Small Business Marketing

Local marketing solutions for small businesses and entrepreneurs

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“Fact engine” Wolfram Alpha to ship Android version and new APIs/widgets — Scobleizer

Robert Scoble never fails to tickle my brain with his discoveries. I just finished watching Robert interview Barak Berkowitz, CEO at Wolfram Alpha. The video provides an in depth look into Wolfram Alpha’s “fact engine”.

After playing with it for a few minutes I found that “fact engine” surpasses Google in terms of real-time, relevant data, along with lists of original sources. The engine also instantly produces charts and graphs relevant to the query.

Worlfram Alpha does a phenomenal job with scientific, mathematical, and geographical data. It falls short with many of the real world questions I asked. Clearly this technology is still in the hands of engineers. I expect responses to more real world queries as Wolfram Alpha builds it’s database. The goal is to store all available data on the planet and make it mashable on demand. There is an ebook app in the works that will make research child’s play. I’ve downloaded the Mac widget, and the iPhone app. The Android app, which features voice recognition was just released. I’m hoping to see an iPhone update that includes voice recognition.

I would really love to see Wolfram Alpha collaborate with social media and web analysts to bring this technology to the world I live in. It would be a marketers dream to have real-time data for any market, which this technology seems very capable of providing.

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Women trading Wall Street for Main Street | Reuters

Women have traditionally played it safe by letting men lead the entrepreneurial sphere, but more and more of us have chosen to take the risk of starting our own businesses. Are we disenchanted with Wall Street and the corporate world, or have we just realized it’s time for a new paradigm where we have more control over our lives, how we spend our time, and how we choose to serve others?

Our changing perspectives are transcending the fear of leaving jobs and hanging our own shingles.

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What Business Owners and Non-Profits Need To Know About Facebook. Personal Profile vs. Business Page vs. Group.

Yes, there is a difference. Not a day goes by when I don’t get friend requests from business. What wrong with that? 

 

1. Using a personal profile page is in violation of Facebook’s Terms of Service. Facebook can delete your profile without notice, if they get wind of it.

2. Your business is invisible to search engines. Content in personal profiles doesn’t get indexed by Google or other search engines.

3. Personal profiles are limited to 5000 friends. Business Pages have no restriction to the number of fans a Page can have.

4. You can’t have a personal identity and a business identity within the same space. Personal friends aren’t interested in reading every business message you post, and business (fans) may not care about your experience at the dentist’s office this morning. There are rare ceases where personal and business can overlap, but generally they don’t mix well.

5. Business Pages provide you with valuable monitoring tools. Personal profiles don’t. How do you know if your time spent on Facebook is providing you with PR or customers?

6. Facebook Pages take advantage of Facebook ads. Facebook ads work much like Google AdWords, allowing you to target specific markets, by leading people to your Facebook Page or any other website you want to direct them toward. You can’t promote a personal profile,

7. Facebook allows one personal profile per person. You can create as many Facebook pages as you want to. It’s possible to have many business pages, each dedicated to a specific product or event. If you own several businesses or manage multiple non-profits, you can have a Page for each of them, each with it’s own branding.

 

There also seems to be some confusion about Facebook Groups, and when to use the Group format.

Who should use Groups?

1. Organizations of a more private, esoteric nature; such as Lincoln School Class of 2008, Gold’s Gym Weight Training Fanatics, etc. Groups operate more like private clubs, and are now indexed by Google. If you mange such a group then Groups is the right choice.

2. If you plan to send occasional messages to your group that won’t be seen by anyone else on Facebook, uses Groups.

3. If you post on a regular basis and want to annoy member with messages in their Inbox use Groups. This type of communication can be intrusive, and just a pain in general. Users are more inclined to disengage from a Group, than from a Page because of this annoyance and extra work.

Who shouldn’t use Groups?

1. Any business, artist, or organization that wants it’s content regularly indexed by Google.

2. Any business that want to take advantage of Facebook’s promotional opportunities.

3. Businesses that want their posts to show up in the feeds of all of their members, with a higher probability of post being shared.

4. If you want to use applications to make your page more interesting and interactive, you’ll need a Page, Groups can’t host applications.

5. If you want to link your Facebook Group to other websites, such as blogs and directory listings, you won’t be able to. Many of these website can link to Pages, but not to Groups.

6. There are many services like TweetDeck and Hootsuite that will allow you to manage multiple social media accounts from one central hub. Personal profiles and Pages can be integrated into these hubs, Groups can’t.

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Google’s Success in Facebook Game: Handicapping the Odds | Fast Company

Does Google lack social skills? I don’t remember the last time I actually used Google Buzz. After all of the hype around Wave, when I finally got my invitation, I found it to be too bulky to really be useful to me. Google is about to make another attempt to join the social-sphere. Google has a lot of awesome products, but they all seem to lack a personality, or fun factor for non-geeks. Google’s help pages are more user friendly and understandable than MicroSoft’s, but often leave the casual user bewildered.

There’s no shortage of talent and genius at Google, but they might take some lessons from Apple. Simplicity and the fun-factor can go a long way. A focus group of 15 year olds could come up with the perfect platform for Google’s Me.

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6 Things You Can Start Today to Boost Your Business

There are tens of thousands of great small business out there. If no one knows about the great products or services you have, you may as well not exist. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, own a medical practice, or make custom birdhouses, you may be the best at what you do, but how do you let potential customers know how to find you? Over 70% of people who are ready to open their wallets for a product or service are searching online for their needs.Here are 6 things you can do now. After your business grows, using these techniques you can hire pros to take you to the next level. Be where customers will find you!
1. Have a great website and pay attention to search engine optimization. Take the time to learn which keywords best match your business and the terms people will use to find your particular business. If you wan’t afford a great custom website, use one of the low cost template websites until you can afford your own custom website. Having your own domain adds credibility to your business.

2. Start writing a business blog. Millions of people read blogs every day. Blogging lets you connect with people who are interested in what you do, and can help you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Publish that blog in as many places as you can.
3. Plan a Social Media strategy. Facebook alone has over 500,000,000 members. At least one in three Americans is a member of Facebook, so at least one in three of your customers or potential customers is a member. LinkedIn and Twitter also have millions of members who want to connect with businesses. These platforms allow you to engage with your audience, and market to them using pay per click ads, pay per impression ads, and other low cost or free ads.

4. Make use of local online directory listings, such as MerchantCircle, Google Places, and Yelp. Basic listings are free. With some directories enhanced/premium listings charge a monthly fee. Some directories, such as Locate-A-Doc charge a hefty monthly fee, but provide leads and other services beyond the listing service. Building a network of directory listings can take a lot of time, but in the end it’s worth it.
5. Network, network, network! Not only online, but also in your community. Join your local Chamber of Commerce, check out networking groups in your area at MeetUp.com. Search Facebook, LinkdedIn and Twitter for groups in your area. Networking groups are made up of people who want to do business, and make connections with other businesses. Network relationships can directly lead to new business, or get you referrals that you  wouldn’t get if you don’t participate. Many networking events are free, and many are in the $5-$10 range. Go to the ones you can afford to go to, and think of it as an investment in your business. Bring plenty of business cards!

6. Be aware of Mobile Marketing, your market is! Google Foursquare and Gowalla to see how they may fit into your businesses marketing plan. Remember that Google Places and many of the top directories will show up on local mobile searches. If you have coupons on any of those directory listings they will show up on smart phones. Be prepared to accept mobile coupons!
What ever you do, don’t wait! You don’t have to be a social media guru, or spend months learning about marketing. Jump in! Every day that you’re not visible, someone else is marketing to customers who could have been YOUR customers. Whether you budget is $10 or $10 million, get stared TODAY!

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