Choosing the Best Social Media

It seems as if a new social platform pops up every week, and as a small business owner, it can feel overwhelming. So how can you establish yourself on social media when users are bouncing from one network to the other, and the next hot network may have no reliable messaging for your business?

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First, take a deep breath. Second, there are a lot of social platforms and many audiences, but not every one may be right for you. Before diving head-first into the social sphere, you should know what each is used for and whether it’s useful for you. This is especially true if you’re spending your valuable time managing these accounts yourself.

Here is a breakdown of the seven major social media sites and how they can be beneficial to small businesses.

1. Twitter

Twitter is a great platform for projecting what your company is doing and accessing a large audience. Branding a business requires a lot of time and money, but creating a consistent voice with your tweets is an easy way to get started.

If you already have a blog, which almost every small businesses should, syncing it with Twitter lets you seamlessly publish any major company news to both simultaneously. There are dozens of in-house apps on every blogging platform that make this easy to do.

But Twitter is not just a megaphone for your company, it’s also a great way to engage with thousands of customers. Use social tools, such asTweetDeck or HootSuite, to effectively receive feedback from your followers in an organized manner.

2. Facebook

Facebook and Twitter are useful for similar reasons. Both allow you to connect with your audience, start a conversation and update with company news. Why should a business juggle both accounts?

Facebook’s advantage is that the conversation is gathered all in one place. Customers want the opportunity to feel a part of the company they care about, and Facebook allows them to do just that.

Keep in mind that Facebook is much more visual than Twitter, so it’s best to include more than short bursts of text. Post colorful photos, insightful videos or something interesting that’s relevant to your company, valuable for customers and beautiful on your Facebook Timeline.

3. Pinterest

Because the platform is still fairly new, most brands still aren’t sure what to make of Pinterest. But as traffic and engagement are spiking, early adopters have a great opportunity to make their mark on the site before a lot of major brands hop on.

We’ve already seen some pretty creative initiatives from major brands, but even if you don’t have room in your budget for a contest, there are still great ways to benefit.

Pinterest is a social discovery network, but it’s not a platform for self-promotion. Rather than broadcasting what the company is doing, small business owners can crowdsource and create highly visual pinboards for inspiration. Collecting images, logos and websites with good design and clever copywriting will inspire your brand and team, but also show followers that you have an eye for good taste.

4. Foursquare

Location-based social media services might not be best for every brand. First of all, it requires a person to physically check in somewhere that represents your brand, for example a store or an event. If your company is virtual, there’s really no need (unless you’re having an event).

Foursquare is great for restaurants, retail stores and venues, because it allows customers to post reviews and leave tips. Because these tips are from regular customers, newcomers will feel that they’re receiving authentic information that you simply can’t provide as the owner.

Because Foursquare is partnered with Scoutmob and American Express, brands can use these apps to reward customers with discounts for checking in to an establishment. It’s a small bit of courtesy that helps bring happy customers back.

5. YouTube

Don’t let the cat videos fool you, YouTube is a valuable resource for small businesses. Today, technology has made it easy for anyone to create a video without spending a ton on production. Even a smartphone is capable of creating something worthwhile for your audience.

A mountain of content is uploaded every day to YouTube, which can seem intimidating when you’re trying to be heard. The bright side is that you also have access to that content. If you want to know how to do something, there are millions of tutorials on YouTube to help you learn.

But as a leader of your business, you also have something to give the millions of viewers and uploaders. And with the right strategy and engaging content, you can reach a large audience easily.

That being said, don’t expect your videos to go viral every time (or even at all). Instead, focus on creating content that’s thorough and insightful. Some ways to utilize YouTube for marketing include tutorials, interviews with relevant professionals or video blogging about a new product or event.

6. LinkedIn

We all know that LinkedIn is a great resource for finding a job, but there are a lot of great ways that brands can utilize the network for marketing and networking.

The advantage of Linkedin is that you can filter companies through size, industry and geography. By fully completing your company page, it will show up in the search results of potential customers.

While Facebook and Twitter are great resources for feedback from customers, LinkedIn is where you can partake in conversations with like-minded professionals. In addition to networking offline, small business owners should consider joining groups and participating in Q&A forums that are useful to your industry.

7. Google+

Many small businesses join Google+ for SEO purposes and syndication with other Google applications, like AdSense or Gmail.

It’s also a great platform to expand content distribution—many business owners claim it’s easy to gather an audience.

The audience for Google+ is highly engaged, meaning that like Facebook and Twitter, it’s a great tool for conversation. What Google+ has that the others don’t is the Hangout feature. Here businesses can talk about products or ideas face-to-face with consumers, through videochat.

Taken from: http://www.openforum.com/articles/choosing-the-best-social-media/

5 Ways to lose your dream job during the interview process

Mona Abdel-Halim is the co-founder of Resunate, the makers of the Apply widget for startups. You can start attracting top talent free by getting an Apply widget for your company at Resunate.com/employers. Connect with Resunate on Facebook and Twitter.

If you’ve been on the job search for a while, it’s likely you have a good idea of things you should be doing to land a new job, such as optimizing your resume or building your personal brand online. Of course, you can’t get the job if you don’t make a great impression on your interviewer or potential employer.

But there are also plenty of ways you can ruin your chances of getting a new job. It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people kill their chances before they’ve even left their interview. If you’re hoping to land your dream job, here’s what not to do during the job hunt.

1. Blow Off the Phone Interview

If your resume makes it past an employer’s applicant tracking system and impresses the hiring manager, it’s likely you’ll be invited for a phone interview. This is how employers whittle down their list of applicants to decide who they want to bring in for an in-person interview — so you need to be prepared and take the opportunity seriously.

Here’s a great example of what not to do (courtesy of an anonymous employer via MyCrappyResume):

“[I] had a couple of phone screens with clearly drunken candidates. Also had a candidate sweating profusely through interviews and going to the bathroom every 5 minutes. (Word to the wise — if you’re THAT sick, reschedule!) Needless to say, none of them were hired!”

It’s also vital that you’re properly prepared for the interview. Sit in a quiet room without distractions, do your research beforehand and ensure you’re actually able to speak on the phone for the allotted time. One job candidate learned this the hard way:

“I was asked to participate in a second phone interview while I was on vacation, and because I was very interested in the job, I obliged. Before I started to answer the first question, my phone completely died. I had no way of retrieving the phone number. Needless to say, I did not get the job.”

2. Talk About Other Job Opportunities

It may sound like common sense, but some job seekers feel the need to be overly honest when interacting with potential employers. There’s always the chance that one opportunity might fall through, so don’t jeopardize one position because you think you might get another.

Obviously, employers don’t like being rebuffed, particularly when they’ve spent a lot of time reviewing your material and preparing for the interview. Here are two real stories that are almost hard to believe:

“Someone once started an interview with me by saying ‘Okay. So, just to set this straight, I did interview for another job that I’m probably going to take if I receive an offer.’”

“During the interview, an alarm clock went off from a candidate’s briefcase. He took it out, shut it off, apologized and said he had to leave for another interview.”

3. Provide TMI

Unfortunately, there are a lot of jobseekers who have had a tough time landing a new job. Whether you’re a new graduate, an older job seeker or one of the long-term unemployed, it’s likely that you’ve had your fair share of challenges on the hunt for a new position. Sharing these sob stories with employers, however, is not going to get you the job.

One employer tells of an awkward interview situation that illustrates the point:

“I once interviewed a woman and asked her standard interview questions, such as ‘What do you need from a boss?’ To this question, she replied: ‘I need my boss to be my best friend. I’m so lonely. We just moved here a few months ago, and I haven’t made any friends. I need a friend.’”

4. Talk Negatively About Former Supervisors or Positions

It’s easy to blame your former supervisor for issues you faced in the workplace. Sure, venting to a friend or family member can make you feel less angry, but do not bring it into a new job. Applicants who speak negatively about former positions, management or colleagues are not perceived positively by employers — it can often raise a red flag in their eyes if you’re so quick to dish the dirt. In one instance, a candidate spoke badly of customers to his interviewer and ruined his chances of landing the job:

“I was interviewing a young man for a customer service position. He had worked at a hair salon, and in describing his experience there, he said, ‘I had to deal with a lot of old biddies.’ Needless to say, that’s where his candidacy ended.”

5. Act Cocky

Confidence is key on the job search, but cockiness is less than appealing. You certainly don’t want to sound like this jobseeker:

“One time a candidate said he was so well-qualified that if he didn’t get the job, it would prove that the company’s management was incompetent.”

Taken from: http://mashable.com/2012/04/22/job-search-mistakes/