Archive for Small business

How 9 Small Businesses Are Getting it Right on Social Media

Social Media Examiner (SME) hosted an online webinar yesterday and described how 9 small businesses are attracting thousands of visitors and, in some cases, millions of dollars in revenue. Most of them have only been at it for two or three years. I have to say I was more than impressed.

Social Marketing Makes Dollars and Sense

In the opening slide, we learned why social media is essential for any business.

My key takeaways from the presentation were: Read More→

President Obama Pushes Jobs Program In LinkedIn Town Hall

President Obama on LinkedIn, Getty Images

LinkedIn hosted President Obama on a live webcast this afternoon to answer questions that were submitted online by LinkedIn members and  LinkedIn employees in the studio audience.

This astute President knows the viral power of social media. While watching the broadcast live, viewers could also follow a stream of Twitter and Facebook updates that would spread to millions of followers and their followers.

If you missed it, here are the key topics he covered:

Job Creation

This was at the top of the list in most questions. The President, as might be expected, pushed for the Congress to pass his American Jobs Act. This includes an expansion of the payroll tax break, along with more spending on school and road projects. He said that independent economists estimate the legislation would generate a 2% increase in GDP and 1.9 million in jobs.

He took special note of the programs to help veterans find jobs. For example, if a 25-year-old veteran has spent years as an emergency medical technician in the service and wants to attend nursing school he shouldn’t be required to start all over. There should be programs in place for veterans and employees in the private sector to credential them for their work experience. Their skills should translate directly to jobs.

He noted that the problem wasn’t with the people out of work – many of whom have the skills and credentials to find jobs. It’s the state of the economy.

Small business

In answer to a question about onerous taxes and regulations on small business, he claimed that his administration had cut taxes on small businesses 16 times. He said business would get tax breaks for hiring, making capital investments, hiring veterans and other measures. He’s also proposed no capital gains on a start-up new business.

President Obama seemed a little startled – and certainly happy – when an audience member asked him “Will you please raise my taxes?” Turns out he was retired from a start-up search engine company (he left us to guess which one). The questioner asked in particular that tax cuts expire that benefit the wealthy.

The President said he has also instructed government agencies to “look back” at old regulations to re-examine the ones that have outlived their usefulness and to eliminate bureaucracy and red tape.

Education

Getty Images

The President commented that the U.S. had fallen woefully behind other countries in graduating students from high school and college. He encouraged more technical training and for community colleges to train its students for jobs that exist now and not old jobs.

He pointed to an IBM program with the New York City school system. If students commit to work hard and follow the program, IBM will hire them at the end of the process. It will be a practical application for what they are learning in school even if they don’t have a four-year degree. He lauded the concept of apprenticeship and vigorous training for potential careers.

Social Security and Medicare

In a response to a young women’s question in the audience about her 65-year-old mother, Mr. Obama said Medicare and Social Security will always be there as a safety net. But he acknowledged that long-term challenges will have to be met to keep the programs viable. With people living longer, fewer workers are supporting retirees. Adjustments will have to be made. He suggested one – to lift the cap on payroll contributions so that millionaires will pay their fair share.

He pointed to technology – such as sharing electronic medical records – to help reduce Medicare costs.

How Did He Do?

President Obama, as usual, seemed relaxed and smiled often in exchanges with the audiences. You would never have thought his popularity in the polls has dropped so precipitously. Maybe he was just glad to get out of Washington. I’m sure that was a temporary tonic for what ails him as he struggles to help lift the economy.

Small Companies Unleashing Their Employees on Social Networks

More employees of small companies are advocating for their companies on social networks than their much larger competitors.

That’s what the Altimeter Group found in its recent survey of 140 companies. By ratio, smaller companies in the 1-5k range had one 1 out of 195 employees publishing compared to 1 out of 356 in companies with 100k or more employees (see graph below).

More flexibility, less red tape

More flexibility, less red tape, and evolving cultures may be among the reasons.

As I wrote in a post 6 Steps to Empower Your Employees as Brand Ambassadors, the internet allows companies to empower their employees to promote the company and its products. Small companies can’t compete with the monster advertising and social media budgets of their biggest competitors. But small companies can enlist an army of their own employees to go viral with positive comments on social networks.

I’m glad to see this happening and as the company’s web strategist, Jeremiah Owyang, said in announcing the survey results, “Over time, expect all ratios to drop, as a prolific next generation rises into senior roles. We’ll be measuring this periodically, but for now, I would assert that more employees will be using the official accounts over time, as the younger generation learns their way around the business, climbs up the ladder, and is granted ability to publish.”

The director of operations for Gunwel Associates, a boutique tax and bookkeeping firm with only four employees, wrote a post earlier this year, describing how his firm is building customer loyalty and attracting new customers through the activity of its employees on social media. As Christopher Sheehan wrote, “If you’re not connected then you must get connected…becoming active in social media can and will grow your business as well as build client loyalty. We’ve seen it happen.”

So let your employees publish, you big companies out there. Small firms are nipping at your heels!

"Altimeter research on employees on social networks"

Altimeter research on employees on social networks