Don’t Be Flabby! A 30-Minute Social Media Workout for Entrepreneurs

natalie-sisson-womanzworld-founder Natalie Sisson is a Kiwi Entrepreneur and adventurer. As Founder of WomanzWorld.com, she is passionate about getting more women into business and helping aspiring entrepreneurs on their journey. Check out her most recent blog at Forbes!

Many small businesses are dabbling in Social Media to create more visibility for their brand, products and services. Some are even using it to generate leads and sales. If you’re not taking advantage of these amazing free tools to benefit your business yet, start here.

What exactly is Social Media?

It’s a phenomenon experiencing incredible growth and for that very reason alone you need to have a social media presence and strategy.

Here are examples of Social Media sites:

  • Social Bookmarking. (Del.icio.us, Blinklist, Simpy) Interact by tagging websites and searching through websites bookmarked by other people.
  • Social News. (Digg, Propeller, Reddit) Interact by voting for articles and commenting on them.
  • Social Networking. (Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM) Interact by adding friends, commenting on profiles, joining groups and having discussions.
  • Social Photo and Video Sharing. (YouTube, Flickr) Interact by sharing photos or videos and commenting on user submissions.
  • Wikis. (Wikipedia, Wikia) Interact by adding articles and editing existing articles.

Basically any website that invites you to interact with the site and with other visitors falls into the definition of social media. Let’s get started!

Exercise 1: Laying the Foundation

Sure, you’ve hung out on Facebook®. Followed some folks on Twitter®. Made a bunch of connections on LinkedIn®. But now it’s time to make these networks work harder for you. These are the three most powerful social networks to be on both personally and professionally, so at the very least you should have set up a profile on them.

What you need for your profile:

  1. Got a photo? Make sure people know you’re not a faceless business. Use this on every profile.
  2. Make sure your profile represents your personal brand. If you haven’t already, create your personal paragraph that sums up who you are and why you’re awesome.
  3. Include as much as you’re comfortable sharing about yourself. The more you add, the better these tools can help you connect. But remember there are some things colleagues and clients don’t need to know.
  4. Include searchable keywords, but don’t get spammy. Think about words that you’re customers would use to search for you and your business and add 5-6 of these.
  5. Keep it current. Update your profiles regularly. Set up a system to store your login information to refer to easily, plus bookmark each site on your browser (Firefox or Google Chrome are the best).

Exercise 2: Strengthen your Core

Kick off your new social media regimen by developing new habits and cleaning up your memberships:

  • Make sure your Facebook®, LinkedIn® and Twitter® profiles are up to date. If you don’t have one then set one up today.
  • Create a Google® public profile. This will give you access to alerts and rich information down the road. And your Google profile makes it easy for the public to search and find you. If you don’t already have one, start by opening a Google account.
  • If you haven’t already set up a Google Alert for your name and your business at a minimum so you know where you’re being mentioned and featured on the web.
  • Use the same name on each site to make yourself easier to find. For example I use NatalieSisson and WomanzWorld.

Put aside 30 minutes for each exercise this week and you’ll already be feeling great.

Best of luck in your quest for social media fitness!

The Google “Proof”: Entrepreneurs Make the World a Happy Place

Key to every successful business website is having the right product to sell at the right moment in time. A good source of intelligence about what is hot and what is not is Google Trends.

For those that don’t know, Google Trends provides a tremendous amount of data about people, products, or concepts. Want to know what is going to be the hot seller? Ask Google. As noted in this blog, “search volume data (how much people are searching for a keyword or term at a point in time) is a great measure of how interested people are in a particular topic over any given time period.”

At CityMax.com, we use Google Trends for a couple of different things, including search engine optimization and PPC research. However, in looking at Google Trends the other day, we noticed an interesting correlation that “scientifically” proves what we’ve been maintaining for the past 10 years: Entrepreneurs Make the World a Happier Place.

Well scientifically proven may be a bit of a stretch, but we thought we would share our observations:

Our search started with the concept of “happy” (see below for the trend report since 2004). The concept of “happy” ebbs and flows around the holidays, in large part to “Happy New Year” and “Happy Holidays” no doubt. But what piqued our curiosity was the relative volume of news mentions at the end of 2007 and the start of 2008… mentions that have been increasing relatively constantly since that time.

happy2

This chart surprised us a little. After all, aren’t we still in the midst of a recession? Isn’t it all a doom-and-gloom, the sky is falling, run for the hills, depressing kind of world that we live in right now? Why is ‘happy’ trending upwards?

Take a look at the keyword concept “recession” to see both the massive spike in the volume of search surrounding the concept as well as the mentions in news. Yep… the recession is in full swing (though interestingly it is on a downward trend).

recession2

Given this increase in “happy” in the midst of a recession, we asked ourselves, “What makes us happy?” Responses came from across the company: customers, success stories, getting a product out the door, selling. In other words, what makes us happy is winning.

So we ran the “win” and “lose” search concepts through Google Trends and here are the results:

win-lose2

Six years ago, “win” was searched for with much greater regularity than “lose”. In fact, “lose” has recently overtaken “win” for the first time in Google Trend history. But the same uptick occurs for news mentions, correlating to the increase in happy. We guess it stands to reason, that news mentions about winners might happen to mention that the winners are happy.

So was this the answer, or was there something deeper? We dug into things further with a few search concepts that are dear to our hearts: the life of the entrepreneur.

CityMax.com of course is passionate about entrepreneurism as evident by our homepreneur contests, our entrepreneur spirit days, and our website builder that speaks to early-stage entrepreneurs.

We started with a simple search for “small business” (see below). And there was our first “ah-ha”, the same uptick at the end of 2007 and start of 2008. What was interesting is that this uptick also corresponds well to the searches around “recession” and recessionary concepts. Captain Obvious might state that if people are worried about the economy and losing jobs, they might very well consider starting a small business of their own.

3small-business2

What happens when you search for the concept “entrepreneur” and “self employed” within Google Trends? You see the same spike in mentions in the news and you see a rolling average increase in the total number of searches.

entrepreneur2

self-employed2

So, in our opinion, this proves what most entrepreneurs and small businesses know intrinsically: when you are an entrepreneur and running your own business, happiness is often a result.

Do you agree? Are entrepreneurs happier than most? Let us know in the comments below.

Written by John Lyotier, VP of Marketing at CityMax.com and avid reader of stats, charts, and graphs.