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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Facebook and Twitter: Parallels and What Can SmallBiz Learn From Them?

Monday, April 18th, 2011

According to Cnet, Twitter is disorganized. Now I’m not entirely sure the article is true, but I figured that I could trust Cnet and since they included a link to a Fortune article it looks like it checks out. So, what’s going on with Twitter? Some claim they don’t, exactly, know what they’re doing. There’s a lot of speculation going on, such as some higher-ups spying. Cnet seems to speculate that Twitter is trying to emulate  The Social Network. That’s probably not the case. So, what’s really going on with Twitter?

So, Twitter has trouble amongst the higher ups. That’s not surprising. Many startups seem to have that happen especially during a meteoric rise. Remember Facebook? There was some serious chaos going on at Facebook a couple of years ago and Facebook was about the same age as Twitter is now.

However, the difference between Facebook and Twitter is that some argue that Twitter lacks a powerful visionary heading the company. Facebook has Zuckerberg, who, practically, built Facebook according to his vision.  Observers claim that Twitter does not have that. Facebook has apparently learned from it’s mistakes and has become a stronger company. Twitter is trying to get there, but some may be fearing that it doesn’t look like anyone wants to take charge.  In some ways, Twitter’s investors seem to have more influence over what the company does.

Twitter’s problem seems to be that there are too many men (they’re all male) in positions of power and from the outside at least not a single one of them has been willing to take charge. There are other issues that Twitter has to deal with too, such as the need to sustain growth, prove themselves as a sustainable revenue generating company etc. However, these issues are common for nearly every young company.

Is Twitter a service that is being kept afloat by a trend?  From the outside some say it looks pretty unstable and this management issue could distract it further. Like any company, Twitter needs practical and strong leadership. However, whoever takes that position will have to deal with another problem: balancing Twitter’s malleability, where it’s users decide what they want to do with it and what Twitter’s users want out of Twitter.  That will ultimately prove whether Twitter can succeed.

So, what can a small business learn from all of this?

First, that it’s important to have a clear plan and vision of where your company is going.

Second, make sure that there is someone who is clearly in charge and providing leadership as we discussed in a previous post about 10 leadership traits in a startup or small business.

Third, know that problems will happen. Almost nothing goes smoothly when running a business. Factor that in when making plans.

Lastly, in tough times work to pull teams together to focus on the future rather than start finger pointing about what happened in the past.  Here is a prior post we did on building the right team at a startup that discusses the importance of having a good team at your business.

What do you think about all of this?

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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Apparently Facebook and Android do not go well together and other Social Media Risks

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

It’s Facebook. Again. This time it’s a vector for smartphone malware.  According to an article on PC world,  since the Android is more open source than either the iPhone or the Blackberry, it’s more prone to getting malware.  Apparently BitDefender called Facebook the largest mobile malware….Facebook has a lot of problems doesn’t it? The malware gets on the devices through bad links on Facebook, since the malware is platform independent.

So here’s a refresher on Social Media risks.

  • Turns out scams are more common then we think. Twitter accounts get hacked, malicious links get posted and so does Facebook. However, both sites are trying to improve their security.
  • Many people often use the same password for numerous sites. We get it, it’s hard to remember so many passwords. So, write them down on a piece of paper or in a journal(do people keep those anymore?) and stick it somewhere safe.
  • Don’t give too much information out either. Those vacation plans of yours, they might be better written down in an word/excel document and stored on your computer.
  • Don’t post comments when angry! (They get around) And if it’s something really bad, there will be consequences. It’s fine to say something about how your toast was burnt this morning and how you hate burnt toast, but it’s another thing to say something about your company, your significant other, etc..
  • Don’t click on any funny links! See a status  update about how a friend needs money because her car got stolen in Chicago? Call them and check to see if it’s true. Most of the time, it isn’t. (This happened to me once. Turns out she really did need the money.)
  • Make sure your company has a flexible Social Media security policy. Technology keeps on changing, so a flexible policy is a good policy!
  • Keep up to date on the latest Social Media scams and threats. People keep coming up with new ones all the time!

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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Fans, Followers and Actual Customers For Your Small Business

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

I’m looking forward to the new Facebook expose movie, The Social Network.  Why?  Because if I can’t be a billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg, I may as well get to revel in a less than flattering depiction in a  “historically inspired” film.  Now let’s be clear, if KikScore becomes half as successful as facebook, I’ll act way worse than Mr. Zuckerberg.  I’ll not even mind a movie painting me to be a rich recluse.

In thinking about Facebook, its impact on our social lives is obvious.  But its impact on small business is also growing.  As with Twitter, one of the first thing a business now does is to request individuals to become a fan, follower or friend to the business.  Now its still not clear as to what that actually does for the business in terms of credibility, but it is a growing trend. But trust aside, having your customers as your social network friends/followers keeps a business closer to its customers and what they are thinking.

The real business question is which should you focus on:  Facebook or Twitter?  In a perfect world you could do both.  But in a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to update your status, it would always just say “rich and retired”.  Twitter seems to have taken the initial lead, with companies using it for customer service response.  But Facebook is coming on strong, with more companies using the multi-media demension of FB to tell more of a story than microblogging can.

So I pose the question to you:  for your small business, is it Facebook or Twitter.

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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Twitter-bay-zon…Twitter, eBay and Amazon Combined into One App!

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

I was reading this TechCrunch article today about how Amazon just incorporated a Facebook tab/section into their website so that customers can supply their Facebook account information and then automatically see what their friends’ wish lists are or what CD their friends just purchased so they can buy it too.  I thought that this development was interesting because it is basically the largest eCommerce company integrating with the largest Social Networking company in this way and it could mark the beginning of a new trend.

What would be some more interesting eCommerce/Social Networking “mash-ups” that we could dream up here?  Another interesting match-up that I thought of in this area was the combination of Twitter and eBay.  I think that it would be very useful for people that are trying to sell a product in an auction on eBay to be able to automatically broadcast this auction over Twitter real-time as bids are being made.  To get a little crazier here we could even add an Amazon integration into the mix where users could see live streaming tweets on an Amazon product page of the same item being sold on eBay!  Let’s call it “Twitter-Bay-Zon”!

On second thought, I am guessing that Amazon wouldn’t be too happy about this partnership I just proposed here as it would directly interfere with the current used-item marketplace that they already have, but I think you are catching my drift here.  Are we about to see a major melding of the eCommerce and Social Networking companies online?  I think that it only makes sense and would lead to increased sales, advertising, and users for everyone involved…so why not?

Here are a couple more eCommerce/Social Networking mash-ups that I just thought of that would be interesting: MySpace & Amazon and YouTube & NetFlix. What are some other partnerships like this that you see forming in the next 5 years?  What company could you see your business partnering with to get an advantage over your competition in the same way?

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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Does Your Twitter Profile Picture Really Matter if You are a Business?

Monday, June 21st, 2010

So we at KikScore have our brand name and a picture of our logo as our Twitter picture (avatar is shown above).  It has suited us just fine over the last six or so months as we have been on Twitter after we launched KikScore.  We really have not received many complaints or even questions about our Twitter profile picture.  Frankly that is not surprising as we would expect the Twitter universe to ask us other questions if they came across KikScore – like tell me more about your product, or what is your background or give us comments like you have a cool service and homepage etc (all actual questions and comments received on Twitter).

In a prior post, we posed a question whether it is better for your company to have a personality on Twitter?  We generally came out with the answer that a personality is good because it gives the community, your customers and your followers something to identify with when they think of your business.  For example, if you spark a conversation, express an opinion on matters, have funny tweets, retweet interesting content, it probably will be good for your brand as people know what you stand for as a business.  If your customers and the community know more about your company, the greater the chance that a bond/relationship can form between you and your customers.

So what about your company’s Twitter profile picture?  Should you have a your brand logo or should you put a real person in your Twitter profile?  I have now heard from multiple people at numerous events and conferences – these would be the social media gurus that live and breathe social media everyday – who almost all suggest having a picture of a real person along with your company’s logo.  They suggest the person pictured could be your social media manager, a group picture of some of the folks from the company or maybe even a rotating picture of different employees every 60 days or so.

Why do they recommend this?  I have heard psychologically that customers, the community and people in general will generally identify more with a person’s face than a picture of a company’s brand name.  I actually think there may be some merit to that.  Think about it. If you see a logo, it is generally nameless and faceless and has no personality.  It is just a logo and you really do not get much of a connection with that logo.  Logos can even become largely interchangeable after you see enough of them.  Now change that logo, even to someone that has a picture of a real person standing in front of a company’s logo and make that a Twitter profile picture – you will probably get my attention.  First, you get a sense of who is behind the Twitter account for that company.  Second, you can now in some ways put a face to a brand name.  Thirdly, I have to say this because I do this even now – when you think of that brand name you actually think of that person’s face.  So in some ways a picture of a real person with a logo could appear to create a great connection, even if it is just a subtle psychological one.

So where does this all lead us?  Look out as I think we will be changing our Twitter profile picture for KikScore later this week.  I will make sure its not a picture of me because that will scare too many people off.  Lets see if it makes a difference to people and if we get any reactions. We will let you know.

Do you think who or what is on your Twitter profile picture matters for a business?

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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Contemporary Furniture Expert, SmallBiz Owner & Blogger, Rebecca Malik, Talks to KikScore

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Today’s small business interview is with the President of DC-based, 17thandRiggs.com’s Rebecca Malik.  Rebecca holds a dear place in KikScore’s hearts for a number of reasons besides the fact that she is just a very cool person, but she is also one of KikScore’s very first customers late last year when we launched.  Lucky for us she is very happy with KikScore.  Well, enough about us…..Rebecca comes from a family of a long line of entrepreneurs.  She has recently been tapping into that entrepreneurial lineage by working on a line of shoes, getting 17thandRiggs.com designed, developed and launched and blogging for two woman’s based small business and lifestyle community websites.  From these experiences and especially from her work that she has put in at building an ecommerce site from the ground up, she has some excellent guidance for our small business readers.

1. Tell us about 17thandRiggs.com and who you focus on serving?

17thandRiggs.com features contemporary furniture, lighting and home décor.  We focus on carrying pieces that have sleek, simple lines and evoke a sense of space.  The pieces are also chosen because they work well in many types of décor – they are not hyper-modern or too formal.  I feel that our customers are people who love a sophisticated, modern look, and focus on the overall picture.  They realize that an accent piece is as important as a focal point.  Also, I may be biased, but I think our careful selection of furnishings ensures that prestigious interior designers turn to us for their furniture and lighting needs.

2. How did you get your started selling online?

I’ve shopped online almost exclusively for years and know how hard I would look for items that fit my aesthetic and that I knew were of high quality at a good price.  This site is truly a way for me to pick and choose items that I love and make them accessible to others.  Beyond that, my father actually started selling handmade fireplace mantels online years ago.  His ability to reach customers across the country from his small shop in Florida was eye-opening.  After I left my last job at an interior design firm, I decided to take my interest and passion for design, contemporary furniture, lighting and decor and launch an online store.  That is the way 17thandRiggs.com was born.

3. Where will 17thandRiggs focus most of its energy in 2010?

We will be honing our product lines to ensure we carry our favorite designs.  These are furniture and décor pieces that are high-quality, beautiful and a great value.  We will also be steering our efforts to create an even more specialized lighting category.  Our lamps and pendants are consistently some of our biggest sellers and with their broad spectrum of designs they are always such fun items to handle.

I will also be continually reviewing my business and my marketing plan.  I feel like that is something that every business needs to do on a regular basis.  Otherwise you run the risk of not being focused and not having an underlying theme to everything that you are doing as a business.

4. If you had 2 lessons learned from your business that you could pass on to others about selling online, what are those?

I would say to start out simply – don’t try to offer everything but pick items that make the most sense from an inventory/availability perspective and that are cohesive with your vision for your site.  That and SEO is key.  Integrate your keywords as you go along.  Small businesses like mine can spend forever trying to keep the product information on your site up to date let alone trying to update SEO information so my suggestion would be to do it well the first time around. Here is a post I wrote on the subject titled: How To: An Entrepreneur Improves SEO For Her Ecommerce Site.

5.  What are 2 new trends in your business this year?

Of course, anything eco-friendly is as popular as ever.  As far as new trends, I see people getting more and more adventurous with their lighting choices.  Fun pendants and table lamps are great ways to push the envelope in your décor without making a huge purchase.

For an overall business trend, I would say that outsourcing from a small business perspective.  But it would not be outsourcing as the “four letter” word we know it as.  This would be focusing your small business on your core skills.  Then getting experts, freelancers, consultants, and virtual assistants to fill out the rest of your business and support you as you grow your business.  I now source resources and support for website design, virtual assistants and marketing support from places like Craigslist and Elance.  But you have to be careful and rigorously interview these folks before they are hiredbecause they will never care about your business and your customers like you do.

6. How have you used social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and your blog to help 17thandRiggs?

For me, Twitter has been a great way to learn about other organizations and companies out there with similar or complementary businesses.  It has also been a great place to get leads and also converse with other small businesses. My blog  (http://blog.17thandRiggs.com) has been a unique way for me to process things and continually think big picture regarding my business and the 17thandRiggs.com brand.  Sometimes having to hone into choosing a topic for an article forces you to think about the direction you are heading in and evaluating whether it fits your overall vision of my website, the business and my brand.  That can be very beneficial, especially when your business is at a crossroads.

I have also had the honor of being a guest contributor at the woman’s entrepreneur, startup and small business community site called  Women Grow Business that has been run by the super awesome Jill Foster and Shonali Burke (though I have been on a short hiatus lately since my lovely daughter, Asha, was born at the end of December!)  I recently started contributing to LVC Mag, a woman’s lifestyle community. Guest blogging has been a great experience for me and a nice way to connect and network with other entrepreneurs.  I recommend it for small businesses, especially those that are just starting out.

7. Do you have any parting thoughts?

As this is an interview for KikScore, it makes sense to touch upon my thoughts on the KikScore seal here.  I appreciate that it is a centralized way for customers to share thoughts about my business.  I also think the information they compile provides a fair and verified representation of my business to visitors of 17thandRiggs.com.  As a regular online shopper, I feel that combining financial and management information, website history and polices coupled with interactive customers’ reviews is a genius way to prove that you are a reputable company to deal with and give shoppers a good idea of what they can expect from the experience.  I also think the level of transparency it provides is invaluable in instilling confidence in visitors to our site and helping us convert them into customers.



We want to thank Rebecca for this interview. If you have any specific questions for Rebecca, please leave a comment and we will make sure we get them answered.  Also just for full disclosure, Rebecca somehow married one of my partner’s in KikScore, Raj.  My wife and I wonder every time we see Raj & Rebecca, what was Rebecca thinking!!!

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Small Business Interview with History In Action Toy's Sterling Ashby

Monday, March 8th, 2010

We met Sterling Ashby at the KikScore sponsored Social Commerce Camp DC and he has a very intriguing story that any small business would be interested in hearing.  Sterling is a lawyer by trade (like a couple of us at KikScore), but his real passion is his business that sells children’s toys that are based on real-life American heroes. Using real heroes from history, Sterling has created a series of action figures for children that are fun, can be positive role models, and whose real-life stories awaken both a child’s imagination and appeal to the kid within us all. History in Action Toys was born from this.  He now sells these highly popular action figures online at www.hiatoys.com. I can tell you when my two month old gets a little bigger, I am buying some action figures from Sterling’s site!

In this 5 minute small business video interview of Sterling, we cover a wide range of issues including:

1) the challenges of having a business online;

2) crowdsourcing  marketing and ideas;

3) building buzz on Twitter, Facebook and other social media channels for your  online store and business;

4) a few of the tips that Sterling learned from Social Commerce Camp; and

5) a few examples of real life heroes that Sterling now offers as action figures at HIA Toys that the community should check out.

Please tell us your thoughts on this interview in the comments section below.

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Social Commerce Camp DC Wrap-Up, Summary and Presentation Slides

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Social Media Assassins at KikScore's Social Commerce Camp DCSwami Shashi B taking pictures and chatting at a packed house at Social Commerce Camp DC sponsored by KikScore and Network Solutions

Shashi B talking social media at KikScore's and Network Solutions sold out Social Commerce Camp DC

Shashi B talking social media at KikScore's and Network Solutions Social Commerce Camp DC

Social Commerce Camp DC speakers and Sponsors Network Solutions, KikScore and MyBusinessAssistant

Social Commerce Camp DC speakers and Sponsors Network Solutions, KikScore and MyBusinessAssistant

Last Saturday morning, KikScore, Network Solutions, and MyBusinessAssistant.com put on the first ever Social Commerce Camp DC at the downtown offices of Mayer Brown.  The event actually sold out after receiving considerable coverage in a number of places like  Techcocktail the Washington ExaminerWomenGrowBusinessand GrowSmartBusiness. More than 70 small businesses, social media enthusiasts and online sellers showed up for networking and learning.  The event featured three sessions from social media experts that included practical tips for using various social media tools, a real case study of social commerce success and great PR tips for small business. Pictures of the event, including the post-SCCDC Chipolte run, can be found here.

The morning got kicked off with some early networking, a great breakfast provided by the sponsors and everyone’s excitement about being in the absolutely gorgeous town hall conference room overlooking 19th Street.  After some introductory remarks, Network Solutions’ Shashi B got Social Commerce Camp DC going with his rousing, often funny and super useful Social Media 101 for Small Business. Check out Shashi’s slides below that cover a range of subjects on social media including the basics of a small business social media plan which are: 1) Set up Google Alerts about your business, industry and your own name; 2) Start participating in conversations; 3) Become a content publisher via Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, podcasts, Facebook etc 4) Claim you business on Yelp; 5) Encourage customers to review you and 6) Start using videos.

After a quick networking break, Steve Fisher and Mike Doughtery began the second session with an energetic and highly informative case study presentation on Creating a Killer Social Commerce Website Experience.  It featured the very interesting discussion of their launch and promotion of the movie Browncoats: Redemption. Steve and Mike got the audience engaged as they walked through the basic components of building a successful social commerce experience which are: 1) Social Shopping; 2) Ratings & Reviews; 3) Recommendations & Referrals; 4) Forums & Communities; 5) Social Media; and 6) Social advertising.

After setting the baseline for the audience of the basics of the social commerce experience, Mike highlighted how the Browncoats: Redemption experience used a 6 step strategy to create awareness and buzz around the movie.  The 6 steps were: 1)   Establish your goals; 2) Build the community; 3) Give them good content; 4) Get them involved; 5) Get them investing and 6) Share the success.  Check out their slides and the embedded video clips in them for more on the highly anticipated movie, their case study and these 6 steps:

The final session of the day featured the very highly regarded PR and social media specialist, Shonali Burke, who gave the attendees a great hands-on tutorial on PR Best Practices for Small Business. Shonali stressed that so much of PR today for small business is about relationships, presenting yourself in a consistent and presentable manner through your various online and offline channels.  The audience got great tips on tools to use to get to know their customers better with survey tools like Survey Monkey along with good press release tools like Pitch Engine.  Here are Shonali’s highly informative slides:

Some quick final thoughts.  We think it was a great first event and thank all of the participants and speakers.   Check out the hastag #sccdc on Twitter for the stream and conversation about the Social Commerce DC.  Lastly, look out as the next Social Commerce Camp will be in Denver later this spring.  In the meantime, we encourage all participants to keep up the good vibes and connect with each other! Also please check out the KikScore (SCCDC’s sponsor!) website out. We would love comments/feedback/thoughts on our new look and feel.  We encourage you to sign up for our service if you have a business online. Its completely free.  Try us out.

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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Has the Bad Economy Driven Social Media Growth By Small Businesses?

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

As you all know, we at KikScore are passionate about small business.  We take every opportunity to hype small business as much as we can.  Well a very interesting study was released last week about the state of American small businesses.   The very informative  Small Business Success Index (SBSI), sponsored by Network Solutions and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business had some interesting findings  (The SBSI can be found at www.growsmartbusiness.com).  In particular, there are some very informative findings in the study about the growth of social media use and adoption by small businesses over the last year and especially during the time of our rough economy.  Here are just a few of the key findings in that area:

  • Social media adoption by small businesses has doubled from 12% to 24% in the last year.
  • 75% surveyed have a company page on a social networking site
  • 61% use social media for identifying and attracting new customers
  • 57% have built a network through a site like LinkedIn
  • 45% expect social media to be profitable in the next twelve months

What may this mean?  One theory is that as we went through the rough economic times over the last 18 months, small business may have decided to slow down traditional spending on marketing and focused on devoting more time and resources on using free marketing tools like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.  While we know that these are not really “free”, because there is a precious value that is associated with the time that small businesses spent using these tools, nevertheless the low cost marketing alternatives that these tools offer may have really proved to be great options during leaner times.  And that is could very well be why we are seeing this growth in small business social media adoption.

I can tell you this, at KikScore as we have described in some previous posts social media has really been the core driving force of our marketing efforts and it will continue to be in the future. As an example, everyone of the links to the tools mentioned above actually goes to a KikScore social media property.  In fact, just yesterday we set up a Flickr page.  We have used each of these tools instead of spending our precious cash on traditional marketing efforts.  The SBSI findings seem to indicate that we are part of a growing group of businesses that are doing just that.

I do wonder whether these trends will continue as the economy hopefully starts to pick up.  What do you think is the reasons behind this growth in social media that was found in the study?

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Send Us Your Questions For Social Commerce Camp DC

Friday, February 19th, 2010

As many of you know tomorrow  KikScore, Network Solutions, and MyBusinessAssistant.com will be putting on a first of its kind event in Washington DC from 8am-noon called Social Commerce Camp DC.  As we mentioned before this first time FREE event is getting some serious buzz with the recent coverage in Techcocktail and the Washington Examiner.  It has also been covered on multiple blogs including WomenGrowBusiness and GrowSmartBusiness. We are excited to announce that the event is now completely SOLD OUT!  Thanks to the more than 100 small businesses, social media enthusiasts and online sellers that have signed up.

Since this event is more about the participants than the organizers, sponsors and the speakers we want to know what are your questions that you would like covered during the morning sessions.  Please leave us your thoughts and questions in our comments section below.  We will make sure they get them to Shashi B, Shonali Burke and Steve Fisher.  Or find us on Twitter at @kikscore, @shashib@shonali or @stevenfisher.

If you have any questions about the agenda for tomorrow’s Social Commerce Camp DC, please visit the event page we set up.

On behalf of the organizers, sponsors and everyone else involved with pulling Social Commerce Camp DC together we want to convey our thanks to the community as we prepare for tomorrow’s event!  Bring your questions and get ready to participate and network.

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