SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

9 big small business social media no-nos

Social media marketers point out some of the biggest (and most costly) mistakes companies make when using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest – and offer advice on how to avoid making these social faux pas.
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These days, just about every business, regardless of size, has a presence on social media. It might be just a Facebook or a Pinterest page, but chances are if you are a small business owner, especially a retailer, you have an account on one of the major social media platforms. And while having a Facebook and Pinterest (as well Twitter and Instagram) page can be beneficial, it can negatively impact your business if you make one (or more) of these nine small business social media mistakes.
1. Setting up a page and then not posting anything on it.
“The biggest mistake on social media that I see small business owners make is to set up a Facebook or Twitter [or Pinterest or Instagram] page and then [fail to update it] for months at a time,” says Stacy Erickson Edwards, owner, Home Key: Organized Social Media. "Not only does this send a message to potential customers that you don't care, sometimes people see it and think that you're not in business anymore.”
 
2. Not having a posting strategy/schedule.
“The biggest mistake any business can make on social media is inconsistent posting,” says Vincent Scatena, CMO, IMP Corporation. “If the business [doesn’t have a sound] posting strategy … potential followers will [be] less likely to engage. A simple solution to inconsistency is scheduling [posts]. This can be done via scheduling tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer or Sprout Social. These tools allow you to schedule your posts in advance while providing the flexibility to update your posts when urgent news occurs.” And when you post consistently, on a regular schedule, it makes it easier for your audience to find and follow you.
 
3. Posting user-generated content (UGC) without the user’s permission.
“Re-posting user generated content is one of the most influential ways to engage with your fans,” notes Tom Kuhr, senior vice president, marketing, MomentFeed. “And while the content [may be] voluntarily submitted, you should always ask for permission before you [post it]. It avoids any breach of trust and will help get the word out [as] the user [will] tell their friends.”
 
4. Not responding to comments (in a timely fashion).
“Engaging with your social followers and customers is vital if you want them to know you care about them,” says Ry Colman, social media manager, Veterans United Home Loans. “Answer their questions, respond to comments (even if it’s just thanking them for sharing their thoughts) and address their concerns. Don’t delete negative posts. Instead, do your best to acknowledge the problem. Remember that the customers who voice their dissatisfaction are your friends [or potential friends]. Learn from them and show [them you are] dedicated to serving [them] and solving their issues.”
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Get Social: Chocolate-covered Bacon


Old school SMB Nation fans remember our love and affection for BACON! Who can forget our “Save Your Bacon” campaign back in the day promoting StorageCraft? (Remember the bacon bit muffins at SMB Nation Spring?) So


when I attended Simply Measured’s LIFT – Social conference in Seattle last week, I was instantly at home when liftsocialChocolate-covered bacon was on the afternoon snack cart.


But this isn’t a foodie review, rather it’s a look at social media analytics. The context is this. If you are reading this blog and seeking to “start-up” a technology business with legs, I’d offer the world of social media and the use of analytics in this Market 2.0 era demands your consideration.

LIFT Social is an ongoing annual conference sponsored by Simply Measured, an analytics ISV in the social media space. Basically it is in the business of providing tools to measure the impact of social media campaigns businesses might execute. For example, Trek was there talking about the use of the analytical tools to measure success in building the Trek bicycle brand using numerous social media tactics such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.


First a few takeaways from the conference and then a few observations.


Engagement is not revenue. Towards the end of the conference, I don’t know if I heard a dirty little secret in the social media space or if the speakers were being completely transparent. Loosely translated, the number of likes (Facebook), friends (Facebook), followers (Twitter) and connections (LinkedIn) doesn’t mean jack snitz when it comes to revenue. I’ve always suspected this. Social media is good for brand building but it’s not transactional by its nature. I’ve seen this in several ways. First is our beloved Karl Palachuk of MSP books fame in the SMB space. Karl has worked very hard to build his brand and hit the 5,000 friend limit for a Facebook personal page. And his brand building has resulted in overall success for his book sales. However, if engagement had a direct correlation to revenue, he’d be a billionaire and I’d be shining his shoes. Another example is how I’ll nudge people to attend our weekly webinar. When I post into an Office 365 LinkedIn group with over 90,000 members about a relevant webinar coming up soon, I’ll pull anywhere from zero to a couple new attendees. Several speakers at LIFT Social shared similar disappointments. Such is the state of the Social Media union.

Attribution. Having spent time in the Big Data predictive analytics space, there is always the issue of attribution when working with leads (affiliates and aggregators). Basically the issues surrounding getting credit for driving traffic. Who drove the click? What timeframe does the attribution apply (immediate or forever)? And so on. Simply Measured announced what it claims to be the first attribution measurement tool for social media campaigns. I’ll be meeting with the Simply Measured executive team in a couple weeks to dig deeper into this.
Spying. One speaker named Skylar delivered an impressive speech on competitive intelligence gathering using the Simply Measured tools. It amounted to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Best speech for me.


Sources. The C-level executive at Hubspot demonstrated sources of customer traffic and Google ad words was way low on the scale (below 10%) with sources like Instagram and YouTube fairing much higher. That was an eye opener. I confirmed this later with my 18YO son when he affirmed a media buy to target millennials would be best on Instagram, not Facebook.
Young at Heart. Finally, in the start-up mentality, I found the demographic at LIFT Social to be dramatically different than SMB Nation. Women attendees outnumbered men 2:1 whereas SMB Nation events are 95% male. The average age was significantly lower than our late 40s SMB Nation member. That’s OK as it made me feel young at heart LOL.

I end with a question? Why do these social media millennials end every sentence an octave higher (riser) with the word PERFECT? Not everything is PERFFECT in social media analytics but it’s getting closer to the precise measurements we can gather today with email and adwords campaigns.

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How To "Suk" At Social Media: An Indispensable Guide For Businesses

Story by Avinash Kaushik - 

Facebook, at last count, has 1.5 billion monthly active users. YouTube has 1.2 billion users (watching 6 billion hours of videos!). Instagram has an estimated 400 million users.violets

Those are some big gigantic numbers!

I believe that every human with time to spare, and a connection to the web, should be on social media. The benefits are numerous. Facebook allows you to stay close to people you choose to. YouTube has democratized entertainment and education. Instagram allows you to express your creativity, and soak up expressions from others. Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, others have a role to play as well.

Humans, check.

But, what about businesses? Companies small and big? In India or Japan or the United States?

It comes down to two important questions: 1. Do the big gigantic numbers imply that your business should use these social media channels? 2. If yes, should your participation be the same as regular humans?

I believe that we have never answered the first question. Businesses were told: "The numbers are HUGE!" The second question was never answered either, but because all businesses know is how to pimp that became their default strategy.

The assumption is: Big Social Audiences + Big Pimping = Big Social Profits.

Big mistake.

You know that of course because for your business, after five solid years of investment, this has not proven to be true. Even the people who powered your investment in Social Media, the Gurus, have, reluctantly, accepted this reality.

I believe that it was erroneous not to answer the two questions above, it was erroneous to be tempted by the Big Numbers and not understand how Social Media channels actually worked (streams, home pages, personalization, rankings and more).

So, let's fix that error.

In this post let's look at each Social Network, see what B2B and B2C brands are doing there today, from that draw lessons as to 1. if your business should be on that network and 2. if yes, what should your content (and marketing) strategy be.

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Don't connect with everyone on LinkedIn

Story by Steven Petrow - 

My column of two weeks ago (“Don’t make this mistake on LinkedIn”) drew lots of ire from some readers, not to mention a whole new crop of questions about conduct on LinkedIn. That column focused on what I called “inappropriate” or “bad” LinkedIn behavior, and I think it resonated so strongly because, as Peter Vincent, vice president of human rescources at the Audubon Society, told me: “LinkedIn is such a critical element in career management.”LinkedIn

Half a dozen readers specifically asked about a LinkedIn “mistake” of another kind, which is well-represented by this email:

“I quit LinkedIn because if you hit the wrong button in LinkedIn -- something related to Search for connections -- Linked In will automatically send an invitation to EVERYONE IN YOUR CONTACT LIST!!! Imagine: people you fired, people who fired you, ex-spouses and lovers, the guy you owe money to, your cable company, your proctologist, your kid's teachers -- you get the idea. LinkedIn's behavior in this regard is extremely arrogant, insulting, and embarrassing.”

As it turns out, a number of threads exist about this very topic on the LinkedIn site, including “LinkedIn automatically invited my entire contact list” and “People complaining I’ve sent invites to them but I didn’t.

One user posted his advice: “Beware hasty button-clicking! As pointed out elsewhere in this thread, [LinkedIn] standard practice is to use [a confusing user interface] to get users to do things they don't intend to do. For example, to NOT invite somebody you SELECT their name, and to invite somebody you DE-SELECT.”

Does that sound confusing? Well, it does because it is. In a nutshell, let’s say you have 500 names among your contacts and you want to send invites to 50. To do that, you would need to “deselect” 450. This is neither intuitive – nor easy.

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SBS leader by day, MLSP affiliate by night: Longtime SMB Nation member offers MyLeadSystem Pro to support channel community

Using social media for virtual networking and relationship-building is a modern key to success in any industry, and especially essential to MSPs and other members of the channel community that may not always meet their clients face-to-face as often as they'd like.scott in seattle

Social media should brand company leaders, rather than just the company as a whole, Microsoft SBS leader and SMB Nation member Scott Cayouette said. Executives should take advantage of platforms from Facebook fan pages to video blogs that give them a direct opportunity to create connections with current and potential customers. Twitter and LinkedIn, too, continue to be an important part of networking strategies.

With his roles as a managing partner at IPW Networks and MyLeadSystem Pro affiliate, Scott is invested in helping company leaders to do just what he suggests and build a strong social media presence.

“The more people get to see what you look like, the more they feel like they get to know you,” Scott said. “It solves that age old issue: Who are they, and what are they like? By the time they meet you, they feel like they know you.”

MyLeadSystem Pro, a social media affiliate platform providing strategies and trainings to help affiliates and their clients create a well-branded multi-platform social media approach, also offers opportunities for additional income from lead and referral generation. Though it began in 2008 as a network marketing resource, it has transformed into a platform designed to help small businesses of all kinds.

MLSP also provides tools for customer relationship management, tied closely today with companies’ and company leaders’ social media presence and execution.

Through his participation in this platform and others, Scott continues to act as the trusted adviser he’s always strived to be for his clients and peers. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn, Twitter, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more.

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IBM Acquires UrbanCode to Help SMBs Quickly Deliver Mobile, Cloud, Big Data

IBM said that it has acquired UrbanCode Inc., a provider of automated software delivery to help businesses quickly release and update mobile, social, big data, cloud applications. 

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Guest Blog: Think Mobility is Hot Now? You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet!

By Jay McBain, Co-Founder, ChannelEyes

I was thinking this morning about the evolution of mobile technology.  What if we compared it to the evolution of the PC?  

Is it safe to say that we are now in about 1985?

I think so, and here is my case...

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IBM Launches Software, Cloud Services to Accelerate Social Biz

IBM last week announced at its Connect 2013 event a new software and cloud-based service to help business leaders, such as chief marketing officers and chief human resource officers, advance their organization's transformation with the adoption of social business technology. The new offerings are designed to help business leaders integrate IBM's social networking and analytics technologies into their business processes to empower the 21st Century workforce and transform client experiences.

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