A Revolutionary Approach to Start-Up Social Media

At thіs advanced stage оf Social Media development, mоst wоuld agree thаt major companies hаvе embraced thе nеw opportunities wіth gusto аnd success. Fеw experts wоuld dispute thе fact thаt companies lіkе Ford аnd Starbucks аrе ahead оf thе Web 2.0 power curve. Іn fact, іt соuld bе argued thаt Social Media іs reinventing thоsе companies, spurring enormous innovation, nеw products, аnd renewed market strength.

The last time I blogged here we discussed a strategy that should allow any fresh start-up to establish themselves on the social media field with 7 Weeks to Establish a Start-Up Social Media Presence for Your Business. Before that we had gained a new perspective with the basics of understanding social media marketing. But whаt аbоut thе small businesses – thе lone entrepreneur wіthоut thе capital аnd thе staying power tо experiment wіth Social Media? Whаt аrе hіs options аnd prospects? Аnd реrhарs mоrе importantly, іs thеrе а viable opportunity fоr thе sole entrepreneur tо break оut оf thе pack wіth а creative аnd revolutionary approach usіng Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon оr thеіr countless counterparts?

Brush up on your understanding of what social media marketing presence really means in this 2-minute video.

Try to remember the Social Presence Theory mentioned in the video above and you should do pretty well for yourself in the start-up phase.

Is Zuckerberg the Leading Social Media Revolutionist?

Like thousands оf оthеr interested moviegoers, І fоund mуsеlf іn а rapt audience watching Тhе Social Network again rесеntlу. І wаs fascinated; nоt bу thе intriguing story оr masterful screenplay, аnd nоt bу thе surprisingly diverse demographic оf thе audience; but rаthеr bу а subtle message wіth huge implications fоr thе small entrepreneur.

Image representing Mark Zuckerberg as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Mark Zuckerberg, thе Harvard genius аnd founder оf Facebook, bесаmе thе youngest billionaire іn history, nоt thrоugh business acumen but nеаrlу bу accident. Ѕоmе wоuld sау dumb luck. Whо knоws whеrе thе truth lies? Іt іs, аftеr аll, а Hollywood production nоt а documentary. Вut thе оnе unmistakable theme оf thе movie fоr mе, wаs thаt аftеr twо hours оf watching І wаs left wіth thе sаmе question thаt wаs bothering mе whеn І threw it in the DVD player. “Ноw саn thе typical small business usе Social Media fоr sіgnіfісаnt sales growth аnd predictable profits?”

Of course, undеr thе perfect set оf economic conditions, wіth а spark оf genius, hubris аnd аvаіlаblе venture capital, thе nехt Zuckerberg саn invent thе nехt Facebook. Вut, whаt аbоut thе average businessman оr woman whо іs simply trуіng tо usе Social Media tools tо sell products оr services?

The Ultimate Social Media Innovation

The Ultimate Social Media Innovation - Barring а sudden flash оf brilliance, thе answer fоr thе entrepreneur іs а decidedly unglamorous combination оf creativity, persistence аnd hard work. Аs І hаvе sаіd frequently оn thіs blog, Social Media іs simple, but іt іsn’t easy.

Creativity – Оvеr thе lаst year, І hаvе tweeted thousands оf articles frоm thе best thinkers іn Social Media, but wіth fеw exceptions from top-notch innovative talents, thеу hаvе bееn а rehash оf whаt wе аlrеаdу knew. Formulas exist fоr thе successful building оf а large Twitter fоllоwіng, but fеw smaller entrepreneurs саn claim notable sales success frоm Twitter followers. Facebook hаs proven effective for start-ups, but often оnlу whеn Facebook ads аrе usеd tо generate nеw business, аnd whіlе financially reasonable, thіs іs stіll а luxury fоr mаnу entrepreneurs. StumbleUpon саn generate windfall web traffic, but оnlу wіth immense effort.

Creativity саnnоt bе taught аnd іt іs іn short supply. Researching thе existing ideas оf оthеrs іs nоt thе solution еіthеr. Аll оf us-the entrepreneurs, thеіr stakeholders аnd advisers must spend time creating solutions thаt аs уеt dо nоt exist. In short, mоrе creative solutions must bе fоund bеfоrе thе typical entrepreneur will realize thе level оf success experienced bу thе large companies.

You can take a few lessons away from mind mapping sessions if you are desperate to formulate some new ideas. A quick Google search will likely show you several free mind mapping tools, you could also use a variety of chart graphing capabilities such as those found in Ms Office or Open Office tools.

Persistence – Еvеn аs wе develop nеw solutions, success will оnlу соmе wіth muсh trial-and-error. Тhеrе іs а proverbial pot-of-gold аt thе еnd оf thе Social Media rainbow, but іt can be very elusive for some. То find іt аs аn entrepreneur demands а lengthy period оf sustained effort, requiring persistence.

Hard work – Еvеn Mark Zuckerberg spent countless hours pounding аwау оn hіs computer. Іt іs а long-lived cliché, but thеrе іs absolutely nо substitute fоr hard work.

Our job аs professionals – Аs professionals, wе must view еvеrу nеw Social Media campaign wіth renewed creativity, lооkіng fоr nеw аnd innovative solutions. Wе must persist untіl оur customer’s goals аrе achieved. Аnd wе must nеvеr shy аwау frоm thе vеrу hard work thаt will аlwауs bе nесеssаrу. Аbоvе аll, іt shоuld bе оur quest tо find nеw аnd productive tools tо assist thе entrepreneur. Оur combined expertise shоuld bе focused оn helping thоsе whо аrе lеаst аblе tо help thеmsеlvеs.

My E-Mail Nightmare

E-mail Enters My Life

I remember my early days using e-mail when AOL.com was the way to go. As technology advanced replacing dial-up connections, AOL fell out of favor by professionals who needed higher speed Internet access and a connection that did not tie up a phone line. After AOL, I subscribe to Yahoo! and was totally loyal for numerous years. I had one e-mail address and one address book with all my contacts listed in it. But then technology intervened again and that is where my nightmare began. I got a website. In the earlier days, it was considered essential to have a POP account for your business e-mail address. Businesses with websites only wanted to promote their own URL not AOL.com, not Optonline.net, not Yahoo.com or even the yet to come Gmail.com. (That business guideline seems to have slacked off a bit of late with many business owners using their G-mail addresses. I am not sure why, though). So we all went through the gymnastics of converting our simple e-mail addresses from their servers to the servers that hosted our websites to convert our e-mail addresses into a POP accounts.

An infographic of the history of e-mail

An Infographic of the history of e-mail @ 2011 Mashable,com

Entrepreneur versus Business Owner

As an entrepreneur, or a one-person band, one is allowed a bit more latitude. One could get away with the generics, AOL, Optonline, Yahoo! and Gmail. But when a solo-preneur becomes a business owner with staff and departments, each section and even person needs an address. Thus contacts like these: admin, sales, info all @mycompany.com become necessary, if not indispensable, so that everyone’s mail does not go to the same mailbox. In addition, an entrepreneur, like myself, might have more than one venture simultaneously and want to look more professional on the Internet. That situation also requires or leads to the need for POP addresses. Me@mycompany.com, @my2ndcompany.com, @my3rdcompany.com are all examples of this. So it went. So it still goes.

G-mail Arrives

When Gmail came out, everyone had to have a Gmail.com e-mail address, myself included. Gmail was claimed to be superior and had more features than Yahoo!. So I decided that since I had various e-mail addresses on various Internet Service Providers (ISPs) already (Optonline and Yahoo), a Gmail address would help me separate and organize my business activities and influx of information. My AOL address was long gone, replaced by the faster, user-friendlier Yahoo!.com. The newer account, with it increasing number of mailbox folders had quickly gotten totally overloaded by the time Gmail became available. But I kept Yahoo!, deciding to trim it down to use for e-mail coupons, deals and offers, primarily. My business e-mail, those that did not need immediate attention, went from my Yahoo! account to my new Gmail address. The urgent e-mails from clients that needed immediate attention stayed as POP account(s). Once I figured out how to set them up by coordinating them with my web hosting company, I began to check them several times a day. Things were going okay. But then the nightmare really began when I went on vacation for a week.

My Introduction to Social Media

This was in the early days of my introduction to social media. I signed up for every venue I encountered. I was curious and wanted to learn as much and as fast as I could. When I came home from my one-week vacation, I was greeted by 500 unread e-mails on my new Gmail.com address. ‘Ahhhhhh’, I screamed to myself, and uttered, ‘this is NOT working’. So my next brilliant idea was to make separate Gmail accounts, one for each business categories and various personal identities. That came to a total of about ten accounts. Each had to be checked separately. That made the nightmare worse. As an attempted solution to the flood of Gmail, I tried opting out of many of the social media venues as I became more selective about what I really needed to know.

OS X Lion image

A MAC LION OS X logo © guardian.co.uk

An Organic Viewing Hierarchy

Then I got a new hard drive. Several things emerged that relieved some of ‘the e-mail nightmare’ with my new Mini Mac operating system MAC OS X Lion. An organic viewing hierarchy emerged. It had a natural rhythm that guided me in viewing each group of e-mails:

• First, are the POP accounts, now accessed from my web-mail account since they no longer show up on my Optimum Online ISP. They easily get the attention they need several times a day as priority business related, time sensitive communications.
• Next, I visit the original Gmail e-mail account. Just to make things even more mysterious but easier for me, when I click the Gmail icon on my Google Chrome’s browser ‘s Tool Bar only this original, primary gmail.com address shows up. Actually this poltergeist has helped me. This e-mail address, which used to receive entries like mating bunnies, has gone from hundreds of e-mails a week to a very manageable number that I can check every day or so.
• The Yahoo!.com e-mail account has a lower priority since it is primarily for coupons and deals (as mentioned earlier).  So I view this account once a week before I go shopping.
• Lastly, I view the Gmail.com e-mails which some how took on a life of their own on my new hard drive and now reside where the POP accounts used to be set up as POP accounts on Optimum Online (my internet service company). I have no idea why or how this happened. Since I have learned to go with the flow with my computer and try not to paddle upstream, I let it be. It has taken me over a month to switch the 10 separate e-mail addresses into one comprehensive set of files. Most of this e-mail is very low priority info and only needs to be viewed a few times a month unless a particular communication is expected.

No, The Nightmare Is NOT Over

‘So where is the e-mail nightmare? This is more like a comedy of errors’, you may be impatiently asking at this point. It does sound like I have reached a workable solution within the insanity of having so many e-mail addresses. Well, here comes the kicker. Each ISP, (Yahoo, Optimum Online, Gmail), has its OWN address book, not to mention my eNews venue, Constant Contact which also has its own. If you are savvier than I am, you might now say, ‘again no biggie’. Just merge all your address books into Plaxo or a similar application. Well, believe me, I have tried and tried and tried. I have exported, imported, merged, attempted to delete duplicates and so on. My attempts have led to utter failure. Half the time I just end up going to my Rolodex. Yes I confess I have resorted to a 20th century technology.  In fact, I have two Rolodexes as well as a saved drawer full of faded cards that are older than the hills. But I keep them just in case (of what I don’t know).

the struggle between Email vs. Social Media for Donimance

I Prefer Social Media to Email @ Bing.com

I Prefer to Use Social Media

Most of the time, I just want to communicate through social media, message or chat on facebook, post on my pages and in my group, tweet on twitter, comment on LinkedIn, Skype or use some other form of video. In fact, sometimes I still talk on the phone. I daydream about eliminating e-mail altogether. Ah, now that’s an idea and if I had my way, I would discontinue using it. But I can’t yet. Perhaps, one day e-mail will go where snail mail is going. Bye!

A Call for HELP

Therefore, I plead with my readers. Somebody please, HELP ME with my e-mail address book nightmare. I am powerless over this mess that has taken over my administrative affairs. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas on how to consolidate all my systems so I can have just ONE address book that:
• can easily be kept up to date
• does not allow duplicates
• is accessible from any of my e-mail ISPs
• will work with my eNews program and any other programs I might use
I implore you to show me the way. Is there a solution to this part of my e-mail nightmare so I can have ONE seamless address book system? Or will I be able  to abandon e-mail altogether and enjoy social media for ALL my online communication? Actually, it is not a bad idea but is this still too far ahead of its time.

AUTHOR:
Alison Gilbert is the Digital Age Storyteller and a photojournalist. She is a regular contributing author to DBME and, when time allows, to other blogs as well. She is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Business Marketing Solutions. She has been a marketing pro and designer for over three decades.
Alison has a ProTeam of experienced marketing, design and writing professionals offering the latest online marketing technology, social media, graphic and web design, illustration, photo and video, content management as well as the best of traditional advertising. Her client base has covered just about every commercial industry.
MARKETING BYTES specializes in local/small and start up businesses with a boutique (very personal) approach to client service. Although located on Long Island in New York State, Marketing Bytes can serve clients everywhere there is Internet access. Visit our site, Marketing Bytes, one of our facebook pages, Marketing Main Street USA, our facebook group, Local Biz Is The Solution, and the Marketing Bytes Blog. To contact us:  e-mail or call 516-665-9034 (EST, NY, USA).

SOURCES:
ISP POP/IMAP Accounts
The History of E-mail (Infographics)
AOL E-mail
YAHOO! E-mail
GOOGLE e-mail (Gmail)
Optimum Online
Ditch email? Boost lead conversion rates with social media
Is Social Media Impacting How Much We Email?
The Question of Email vs. Social Media: 4 Reasons Why Email is Still Relevant

IMAGES:
The History  of E-mail (Infographic)
I Prefer Social Media to Email

VIDEO:
Social media toevoegen aan e-mail (The video Is in English)

Professional Spotlight: Robert Basso

On Tuesday, November 15th, a group of everyday entrepreneurs who have proven track records from building their own successes, came together to share how they had achieved those goals on their own terms.

Some attendees included:

  • Joe Corcoran, Founder of Joe Corcoran Productions
  • Selena Cuffe, President of Heritage Link Brands
  • Jeff Hoffman, Co-founder of Priceline.com family of companies
  • Steve Davies, President, The Alternative Board – Nassau
  • David Becker, President, PhilippeBecker

Robert Basso, the author of The Everyday Entrepreneur, is a well-recognized business leader and advocate. With an entrepreneurs eye for spotting opportunities, Rob has a long list of achievements from founding investor in Empire National Bank to owner of Advantage Payroll Services. Rob frequently contributes on Fox Business as well as other national programming such as Entrepreneur. Rob has also submitted to interviews with USA Today, AP, and CNN Money. Rob also hosts a web program called Basso on Business which features businesses and entrepreneurs.

The Everyday Entrepreneur

The Everyday Entrepreneur is loaded with powerful strategies and important objectives for defining, setting, and achieving goals for your own entrepreneurial success. Revealing how its readers can learn to apply their own ambitions to their desired goals and gain an understanding on how to proceed on their own, this book provides realistic goal setting ideas that can lead to successes that may have eluded you so far.

The Everyday Entrepreneur is unique from other available books on the market in that it supplies palpable entrepreneurial strategies for business owners. The contributions of The Everyday Entrepreneur allows for business owners to build their own wealth, financial freedom, and success regardless of age.

In The Everyday Entrepreneur, Basso explores other innovative entrepreneurs like himself and discovers what encouraged each one of them to push the limits and find their own genuine successes on their own terms.

You can also expect to learn:

  • Valuable lessons regarding how to drive business growth
  • How to best hone entrepreneurial instincts
  • How to reawaken your sense of adventure in your business endeavors

So much more is covered here but we can’t share it all. The Everyday Entrepreneur provides a roadmap allowing readers to follow the success stories of a variety of individuals who all hail from very diverse backgrounds. Take a walk with Basso as he shares the stories of each entrepreneur while they find the answers to achieving their own successes and surpassing goals unimagined.

My Take on Robert Basso

In a room full of professionals this picture speaks but a touch of the moment and what Robert Basso conveyed as an Entrepreneur, Professional and Parent. At the start of the event Robert thanked a few people, something you expect from most at such an event, but the moment to see Robert’s character came forward when he called his children to the front of the room.

“You might not quite understand this yet, but it’s my hope that you will someday” Robert Basso told his two children.

A moment that was so passionately about a father conveying an important message to his children that he had to be instructed and nudged by others to turn so they could get the photos they wanted. One could try and say that this was possibly staged, but if you had seen it first hand, you’d know the sincerity was without question.

My short interaction with Robert leaves little to argue about the long term experience of knowing or doing business with this professional, but if how he cares and treats his family is any indication, then clearly he is a professional worth knowing.

THE EVERYDAY ENTREPRENEUR

Published by John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Publication date: October 24, 2011

$24.95; Cloth; 175 pages; ISBN: 978-1-118-10644-0

Sources:

The Street Fight Summit – Boosting the Hyperlocal Economy

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 8:00 AM – Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Building our own communities should be important to all of us. It is definitely important to Co-Founder of Street Fight, Laura Rich. Laura finds herself encouraged by the explosion in local industries that can further her cause to supply increases in networking options for local businesses and their respective consumers. For this reason Laura and Street Fight are sponsoring The Street Fight Summit.

With the surge in location-based sales, The Street Fight Summit comes at a perfect time.

Watching the industry grow while helping to define the future of hyperlocal business is a positive and rewarding experience. The benefits to the community are the pay-off for Laura and her Street Fight Summit team.

Guest List

To support the Street Fight Summit efforts, the conference will kick off with industry leaders who will exchange views, share industry tips, and network.

Many more make up this incredible list of leaders.

Summit Goals

The overall goal of the Street Fighter Summit is to collaborate and combine strategies that will help companies going after the $150 billion local advertising market. Those companies include hyperlocal publishing network Patch (owned by AOL), location-based services like Foursquare, and daily deals businesses like Groupon Attending SFS will enable exchanges that are focused on the continual shaping of this inspiring new industry.

Participants can expect:

  • To learn how to better leverage their own products, services, and opportunities.
  • Find new ways to earn revenue.
  • Locate and learn about the technologies that will translate into higher incomes.
  • Help create and shape sustainable landscape for local marketing online.

Expect to hear from powerful industry leaders to help develop the most innovative methods your business and your community.

Registration opens at 8 a.m. on Oct. 25. Events run 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. each day — this includes a special cocktail reception for all attendees at the end of day one.

DBMEi subscribers can receive $100 off the ticket price by using the discount code SFS11-GWFK09 when registering.

@streetfightmag505050

Street Fight Summit Guest List

Street Fight Summits Tickets for the General Public

SFS Review and Forward

SeeClickFix – Street Fight Summit

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