I love to network, but I don’t love going to networking events.
I love listening to smart people talk, though, so I’m always excited to go to Crain’s Small Business Week Small Business Forum. They’re efficient (always running on time), easy to register and attend and bring together a really interesting mix of small and medium-sized business experts to talk about trends and best practices.
Today’s topic was Social Media for small businesses, and it was one of the best panels I’ve been to for Crain’s. The panelists, Geoff Alexander of Wow Bao, Ellen Rogin, Entrepreneur and Public Speaker, Emerson Spartz, CEO & Founder of Spartz Media and Leslie Vickrey, CEO ClearEdge Marketing really gave the audience useful and practical tips to social media. I was live tweeting the event, having so much fun that Cindy from Noteworthy Notes asked me to blog the things I learned, and since I’ve been a bad blogger of late, I obliged. So here goes… my top takeaways… feel free to leave questions in the comments. Maybe the experts will hop on here and help answer!
- Twitter is a powerful tool for following conversations and for journaling. Don’t tweet about yourself. Love this quote – “Twitter is like a cocktail party. Don’t stand in the corner talking about yourself.”
- Twitter Counter is a useful tool for comparing your twitter stats to others and project your twitter growth
- Some good tips for getting attention to your twitter posts: using a call to action “RT if…” prompts folks to want to retweet something. Putting an –> (arrow) before a link draws attention to a link in a unique way.
- You should tweet important content you want followers to see at different times of the day. If you’re launching a new product or program, be sure to tweet it in the morning, midday and night to reach a variety of audiences.
- Search keywords in twitter and jump into other conversations.
- Use Facebook like a billboard. Wow Bao ran a really cool daily campaign that revealed a secret word that a user could then bring into the store and get a free Bao. Cool.
- You have to do a lot of testing with offers you make on Facebook to see what works. “Content hiding” (i.e. like us to get info) will help get fans. You can increase the number of views on your post by 50% just by putting an image on it. By literally uploading a photo, not just putting one with a link.
- Don’t post more than once a day on Facebook. (I’ve heard this before.)
- Be transparent. It’s okay to counter negativity.
- Everyone’s favorite (ha!) review website is a place where anyone can post a negative review, but Wow Bao says it’s important to be transparent and they are on Yelp and other places even when things get bad.
- Radian 6, Alterian, and Trackur are good systems to use to track conversations about you on the web.
- You don’t need to reply to all social media posts immediately. It’s okay to wait if you can’t get right to it.
- Use social media to maintain offline relationships.
- And… my new favorite – install rapportive onto your Gmail email account to see a user’s social media profile instead of Google ads. Brilliant!