Tag Archives: small business

A Possible Facebook & Twitter Bubble?

Girl Blowing BubblesIn business, when is too much of a good thing just that: too much? More precisely, when it comes to online marketing for small businesses, when does too much reliance on the powers of Facebook and Twitter start to become a detriment to the long-term success of your business? Or even a bubble you should watch out for?

I’ve been giving this some considerable thought over the past few weeks. It always starts with a brief realization that despite the numerous marketing benefits of both platforms, each seems to be a bit overleveraged and oversaturated in terms of their true marketing benefits for small-business owners. In a world of 50 millions tweets per day and 100-plus million global users (only a fraction of whom are actually active), are we, as marketers, overemphasizing the benefits of Facebook and Twitter to the detriment of small businesses we represent? Continue reading

Small Potatoes Will Grow

Thinkstock single image collectionAs a small business owner, I see customer service from a whole new perspective. When I opened my business banking account, I received exceptional customer service – far better than I had ever received before. Now, it could be this particular bank’s branch, but the cynic in me thinks reps cater more to the business owners than the individual with a regular account.

Businesses tend to prioritize their customers. It’s not unreasonable to think bigger customers get better service, right? But, by providing less-than-stellar service to a smaller customer, are you assuming that that account will always be “small potatoes?” Continue reading

Be Your Own Flack (“B.Y.O.F.”): So what is PR, anyway?

Before I started my business, I thought PR was about getting press.  Period.  A bunch of my friends are entrepreneurs, and they hire PR agencies to convince journalists and bloggers to write about them, TV shows to feature them, and twitterers to tweet about them.  Some of these friends have entirely separate crews to handle their publicity (but isn’t that part of the whole PR thing?).  So I sat down and asked some of my most successful small-biz owner friends what they pay for these services.  And I about died.  Since I’m running a start-up, my PR budget is exactly zero.  As I mentioned in my first post, it was about then I decided I’d do this PR thing myself.

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What’s a Girl Like Me Doing Writing for a Blog Like This?

I’m sure all many of you are asking just that question—a former lawyer, banker, and hedge fund analyst who’s now running her own walkie-talkie rental company—what in the world is she doing writing for a PR blog?
Just a short while ago, when I decided to work on What’s Your Twenty, Inc. <http://www.twitter.com/WY20> full-time, I realized I was taking on a massive task—our walkie rental biz was primarily servicing the production industry, where my husband and our other partner have been producing for 10+ years. They already had their network. I decided I wanted to expand our clientele beyond production, into special events, meetings, fashion shows, trade shows, conventions, catering (colloquially, “events”), and anything else I could think of. I wanted to be huge. And quick. But I had a law and finance background. How in the world would I break into the events space? Let alone quickly? I first took stock of my local competitors—some are fairly large, but none are “branded.” They’re not involved in social media, they don’t have interactive websites, they don’t blog. I recognized a huge opportunity.
Enter my friend Stephanie Smirnov <http://www.twitter.com/ssmirnov>.
She’s the president at a really well-respected, top-tier PR firm in NYC. I think we got to know each other through common Twitter mom
friends (since we’re both moms to boys and we both work, we had a lot in common from the get-go). I started reading Stephanie’s blog
<http://ssmirnov.wordpress.com/>—a perfect entree into the PR world since she writes not only about PR, but also about mom stuff, popular
culture, etc.—I’d ease my way in. I liked what I saw. And so I started to follow some of the PR folks that Stephanie was following. One of those people was our own @PRCog.
But let’s back up for a moment. Around this time I began to realize that I’ve always been interested in public relations. I’ve been doing
my own personal PR since elementary school! (Get good grades and everyone thinks you’re a goodie two-shoes . . . you get where I’m going
with this). My job as my own personal PR manager became much more difficult (and ridiculously more important) in the highly political
worlds of law firm and i-banker life—you spend a large part of your day at jobs like that managing your reputation. You check and double
check the tone, substance, and syntax of your emails; you make sure not to make the “cc” instead of “bcc” mistake; you “pitch” to get on the
best deals for the best clients with the best colleagues; you manage your online reputation to make sure no incriminating pictures or stories or mentions ever pop up when someone Googles you; you network with the right people so that eventually you can get out of the job you’re trying so hard to keep but that you never really loved in the first place. Geez—I’d been doing this all along! And perhaps not everyone does . . . but I strongly believe that everyone should.
What’s Your Twenty is a start-up—I had exactly zero marketing dollars to spend, let alone money to hire a PR firm to help me launch my “brand.” So I decided I’d take on the task myself. I started chatting with @PRCog, continuing my conversations with Stephanie and many of the great flacks she’s introduced me to, and heard about this event called Masquertweet. For those of you who don’t already know, @PRCog is a real person who’s completely anonymous on Twitter. So he and a few other flacks put together a tweet-up for [mainly] PR folks where everyone was invited to wear a mask—sort of showing support for Cog’s [literally] masked identity. This was an incredible networking opportunity (and to boot, there was a charity tie-in with 12for12k <http://12for12k.org/>, which I always love), and so I went. All. By. Myself. [Note—Stephanie was awesome and introduced me to a bunch of amazing people before via Twitter, all of whom I’m now friends with IRL!]
It was at Masquertweet that I met many of the authors who write on this very blog. After the event, I started to read many of their blogs, and to read blogs written by other PR superstars who were recommended to me. I started to learn the lingo. I started to read articles. And I started to tweet about my PR studies with the original members of the PRBreakfastclub. I’m learning as I go—but already, I’m finding success (more about that coming soon—but suffice it to say, I’ve already gotten myself press!). And in my articles each week, I’ll try the best I can to teach you how to do PR for your own small business, too. You’re gonna love it.

I’m sure all many of you are asking just that question—a former lawyer, banker, and hedge fund analyst who’s now running her own walkie-talkie rental company—what in the world is she doing writing for a PR blog?

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