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Archive for the ‘Entrepreneurship’ Category

YouTube is not just acrobatic kittens and dancing babies

Thursday, October 7th, 2010
YouTube is not just for Dancing Babies and Cute Kittens
We talk to a lot of business people who don’t use YouTube because they think it is all about shocking scenes and cute videos with dancing babies and acrobatic kittens.  While it’s true that truly entertaining videos have the best chance to go viral, YouTube can still be a tremendous (and free) resource for any business.  
According to CitySearch.com, a customer is twice as likely to visit your store if you have a video of your store on your website.  Seeing your store and employees on a video, or a customer testimonial, builds customer confidence and increases the chances that the customer will come see you.
Click here to see a video customer testimonial for Alliance Tire Americas (a client of ours).  Nicely done, and it did not require an expensive camera or production crew.  An effective YouTube video can be shot on a $75 Flip camera.  YouTube audiences are not expecting a slick piece; in fact, this is often a negative.  Make it genuine, but also make it short (30 seconds to 2 minutes).  And get to the point; attention spans are not what they used to be.
So how could tire dealers, for example, effectively use YouTube?
– Show your showroom and interview a few employees.
– Interview satisfied customers for testimonials.
– Shoot educational videos on how to winterize your car, getting ready for summer, etc.
Check out the Sullivan Tire YouTube channel.  Great job!
Using YouTube is easy, but there are some techniques and best practices that can help you use it effectively. Shoot me a comment and I will send you our YouTube white paper which takes you from A to Z.

Farmers Rock Social Media!

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

I am very fortunate to be working with Alliance Tires Americas, Inc., a client in the agriculture industry; not only because they have wonderful products and are great folks, but because my own personal interests are satisfied. You see, my husband John and I have a family farm in west Tennessee. The farm has been in my husband’s family since 1870 but we are “new’ to the farming business.  So I am learning a lot from participating in forums and social media sites for Alliance Tire.  For example, I learned recently that because we have 100 acres or less we are considered “hobby farmers.”  That’s OK with me. We have a great deal to learn.

It may be a surprise to some of you that agriculture professionals and farmers in America are quite advanced in using social media and other public forum sites to promote themselves and their interests.  The Ag Chat foundation sponsors a question and answer session every Tuesday night from 7-9pm EDT using the twitter hashtag #agchat.  Almost every Farm Bureau offers classes teaching social media to their constituents.

Why?  Because farmers want you to know where your food comes from.  They want you to know the faces behind your gallon of milk or carton of eggs. Farming is not easy. It is hot, dirty, and expensive and totally under appreciated.  But individuals like Troy Hadrick and Advocates for Agriculture, and organizations like AEM, Association of Equipment Manufactures (AEM is looking for someone to recognize as the ‘Advocate for Agriculture” at their annual meeting.  Other examples on Facebook include: Indiana Dairy, Farmer Showcase and Farm Journal.

Do you know where your food comes from? Do you care? Who do you know that is a great “Advocate for Agriculture?” Tell us your story.  It is important!


Not as Sexy as Victoria’s Secret? Don’t Worry, You Should Still Be on Facebook

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

We get numerous questions from tire dealers along the lines of:  “Why does my company need a Facebook Fan Page?  We’re not targeting coeds and we’re not a sexy brand like Victoria’s Secret.”

Here’s why:  Facebook’s U.S. user base grew from 42 million to 103 million last year.  Facebook currently has an Alexa ranking of 2, meaning it is the second most trafficked website next to Google!  This means your Facebook page will be indexed faster on Google and other search engines.

And while Facebook started out on college campuses, it has obviously gone way beyond that.  In fact, the 35+ demographic now represents more than 30 percent of the entire Facebook user base. The 55+ Facebook audience grew an astounding 922 percent in 2009.  Women still make up a higher percentage of Facebook users than men, but the male audience is growing rapidly.  Anyway, there are lots of women who buy tires and automotive services.  And, generally speaking, women will become extremely loyal customers if they trust you.  Guess what?  Facebook and other social media platforms are all about establishing relationships and trust.

Be forewarned though — If you build it, they will not necessarily come.  Even Victoria’s Secret has to work it. If you are not actively soliciting fans and engaging them, what’s the point? Build good content, make it easy to share, let people know about it, and over time your community (and customer base) will grow.

Here’s three key Facebook tips:

Use Other Platforms

You need to promote your Facebook Fan Page on all appropriate landing pages and media – your website, print advertising, POS materials, news releases, etc.

A Reason To Join

Give a coupon, enter new fans into a drawing, make a donation in their name . . . give consumers a reason to join your page.  Cheerios gave away a book to school libraries for each new fan.  Pedigree Dog Foods is donating a bowl of food to animal shelters.  You could give a sweet deal on an oil change to each new fan, or enter them into a drawing for a set of tires.

Be A Resource

If your Facebook site only includes your promotions and sales, it will not be as successful as it could be.  Provide useful content on getting your car ready for spring, etc.  Become a “trust agent” in the tire and auto services industry.  Promote your fans.  Wish them happy birthday.  Include a congratulations on a new job, graduation, etc.  You’re building relationships here.

SOME WORTHY FACEBOOK SITES

Some tire manufacturers and dealers have launched Facebook sites because they recognize that Facebook is not a fad, but rather a tsunami-size force that, along with other social media platforms, is changing the rules of marketing.

We like the Kenwood Tire Facebook site which was profiled by Mike Manges in the March edition of Modern Tire Dealer (MTD has a Facebook site as well).  Sure Kenwood Tire has their share of promotions on their site, but they’re doing a good job of providing advice, interacting with fans and putting a human face on their organization.

Bridgestone and Kumho have recently launched Facebook sites.  The Bridgestone site features their current TV commercials and is rich in visual content (photos and videos).  Kumho, not surprisngly, is targeting auto/racing enthusiasts and gearheads on their site.

BUT THERE ARE ONLY 24 HOURS IN THE DAY!

The other frequent comment we get from dealers is:  “That is all well and good but I don’t have time to devote to social media.”

Building relationships does take time, but what is the value of one loyal customer who does all of their business with you?  A good social media program will help you buld many loyal customers — over time.

Managing an effective Facebook Fan Page requires an average of 1 hour per day in our opinion.  But don’t make the mistake of thinking that your grandson or granddaughter can do it.  Sure, they know their way around Facebook, but do they know how to incorporate it strategically into your marketing and business objectives?

If you are a one- or two-store operation, we suggest you hire a qualified social media consultant to set you up and train you or one of your people on best practices.  There are many efficiciences to be gained if you know the latest apps.  If you have multiple stores and a dominant presence in one or more markets, carve out some of your marketing budget to hire a social media marketing firm.

Please visit our website or fan page for more insights.  Or give us a call at 615-477-3099.  We would be glad to give you some free upfront advice.

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It’s A Google World!

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

I was in Chapel Hill, NC, the other day visiting my Tar Heel daughter and was reminded of the importance of Google rankings for tire dealers (or any retailers for that matter) – not that I needed reminding.

My daughter’s very reliable Nissan Sentra needed an oil change and state inspection.  I was in a hurry.  I Googled “best value in tires in Chapel Hill, NC” and called the dealer that ranked first in the non-paid search.  Never heard of them before.  Didn’t look at any other options.  I called them, booked a time and took the car in.  I know a thing or two about tires after 20 years in the business, but again, time was short.

If you’re a tire dealer, you need to rank high in Google, preferably on the first page.  Consumers are in a hurry.  In a low involvement category such as tires, most consumers are not going to spend a lot of time surfing, reviewing one website after another.

So how do you achieve the high ranking?  You can pay for it of course, but more and more consumers are becoming savvy to paid searches and prefer to patronize businesses that earn their Google rankings by having an SEO-rich website, by answering questions on Twitter, by recognizing their customers on Facebook, receiving testimonials on Yelp, etc.

Once you get them in the door you still need to provide good old-fashioned customer service, which by the way, will help your Google rankings because social media super-charges the power of word-of-mouth.  This dealer, by the way, provided excellent service and had a couple of Mac computers  in the waiting room ready for surfing – nice touch!  They will be at the top of my list next time I’m in Chapel Hill and need tires or auto services – that is, if they keep their Google ranking up.

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Generate A PDF eBook of You or Your Clients Tweets as a Holiday Gift!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Give the gift of knowledge.

I don’t know about you but I try and provide helpful information to my Twitter followers. (@chrisgtaylor) Information that I find useful in my business and information that will help other people navigate the new media landscape. I am growing to like the term “new media” rather than “social media” because the more I learn the more “new” stuff there is to learn.

I also feel the “new ” label fits because we are seeing a dramatic shift in the way people do business. All the folks out there who call themselves gurus, experts, mavens are full of %$%&! There are just some people more ahead of the curve than others.

One such person is Young Yang from China. A Chinese man who is dreaming to be a professional full-time blogger. On Twitter @freenuts. I recently saw a tweet that peaked my interest and I went to his blog Free Nuts. What a wealth of information! What a nice guy. He also took the time to answer some questions I had.

He introduced me to Tweetbook . Tweetbook , is a FREE web app that lets you generate  a PDF eBook of all your tweets or favorites and share it to Twitter easily.

I am in the process of creating such a book for all of our clients.

You sign in with Twitter OAuth, to create your book. It can be down loaded or shared on ScribeD.

You can decide whether the PDF eBook will include the replies or not, you can generate a PDF eBook of your favorites, and you can download an XML file of the tweets or the favorites .

Besides downloading, you can share your PDF eBook to Twitter, so that your friends can see it on Tweetbook. The only problem….Tweetbook is so popular that it often reaches its maximum limit of users it can service at this time: so be patient.

Merry Christmas! We can now all be published authors. :)

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Examples of Social Media Policies

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

According to a recent article on social media by the blogger HrBartender /Sharlyn Lauby , there are generally two approaches to social media policy making. Some organizations handle social media in an evolutionary way. Chad Houghton, the director of e-media and business development at the Society for Human Resource Management, told me that he thinks, “it might be beneficial not to create some arbitrary rules without first seeing where the opportunities and risks really are.”

Other organizations, meanwhile, feel more comfortable establishing a clear policy from the outset. IBM, for example, has published their social media guidelines publicly for anyone to read. It’s a great policy, though rather long.

One thing is certain — clients are asking for where to find examples of current policies used by all  types of organizations. I was really excited when I came upon the best site I  have found so far the : Online Data Base for Social Media put together by Chris Boudreaux.  Chris has organized a pretty comprehensive social media policy database. The database currently has 106 policies with the policies being sorted by industry, organization and title. More are being added daily.

Among the companies whose social media policies are available on the site are About.com, the BBC, Dell, Dow Jones, Gartner, Microsoft, the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Air Force, Wal-Mart and Yahoo!

So if your organization is fretting about social media and you want to get them into the modern age, show them this site.  And if your company already has a social media policy and wants to show it to the world, it can submit that policy for inclusion in the Social Media Governance database.

Does your company have a policy? If so please share.:)

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I stalked Chris Brogan:)

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

T-shirtThis is an image off of a t-shirt my husband John bought me as a joke from Despair.com. I thought it was pretty funny.  It captures  brilliantly the three behavioral disorders propelling the continued phenomenal growth of today’s most widely-trafficked social media sites. And the personality dysfunctional forces of Narcissism, ADHD, and Stalking  that reside today’s in the fast growing area of social media.

As a social media practitioner I freely admitted to the ADHD, (not a bad trait for a multi-tasker). Narcisissim not so much, but I must admit I do like it when my posts are re-tweeted. ( I call it being informative.) But I didn’t get the Stalking category.

I do Now. I am a big fan of Chris Brogan and read his blog eagerly every morning as I drink  my coffee. When I heard that his book “Trust Agents” needed a launch push and he offered to be a speaker for anyone willing to buy 200 books. I jumped at the chance.  I pulled out my credit card and bam, I had 200 books.

Then the shock set in. How was I going to move 200 books? Well the Nashville tech community came to the rescue.  Lynn Bennett at Stage Post Studios offered to host the event. Social Media Club of Nashville (who JTMarCom is donating some of the proceeds to) has helped promote the event with Jessica Murray and Georgia Cross of SMCNash helping any way they can. And most of all, Chris Brogan and his great mother Diane Brogan have helped pull this all together.

Below is our press release: Three days and counting. I am nervous and excited. We could not have done this without many fine people involved.

It’s not too late to sign up HERE for the live portion of the event and if you live elsewhere please tune in HERE to the  Free Video Web Cast provided by Author’s Way.

RELEASE

In their new New York Times best-selling book, “Trust Agents” co-authors Chris Brogan and Julien Smith make the case that the Internet has made it easier than ever to reach your customers.  It’s less likely, however, that they’ll listen.  Today, the most valuable online currency isn’t the dollar, but trust itself.

In the video streaming webinar, Brogan will discuss how social networks and personal connections have far more influence on consumers than a company’s marketing messages ever well –unless your business knows how to harness them.  He will provide valuable insights on how to tap into the power of these networks to build your brand’s influence, reputation, and profits.

Brogan contends that trust agents aren’t necessarily marketers or salespeople; they’re digitally savvy people who use the Web to humanize businesses using transparency, honesty, and genuine relationships.  As a result, they wield enough online influence to build up or bring down a business’s reputation.

During the first two hours of the webinar (10 a.m. to 12 noon EST), Brogan will discuss how to build profitable relationships with trust agents and his six basic principles for becoming a trust agent yourself.

During the final hour of the webinar (12 noon to 1 p.m. EST), audience members will have the opportunity to pose questions to Brogan  via phone, Twitter and email.  He will respond to as many questions time permitting and will sign books for these individuals.  Brogan’s book and a DVD of the webinar will also be available for purchase to all audience members through Authorsway.com.

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100 Terrific Twitter Feeds for Young Entrepreneurs

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

http://www.selectcourses.com/

Twitter is an excellent resource for learning, especially those who are building a business. You can learn about marketing, news, and more, and see what other successful young entrepreneurs are up to. Check out this list to find 100 feeds young entrepreneurs should watch on Twitter.

Groups

These groups on Twitter cater to young entrepreneurs.

  1. Mediabistro: Mediabistro is a great community for news, opportunities, and more for media professionals.
  2. @yeos: If you’re a young entrepreneur in Sweden, be sure to follow @yeos to learn about networking, inspiration, and idea exchanging.
  3. @texasventures: Texas Ventures is an entrepreneur network and student organization for Texans.
  4. #yep: Tweeters taking part in #yep are young entrepreneurs and professionals on Twitter.
  5. the_pitch: You can learn a good deal about pitching from this contest for entrepreneurs.
  6. @thestartupeu: @thestartupeu represents a group that supports startups, entrepreneurship, venture capital, and more.

News & Advice

Follow these Twitter feeds to find news, advice, and more.

  1. @EntMagazineAmy: Amy Cosper is the editor in chief of Entrepreneur Magazine.
  2. @guykawasaki: Check out Guy Kawasaki for news in business and more.
  3. @digg_frontpage: Find out what’s on the Digg front page from this Twitter bot.
  4. @smallbusiness: Follow @smallbusiness to get updates on small business news.
  5. @entrepreneurpro: Follow Ben Lang’s Twitter to learn about teen entrepreneurs.
  6. @JohnChow: John Chow is a great person to follow if you’re interested in learning how to make money blogging.
  7. @WebWorkerDaily: Follow WebWorkerDaily, and you’ll learn about better using the web for work.
  8. @ginatrapani: Gina Trapani is the founder of Lifehacker, and guru of all things productivity.
  9. @JasonCalacanis: Jason Calacanis shares news and more about social media, blogs, and online entrepreneurship.
  10. @StartupGuru: Brian Tsuchiya’s feed is full of useful startup news links.
  11. @IncMagazine: Follow @IncMagazine, a magazine for entrepreneurs.
  12. @College_Mogul: @College_Mogul reports on startups, entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology.
  13. @EntMagazine: Follow Entrepreneur Magazine on Twitter here.
  14. @barefoot_exec: Carrie Wilkerson aims to educate, empower and encourage entrepreneurs young and old.
  15. @wiredmag: Get the official news feed of Wired magazine here, especially useful if you’re a young entrepreneur into technology.
  16. @onstartups: Read about startups from the founder and CTO of HubSpot.
  17. @teenbizcoach: Check out Shonika Proctor’s feed to learn how to use your talents for business.

Marketing

If you’re interested in learning how to better market and brand your business, be sure to check out these Twitter feeds.

  1. @zappos: Follow @zappos to learn a thing or a thousand about good customer service and marketing.
  2. @missrogue: Tara Hunt is a great person to follow if you’d like to learn about marketing that works.
  3. @mashable: @mashable will help you make sense of the social web.
  4. @chrisbrogan: Chris Brogan is the president of New Marketing Labs, a social media agency and education company.
  5. @adbroad: Helen Klein Ross shares information about social media and more.
  6. @WillieCrawford: Willie Crawford is an excellent resource for learning about Internet marketing.
  7. @eMarketing_Tips: Get tips for emarketing, social media, and more from @eMarketing_Tips.
  8. @problogger: Follow Darren Rowse to learn how you can more effectively use your blog as an entrepreneur.
  9. @nichelady: On @nichelady’s feed, you’ll learn how to make payday come every day.
  10. @smmguide: Social Media Guide shares information about social media marketing.
  11. @darrenmonroe: Darren Monroe shares lots of tweets about leadership and web marketing.
  12. @marketingwizdom: Follow Robert Clay to learn about low risk/high return marketing strategies.
  13. @adhustler: @adhustler is all about affiliate marketing.
  14. @wbaustin: Bill Austin shares news from Internet marketing and beyond.
  15. @oudiantebi: Oudi Antebi is a social marketing expert and entrepreneur.
  16. @MrSocial: Mr. Social is a marketing guru and social media expert.
  17. @ScottAllen: Scott is an expert in social media, and loves to help entrepreneurs.
  18. @TYSONtheQUICK: Tyson is a marketing student and COO of Meisab Labs.
  19. @Debbas: Check out Debbas to learn about promotional items and printing from a professor of marketing.
  20. @brianadrian: Read Brian Adrian’s tweets to learn about social media and web 2.0 marketing.
  21. @DiyanaAlcheva: Diyana is a marketing specialist and Internet network marketing business coach.
  22. @danschawbel: Dan Schawbel of Personal Branding Blog will help you brand yourself and your business.
  23. @BrandKarma: Check out @BrandKarma to learn about branding for your business.

Coaches

Follow these business and life coaches who can help you get a better handle on what you’re doing.

  1. @sacca: Christ Sacca offers advisement to startups.
  2. @mariaandeos: Check out Maria Anros to learn how to attract a following and new clients.
  3. @socrates_soc: Socrates is an Internet marketing expert and coach.
  4. @MariSmith: Mari Smith is a friendly social media trainer that loves to help others grow their business.
  5. @RonDavies: Follow Ron Davies to get coached in making the most of Twitter.
  6. @AndrewWindham: Andrew Windham is a professional speaker, entrepreneurial and business coach, and more.
  7. @GabeStrom: GabeStrom is a coach inspired to help you reach your full potential.
  8. @Rob_Moshe: Rob Moshe is a life success coach that can help you with attraction marketing.

Entrepreneurs

Get inspiration, ideas, and more from these entrepreneurs on Twitter.

  1. @randfish: Rand Fishkin is the CEO of SEOmoz, a search optimization and Internet marketing firm.
  2. @richardbranson: Chairman of Virgin Group, Richard Branson is one of the most recognizable and successful entrepreneurs on Twitter.
  3. @boutiquegirl: Maiken Jepsen is a work at home mom, designer, and the owner of a boutique clothing shop.
  4. @RobMcNealy: Rob McNealy is full of inspiration for new entrepreneurs.
  5. @tferriss: Tim Ferriss is the author of #1 NY Times bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek.
  6. @kevinrose: This founder of Digg is full of random ideas.
  7. @r27: Rajesh Pancholi owns and operates the creative UK studio known as R27 Creativelab.
  8. @TEDchris: Chris Anderson and his organization share ideas worth spreading.
  9. @tonyrobbins: Get inspired by @tonyrobbins.
  10. @teenceo: Patricio Quezarda shares the details of being an emerging teen CEO and digital media mogul.
  11. @StaceyMonk: Stacey Monk is an entrepreneur and dogooder.
  12. @calbucci: Marcelo Calbucci is the founder and CTO of Sampa.
  13. @IncSpring: Wes Wilson’s IncSpring is a social marketplace for entrepreneurs.
  14. @stanleytang: @stanleytang is a 16 year old internet entrepreneur and best-selling author.
  15. @davesnyder: Check out Dave Snyder to learn about search and social media marketing.
  16. @sumaya: @Sumaya is a founder of The Cultural Connect, and has been recognized by Business Week as a top young entrepreneur.
  17. @nlw: Nathaniel Whitmore is the founder of Assetmap.org and a founding organizer of Change.org.
  18. Jeremy Schooley: Jeremy Schooley is the COO at Digital Labz.
  19. @gotmelik: Melik Yuksel is a 14 year old blogger, web and graphic designer, and entrepreneur.
  20. @sundaycosmetics: Beverly Davis is the entrepreneur behind Sunday Cosmetics.
  21. @rseanlindsay: Sean Lindsay wears the hats of entrepreneur, creator, connector, technologist, and builder.
  22. @darbydarnit: Petri Darby is the “Chief Darn Officer.”
  23. Joann Sondy: Joann is a seasoned entrepreneur and owner of Creative Aces.
  24. @netgeek06: Thomson Chemmanoor is the founder of Digital Labz.
  25. @chrispund: Chris Pund writes a blog for young entrepreneurs and even manages two web-based companies of his own.
  26. @RickM: Rick Myers is the founder and CEO of Talent Zoo.

Finance & Venture Capital

These Twitter feeds will teach you about economics and funding.

  1. @freakonomics: Get more of the goodness found in the Freakonomics blog from @freakonomics.
  2. @mintdotcom: Learn about finance, money tips, and more from Mint.
  3. @turbotax: Check out Turbo Tax to get the tax help every young entrepreneur needs.
  4. @planetmoney: @planetmoney will help you get a handle on the global economy.
  5. @vctips: Get a look into the minds of venture capitalists from @vctips.

Blogs & Writers

Check out these Twitter feeds to find excellent advice from bloggers and writers concerned with young entrepreneurs.

  1. @YoungGoGetter: @YoungGoGetter will keep you up to date on the latest for young entrepreneurs.
  2. @Retireat21: This blogger is all about helping young entrepreneurs make money online.
  3. @TPEntrepreneur: The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur will help you go from aspiring young entrepreneur to industry leader.
  4. @socialentrprnr: If you’re an entrepreneur focused on social change, be sure to check out @socialentrprnr.
  5. @yarostarak: Yaro is a professional blogger full of advice for bloggers and Internet marketers.
  6. @garyvee: Check out @garyvee to see how social media can improve your business.
  7. @shoemoney: Jeremy Schoemaker is a blogger that can help you learn how to make money with your blog.
  8. @Gladwell: Malcolm Gladwell’s Twitter will have you always thinking about success.
  9. @venturehacks: @venturehacks aims to be a business school for entrepreneurs.
  10. @MattWilsontv: Matt Wilson supports entrepreneurs under 30.
  11. @doshdosh: @doshdosh is a great resource for Internet marketing and making money online.
  12. @copyblogger: Brian Clark will teach you about new media content.
  13. @thebizguy: Find tweets from Adam, a cofounder of YoungEntrepreneur.com on @thebizguy.
  14. @penelopetrunk: Follow Penelope to learn about the intersection of work and life.
  15. @ramit: Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You to Be Rich and PBWiki is a goldmine of knowledge for young
  16. entrepreneurshttp://www.selectcourses.com/blog/2009/100-terrific-twitter-feeds-for-young-entrepreneurs/