Social Media Etiquette: Do NOT Send an Automated Twitter Direct Message to Each New Follower

Posted by Alan Belniak
Alan Belniak
Alan Belniak works at PTC, a major Boston-based software company focusing on product lifecycle management, as ...
User is currently offline
on Monday, 14 November 2011
in Social Media

If you’ve been on Twitter for more than a month or so, chances are you’ve been followed – rather quickly – by someone you started following.  And shortly after that, you received a direct message. “Wow!” you think.  “This person is really on top of their game!”  And then you open it, and it reads something to the effect of “Thanks for the follow!  Go read my stuff here: __ and let’s also connect here: ___ And by the way, I’m also over here: ___”


Genuine?  Not really.  Heartfelt?  Nope.  Automated?  Yep.


I’ve written about auto-DMing on follow on my own Subjectively Speaking blog in the past.  I’ll let that post (and the comments) stand on its own, and offer up another angle here for the Comparz readers.

In my original post, I talk about the receiving end of such a tweet.  It feels cold, impersonal, almost like a direct-mail postcard.  And if you use Twitter as primarily a broadcast, one-way channel, then this might work for you.  For those of you who don’t see it that way, but are still auto-direct-messaging-on-follow, give this a second thought: might your messages be misconstrued?  Might they look like a green salesperson, looking to boost numbers and followers and artificially inflate a following and perceived level of importance?


Instead, consider a different approach.  I think a direct message to Twitter followers is a good idea, if worded correctly and not sent automatically to everyone.  What if instead, you sent a direct message that thanked the other person for the follow, indicated an interest of yours, and then asked your new follower what interests them (or a different question)?  Now you’ve set up an avenue for dialogue.  You are possibly engaging them.  And it doesn’t come across as spammy. Business-to-business book co-author Eric Schwartzman offers his own take on it here, via this simple graphic.


“But this will take more work, Alan!”


Yes.  Yes it will. 


But it doesn’t matter really how you go about this, because no matter what, you’re doing it wrong.

Alan Belniak is the director of social media marketing at a major Boston-based software company focusing on product lifecycle management. To read more, find and follow him at his blog and via Twitter


Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.


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The Problem with Klout

Posted by Rachel Blankstein
Rachel Blankstein
Rachel is a serial entrepreneur with a successful track record in launching businesses. Rachel launched and gr...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 09 November 2011
in Social Media

There's been a lot of buzz about Klout recently in the press because it changed its algorithm.  Klout is basically a tool that enables people to compare their social standing and "clout" based upon their participation on Twitter and Facebook.  It's a fun tool for those who like to track their social media success.  And it probably is fairly accurate in terms of the reach you have through these social networks.

But where Klout falls short, as other social media experts such as Pam Moore suggest, is that it does not dig a layer deeper.  Social media influence is growing in importance.  No one can deny that.  But social media clout does not capture one's actual skill other than in social media prowess.  There is a lot more that makes businesses run and succeed than social media clout.  While Klout is trying to list categories where people have clout, it is only based on social media activity versus real business results.

While Klout has potential, I don't think it has the clout it deserves yet.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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  • Lilach Bullock
    Lilach Bullock says #
    I agree, Klout has seriously dropped it’s clout! I wrote an article on it too which can be found here http://www.socialable.co.uk/...

It's Really Not About the Number of Twitter Followers You Have

Posted by Rachel Blankstein
Rachel Blankstein
Rachel is a serial entrepreneur with a successful track record in launching businesses. Rachel launched and gr...
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on Wednesday, 02 November 2011
in Social Media

I'm a huge fan of Twitter and I actively use it.  But Twitter is not about the number of followers you have.  I cannot tell you how many profiles I see of people who have over 25,000 followers, but they are not on any Twitter lists.

A Twitter list is a way to see a Twitter stream of select individuals you have grouped together.  This is a great way to segment your Twitter list and see what certain segments are talking about.  To be put on a list is generally an honor of sorts, as it means that someone deems you an expert in a certain area. 

When I see people with over 25,000 Twitter followers but they are on little to no lists, that screams Twitter spammer to me. This individual has found a way to get follow backs, but likely they aren't really leaders in their respective fields. 

So, what are good Twitter metrics?  I say the list-to-follower ratio is the best metric of whether to follow someone.  The higher the ratio, the better.  Also, the balance between followers and followed is interesting (although less important than the list to follower ratio in my opinion).  In general, it's nice to see a somewhat equal follower-to-followed ratio.  Some hot shots don't follow many back, which is fine, and obviously people love what these people have to say, but let's just say it's a bit elitist. And on the other end, if users have many more followed vs. followers, they are likely just listeners, which is perfectly fine, you just might now want to follow them.

All of that said, Twitter or any other form of social media is all about connecting with real people.  Keep that in mind as you use it.  Reach out and meet people.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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  • Rachel Blaufeld
    Rachel Blaufeld says #
    Great post Rachel! You are right — the numbers only matter if you are really engaged with your followers and not just collecting n...

Radian6 vs. JitterJam

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
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on Tuesday, 11 October 2011
in Social Media

Tools that are consigned to the “social CRM” category are not all created equal. Different tools have a different purpose, focus, and strength. Tools like Nimble and Gist are centered on tracking, consolidating, and presenting a comprehensive view of your contacts, while tools like Radian6 are focused more on monitoring what is said about your company or other targets you identify. JitterJam provides a combination of these functions.

Pricing in the social media category also varies.  Tools like Nimble and Gist are free, while Radian6 and JitterJam are relatively expensive—starting generally in the $300 to $500 per month range and going up to the $1,000 per month range and beyond. Some users find the value of these tools is worth the money, while others are turned off by the granular nature of the fees and the feeling they are being nickel and dimed.

All of these are top-ranked tools. Because Radian6 and JitterJam are more akin in purpose, pricing, and complexity than Nimble and Gist, let’s look more closely at how Radian6 and JitterJam compare. 

Radian6 is first and foremost a listening tool, aimed at monitoring the online conversations of targets you identify. It is also a complex tool. As one reviewer noted, “It takes some time to learn all the ins and outs of the tool. I am a very heavy user and I've been using for just over a year and I still learn something new each week.”

To help you master the tool, Radian6 provides a raft of support in the form of blogs, case studies, e-mail, telephone, and Twitter, and encourages you to take a one-hour training session before you begin using it.

But as the same reviewer noted, “In order to be successful with R6 you need to have the time, money and resources to put into it.”

Unlike tools like Nimble and Gist, Radian6 does not automatically import your contacts, rather it requires that you enter keywords and create topic profiles of the subjects you would like to track. The software then scours a host of online information sources and creates a data set of mentions for the terms you've chosen.

You sort and digest the information Radian6 offers via a Dashboard that can be adjusted via different views and widgets. You can focus specifically on Twitter or Facebook streams, for example, and can have Radian6 gauge the sentiment of posts, the influence of a poster, or create a snapshot of a poster. An Engagement Console presents a grid of social conversations in real time and allows you to group posts, respond to posts, or assign posts to others via workflow.

Pricing is an issue many customers have with Radian6. As our reviewer noted, it's impossible to tell how much Radian6 will really cost your company to deploy without talking with a sales representative. Fees rise with add-on features and the amount of monitoring you perform. 

JitterJam

While JitterJam has capabilities similar to Radian6, it is a different animal, more like a cross between Radian6, Nimble, and Gist. Unlike Radian6, and like Nimble and Gist, JitterJam builds a database of your contacts and employs unique search and analysis features to build detailed “Social Profiles” of each of your contacts that include information about their blogs, reach, and relative influence. These profiles are calculated automatically by JitterJam's “Social Rating Engine.” JitterJam enables you to engage with contacts and track and measure the progress of your relationship moving from prospect to customer.

You can also perform “Social Searches” in which JitterJam searchs the entire Web for terms you specify, and you can search single or multiple channels, including blogs, e-mail lists, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

JitterJam also enables you to conduct sophisticated business communications campaigns, including permission marketing with “Make Me Happy” opt in/opt out channel choices, and integration with e-mail marketing solutions to conduct e-mail campaigns.

As our reviewer noted, JitterJam does essentially the same things that Radian6 and other leading social media management tools do, but also offers depth and breadth of consolidated, actionable contact information that distinguishes it from its competitors.

Like Radian6, JitterJam is a complex and difficult tool to master, but support options are thin or nonexistent in comparison with those offered by Radian6. Also like Radian6, JitterJam is difficult to price and you must talk with a salesperson to get a price quote. As our reviewer noted, there is no pricing information on the JitterJam website, while published reports indicate that prices range from about $300 to $1,300 per month.

Bottom Line: While the general capabilities and usability of Radian6 and JitterJam are similar, they differ in their interface, approach, and emphasis. As with a number of online available tools today, Radian6 and JitterJam are not easy to price and require consultation with a sales representative. Each allows a free trial, so you can test their functionality, get a price quote, and choose which tool best meets your particular needs, preferences, and budget.  

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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  • Tim Nguyen
    Tim Nguyen says #
    Michael, thanks for such a great article. I've been looking for a strategic comparison between platforms. This helps. We cannot...

Web Sites Are More Important Than Social Media, but Small Businesses Still Lagging

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
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on Saturday, 08 October 2011
in Social Media

With all the hubbub surrounding social media, the focus and onus has been on how a company can generate sales using social media marketing.  However, a recent survey by Demandbase found that a company's corporate website is the number one source of new sales leads. Moreover, the study found that the corporate website is seven times more effective than social media at generating sales.

However, this does not mean that the value of social media marketing should be discounted. While the corporate website may be more effective overall than social media, a number of recent surveys have found that small businesses are winning business via social media, with Facebook as the top social media channel for generating sales.

The fact that consumers are spending more and more time engaged in social media activity will increasingly have a profound effect on companies’ sales strategies.  A recent Nielsen survey, for example, found that social media in general is having a powerful influence on consumer behavior.

Among Nielson’s findings:

  • In the U.S., social networks and blogs reach nearly 80% of active U.S. Internet users and represent the majority of Americans’ time online.
  • 70% of active online adult social networkers shop online, 12% more likely than the average adult Internet user.
  • Social networks and blogs continue to dominate Americans’ time online, now accounting for nearly a quarter of total time spent on the Internet.
  • Social media has grown rapidly – today nearly four of five active Internet users visit social networks and blogs.

Similar findings were reported in a recent Pew Survey that found that two-thirds of adult internet users (65%) now say they use a social networking site like Facebook or LinkedIn, up from 61% one year ago. That’s more than double the percentage that reported social networking site usage in 2008 (29%). And for the first time in Pew Internet surveys it means that half of all adults (50%) use social networking sites.

“The pace with which new users have flocked to social networking sites has been staggering,” said the Pew report. 

How are small businesses measuring up to the challenges of online marketing in general? Not so well, according to a CitiBank Survey that found that small businesses are lagging in all phases of online marketing and e-commerce activity. The study found that about 40 percent of small businesses surveyed do not have a website, 62 percent do not send marketing e-mails to promote their business, and 84 percent have not engaged in e-commerce. Among the companies that do have a website, 74 percent say it is an effective way to bring in business. 

The message to small businesses is clear: online marketing is imperative in all its forms—website, social media, e-mail marketing, e-commerce, and increasingly, the mobile device channel.  

The tools to effectively market and sell online are available—from website creation to all-in-one marketing, to e-mail marketing to CRM solutions. Use Comparz reviews and rankings to hep you find, assess, and select the best solutions for your businesses’ needs.  

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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Are You Getting Business on Facebook? If You Aren’t, Others Are

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
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on Friday, 23 September 2011
in Social Media

Facebook seems be the place to be for small and mid-sized businesses to generate business. New surveys show that businesses are embracing social networks, particularly Facebook, with positive results.

A survey of 1,674 small business owners by Pagemodo, which specializes in creating Facebook pages for businesses, reported that 47% of those surveyed said that Facebook is driving traffic to their Websites, and 48% also indicated that having a Facebook page has increased their business' sales.

The survey also found an increase in Facebook use by small businesses. When asked if their use of Facebook would increase or decrease over the next six months, 73% of small business owners said that it would increase, 25.4% said it would stay about the same, and only 1.6% said it would decrease.

According to a survey by Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media, Facebook is the top social networking sites of SMBs, followed by LinkedIn and Twitter.  Facebook was reported as being preferred by 86% of respondents; LinkedIn by 41%, and Twitter by 33%.

A survey released by Constant Contact also found that social media has become the top means of marketing for small businesses, with 73% of small businesses reporting using social media to market their business. The trend is growing, according to the survey’s findings. Of those who are not currently using social media marketing, 62% expect to begin using social media marketing, and 81% of those currently using social media marketing expect to increase their efforts.

Looks like it’s time to get your Facebook page up if you haven’t done so yet.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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How to Create Your Own Facebook Business Page

Posted by Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth
Michael Neubarth is Vice President of Marketing for Comparz.com and founder and Director of eMatrix Media Comm...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 23 September 2011
in Social Media

As my previous blog reported, surveys show that Facebook is driving traffic to small business Websites, with 48% saying that having a presence on Facebook has increased their sales.

How do you start doing business on Facebook? The first step is to set up a Facebook Page for your business.  Facebook Pages, as Facebook tells us, “are for organizations, public figures, businesses, and brands to connect with people in an official, public manner.”

It’s a fairly simple process to set up a Facebook Page. The easiest way is to go to http://www.facebook.com/business  and hit either the Get Started button or Pages link.  Hit Getting Started and you are led to a “How it Works” guide that gives you the basics for setting up and building your business page.

Ultimately you will hit a green Create a Page button that leads you to a menu of squares for different types of businesses. As a local SMB, you will hit the Local Business or Place square and select a category from the menu. 

Fill in the form with your company name, address, zip code, phone number, agree to Facebook’s terms by checking the box, hit Get Started, and off you go. You have created a business page that you can customize by adding images, videos, logos, polls, etc., as well as activate and configure the features that Facebook provides, such as status updates, promote the page on your website, or offer deals.

When you create your Facebook Page, you will immediately receive a “Welcome to Facebook Pages” e-mail congratulating you on creating your page and offering you tips, including a helpful manual.

While creating your business page is a fairly simple process, making the site engaging requires more skill and creativity. You can do this yourself or engage a service, just like you would for a web site.  

Marketing your site is the next step. We’ll treat that topic in a separate posting.

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Comparz Ranks Top 4 Social Media Management Tools

Posted by Rachel Blankstein
Rachel Blankstein
Rachel is a serial entrepreneur with a successful track record in launching businesses. Rachel launched and gr...
User is currently offline
on Monday, 12 September 2011
in Social Media

For your business, it is increasingly important to manage your social media presence.  While there are literally thousands of social media applications that perform isolated tasks, we thought it was important to identify to the Top Tools for managing a company’s social media presence. 

The industry “term” for these applications is called Social CRM, but we’ve called it social media management because it boils down to allowing you to manage your messaging, workflows, social mentions and communications strategy across all social media channels.

If you are serious about using social media as a tool to grow your business and manage your customer relationships, then these tools are worth a serious look.  The top tools selected by Comparz, here in alphabetical order include:

  1.  Gist
  2.  Jitter Jam
  3.  Nimble
  4.  Radian 6

These write-ups include in-depth editorial reviews as well as user reviews, which provide a nice balance to help you learn more about these solutions

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.


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Small Business: How to Get Started Using Twitter

Posted by Alan Belniak
Alan Belniak
Alan Belniak works at PTC, a major Boston-based software company focusing on product lifecycle management, as ...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 31 August 2011
in Social Media

So, you’ve hung out your shingle, opened your doors for business, and got a few fresh boxes of paper clips.  Now what?  Well, start by finding some business.  You can do that in lots of ways, but I’ll cover one way here: Twitter. 

“Alan, I don’t care if someone is walking their dog.”  And you’re right.  No one (or not many people) likely cares.  “Alan, no one cares if I just went for a coffee.”  Oh, but someone does!  And that someone is Starbucks.  Consider that often tweets sent by mobile devices have a location tag associated with them.  A savvy Starbucks social media employee could search for tweets mentioning the word ‘coffee’ in a certain area, then send those people a message – something to the effect of “Hey, show us this tweet the next time you are near the ___ location, and your AM coffee is on us.” (It’s rumored that Starbucks did this, but I can’t readily find the link).

See, the power of Twitter isn’t so much that “I had coffee”.  It’s the search (http://search.Twitter.com/advanced).  It’s the way to find new followers, new topics, new links, new questions, new roadblocks (for others).  It’s a way to interact and start a discussion.  If all goes well (just like at the proverbial cocktail party), then you strike up a real conversation and perhaps trade business cards.

I Don’t Sell Coffee.  I Sell Ladders.

So let’s say you sell high-quality, light-weight, low-cost aluminum step ladders.  How could you take part with Twitter?

  • Run a search on Twitter for tweets containing ‘ladder’
  • Run a search on Twitter for the hashtag #ladder
  • Run a search on Twitter for tweets containing ‘weekend project’, ‘home owner’, ‘home ownership’
  • Run a search on Twitter for tweets containing ‘painting’, ‘roof’, or ‘roofing’

 
You see what I’m doing here?  I’m thinking of the words and phrases that would most likely be in a conversation or public admission that have something to do with the word ladders.  

Let’s say you’ve done that, amassed a handful of new people to follow.  Now what?  Well, interact with them!

  • Don’t tweet and say “Come by my ladder!  It’s great!”
  • Instead, ask @JohnDoe508 “Are you painting a two-story house? Might want to look at hook-and-tray accessories to minimize up/down trips.”
  • Or, “Hey, @SallySue – painting inside? Make sure the ladder you get has rubberized feet to prevent slipping and marring.”


What you’re doing is offering value – value that you, as a ladder expert, can share with others.  Imagine being on the receiving-end of this tweet and saying “Wow – I don’t even know who LaddersForYou is, but these are good tips.”  When the hypothetical you eventually considers buying a ladder, who might you go to for one last bit of advice?  Who might you seek to actually make a purchase?
 
Bingo.
 
That’s the power of using Twitter search for conversations, taking part, interacting, and offering value.
 
In closing, note that not every tweet turns into a sale.  Just like not every real-life, face-to-face conversation turns into a sale.  But the power of Twitter and search is akin to having giant ears and listening to lots of conversations at once.

Alan Belniak is the director of social media marketing at a major Boston-based software company focusing on product lifecycle management. To read more, find and follow him at his blog and via Twitter


Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.


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A Must Read on Using Twitter

Posted by Rachel Blankstein
Rachel Blankstein
Rachel is a serial entrepreneur with a successful track record in launching businesses. Rachel launched and gr...
User is currently offline
on Thursday, 18 August 2011
in Social Media

So we all know what SPAM is on email.  It’s annoying, you know how to spot it and your email provider allows you to tag it as SPAM.  So what is SPAM on Twitter?

I’d say it is somewhat unclear as the point of Twitter is that you are supposed to be able to reach out to those you don’t already know. What is clear SPAM is when someone sends you a strange link directly to your @TwitterAddress.  That is annoying.  I actually find auto Direct Messages after a follow to be extremely “SPAM”-ish.  I never click on those links as they are clearly not personalized.

But, what was not clear to me until yesterday is that using a hashtag could be considered SPAM (who knew?).  For those who aren’t familiar, a hashtag starts with a # sign and helps when people are searching for particular topics.  Hashtags are also used for things like events that are going on. 

So I learned yesterday that using a hashtag improperly can be perceived as SPAM on Twitter.  I used an event-based hashtag with a tweet about relevant, topical content, clearly not really thinking much of it as we all tend to append several hastags to many of our tweets.  Then, I received MULTIPLE tweets hours later from key influencers on Twitter posting that I was a spammer and to ignore my tweets.  It was a huge public embarrassment to me, but I thought a bit out of proportion. Especially compared to a different instance when someone hacked into my account and Tweeted about Acai Berry diets and I didn’t receive any backlash.

The takeaway is to be careful what hashtags you use as people can be extremely sensitive about them.  And also that unfortunately on Twitter there is this wave of group think that can quickly go overboard.  I later received an apology from one of the tweeters that said I was spamming.

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. 

Click here to view Comparz' business software rankings.

 

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How to Get Started with Video Marketing

Posted by Jennifer Ettmayer
Jennifer Ettmayer
Jen Ettmayer previously worked in financial services, most recently as a research analyst. She also has experi...
User is currently offline
on Monday, 15 August 2011
in Social Media

Video is a great way to take your marketing efforts to the next level.  It adds invaluable content such as product demonstrations or panel discussions to your website or even email messages.  If you are lucky, your video might even go viral, broadening your reach to a new audience.  Plus, everyone seems to be doing it these days.  If you haven’t tried it yet, here are a few tips to get you started.

Create Appealing Video Content – Content should be highly relevant to your audience but also short and to the point.  No one wants to watch an hour-long video.  It requires a small investment in a basic camera and some lighting but should not break the bank.  Live tapings should help reduce the cost and time commitment by eliminating the need for heavy editing. 

Optimize Your Search Results – Video should not be neglected when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).  To enhance your video’s search results, be sure to use text and keywords as much as possible. You can use your keywords in the title, description, filename and on-page text.  Consider including a full transcript of the video as a way to enhance your SEO.  And always make sure to use “video” as a keyword.

Facilitate Sharing – Sharing is the way to get your video to go viral and increase your SEO results.  Make it easy for your viewers to share by adding the “Like” and “Retweet” buttons to the page.  Also, if you post your video somewhere other than your website, make sure your settings are enabled for sharing. 

Post on YouTube – You should either post your video directly on YouTube or syndicate the video there.  YouTube is one of the most popular video sharing platforms and will increase your exposure exponentially.  YouTube also makes it very easy to share video, meaning increased chances that your video goes viral.  And just because the video is hosted on YouTube doesn’t mean it can’t be on your website too.  All you have to do is embed the video by cutting and pasting the HTML code.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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#1 Tip on LinkedIn Etiquette

Posted by Rachel Blankstein
Rachel Blankstein
Rachel is a serial entrepreneur with a successful track record in launching businesses. Rachel launched and gr...
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, 03 August 2011
in Social Media

LinkedIn is a great social networking tool that allows you to connect with people on a professional level.  You can use it to promote your business, help with your job search, get feedback on business-related topics, and in many other ways.  Connections are key to getting the most out of LinkedIn; however, unlike other more public social media platforms (like Twitter), making connections on LinkedIn is not always as simple as sending an invite.  To increase the likelihood of having your connection request accepted, do something most people fail to do – send a personalized note.

LinkedIn is not a place where you are likely to befriend a random person.  So when establishing a connection, you need to explain why you want to connect and what you have in common.  It helps to mention something about a mutually beneficial conversation and a business purpose.  If you have several contacts in common, be sure to point this out as well.  You can also state that the LinkedIn algorithm suggested that you both be friends if this is the case.  Establishing a personal connection (whatever it is) will significantly improve your response rates.

Be sure to also leverage your relationships on other social media platforms within LinkedIn.  For example, try to chat with people on Twitter first to establish a connection.  Then you can later reach out to them on LinkedIn to strengthen your relationship. 

A personalized message is a great way to increase your LinkedIn connections.  But remember, if you have nothing in common with someone, don’t necessarily expect them to accept even if you write a note.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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  • Matt Pierson
    Matt Pierson says #
    I get a lot of requests for references on LinkedIn. Many of them I’m happy to do, others not so much! If you’re requesting a refer...

SocialBase Helps Manage Your Social Media Workflow

Posted by Jennifer Ettmayer
Jennifer Ettmayer
Jen Ettmayer previously worked in financial services, most recently as a research analyst. She also has experi...
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 02 August 2011
in Social Media

After covering every social media tool out there for the past two years, Oneforty understands social media.  They also know that managing all your profiles and staying on top of all your tasks can be overwhelming and chaotic. Especially if you are managing an entire team at the same time.  To make your life easier, they have created SocialBase a workflow management platform specifically geared for social media.

SocialBase is a tool that helps you stay organized when managing your social media projects.  It allows you to make task lists and track your progress over time.  You can also manage your team by assigning tasks to team members directly via the platform.  This means that important items are less likely to fall through the cracks!  You can also designate the social media platform you wish to utilize for each task (Twitter, blog, Facebook, etc.) so that directions are clearly defined.  Such tasks can be planned on a daily, weekly and even monthly basis.

In addition to being super useful, SocialBase is also extremely easy to use.  Everything is in one place, accessible from a very user-friendly dashboard.  Oneforty also provides a lot of user support for the tool as well as additional handbooks to help you get off the ground running. 

Overall, SocialBase will streamline your social media strategies and increase the efficiency of your team.  But don’t take our word for it – try it yourself.  SocialBase is now offering a 30-day free trial https://oneforty.com/socialbase/new.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of software services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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Small Business: Who You Should Follow on Twitter

Posted by Rachel Blankstein
Rachel Blankstein
Rachel is a serial entrepreneur with a successful track record in launching businesses. Rachel launched and gr...
User is currently offline
on Friday, 29 July 2011
in Social Media

As a small business, you may already know you should be using social media tools like Twitter to connect to your customers and reach a broader market.   And if you have been reticent to get on Twitter, I would liken it to building a Web site 10 years ago.  You just have to jump on the bandwagon or you will be left behind.

There are a few key small and mid-sized business (SMB) influencers that I recommend you follow on Twitter to stay on top of topics that are no doubt key to your business. Our picks for top SMB influencers to follow include: 

Mike Volpe (@mvolpe) – The man behind the amazing Hubspot content on all aspects of online marketing

Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) – This lady has built one of the largest online communities for small businesses with over 250,000 users

Jason Falls (@jasonfalls) – Thought leader in digital marketing and social media.  Editor of Social Media Explorer

Peter Shankman (@petershankman) – The King of Social Media

Ramon Ray (@ramonray) - Journalist, technology evangelist, and editor of Smallbiztechnology.com

Shashi Bellamkonda (@shashib) – Director of Social Media for Network Solutions.  Also a Speaker for Small Biz Tech

Gene Marks (@genemarks) - Top journalist covering the SMB space

Laurie McCabe (@lauriemccabe) - Passionate about helping SMBs and entrepreneurs apply tech solutions to grow their businesses

Rieva Lesonsky (@Rieva) – Former editor for over 20 years of Entrepreneur.com and one of the greatest small business writers

Michael Dortch (@dortchonit) - Thought leader on all things on the technology side of small and mid-sized business

John Jantsch (@ducttape) – Author of Duct Tape Marketing and consultant on small-business marketing

Ann Handley (@marketingprofs) – Head of Content for MarketingProfs, a resource for small business owners

Lara Galloway (@mombizcoach) – Business coach for Mompreneurs

Melinda Emerson (@smallbizlady) – Author of “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months”

Rod Kurtz (@rodkurtz) – Executive Editor of AOL Small Business

Frederic Paul (@thefreditor) – Editorial Director of Allbusiness.com


Rachel Blankstein (@evolvebiz) – Founder of Business Services review site Comparz.com

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What is Social CRM?

Posted by Rachel Blankstein
Rachel Blankstein
Rachel is a serial entrepreneur with a successful track record in launching businesses. Rachel launched and gr...
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 21 June 2011
in Social Media

Investing in a CRM package that lets your sales force track their relationships and interactions with prospects and customers is great. But that’s just the start of connecting with potential and current customers these days.

Today, your relationships can’t be contained inside isolated software systems and between the walls of your contact center. Your buyers are out there online, on Twitter, on Facebook, on blogs and they are telling you what they need and what they think of you. You need to know if your company and its products or services are coming up in any of the conversations they’re having on these forums, and more importantly, how it’s being mentioned and by whom, so that you can take appropriate action – especially so you’re targeting your key influencers out there.

That’s where social CRM comes in. It’s a way of staying up-to-date on issues that come up among your customers in the big wide world of social media, as well as a means to communicate with and support them. Many of these tools are completely free, extremely easy to use and there are really no excuses to not be using them.  Among the slew of social media dashboard apps – products like HootSuite, Sprout Social, and TweetDeck, for instance – you’ll find features that, depending on the product, include:

  • Integration to manage all your social network accounts, so a single post gets your messages out to customers across multiple venues;
  • Tweets, blog posts, news, and so on about your company also are available to you in one place;
  • Figuring out who counts most among your followers (and so figuring out who perhaps should get your attention first when there’s a problem) through hooks into influence-measurement services such as Klout;
  • Summarizing the likes among your Facebook followers, so you know what’s catching fire with them.

There’s a lot more potential, too. Your businesses may want to aggregate information, picking through reams of data to identify customer perceptions and consumer trends affecting a specific product or the markets where you participate. Learning about current sentiment can help you better support the customer experience; if you find, for example, that words like “awful,” “bad” and “ugly” are used in context with your packaging, it may be time for a redesign.

When you’re monitoring and mining online conversations to understand customers, you probably should be prepared to service them directly from these channels as well. Sometimes, that’s as simple as a personalized acknowledgement that their comments have been heard. But when a complaint is urgent – and particularly if the agitator is one of the bigger influencers in his particular online community – more is required. As some traditional CRM tools start to build up their social street cred, social media outreach can be integrated with core CRM processes, like service ticket generation.  

Other ways to build customer value from leveraging social CRM include giving your sales and service staff all the context about how a customer associates to your business and its offerings, so they can more finely tailor discussions to individual needs. There’s also a chance to realize savings on costly help center calls –address issues that appear on social media before the phone calls start coming in, that is.

The possibilities are vast. So, if you haven’t started thinking about adding a social component to your CRM strategy, it’s time to get moving.

 

Comparz provides user reviews and rankings of Social CRM services and tools for small and mid-sized businesses. Click here to view Comparz' business software reviews and rankings.

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