csavage: I am using video for sales, marketing, and training. I’m using Wistia.com. Full disclosure, i’m a founder and CEO;)
mjayg
: Video definitely has its place but I find it annoying when a blog/newssite starts doing all video instead of text which I can skim.
rohrbach: Video: am I the only person who immediately mutes and stops videos that try to play on websites? I usually want info & want it fast
bradfordshimp: @mjayg I agree that video can be overdone. I find you have to make time to watch video – whereas you can always scan an article
smallbiztrends: Text transcript with video is good for (1) SEO and (2) for those who don’t have the patience to watch the video
Just noting that text is also good for Google here. 🙂

Q8 Can you be authentic as a business in social media? Does that matter?

Yaraher: Q8: Of course it matters. Joining and sharing on social media helps your break apart the “Building” image of an biz
nrohrbach: Q8: I’m authentic in soc media, if I lose customers because they don’t like who I am, I didn’t want to work for them anyway!
bradfordshimp: I think you can be more authentic, more real, with social media – its kind of like meeting your customers away from the job.
snakejw: Q8 – It is a tricky balance. You represent both the company and yourself online. I am more myself on Facebook, less on LinkedIn.
jimmyrey It is very important to be honest and authentic in social media. The community will always see through the marketing jargon.
indsondesign
: Q8 I think using social media to play a commercial of you is a bad idea. Be mindful of the image you project but be real.
AndrewNim: I think you have to have a solid core, which is you. Your links into social media should guide customers back. Dont get diffused

Q9 Is there ROI in social media for small businesses? Can you quantify it? Should you?

mjayg: Ugh. This is a tough one. Just was discussed at a NextNY community management event. Extremely hard to measure.
jimmyrey
: The value is everywhere. Being in the SMM space. The opportunity to touch new prospects is amazing
bradfordshimp: I think ROI is harder for regional businesses – the key is to plug into networks clients are already using.
snakejw: Q9 – yes, in the same way their is an ROI for belong to a chamber of commerce. not always directly accountable.
bradfordshimp: Plus, it depends on what your goal is for social networking – ROI may be cementing relationships with current clients.
GiftForNoReason: No ROI now. But…. You always have to push yourself and your business. Stay ahead of your competition.
darrelmiller: I think social media is so successful because the ROI is far higher for the consumer of information than the distributor.
Q10 What new technology do you want to learn about? We will get expert contributors on the winning topic for next buzz-up. 

GiftForNoReason: Q10 Simple, easy, brainless backups.
rjleaman
: Q10 Information management… so many productivity tools just seem to add another layer of tasks to be fitted in
snakejw Q10 – I want to learn about thin clients. Having a desktop in the cloud.
mattharrell: Speaking of transparency? Here’s a great article that touches on all this.
selahsynergy
: Q10…love to hear about some of the aggregating tools that make keeping track of all these networks easier for the small biz

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