The Entrepreneur’s Corner
Social media starting points
I am astounded by how many businesses today, both small and large, underutilize social networking sites such as Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter. While these sites get so much traffic, many entrepreneurs, business people and companies feel social networking is not important enough for them to engage in.
While the media hypes the millions of people on these social networks, many small businesses say their focus is on the customer base in their community. Still, the numbers still range in hundreds of thousands.
We have seen clients get customers, grow their business, and even get a quarter of a million dollar investment from a college buddy they haven’t talked to in 20 years!
Here are some significant facts beyond the number of users: the average social user has 195 friends; 77 percent of internet users read blogs; the typical Linkedin user is 41 years of age with $110K income; more than a third of the 190 million Twitter account users access via their mobile phone; the average Facebook user spends more than 7 hours a month on the site, which was the most-visited website in the U.S. last year, beating out Google. (Facts from Nielsen, Quantcast, Tech Crunch and Online Media Gazette)
Did you know 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations?
What does this mean to a business? Your friends and customers are online and engaging. If the best marketing is word-of-mouth, then online social networks are word-of-mouth on steroids.
Here are some simple ways to get started.
1. Start a blog – Blogs are simple to create these days. Blogger, Typepad and Wordpress are popular free sites to start with. Start with tips and how-to’s. Avoid directly selling. If you have good content, readers will comment and engage you.
2. Sign up on Linkedin – Invite your trusted relationships, both past and present. Give recommendations to others, and often your customers and colleagues will reciprocate. This is the online office place. Keep it professional.
3. Create a Facebook Business Page – It is always a good idea to be social here. If Linkedin is the office, then Facebook is more of the backyard BBQ. Mention ties to the community, post relevant articles to your industry, clients and engage your fans. More than any other social network, direct selling is really frown upon. Think of the guy who comes to a BBQ passing out their business card as they introduce themselves.
If all else fails, remember! it’s about building relationships. If you wouldn’t say it offline, you may reconsider about saying it online. How would you conduct yourself at the office, BBQ or convention?
Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.
The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.
Beautiful fall weather is back this weekend! Don’t leave your favorite pooch at home – take the whole family to Canine Companions’ DogFest Walk ‘n Roll at West Broad Village or FETCH a Cure’s annual Mutt Strutt at Deep Run Park. Pets are also welcome at this weekend’s Central Virginia Celtic Festival and Highland Games. Halloween events taking place Sunday include the University of Richmond’s 18th annual Trick or Treat Street and Goblins and Gourds at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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CalendarNational Theatre Live’s thrilling broadcast of “Frankenstein” returns to cinemas for a limited time, due to unprecedented audience demand. The Modlin Center for the Arts at the University of Richmond will screen NT Live’s “Frankenstein” at 7:30 p.m. in Camp Concert Hall, Booker Hall of Music. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller as Dr. Frankenstein. NT Live brings the best of British theatre direct from the stages of London to movie theatres around the world. Tickets are $7 to $14. For details, call 289-8980 or visit http://www.modlin.richmond.edu. Full text