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.

4. Sign up for Twitter – While often called the party, Twitter to me is the convention. You only have 140 characters per tweet, so tweets should add value. Share your know-how, articles and echo others by retweeting them with .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Create an account and start following people in your industry, influencers in your community by using search.twitter.com.

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?

Nhat Pham is a social media strategist, technology advisor, author, speaker and owner of Successwerks in Richmond. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or @NhatPham on Twitter.
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Community

project:HOMES’ ‘Renew Crew’ helps Henrico citizen


The project:HOMES "Renew Crew" (above) recently assisted an elderly member of the Laurel Presbyterian Church in Henrico by clearing brush, trimming hedges and raking leaves in her yard.

The Renew Crew serves low-income, disabled and elderly homeowners in need of small-scale home repairs such as porch, railing and step repairs, exterior painting, clearing overgrown yards, tearing down outbuildings, wheelchair ramps and other critical repairs and accessibility modifications. > Read more.

Alzheimer’s Walk raises $436,000


More than 2,000 people participated in the the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Richmond Chapter's annual Richmond Walk to End Alzheimer’s Nov. 5 at Markel Plaza in Innsbrook. The event raised more than $436,000 for Alzheimer’s care, support programs and research.

The event is one of three walks that benefit the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Richmond and is held in celebration of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month.

Donations to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be accepted through the end of the year and can be made at http://www.alz.org/walk. In total, the three walks this year have raised more than $644,344. > Read more.
Entertainment

Weekend Top 10


The past couple of days haven’t felt like it, but it’s finally December and this weekend is packed with holiday events. Kicking the weekend off is Glorious Christmas Nights’ production of “Finding Christmas” at West End Assembly of God. Gayton Baptist Church’s annual Jazz Nativity starts tonight. Another annual favorite is tomorrow – the tree lighting at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. In search of Christmas concerts? The Virginians Barbershop Chorus will present its annual Christmas Show tomorrow at the Collegiate School and the Richmond Choral Society will perform Sunday at Trinity Lutheran Church. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

 

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The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will offer a two-part nutrient management training course at the Hilton Garden Inn Richmond Airport. The first session, Dec. 7-8, is a lecture series by Virginia Tech professors on soil science, soil fertility and crop production. The second session, Dec. 13-15, will cover nutrient management plan writing using a case-study farm. Both sessions run from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each day. Cost is $150 per session. For details, contact David Kindig at 371-8095 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). To register, contact Susan Jones at 443-3803 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Full text

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