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Google Buzz :: yourbusiness@gmail.com

February 10, 2010
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Google has been working double-time launching new products over the last few months. From Google Wave to Google Voice, to Social Search and now Google Buzz, I think that now is a good time for small businesses to reserve a Gmail account if they haven’t already. I haven’t had the chance yet to look too deeply into their products, but I am big believer in small businesses being proactive and protecting their online brand from squatters. Unlike Google Wave, Google Buzz requires a Gmail account. I am hoping that Google Voice and eventually Google Wave will also be tied to Gmail accounts.

That said, take 5 minutes and protect your Google brand. My company works a lot with nonprofits, so in addition to all my profiles for small businesses, I also created and manage twitter.com/nonprofitorgs, facebook.com/nonprofitorgs and youtube.com/nonprofitorgs and just grabbed nonprofitorgs@gmail.com. Unlike Twitter and YouTube, there’s still a pretty good chance that your username is available in Gmail, though smallbusinesses, smallbusiness, smbusinesses was not. I didn’t see that one coming. 🙂

Finally, once you have your new Gmail account, sign up for beta invite to Google Voice. I am hoping Google Voice will enable small businesses to utilize group texting for free or at a very low-cost… and be connected somehow to Buzz for Mobile.

Related Links:
HOW TO: Protect Your Small Business from Social Media Squatters
Great Wall of Facebook: The Social Network’s Plan to Dominate the Web – And Keep Google Out
Google Prepares for Facebook Assault

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Four Reasons Why Small Businesses Who Utilize Social Media Should Also Blog

February 5, 2010
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There are currently 133 million blogs worldwide. The world doesn’t need another blogger, right? Wrong. In the short 6 months that I have been blogging, I have come to the conclusion that blogging is the missing piece in a successful social media strategy. Here are four reasons why:

1) Blogging allows your small business to have a consistent stream of fresh, timely new content to Tweet, post on Facebook, etc.

Social media is content driven. Blogging allows small businesses to quickly and easily create and post content that’s timely and relevant to the here and now. That’s especially true on Twitter. Your business is much more likely to be successful on Twitter if  you can respond quickly to breaking news related to your product, service and/or industry. People don’t RT old news, and the static content on your website is only interesting for a Tweet or two.

2) To improve your search engine results.

In recent years Google, Bing, Ask.com, etc. have all changed the way they search the Web to archive and list Web pages in their search engines. SEO experts and spammers got so good at utilizing meta tags to manipulate search engine results that Google and others have now changed their search “spiders” to look for keywords in page titles, not meta tags. Blogging tools like WordPress and TypePad automatically add the code for page titles in every new blog post you publish to the Web. Blogging is a simple, low-to-no-cost way to quickly improve your search engine results.

3) To get access to statistical data.

Small Business Tech 2.0 utilizes WordPress (a blogging platform) and the statistical data WordPress provides  has been incredibly helpful in helping me understand my readers and the content that they are most interested in. From daily to monthly visits and most popular blog posts, WordPress also allows you to view referral URLs and how many visitors came to your blog from Google searches, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. It consistently amazes me that the posts businesses read the most (anything about Facebook ) are not the ones that I think they’d be most interested in (mobile technology ).

4) To grow your fans and followers on social networking sites.

I have icons for Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, etc. on my website and my blog, but very people click on them on my website. Many do on my blog. Why? I think because my website is classic old school marketing (which is still necessary and serves its own purpose) while my blog has a face, a name, a personality, an opinion. People want to “Friend” and “Follow” humans with emotions and opinions, not marketing bots.

Small Businesses of the Month :: February 2010

January 31, 2010

DIOSA Communications created and manages the Small Businesses Facebook Page, the Small Businesses Twitter Profile, the Small Businesses YouTube Channel, and the Small Businesses MySpace Page. Each month a small business that excels in its use of social media is chosen and featured on the various “Small Businesses” profiles. For February 2010, the Small Businesses of the Month are:

Twitter: India’s Castle
Facebook: MaMa Jean’s Natural Market
YouTube: Asana Climbing
MySpace: D & D T-Shirts

HOW TO: Add Your Small Business to FourSquare

January 13, 2010

FourSquare has received quite a bit of buzz over the last few months. Some have even declared it to be the “Twitter of 2010“. I am not so sure about that, but it is fun. It is Different. Addictive. And as of last week, FourSquare has gone global.

Part social networking site, part smartphone App, and part social experiment, FourSquare is a tool meant to be primary used on the go on your smartphone. Quite simply, you “Check-in” to restaurants, movie theaters, retail stores, etc. while physically at the location and offer “Tips” and send out “Shouts”. All types of small businesses can and are already starting to add their physical location as “Venues” to FourSquare in order to show up in “Check-in” searches. More importantly, your customers are doing it for you!

Even if you never become a regular user of FourSquare, at the very least take 10 minutes and follow the steps below to add your business to FourSquare. I have already added numerous businesses. Trust me. You are going to want to be the one to add your own business.

I’ll be doing a couple more blog posts on FourSquare over the next month and the site will likely add a lot of new features in 2010 (I’m excited!), but right now let’s start with the basics:

1) Sign up for an individual profile on their website.

Don’t create a profile for your business. Create a profile for yourself. Sign up. Do not skip the option to upload a photo. You will not accrue “Badges” if you do not have a photo, nor will you become a “Mayor”. Do not use your logo. At this point, the power for businesses on FourSquare is in the individual profile.

Now, something very important. You must sync your FourSquare account with your business’s Twitter account to get a username [@NonprofitOrgs becomes www.foursquare.com/user/nonprofitorgs]. Please note that you can change Twitter accounts at a later date, thus your are not locked into a FourSquare username. This also hints at how fully integrated FourSquare will be with Twitter. Love that. Love Twitter.

2) Search for your business.

There is a 90% chance that your business is not going to come up in search results, thus select “Add Venue” and follow the steps below:

1. Enter the name of your business… correctly. Don’t enter in all lower case. For Example, “Moxie Cinema”.

2. Enter the address. FourSquare requests that you use abbreviations for streets and avenues. Cities should be spelled out. States and countries should be abbreviated in CAPS:

431 S. Jefferson Ave #108
Springfield, MO 65806

3. Enter your business’s Twitter ID.

4. Add the Tags “locally owned” and “green” and “socially responsible”, etc. as well as any other Tags relevant to your business. The default is that all Tags appear in lowercase. Very important: Add the city and state of your business as a Tag. It doesn’t make a difference in searches on the website version of FourSquare, but it does in the iPhone App version!

When the steps above are completed, here’s an example of a correctly added venue:
http://foursquare.com/venue/436782

3) If you have a smartphone, download the FourSquare App and then Check-in to your business venue.

Foursquare is available for the iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Palm Pre. Download the App, Check-in, and then on the next day, Check-in again. At that point you become the “Mayor”. More Mayor strategies, To Dos, and Tips next week!

Related Webinar:
How Small Businesses Can Successfully Utilize Group Texting, Mobile Website and Smartphone Apps

Give a Tweet: How Small Businesses Can Generate Buzz on Twitter Through Philanthropy and Cause Marketing

January 4, 2010

Small businesses are looking for new ways to get recognized for their philanthropy on social networks, but it usually requires them to launch an App on Facebook or a comprehensive cause marketing campaign on Twitter. Both are time consuming and costly.

Now thanks to Give a Tweet, small businesses can launch simple, cost-effective cause marketing Twitter campaigns by signing up to become a “Matcher” and then selecting nonprofits that you want to match donations for – meaning you pledge to match donations made by other donors to your chosen nonprofits.

For example, let’s say you – the small business – chooses the Wildlife Alliance and you pledge to match every donation made to Wildlife Alliance on Give a Tweet by others up to $10. Three people donate $25 each for a total of $75, and you thus are pledged to donate $30. Each of those three donors is then prompted to Tweet that your small business matched their donation. Your Give a Tweet profile is also featured on GiveaTweet.com. That’s a lot of exposure for $30!

It’s also worth noting that small businesses can select a maximum amount that they are willing to donate and your donations are 100% tax-deductible. Give a Tweet instantly emails you a receipt for your donations for tax purposes.

For many businesses this exactly the kind of tool that they are looking for to generate buzz for their philanthropic efforts. Small businesses can become Matchers for as little as $10, though I would suggest that you pledge at least $50-100. Give a Tweet has the the data of almost every 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the United States inside their site, so if you regularly donate to nonprofits, most likely your favorite nonprofits have profiles inside Give a Tweet. If you have any questions about how Matching on Give a Tweet works, please contact them at nonprofits@giveatweet.com and/or see their FAQ.

Small Businesses of the Month :: January 2010

January 2, 2010

DIOSA Communications created and manages the Small Businesses Facebook Page, the Small Businesses Twitter Profile, the Small Businesses YouTube Channel, and the Small Businesses MySpace Page. Each month a small business that excels in its use of social media is chosen and featured on the various “Small Businesses” profiles. For January 2010, the Small Businesses of the Month are:

Twitter: Earthy Sole Shoes
Facebook: The Little Lasso
YouTube: Strand Book Store
MySpace: Rich’s Remodeling

The Austin Statesman recently did a story about The Little Lasso’s success on Facebook in which DIOSA Communications was also featured. View Austin baby products company uses Facebook to reach customers.

Subscribe to Receive Text Alerts from Small Business Tech 2.0

December 28, 2009

To subscribe, please text the keyword SMALLBUSINESSES to the short code 41411. Simply text STOP to 41411 to unsubscribe at any time. On average, 2-3 text alerts are sent each month. Text alerts are usually related to examples of small businesses that are successfully utilizing mobile marketing and often include news of new mobile resources and tools available to small businesses. You can also subscribe at: www.textmarks.com/SMALLBUSINESSES