Small Business Getting Social: Discussion Summary from March 24, 2009

Another fabulous discussion this week.  We spent some extra time talking about what social networks folks are finding useful and how they are using them for business purposes.  Great suggestions from everyone.  Thanks to all who come, share and teach us all.
First, a few reminders:
  • Next buzz-up is Tuesday, March 31st from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM Eastern Time.  Join us – we promise you’ll learn something.
  • Help us spread the word! The more voices, the better the conversation.
  • Instructions for participating are at http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Below is a summary of the most recent discussion. To see the full conversation, go to http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23sbbuzz
Summary:
sbbuzz: And now on to Q1 What online networks do you have a business presence on? How often do you participate? Is it working? #sbbuzz
  • WayneLiew: @sbbuzz Twitter, LinkedIn and some other networks with entrepreneurs and small business owners. #sbbuzz
  • craigsutton: I personally use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and they work well for me, the best in that order. #sbbuzz
  • deneki: Twitter, Facebook and a little LinkedIn. Facebook is fun but questionable so far from a biz standpoint. New to Twitter. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q1 – starting to get active on Facebook for fundraising biz – think it has huge potential because our demographic is there. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: We focus mostly on Twitter, the company blog and making thoughtful comments on other blogs/articles. #sbbuzz
  • mindsondesign: Q1 – Been joining LinkedIn groups and trying to participate in discussions. #sbbuzz
  • cjdub: Twitter, facebook, myspace, but we don’t utilize them. most clients are word-of-mouth or we have long history with them #sbbuzz #sbbuzz
  • benmadden: We also are active on job specific message boards and message boards for our vendors, like SuccessFactors for performance management #sbbuzz
  • eproulx: I just joined Seth Godin’s Triiibe .ning community today. #sbbuzz Seems like an active community of people trying to help leaders lead.
  • sbbuzz: Those who said Facebook or LinkedIn, any specific groups that you have found useful? #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: For me, Facebook is where a lot of clients are, but it is also where they have fun, so I have to be useful and fun. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q2 Should every small business have a social media presence? #sbbuzz

  • ABusinessForum: Q2 No, it should be used only in situations where it of benefit to the company. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Every business should have a social aspect, but it doesn’t have to be online. #sbbuzz
  • deneki: Q2 I can’t see how it would hurt – just a question of how much time will pay back. #sbbuzz
  • craigsutton: I don’t think it is practical for every small business. It may have its benefits, but you can’t ignore it’s costs either. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Q2: Yes, if your prospects are online. If not, it’s still a great place to connect and learn from other SmallBiz folks. #sbbuzz
  • smallbiztrends: Q2: Some local businesses and B2B businesses can’t benefit enough yet from online social media to justify the effort. #sbbuzz
  • justincresswell: Q2 we should define “having a presence” loosely. you can comment on blogs and forums w/o hiring a SMM department #sbbuzz
  • csavage: Q2: I think every small biz should always join the communities of their prospects whether they’re online/offline. #sbbuzz
  • WayneLiew: Q2 Just like traditional marketing, you need to know where your customers are and get in front of them. Not necessarily social media #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q2 Every small biz should have an online social presence. Customers are becoming critics and will define ur brand if u don’t #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q3 from @pattianastasia Is anyone successfully using a Facebook page for their business? LinkedIn? What are you doing? #sbbuzz

  • toddschnick: @sbbuzz Q3 – FB to get to know customers/prospects; LinkedIn to meet prospects and distribute thought leadership. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Seems Facebook works great for consumer biz, but is harder for B2B. Any B2B Facebook success out there? #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: @justincresswell My friend who owns a surf boutique has had tremendous success on FB. Hard to translate to web apps. #sbbuzz
  • cjdub: Q3 – For us, FB only seems good for staying in touch with the clients we already have, no new b2b leads… #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q3. FB great for affiliates and groups. I am planning to announce an event on there and I will let u know the response #sbbuzz
  • smallbiztrends: @mindsondesign Working on it – Facebook Connect is a little technical, and WP plugins for FB Connect have been unreliable. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q4 from csavage How do people balance their brand vs personal twitter <and sounds like Facebook> accounts? #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: Q4 I only have one account. Twitter is more bus based for me where FB is more pers. Maybe that’s how I keep ’em separate. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: I highly recommend this post on “personal brand” from @bethharte – it’s great: http://is.gd/mzhb (expand) #sbbuzz
  • benmadden: Common sense is always good when posting personal messages on twitter if using it for both. #sbbuzz
  • cjdub: Q4 – I don’t. And it gets a bit hairy when a friend decides to post something you’d laugh about outside of work, but not at work. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz My twitter is dual use, I’m just as likely to post something on music as I am on a web app #sbbuzz
  • csavage: Q4. Good question 😉 I find things blending more and more. That said I keep a personal FB account, biz FB page and both on twitter. #sbbuzz
  • bradlyman: Q4 I have my twitter updates auto-update my facebook status. this helps me continuing having dialog in both communities #sbbuzz
  • eproulx: @sbbuzz It’s especially tricky if you have more than one business. You almost have to have different identities. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q5 from @99designs Do you value/belong to your local chamber of commerce and why? #sbbuzz

  • ABusinessForum: Q5 Yes, Local chamber is great networking for keeping up with the ideas of the RL, the opinions are not always the same online. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q5. Yes, I still find value in face to face networking, mastermind teams and find great customers there. #sbbuzz
  • toddschnick: @sbbuzz Q5 – i love my chamber. though it is too focused on large companies – and they don’t get SM. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q5 – Much more useful are business networking events put on by my local economic development dept. #sbbuzz
  • splashet: The Charlotte Chamber provides a ton a networking opportunities and I’ve used their member database to find suppliers #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: Q5: Waiting for the day the Chamber will embrace SM. Chamber Tweetups would be popular. #sbbuzz
  • deneki: Q5 One reason to join is for better group health insurance coverage. #sbbuzz
  • pattianastasia: Q5: I found local chamber very effective if I attended meetings, but as business grew couldn’t attend meetings. No longer member. #sbbuzz
sbbuzz: Q6 from @eproulx What online meeting software does everyone use? WebEx? iLinc? Anyone ever use Second Life? #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q7 from @eproulx How are small biz integrating sustainability and CSR (corporate responsibility) into business models, if at all? #sbbuzz

  • ABusinessForum: Q7 Some small bus are starting completely on Sus and CSR using those as the whole business model. Solar startups, Carbon trade, etc. #sbbuzz
  • CatMoore: @sbbuzz Q7 Sustainability & responsibility: green merchant account, Kiva.org support. Just a start; looking for more. #sbbuzz
  • ABusinessForum: Q7 for most others, it’s an afterthought or an attempt to out-compete someone, not an interest in the environment or society. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q7. Small biz is more in touch with their core/personal beliefs so easier to reflect CSR and Sus in biz model if important #sbbuzz
  • eproulx: @selahsynergy So true. For big biz, CSR and Sus tend to be looked at as expenses on the balance sheet vs. core values. #sbbuzz
  • desireescales: I think that’s why some biz owners, small and large, are afraid of SM. They are afraid to share too much of their own pers beliefs! #sbbuzz
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