Top 6 Social Media Platforms for Entrepreneurs

Social Media
Social Media

By Anna Brown, Vendio Free Online Store
THIS IS A SPECIAL GUEST POST BY ONE OF OUR ANYMEETING USERS. WANT TO WRITE FOR THE ANYMEETING BLOG? GET THE DETAILS.

‘Social Media’ has been the hot buzz-word of the past couple of years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. The truth of the matter is, in a fast-paced world full of electronic communication, a blog or Facebook page is the new second storefront. You have to make yourself known, draw customers in, and create relationships all in a virtual world. The one thing that hasn’t changed is the old adage of ‘Location, location, location!’ Being in the right place in the right way is essential to attracting customers and growing your business.

Below we’ve listed some resources you should be sure to take advantage of – including some you’ve likely never heard of. There are ways to connect with customers, but also ways to network and connect with other business owners so you can network, ask questions, and get engagement.

To connect with customers:

1. Facebook This is the mega-mall of the internet. Almost everyone is here; customers and businesses alike, and you can easily put up a brand page for free and begin communicating with potential customers. The key to leveraging Facebook properly is communication. This isn’t a TV advertisement; it’s a virtual relationship and that makes a big difference in your strategy. If done correctly, you can build a huge and loyal following here.
2. Google+ The newborn competitor to Facebook, Google+ is growing rapidly and now allows brand pages. To make a splash here, get in early and set up an authentic, clearly branded page that allows Google+ users to see who you are and what your product is. The advantage is that Google+ isn’t yet as saturated as Facebook, so it’s much easier to get noticed.
3. HootSuite You may not have heard of this one, but it’s a gem of a resource. As you manage your social media presence, it’s important to know what’s happening across multiple platforms. HootSuite allows you manage your profiles, schedule tweets and messages, analyze your traffic, and track mentions of your brand. An all-in-one dashboard, it will make managing social media much less hectic.

To connect with fellow entrepreneurs:

1. Dreamstake A networking site with over 4,000 members, Dreamstake describes itself as “a business accelerator” and helps small business owners build strategy, business plans, and find funding. There are many groups, forums, and events that you can participate in to connect, learn, and grow your business.
2. LinkedIn A well-known professional networking site, LinkedIn has an extensive profile page and is a great resource for connecting with others in your industry or area of interest. You can join groups that fit your business or needs, which will allow you to get to know others, provide suggestions, and work out resources or referrals.
3. Twitter No list is complete without mentioning Twitter. Although the message length is small, this actually benefits you because you have to get down to the basics of your message. You can track your industry, find out what others are doing, find potential clients, and even follow your competition! This one is often a cross breed of building relationships with fellow entrepreneurs and customers. Depending on your industry, your customers could be spending time on this social network as well.

The social media world can be very overwhelming. The key is to focus on just a few platforms to start with, and then build and branch out from there. No business starts by opening 100 stores, so don’t feel like you need to be on every platform right away. Like all good businesses, you will grow and gain followers over time. Just relax and have fun with it!

 

Editor’s Note: This article is brought to you by AnyMeeting, the completely free web conferencing and webinar service. Use AnyMeeting for your next online meeting.

 

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Autopost Your Tweets to Facebook

Social Media
Social Media

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Anita Hovey, Twirp Communications

THIS IS A SPECIAL GUEST POST BY ONE OF OUR ANYMEETING USERS. WANT TO WRITE FOR THE ANYMEETING BLOG? GET THE DETAILS.

In every workshop or presentation I give around Halifax I always tell people NOT to auto-post their tweets to Facebook or vice versa. It’s a great time-saver, of course, so people are always miffed to learn that they are sacrificing engagement for time. Here are three quick reasons why you shouldn’t auto-post your tweets to Facebook.

Twitter and Facebook audiences are very different
While there may be some cross over between your fans on each platform, for the most part they are probably two very different audiences. People tend to gravitate to one platform or the other (except those absurd social media geeks like yours truly who use every platform available). On Facebook your readers are looking for more detail, not just witty little one-liners. Tweets post with much greater frequency as well and that might just turn off your Fans to the point of un-liking your page.

Hashtags don’t tranlate into Facebook
People will choose to follow you on their social network of choice. If they follow you on Facebook, they don’t want to feel like Facebook is second fiddle to Twitter. If Twitter is your main social network you probably use a lot of TwitSpeak and hashtags. Your fans and friends on Facebook don’t want to see that. If they did, they would join you on Twitter. Along with hashtags, tagging profiles doesn’t translate into Facebook. So, when you tag another Twitter user in your tweet, that link won’t come through and magically link to their Facebook page. Instead it’s a big, honking red flag that says “I’m not really here and I don’t really care about my fans on Facebook.”

Your tweets cannot be shared
The other day I read a post about an event happening here in Halifax that I wanted to share with my friends & fans on Facebook, but because it was auto-posted from Twitter, there was no “share” option. I could copy and paste the post into my status, but I would have lost the attribution that way and I would have to tag the company page that originally posted. It is possible to do, but certainly not efficient or easy for your friends and fans.

If you want to save time, try using Hootsuite to cross-post. It will provide a “share” button so your links and comments can be shared easily on Facebook. But you still need to be careful that you don’t “share” Twitspeak and that you treat each audience appropriately.

Editor’s Note:  This article is brought to you by AnyMeeting, the completely free web conferencing and webinar service.  Use AnyMeeting for your next online meeting.

CONTEST: Review the AnyMeeting Google App and You Can Win a Kindle Fire

google-apps-cloud

AnyMeeting is now available as a free app in the the Google Apps Marketplace. If you’ve had a chance to try it, leave a review of the app in the Google Apps Marketplace, tweet, and you can win a Kindle Fire.

amazon-kindle-fire-tablet

RULES
1. Leave a review of our app in the Google Apps Marketplace
2. Send a Twitter reply to @AnyMeeting about your review and the name you used with the hashtag #ReviewAndWin

Start Date: 1/3/12
End Date: 1/20/12

Note: In keeping with the Twitter terms of service multiple tweets on the same account will be disqualified and multiple entries by the same person on different accounts will be disqaulified. Please enter only once.

7 Mistakes to Avoid in Social Media

Social Media

By Dawn Papandrea

You’ve probably heard all of the success stories by now. Their message? You need to get on board with social media to grow your business. But for every company that achieves success, there are thousands that aren’t leveraging the power of social media in quite the right way. Here are the top seven things they’re doing wrong, that you want to do right.

1. Boycotting social media

If you’ve avoided setting up a Facebook page or a Twitter profile for your small business, using the excuse that social media is a passing fad, it’s time to join the crowd. These platforms, and others such as Google+, are here to stay (or at least they’re here until the next big thing comes along), and they’re where your customers and clients are spending a lot of time.

2. Expecting immediate results

Sorry, but you can’t assume that once you announce to the world that you’re on Facebook, you’ll triple your sales. Social media is all about brand awareness, engaging your customers, and building a community–and that takes time!

3. Sounding like a commercial

People will lose interest in your stream pretty quickly if you use your pages to promote, promote, promote. Instead, think of what value you can give to your audience. Perhaps it’s a special discount code for your fans or followers, or a tip of the day that’s related to your product or service. Once you become a trusted authority, people will stay connected, and you’ll be top of mind when they’re ready to purchase.

4. Not engaging or responding

If you aren’t actively conversing with your network, you’re wasting your time. Make it a point to answer questions about your business, or address customer service issues, in a timely manner. Even something as simple as sending out a happy birthday message to your users will let them know you care about them.

5. Letting an intern run your social media

Don’t pass the responsibility of your social media efforts off to someone else, unless you’re sure that person is a good representative of your business. While it’s true that social media can take up time, it’s vital that it’s done properly.

6. Being all business, all the time

As relationships develop, it’s great to let your hair down. Let your clients get to know the person behind the brand. For example, many companies on Twitter make it a point to use an employee’s photo, instead of the company logo.

7. Not targeting the right people

When you’re starting up your pages, it’s great to add your friends and family, to get your numbers up. Ultimately, though, you want to attract your target market. Do this by letting your customers and clients know that you’re on social sites. Add the links to your email signature and to your business cards. Put up a poster in your storefront. And give people an incentive to connect, by offering something of value, like a contest or coupon.

By avoiding these social media mistakes, you’ll reach more new people, and strengthen relationships with your existing customers. And those are results that you’re sure to “like.”

What My First Social Media Webinar Taught Me

Computer Girl
Your first webinar can be scary, but you'll get the hang of it

By Anita Hovey, Twirp Communications

THIS IS A SPECIAL GUEST POST BY ONE OF OUR ANYMEETING USERS. WANT TO WRITE FOR THE ANYMEETING BLOG? GET THE DETAILS.


My first webinar on anymeeting.com was interesting for so many reasons, not the least of which was the fact that I was having a conversation with people I had known in cyber space for years. I offered a free webinar about Facebook features and tactics to my e-friends from the papercrafting community as a means for me to test out the anymeeting.com platform. I was scared to schedule a “real” webinar until I had done a test run and the papercrafting community has given me so much, this seemed like perfect way for me to give back a little something. Here are some observations from my first webinar.

Talking to Yourself
It’s really hard to concentrate on what you’re saying when you’re staring yourself in the face…and that face is time-lapsed just a tiny bit. Once you get moving and get on to the slidehow or screen-sharing portion of the webinar it’s much easier. At first I put the screen share up, but I quickly realized that sometimes the screen share just isn’t that interesting. You have to remember to come back to your face when there’s really nothing happening on the screen. I tried to switch back to my “talking head” during long explanations so at least the audience would have something dynamic to look at. After a little while the switching back and forth became intuitive and I learned to look at other parts of the screen when my face was on-screen.

Talking to an Invisible Audience
It’s really hard to talk to yourself for two whole hours when there are no faces looking back at you. Because this was a free webinar I opted for chat only and I didn’t enable any voice inputs. I missed the instant interaction I was used to with in-person workshops because:

  1. You can’t tell if they’re awake.
  2. You can’t tell if they’re listening.
  3. You can’t even tell if they’re still in the room!

To overcome this, when I asked a question I would simply wait for the answers to pop up in chat–it didn’t take very long–and then I would continue. At this point I would always make sure the screen was showing me reading or waiting, so the audience knew I was still there and not “timed out” or something like that.

Ummm, Errr, Ahhhh
I still say “um” a LOT. I don’t know if the participants noticed it, but I sure did. Years ago when I was on the public speaking team in high school my English teacher worked really hard to get me to the point where I didn’t do that. Now it’s back and I’m disgusted by it. I always notice it in other people, so it really bugs me when I catch myself doing it. Better preparation will prevent that next time.

Doing the Necessary
Sometimes you just have to do something…it can’t wait! I was scared to death to touch my nose when it got itchy because I didn’t want anyone thinking I was doing anything gross. You can always pull up a screen shot at that point, I guess, but I didn’t think of that in time.

Overall, my first webinar went very well. The participants learned a lot and so did I. Another win-win.

Have you given a webinar? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Five Apps to Help You Manage Twitter


Twitter
Tame the bird

By Anita Hovey, Twirp Communications

THIS IS A SPECIAL GUEST POST BY ONE OF OUR ANYMEETING USERS. WANT TO WRITE FOR THE ANYMEETING BLOG? GET THE DETAILS.

 

Twitter…you either love it…or you’re indifferent. I have yet to hear of someone who is actually using it a decent amount and hates it. Businesses of all sizes and across all industries are using Twitter to reach new customers, build relationships with loyal customers, create new customer experiences and increase brand awareness. As far as social media goes, Twitter has a lot to offer. It can be a lot of work to get a handle on it though. Here are my five favorite Twitter helpers.

1Mr. Unfollower is a great little Twitter account. All you have to do is follow @unfollowr from your Twitter account and follow the directions you receive. Each week you will get a digest of all the accounts that have unfollowed you. I like it as a means to see if I’m still interesting to people. I check to see that nobody I am REALLY connected to has unfollowed me becuase that would mean I did something really wrong probably. Most of the time it is businesses who are looking for a follow-back and are out of my area. A lot of the accounts are suspended users, meaning they were probably bots or spammers. I don’t worry about who’s in the list too much, but it’s nice to know I hardly ever lose a real friend.

2. Tweriod will analyse your Twitter account and tell you the best times to tweet based on when most of your followers are online. You can get a free Tweriod analysis once a month and there are paid upgrades available. This is useful for everyone, but especially for businesses who want to tweet out today’s specials. You want to hit as many followers as possible to spread the word. Once you’ve got your Tweriod analysis, you’ll want to check out my next tool.

3. Buffer helps you spread out your content-based tweets so they are posted at optimal times. A quick set up tells Buffer when you prefer to tweet (perhaps based on your Tweriod analysis) and then you simply add your tweets and RTs to your Buffer queue from a button in your browser bar. I don’t use this nearly as much as I could, but it is a great program. They are unveiling Buffer for Facebook soon, too.

4. Twilert is like Google Alerts for Twitter. Get e-mail digests about what is happening on Twitter for keywords, competitor accounts, events, or anything else you can search for on Twitter.

5. Manage Flitter is my most recent discovery, ironically thanks to Facebook guru Mari Smith. This app helps you organize and clean up your Twitter account by looking at who is not following you back. Let me be clear…I do not follow everyone back and I do not expect everyone to follow me back. Manage Flitter is easy to use to find inactive accounts. You can simply unfollow everyone, but that’s not how I use the program. I find Manage Flitter much more user friendly than some of its competitors and everything I need from it is free.

Are there other fabulous Twitter apps out there? Let us know in the comments.

AnyMeeting Magically Appears from Table Salt (Video)

Salt Shaker

We saw these awesome videos of salt creations depicting Darth Vader, Johnny Depp and Optimus Prime and decided to get in on the action. We contacted Bashir Sultani, the salt artist, and asked him if he could do one for AnyMeeting.

He created our logo with table salt, one white and one green, then scattered the particles. With a little editing he reversed the process. We think it looks pretty cool.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter.

 

How USA Uses Social Media and Gaming To Gain Viewers

psych-contest
Catch the Hash Tag Killer and win

By Kate Croston, Internet Service

This is a special guest post by one of our AnyMeeting users. Want to write for the AnyMeeting blog? Get the details.


So you want to market your business with social media? You’ve tried to get started on Twitter and Facebook, and it has been modestly successful. But you just want that edge. That little push that’ll put your company over the competition. Something beyond ads and discounts; beyond reward programs and loyalty points. There has to be something more.

There is. Social media is just that- social. People want to interact, to become part of a community, to feel like a family. They want to know people, not robots, and want more than just information. They want to experience. But how can you do that?

One example of truly using social media to the fullest is USA’s (a cable network) experiment. Using the show Psych, a crime/comedy geared towards 18-30 year olds, USA is both overcoming an obstacle and strengthening their fan base. Using social media, they are breaking the marketing mould.

First of all, they had to overcome a huge obstacle for cable television. Their moderately popular show, Psych, was airing months later than it was supposed to. There were all kinds of reasons for that, but the point is they were going to lose viewers. How did the company fight the loss? In a truly ingenious way.

You would assume that they would run commercials promoting the new date and time for the show. And you’d be right. But beyond the creative (and funny) commercials, they knew they had to do more. Social media was the answer. But how do you get people onto your site to even receive the Tweets or wall posts? The answer was truly inventive.

You make a game. That’s right, a game. An online, weeks-long, crime-solving game. And you use the real actors from the show. Sure, it takes some planning, a lot of creative programming, and a little screen time, but it will pay off. Big time.

Using the actors gives the game a gravitas. A reality. The fans don’t just play a game; they interact with the characters they love. They become part of a community, joining together to find clues and stop the Hash Tag Killer before he strikes again.

Best of all, every time they play they earn points towards online and actual stuff. So they keep coming back. But to join the game they must sign in using either their Twitter or Facebook accounts. When they join, they give USA permission to post to their sites. So, not only does USA get their participation, they also get to solicit their friends and followers.

Marketing at its finest. The fans get something, the company gets something, and everyone goes away happy. Not only that, but USA expands its network without any more effort. A fun game equals word of mouth, and more people to come play. After all, who doesn’t want to be Sherlock Holmes?