Small Biz Tech Advice & Resources: May 19, 2009

Advice and resources, we’re all looking for some help when we jump into a new strategy.  Many small business are just getting the hang of social media, networking, etc.

This week SBBUZZ focused on advice to small business owners on getting started with Twitter, resources and how to guides for tweeting, local community involvement, time management with socnets, conversion from followers to customers, and much more.

If you have a small business question that you need answered or knowledge to share with others, here’s when, where and how to participate!

  • Next buzz-up is Tuesday, May 26th from 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM Eastern Time.  Join us – We’ll get your small biz questions answered.
  • Know small businesses that need help?  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://bit.ly/JYU6N

sbbuzz: Q1 What advice would you give a small business owner brand new to Twitter? #sbbuzz

  • samuraivt: Q1 Listen, follow those who interest you, be social and engage in conversation. Don’t just pitch. Don’t automate. Be human. #sbbuzz
  • yourjobmyoffice: Q1 don’t hesitate to join the conversation. Most welcome your input. #sbbuzz
  • PatriceRutledge: one of my favorite tips for Twitter newbies is to focus on developing relationships, not on selling #sbbuzz#sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q1 – Don’t just broadcast. Communicate and interact with people (we are people behind the avatars) #sbbuzz
  • SCOREChicago: Believe your personal opinion is of interest to people #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q1: Be yourself, be genuine, twitter may be good for advertising, but try to connect with folks, not spam them! #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q1: Search for people in your field. Those you can learn from & those you can reach out to. Then start building relationships. #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: Q1 I see a lot of sm biz neglecting to broaden their follower base – a waste of time to talk to no one #sbbuzz
  • samuraivt: Q1 Use apps not just twitter.com. Look into @cotweet if you’re developing twitter profile for biz. Use Twhirl. Seesmic Desktop etc #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q1 Quality not quantity. Participate not stand by and wait for someone to talk to you. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q1 – Take as much time as you need to figure it out first. Then make a plan for how it can help your business. What will it lead to? #sbbuzz
  • joemagennis: Q1 Follow ideas, not people ie. Don’t worry about numbers of followers and following… Follow topics found via search.twitter etc #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q1 Know what you want out of Twitter so you can follow the people who best meet that need. #sbbuzz
  • yourjobmyoffice: Q1 find out where/when are the chats that discuss topics relevant to your biz and then – follow. Like tonight! #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q1 use the hashtags http://hashtags.org/ as well & start off by following a few who peak your interest in a particular category #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: I would suggest avoiding twitter clutter. Tweet about posts, sites, ideas, books, etc., never about lunch, dinner, TV, drinks … #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q2 What should businesses talk about? What are businesses doing on Twitter? #sbbuzz

  • bradfordshimp: Q2 – Businesses should educate and engage – just don’t go in there with a constant stream of sales pitches – big no no. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q2 Provide advice, share information and resources, answer questions, ask questions and avoid linking to your site too often. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q2 – talk about your profession & what you know well, find article you read & tweet them if u think others are interested too #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q2: Personally I talk about the projects I’m working on, things I learn, emotions, I think it’s key to show a person there too #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q2: Promote with links to their blog, articles, free valuable information. Not sales pitches. Workshop announcements, etc are good. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q2 – over all provide valuable information about your industry, product and services that you think other will find helpful #sbbuzz
  • NJinsuranceGirl: Q2: I like to follow people who share their expertise. Will come to rely on them for their point of view. #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q2: Take advantage of #followfriday to share valuable tweeps with your followers in their field (me = book people for writers) #sbbuzz
  • allcaughtup: Q2 Share what you do know. Answer questions and simply chat too. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q2 – it’s great to provide direct links to your blog or use your twitter account for customer service #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q2: Ask followers for questions relating to your field. If you don’t know the answer, find it & @ reply it back. #sbbuzz
  • joemagennis: Q2 Listen & engage. Again, use search tools to track related terms and business name then communicate with others. #sbbuzz
  • gwickes: Q2 follow key words via tweetdeck. Then provide some quick tips, guidance vs. ur company pitch… better to start a dialogue #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q2 I like to give and get suggestions on my interest area, what’s up, what’s new, interesting posts, like that …. #sbbuzz
  • gwickes: Q2 if you have case study info, content other SB owners can benefit from reading, tweet the link to that useful content #sbbuzz
  • 99designs: Q2 – know your audience and find valuable information to provide them and identify ways to engage them…offer help…etc… #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q3. Any good resources for Twitter how-tos, reference guides, etiquettes, etc? #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q4 Is your local community (govt/academic/private) doing anything to promote entrepreneurship/small business? What is working? #sbbuzz

  • imaginestudios: Q4: Free workshops offered by business professionals on everything from offline marketing to social media – been great. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q4 we just had an angel investor event last week developed and organized by consortium of local chamber and sbdc-related groups. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: @sbbuzz We are trying with a group of volunteers, but I am the only biz person and don’t have a lot of time, so it is uphill. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q4: our local chamber has established a group for young professionals, we meet monthly and have 3 or 4 events a month. Great network #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q4 Con’t: We’re blessed to have a center for Entrepreneurship doing many workshops & a great group of biz owners willing 2 contrib. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q4 – MWBE registered to work with NYC & NYS have networking events hosted by city or state for the MWBE to network directly w/them #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q4 and we have a group called smartups, with chamber and SBDC support, meets for workshops and such … in Eugene OR #sbbuzz
  • gwickes: Q4 Dallas area is steady on entrepreneurial activities. At #swfv gig this morning where more VCs focused on seed & early stage co’s #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q4 – NYC & NYS have targeted workshop for small businesses as well & gov’t agencies are always there to network with us directly #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q4 – The Economic Dev group here is fabulous at working with small business. Quarterly Biz breakfasts are a big hit. #sbbuzz
  • jonedm: @sbbuzz Q4 Local Econ Dev Committee and entrepreneurs pulling together local bar camps and meet ups. Very useful networking. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q4 and in general I’m a huge fan of the SBDC network, 1,000 locations, supported by federal, state, local higher ed funds. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: #sbbuzz Q4. Funny you should ask. Spent the day new RI entrepreneurism program. Brilliant people. Lot of plans. I’m hoping things get done.
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz There is also a non-profit (I’m on the board) working to build a virtual community for our village to offer more exposure. #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q4: There are a ton of networking groups in every area. Seek one out & you’re sure to find 4 more. Many offer training & support. #sbbuzz
  • samuraivt: Q4 “We must be the change we seek.” Gandhi… Local chamber promote biz and get involved with gov. some. Not sure if its working. #sbbuzz
  • PatriceRutledge: we have many small biz programs here in the SF Bay Area — one of my faves is the green biz program http://www.greenbiz.ca.gov #sbbuzz
  • DIYSiteExpress: Meetup.com is a great to find local groups in your area. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @DIYSiteExpress I’ve tried MeetUp a couple of times and haven’t had great luck, need to revisit it again though. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q5 How do you find time to stay involved, engaged and contributing to online and offline networks? #sbbuzz

  • SpeakingTech: q5 – never sleep #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q5 – You focus your time on the things that have impact and that you have a passion for. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q5 – Find what works for you and work it. You cannot be everywhere at all times so create a plan & execute it concerning networking #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: #sbbuzz Q5. Finding the time – that is the $1B question!
  • imaginestudios: @sbbuzz Set myself a time limiting schedule (10-12 one activity, 12-1 Twitter, 1-1:30 lunch, 1:30-4 client work, etc.) #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: Schedule time for online and offline networking – keep biz plan in mind + focus on what’s important #sbbuzz
  • madhousefl: Q5-on a more serious note, Outlook & my Blackberry r my BFF. Schedule everything-can’t overbook and I commit 2 what’s onthe plan #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q5 – networking has now become a online & offline task. Find the social networks that work for what you do & fully participate #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q5: Regarding time management, don’t overschedule networking events 7 in one month is plenty! Give yourself time to rest. #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q5 1. No one can do it all. 2. Pick three to contribute regularly . 3. Create profiles on various. 4. Connect accounts. #sbbuzz
  • 99designs: Q5 – It is a serious struggle…like most things in life…it is just a matter of finding the right balance #sbbuzz
  • gwickes: Q5 I use my BB with smart phone apps (Ubertwiter (new release is GREAT), as well as Twitterberry) to monitor Twitter while on the ru #sbbuzz
  • Workchic: @sbbuzz Q5 manage your time wisely and pick those that have more impact for your business #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q5: I have to make time. I can sleep when I’m dead right? #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q5 Create an email folder for social media and filter EVERYTHING in there to check once or twice a day. #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q5: I don’t have an iphone or any special apps. Makes it easier to get away, yet be accessible to clients when I need to. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: #sbbuzz Q5 @timberry‘s advice on biz planning has helped with time management. Focusing goals helps prioritize work, networking, everything
  • helpbusinesses: Q5- Find the offline resource that provide quality events & attend that too but be selective in where you give your commitment #sbbuzz
  • samuraivt: Good tips – but don’t avoid twitter apps, use wisely. RT @merylkevansHow to manage your time w/ social networks http://bit.ly/51Rdx #sbbuzz
  • gwickes: Q5 don’t forget the follow up… so busy answering and monitoring the next thing, a quick follow up goes a long way! #sbbuzz
  • yourjobmyoffice: Q5 I use a Twitter app for outlook called OutTwit. It collects Tweets in folders by @ name. Very organized. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q5 I limit where I am active. Since I really enjoy the online aspect, having fun with it makes it easy to find the time. #sbbuzz
  • joemagennis: Q5 Suess read, teeth brushed, girls tucked … Social Networking is not a task, it is a way of life.. Participate as you can. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q6 How many social media networks do you actively participate in? Do connections overlap? How do you keep track? #sbbuzz

  • imaginestudios: Q6: Probably 6-8 I think. Don’t really keep track. Linked all to http://www.ping.fm to update all with one click! #sbbuzz
  • madhousefl: Q6 FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, BrandTampa, Eagles Connection, My Space…not much overlapping. Each one has a different angle. #sbbuzz
  • fsphotography: Q6: I use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (rarely). I keep track with email for LinkedIn and Tweetdeck for Twitter. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q6- I use to participate in 2 actively & connections did overlap. But many don’t use MS anymore so now it twitter & works well 4 me #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q6 I use the big three like many of you and connect them to FriendFeed and other networks so they’re automatically updated. #sbbuzz
  • PatriceRutledge: Q6 I’m most active on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and XING – have profiles on numerous others #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q6 – all my active clients are on twitter and we use it to stay in contact with them & have captured new clients too. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q6 Sorry I am late. I am active on LinkedIn, FB, Twitter and several local networks – diff platforms, different people. #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz I use Twitter which feeds my Facebook profile for friends and family. I dislike too much repetition caused by cross posting. #sbbuzz
  • DIYSiteExpress: Q6 You can find me as DesignLeap on LinkedIn, Twitter, Stumble, there are others but I’m not as active. #sbbuzz
  • joemagennis: Q6 many, an early adopter evaluating tools. Friendfeed pulls in all streams, plus there is great conversation happening there. #sbbuzz
  • leoraw: Q6 Social Media networks: Twitter, my own blog, Facebook – I’m on LinkedIn, too; much overlap because of my own blog. #sbbuzz
  • samuraivt: Q6 Connections do overlap on some of the SM networks. Each network is different with its own conversations. Auto updating=not cool. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q7 from @madhousefl Has anyone been successful converting a follower into a customer? How? #sbbuzz

  • rzazueta: @madhousefl I’m glad to report that, yes, I did. I tweeted about a trojan and a follower hired me to clean it for them #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: @madhousefl Yes I have. I tweeted advise about problems they were having and they used my services. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q7: I think sharing my projects boosted my rep, folks found out I was designing for clients like Pepsi and they realized my cred #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: #sbbuzz Q7 we’ve gotten customers, partners, press all from relationships started on Twitter. No magic tweet, though. It takes time & trust.
  • wordpost: Q7 no followers to customers, but for some conversion isn’t the primary goal—it’s listening, learning, and building relationships. #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q7 – Yes and no. Many new readers for my blog. Haven’t done a lot of selling of any kind but plan to step it up a bit. #sbbuzz
  • PatriceRutledge: Q7 I’ve received quite a few book/product sales and media placements through social media – most based on visibility and trust #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q8 from @eyeini Anyone here had good ideas on transferring large digital files via the internet? #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q9 from @scoblitz Are people using identity sites like DandyID or chi.mp? Opinions? #sbbuzz

  • merylkevans: Q9 Haven’t heard of DandyID or chi.mp. Just OpenID, Blogger, the usual crowd. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q9 I incurred huge true name identity theft so I’m mindful where I place lots of information about me personally. #sbbuzz
  • madhousefl: Q9; dont know either one; more info? #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q9 is that like nombray.com, or maybe squidoo, setting up a hub for twitter, FB, linkedIn, etc? #sbbuzz
  • DIYSiteExpress: Don’t know either of them, just OpenID. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q9 So when online I promote my company instead of me personally now to avoid future “true name identity fraud” #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz They are basically ways to make it easier for folks to find you – a dashboard of my online personas with various services. #sbbuzz
  • joemagennis: @scoblitz I am maintaining my Google Profile as up to date as possible .. valuable because it appears in search results #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: #sbbuzz Q9 I know dandyid. Way to manage your profile across many socmed sites. Very powerful – will be more so as use proliferates

sbbuzz: Q10 from @bradfordshimp Is anyone using affiliates and partnerships with other businesses to bring in new customers? #sbbuzz

  • helpbusinesses: Q10 Yes I do partnership with companies. Just start so have no real results at this time. It’s been 3 months #sbbuzz
  • DevotionalChef: @sbbuzz, on Q10, we actually share our office with another start-up. Eventually we think that may be mutually advantageous. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q10 the partnerships are with businesses using the social networks & we cross promote at events we attend too #sbbuzz
  • SteveStrauss: I have started partnering up with big businesses who have bigger budgets and its working well #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q10 the partnerships are with businesses using the social networks & we cross promote at events we attend too #sbbuzz
  • madhousefl: Creating partnerships is what I’m working on. I think that is an important part of ‘partner’ships! #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q10 yes, answering for Palo Alto Software, all the time, and since we started on the web in Jan of ’95. Hundreds of affiliates. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q10: Certainly! I have a couple local partnerships, we throw business to each other, been so great we’ve discussed a merger #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q10: I’m a firm believer in working WITH your competitors. Everyone has a different style & specialization. Only helps business! #sbbuzz
  • Whistletree: @sbbuzz We are exploring the idea of affiliates currently. Is it advantageous? Any tips to avoid? #sbbuzz
  • merylkevans: Q10 I constantly try to refer businesses to clients and colleagues — it’s about relationships and looking out for ’em. #sbbuzz
  • PatriceRutledge: I use affiliate programs for my products — am in the process of revamping the whole system, but they’ve been a great marketing tool #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: @Whistletree well there is the obvious get it in writing, especially the who does what when part of it … vague is way too common #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: #sbbuzz Q10 we do integrated partnerships with other small business Saas products – huge driver of accounts for us.
  • imaginestudios: Q10: Also, carry cards of some of your fav people around. I hand out my cleaning gal’s & accountants’ cards everywhere! #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: In effort to outdo @bradfordshimp, squeezing in Q11 from @samuraivt Follow competition or don’t follow? Secretly? Why? #SBBUZZ

  • Timberry: Q11 is a good reminder that you should always assume your competition is following you. You’ll never know for sure. #sbbuzz
  • madhousefl: I follow. Why not? Might learn something. Not spying, just interacting. #sbbuzz
  • DevotionalChef: @sbbuzz, on Q11, I follow everyone who isn’t a spammer or determined to get under my personal skin. Yeah, they can be competitors. #sbbuzz
  • imaginestudios: Q11: Always follow. AND ReTweet their brilliant tweets! Don’t follow secretly. Glean ideas, but keep your stuff original. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q11 I follow competition openly. No reason to hide yourself from them you are not doing anything wrong want to connect with them #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q11 Absolutely essential to follow competitors. I recommend all my clients follow also. Benchmarking Best practices Strategy #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q11: I do follow, have even found opportunities to scratch each other’s back, mutual benefit. And yes sometimes I also spy. #sbbuzz
  • Timberry: Q11 and if you’re a social media consultant or Internet marketing consultant or life coach then every other tweep is competition 🙂 #sbbuzz
  • bradfordshimp: Q11 – Your competition may be doing something right. You will want to learn from that. #sbbuzz
  • allcaughtup: Q11 openly follow. and connect.There might be an opportunity down the road to collaborate. #sbbuzz
  • helpbusinesses: Q11 You maybe surprised and form a friendly alliance that works for you both. You never know. #sbbuzz
  • joemagennis: Q11 should have competition setup on search.twitter RSS feed, Google Alerts, following .. focus on the IDEAS they are discussing #sbbuzz
  • PatriceRutledge: competitive intelligence and competitor relationship-building is just a smart business practice #sbbuzz
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3 Comments

Filed under small business, summary, tools

3 responses to “Small Biz Tech Advice & Resources: May 19, 2009

  1. Pingback: Here in HP, a Highland Park, New Jersey blog » Twitter Chat #sbbuzz

  2. Pingback: Here in HP, a Highland Park, New Jersey blog » Weekly Review and Pink Azalea

  3. Pingback: Websites for Small Biz » Twitter Chat #sbbuzz

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