Posts Tagged ‘Small business’
You probably already know that making sure your business is discovered by potential consumers is not as simple as being listed in the Yellow Pages and Google anymore. In fact, there are a number of sites and apps that want to be the go-to guide for consumers looking for local businesses. It’s important to make sure you’ve got the right information in the right places to be discovered, and here’s how:
1. Do a Google search
The first thing you need to find out is what happens when you search for your business. So do a search on Google and make sure you can find yourself, because if you can’t do that, there’s no way your potential customers will be able to either. What you’re looking for specifically is the details of how your small business is listed.
Check everything—is absolutely all the info correct? Not only should your business appear at the top of the search listings, but you should also get a special box displaying all of your business details. At a minimum, your business address, hours, website, and phone number should appear. Ideally, a Google Map with your location — as well as some pictures that represent your business — should appear.
If anything looks off or isn’t appearing the way you want it to, go to Google’s Places for Business page immediately to claim and fix your listing.
We all know that texting and driving is dangerous: according to the National Safety Council, over 100,000 accidents each year involve drivers who are texting. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 3,000 people were killed in 2011 in distracted-driving related accidents, and texting while driving is the most dangerous distraction of all. That’s why the “It Can Wait” campaign was launched to remind people that no matter how important a text might seem, it’s not more important than safety!
As an extension of the “It Can Wait” campaign, AT&T has created a way for small businesses to show that they stand against texting and driving while helping their communities. They’ve created a “My Business Cares” sweepstakes so that small business owners and employees can take the pledge not to text while driving. When they take the pledge a local middle or high school (of the business or employee’s choice) will be entered to win $1,000, plus an in-school assembly educating students on the dangers of texting while driving. Given that 75% of teenagers say that texting while driving is common among their friends, that’s an important lesson for students to hear.
Many small businesses rely on the benefits afforded by mobile devices. But when those devices are used while driving, employees can put themselves and others at risk. “My Business Cares” is a great opportunity for small businesses to send a powerful message to employees about the dangers of texting and driving, and gives individuals an opportunity to show they care while encouraging others to do the same.
Small business owners and employees can enter the sweepstakes via the “My Business Cares” tab on AT&T’s Facebook page. Simply take the pledge, enter your contact info, and select the local school you’d like to help.
Social network and microblogging platform Tumblr has recently announced a few new features that should make it even more attractive to marketers, including analytics to let brands look at how well their messages resonate on Tumblr.
By all measures, the service is incredibly popular. It hosts over almost 70 million blogs, and receives billions of views each month. Almost 50% of its users are under 25, making the service an especially appealing platform for marketers looking to reach the coveted 18 – 25 year old demographic. Plus it’s the kind of service that’s addictive: interactions with other users take place within the site’s “dashboard,” and it’s really heavy on video, visual and joke content. In other words, it’s fun.
If you haven’t used it, the big thing that sets it apart is the “Reblog.” Basically, with one push of a button you can copy the content of someone else to your own blog, and then comment on it if you want. Until now, there was no way for a brand to really measure the reach of all those reblogs or likes (the other key way of interacting with a post). That’s like not being able to measure the impact of retweets on Twitter, or shares on Facebook, and it was a real problem for marketers.
This Q & A series is a continuation of Mario Armstrong’s presentation at the Blogalicious Conference, a leading industry event celebrating diversity in social media. You can see highlights from his presentation & submit your own questions here.
Question: About earning revenue for your blog, what are your thoughts about Google’s AdSense for blogger, where ads are placed on your blog based on text and content related to the advertiser?
One nice thing about AdSense for Blogger is that they’re both Google products, which means it’s super easy to implement, so that’s good. The bad news is that for most of us, it’s never going to bring in the kind of money that sustains a business. It’s harsh but it’s true.
It’s really hard to predict how well AdSense will perform for you. The Pay-Per-Click Google offers varies based on a lot of things, like how much traffic you get, the keywords users searched, competition between advertisers and much more. For every ad click, you could receive anywhere from a penny to several dollars, but that number tends to be low, especially as you start out.
A couple of other things to remember if you do decide to use AdSense. First, be respectful of your reader’s eyeballs: don’t go overboard with ads, and make sure your actual content is still easy to read. Second, AdSense basically uses a “match-up” between advertisers and search to deliver ads, so it’s extra important you’re doing your best with SEO.
Bottom line: there’s no real harm in using AdSense unless it’s taking up site real estate that could be put to better use, like making you more money. But to really turn your blog into a business, you’re going to need to come up with more revenue-generating strategies beyond just AdSense.
I predict companies who don’t have social media management platforms will be like companies today who don’t have a telephone system.
Yesterday we talked about how HootSuite has acquired Seesmic to reach even more business customers. We also got a chance to talk with Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite, about his thoughts about where social media is going, how its going to impact businesses, and what small business owners can do to be prepared.
1. What tips can you give small business owners looking to build their social following?
Dave Olson, HootSuite’s VP of Community, put together the following social media tips for small business users looking to build their social following:
· When it comes to social media strategy, amplification is key. Make sure you tap the right channels during an optimal time of day. For example, restaurants may benefit from Tweeting daily specials at lunch time. Timing is crucial! The best time to send messages is on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday is a catch up day and Friday is too close to the weekend, so try your best to avoid those days. Also, you will get the most traffic by scheduling your messaging according to Eastern Standard Time.
· Social messaging should be tailored to each audience: short, succinct and catchy messages are appropriate for Twitter, longer, more detailed posts work for Facebook and Google+.
Last week Gizmodo got its hands on an Apple training manual for retail store employees, and they ripped it to shreds. Writer Sam Biddle seems generally freaked out by how specific the manual is, and took issue with the retail giant’s emphasis on catering to customers’ feelings, saying “Sales, it turns out, take a backseat to good vibes—almost the entire volume is dedicated to empathizing, consoling, cheering up, and correcting various Genius Bar confrontations.”
He’s wrong, and Apple’s right: sales is good vibes.
Apple has figured out that customers want to feel good about their purchases, and while that’s partly a consequence of the product itself, it’s also a result of the buying process. When customers have a positive experience at an Apple Store, they come away feeling good about their new computer, Apple as a company, and about themselves. And happy customers are repeat customers.
But what really sets Apple apart in the retail space is making it easy for all their employees to give customers that “good vibes” experience, knowing that that’s what sells. Read more »
Who says kids should get all the cool new stuff? We’ve found some great gadgets for the office that will make fall a little more fun for adults too.
The cube projects a full-size QWERTY keyboard on any flat surface for up to 150 minutes of typing. It’s easily recharged via USB. It work via Bluetooth and is compatible with Android 2.0+, iPhone 3Gs+, iPad, and basically any Mac or PC made in the last ten years.
GeChic 1302 Portable Monitor
More portability! The GeChic On-Lap 1302 (say that 10 times fast) is portable monitor you can plug right into your smartphone. It’s a good idea, even if it has a terrible name. It’s a 13.3 inch screen, powered either by your laptop or an external battery, that can be plugged into just about any smartphone, ultrabook, laptop or tablet. The only drag is the need for lots of extra cables: you will need the right adapters for your tech set-up, so do your reading before you buy.
Running a small business is hard, and it can be stressful when it seems like everything is on you. Even when you’re on vacation it’s hard to ignore what needs to get done. But if you don’t try for work-life balance, you run a serious risk of burning out and losing the motivation to succeed. It’s all about managing your stress, while making sure you’re doing your best to keep up with your family and your business. Here are three work-life balance tips you can put into action to reduce stress
Be Smart With Tech
Nobody loves mobile tech more than us. But it’s here to make life easier, not to stress us 24/7. Start by looking at your own habits: is constant connectivity actually stressing you, or getting in the way of time with family or friends? Be honest, even if it’s tough. Use that info to make “tech rules” that actually work for you. You might need to set a rule that says no email after 8pm, or maybe you need to leave your laptop at the office and only use a tablet at home. Whatever you do, talk to your family about your plans and get their feedback – they’ll have good suggestions and they’ll appreciate too.
Track Your Time
Take a week or two and write down everything you do all day – both work and non-work. Use your log as a roadmap to greater efficiency. What are you doing that you can skip? Skip it! What aren’t you doing that would make you happier or more successful, because you think you just don’t have the time? Build those things into your schedule, and make sure you include plenty of fun and satisfying personal stuff too. Make sure it’s what you really enjoy, not just what you think you should be doing. Remember, it’s all about the balance. Try the Hours Tracker app for iDevices or Time Recording for Android.
What motivates you? What’s important to you? How are you getting where you want to be? Professional motivation isn’t just about the money (though that part’s important). It’s also about trying to create the life you want to have. Find sources of inspiration to keep you going both at work and at home, like your family, a social cause, or even a mentor. Don’t be afraid to write it down, come back to it often and reevaluate frequently.
Want more work-life balance tips? Check out this TedX talk from Nigel Marsh called “How to Make Work-Life Balance Work.” Careful though, it’s not for the faint of heart!
Labor Day is almost here, and that means that summer is just about over. Hopefully you took some time to take a vacation, staycation, or whatever helps you relax and recharge. It’s important for our health, mentally and physically. Vacation helps reduce burnout, decreases our resentment of others, and actually helps us concentrate and make less mistakes once we’re back on the job.
So, all week we’ll be talking about “back to the office,” with tips and tricks to help you hit the ground running after your vacation. Perhaps the biggest (and best) thing you can do for yourself is to use the clarity that relaxation provides, before you get too bogged down in the details. A few things to think about, while you’re still feeling fresh and relaxed:
What are my realistic goals for the next six months? This can be both personal and professional – after all, it’s hard to separate these. Take this opportunity to reflect on what’s important to you, and think strategically about how you can get there. Write it down, and give yourself deadlines, not to give yourself a hard time, but to think about how you can (and will!) make progress.
If you had all the time you needed, what work would you do? Most of the time, it can feel like we’re working hard just to play catchup. Before you start to feel overwhelmed, think about what you’d really like to get done. And try to create a plan that can make it happen: can you delegate the work? How many hours a week would it really take? Try to create a realistic plan that will let you chip away at those big, looming projects before they start to seem impossible.
Forest, meet trees. Again, when we’re stressing the small stuff, it’s hard to think big picture. When you were on vacation, what did you think about work? Did you have any ideas or inspiration? Those are the ideas to write down and explore! They say that the best ideas happen in the shower, but really it’s because it’s relaxing. Think of vacation as one big idea-generating shower!
Begin a new habit or make a positive change. Sometimes it’s easier to start something new when we’ve just made a break from our regular routine. Use this opportunity to wake up a little earlier, get your inbox down to zero, or to give up some delicious treat that’s probably not the best for you.
That’s enough to get us started – we’ll be back with more tips this week, including home office ideas, work/life balance tips, stress management ideas, and fun gadgets to keep you productive and having fun even in the office.
David Egger is Lead Marketing Manager for AT&T’s IRU (Individual Responsibility User) Mobility Programs. You can find more blog content from David and other experts on emerging technologies and mobile application on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.
Educational institutions often lead the way in using new technologies, even developing much of it themselves in their own labs and computer science departments. In this post, let’s take a look at a few technologies being used in education that can help drive more sales, more customer involvement, and more customer loyalty for your small business.
The roots of truly large-scale social media lie in Facebook. Most are aware that facebook.com was once only for college students and started as a way for students to check out other students on campuses. I’m actually quite proud that my account was started when it was still ‘thefacebook.com’ and each campus had its own subdomain (depauw.thefacebook.com).
Whether using a business page on facebook or a business account on twitter to promote your new products or services and special offers, building a base of loyal customers on social media is essential to any consumer-focused small business.
To keep your following strong, include regular special offers exclusively for social media subscribers or occasional contests. Not every post should be sales-y though. I love how Coke Zero uses their facebook page to post random, funny Coke Zero musings such as “The mark of a true hero is indicated by his Coke Zero mustache.” Keep your social media tone set to the same mood as your business’ brand. Coke Zero is a fun, lifestyle brand, so they post jokes and funny pictures. A law firm posting photos of pants-less nerf gun battles in the office isn’t going to get the same effect. Think of your business’ brand as a person, and imagine the kinds of things that person would share on social media. Read more »