“Google+…oh yeah, you need to be here!”

Southwest Florida's Small Business Resource Network (SBRN) is once again diving into social media training for small businesses this summer.
This program kicks off its Social Media Summer Series on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at the  Holiday Inn, Fort Myers Airport @ Town Center, 9931 Interstate Commerce Drive, Fort Myers with a focus on “Google+ …oh yeah, you need to be here!” 
Birgit Pauli-Haack, the owner of Pauli Systems and co-founder of Relevanza, will present tips for using Google+ in small business. The amazing opportunities of social media have yet to capture the attention of some business owners and as a result, social media has yet to become part of a strategic plan to reach consumers, constituents and the public at large. For many small businesses – and larger businesses alike – the world of social media can still be a scary place.   Birgit will show you how Google+ will ease your fears and how you can easily use it to spark conversation about your business and discover the synergies between being social and being discovered on internet searches.

Cost for SBRN members is $15 per person, which includes hors d’oeuvres. Guests and unaffiliated small business owners pay $25 per person.  This meeting is sponsored by GreatFlorida Insurance.
Register online or contact Lorna Kibbey, coordinator at the Small Business Development Center at (239) 745-3700.
Come on Thursday, June 20, 2013 and learn why you should embrace Google+.

OlgaTDesigns on the Interwebs

T-shirts have come a long way since tie-dyes and single-frame silk screens. 

OlgaT Designs, prints the shirts, creates strategic alliances with shop owners, updates the company website and goes out to sell all OlgaTDesign products at two local farmers markets in Southwest Florida: Thursdays at Coconut Point in Estero, and Fridays at Lakespark Farmers Market in Fort Myers. 

We have been working with Bryan to augment his online presence and search engine visibility and advise him about on-site SEO.  We also connected his 3Dcart store on http://www.olgatdesigns.com to Twitter. We used the built-in feed and IFTTT.com. A new Tweet appears automatically when new products are posted on the web store. 

Recently, we visited him at the Farmers Market in Coconut Point and used our iPad to shoot some video footage and photos. The windy, chilly morning was a challenge for visitors and merchants. We created a short video in a matter of minutes with the help of Qwiki, a free app for iPhone and iPad. I just love it. It’s easy to use, very customizable, nicely combines photos and videos. Of course, once uploaded you can share the Qwiki on all social webs and embed it on a webpage. Qwiki is not yet available on Android. Just a matter of time. 

This is for now but I am sure you will hear and see much more by Olga & Bryan and OlgaTDesigns in Southwest Florida. 

Being online is today part of business

“So how is business?” a friend asked me quietly the other day.  I could see the barely disguised fear in her eyes at the prospect of having to hear in reply another devastating story of how the Great Recession has turned yet another business into … let’s say a non-profit entity.  Imagine her delight when I told her that I feel blessed and business for Pauli Systems  has been fantastic.  “People are now coming with bigger dreams to our boutique web development and design shop on Radio Road,” I added.  

SBDC Distinguished Entrepreneur Award 2013Once upon a time we were seen as a mere office supply store, where one just buys something to put up on the web and is forgotten until something new is needed on the web.  Gone are the days when one hops from web developer to web developer, who invariably rip up an old website and installs a new one, which then an instant small business website & ghost town.

I never cared for those cookie-cutter web site shoppers who only want a Number One spot on Google Search and want it with a single key phrase, like “real estate” (in a town with 7,000 Realtors) and want it instantly, without any sense of content or context.  “Water removal,” “pet grooming.” .

The conversation has changed and I am very happy about that.

Business owners and managers realize today that “being online” is part of their business and content is king.  High demand for story, data and image sharing online have become a strategic part of savvy business plans and daily operations.  And the savviest business owners come to us looking for a partner to take them beyond single parts and who offers a broad spectrum of tools, services and guidance. We share our experience to help build systems flexible enough to grow with the business’ and customers’ needs but also stable enough, scalable enough to integrate into operational processes of a growing business.

SWFL WorkForce Development Board

We don’t have a chinese menu, from which one picks and choose. Online presence and online marketing has so many different moving parts that picking one over the other is like asking which pencil an architect might use to design a structure. As with building a house, we first need to better understand your vision, goals and budgetary outline.

Our motto is “Form follows Function” or “Form follows Content”, all depends on what you want your web site to be or do and what you think your various groups of visitors would want to see or do on your website; and in which context will they interact with you.

Similar to architects, we will find the right combination of software, tools and services that would best fit your overall content strategy, internet marketing plan and budget. Then we will oversee implementation, acquire resources (software, developers, graphic designers, services providers) and manage the configuration and assembling process.

Clegg Art - Responsive Design - Browsing imagesMost online systems integrate with APIs (Application Programming Interface) and the trend now goes to single purpose apps.  That’s what mobile phones and tablets brought us but as an enterprise you depend on the best integration of systems. You need a consultant who has a good working knowledge in many systems and is able to weigh advantages against trade-offs and manage the gaps between systems or innovations.  

Within the new paradigm, there are, however, challenges.  One of those is to keep fresh content filling a content management system, content to share over the social webs, keeping it fresh and real.  As most of you know, I founded two years ago, with journalist, author and friend, Steve Hart, a new company, Relevanza, to integrate all aspects of online technology with the ongoing need to produce relevant content and meet customers on their terms and within their own context. 

Business communication is not driven any more by corporate speak, no-one wants to speak to a 501(3)(c) any more (waving at Kivi Leroux-Miller).  On the other hand, businesses need to tell the stories of their products, how they are produced, what’s in them and how to put them to use.  Business news editors do that for industry publications  and that’s what your business needs to do, too.

Relevanza News RoomAt Relevanza, we provide the missing link. We are your own news room.  We help you speak, tell your story and, then, let the whole world know using the “new” online tools and social media. 

Each organization needs to develop an online community to be reachable, approachable and transparent.  The biggest challenge now is to understand what a business has to say and say it with authenticity, integrity and honesty.  That’s part of the contract with your customers. They chose you because you are able to build a relationship of trust.

Businesses now have plenty of data about their customers and can meet them on their own terms and within their own context. Yet most businesses are still not able to put the data to the best of their knowledge. 

It’s still hard to connect the real life interaction in the store, in the restaurant, in the classroom or in your office and continue your online relationship.  But how much richer does the business interaction become when you get personal and meet your customers as individuals. Most business schools don’t teach that kind of interaction and most corporations discourage that kind of approach to customer service. 

But, as a consumer yourself, how much do you like, perhaps even expect, personal interaction, personal services and customizable experiences? Your customers and clients are just like you. 

Pauli System’s Birgit Pauli-Haack taking SoMe excitement, knowledge to Hodges University

Pauili System's founder, Birgit Pauli-Haack, is once again taking her knowledge and skill in social media on the road – this time to Hodges University

In a presentation set for April 30, Pauli-Haack will explain social media's role, advantages and opportunities in today's business world. 

Come join Birgit each Friday @ Noon for an organic lunch and informal round table discussion, Q&A, on all topics Social Media at Food & Thought in Naples, Florida. 
 

By 2014, nearly 1.7 billion people around the globe will use social media on public networks like Googele+, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Pinterest, YouTube and over 300 other social networks. Most users (51 percent) will access these platforms via mobile devices like smartphones, tablets or eReaders enabled with web browsers.

The presentation by Pauli-Haack will give an overview of social media strategies and tactics placed in the overall context of integration with business communication and business data systems. 

You wil leave the presentation with a much clearer vision of social media's role in today's business world and where to learn even more about how to plot a path through the social media landscape. 

To register for the event call Kevin Van Duser at (239) 598-6143 or email:  kvanduser2@hodges.edu.

Back to Basics: E-Mail Marketing & RSS

With 93% of all American adults using e-mail as their primary online communication tool, any content distribution strategy will need to include e-mail marketing solutions. So it is no wonder e-mail subscriptions for blogs and other sites are important and need to be optimized.

Three features any e-mail marketing system should have:

  • RSS Feed driven newsletters,
  • support for CRM sy

    stems and
  • a flexible API that allows access to the open/click statistics per subscribers.

Among the many companies offering e-mail marketing services, I have only found one that has all features and then some. We looked at Feedblitz, JangoMail, Constant Contact and MailChimp. Our clear favorite, (and, we are not getting any money from them or other perks), is MailChimp. It is easy to use – very important for our clients -, it offers back-end integration with a reliable, extensible API, and offers integration with major CRMs, such as Salesforce, Highrise and Batchbook. The flexibility is quite impressive. We have built various web sites that integrate via the API. Our site registration process synchronizes the MC subscribers list, and allows access to open and click statistics per subscriber. We have published our API Wrapper for Coldfusion as open-source, to remove barriers for other developers to use the system.

With MailChimp you can manage an extensive action and reaction history with your contacts. You are able to target specific groups of subscribers, and be more flexible in managing relationships. The closer you are able to target your communication, the higher the probability is that your service suits your recipients needs. We embraced MailChimp wholeheartedly after they also allowed for RSS driven campaigns to automate notification of your lists of updates on your blog. We have integrated quite a few news pages with MailChimp ,and our clients have been very happy with the outcome and the increased traffic to their websites.


Examples for an RSS feed campaign in Mailchimp

 

Examples of an RSS Feeds campaign in Feedblitz

 

Examples broadcast e-mails


Tune in! Links Shared on Twitter @PauliSystems

Amplify

The time between the holidays before the new year, are for most of use a time to reflect on the last year, to catch-up with reading list or new developments in the business world. We all do this in one way or other when we set our goals for the next year or next weeks.

 

Twitter has been a great resource tool for me and our team to learn about new tools, insights in other people’s work or great articles around the Internet on the curring edge between marketing and technology. Over the last few weeks I have used the Amplify Plattform to create a ongoing record, use their features to share not only articles but also comment on them as to why this is an important piece of information and why I like to share it. Here are the articles for the last week I would like to share with you. 

 

Erica Glasier: 50 Creative Uses Of QRCodes
Erica divides her great ideas into different verticals: Artists, Self-Promoting/Branding, Business Advertising, Products and NonProfits. There should be one or two for you, too. Follow Erica Glasier on Twitter: @EricaGlasier

 

Clipped from www.ericaglasier.com:

Whether your goals are advertising, informing, galvanizing advocates or garnering Facebook “likes”, the QR code is ready to link up your audience to

Advanced Twitter Insights: @Joseph Stop following me
Getting overwhelmed with the stream? Joseph Haslam gives you a fast insight in how he set-up the flood gates (Twitter Tools). A great graphic is posted on top of this blog. A still from the movie: Forest Gump running on a bridge with his followers.Clipped from www.phoenixstrat.com Twitter makes me feel a little like Forrest Gump.  Who are […]

Don’t overlook your fans!
This is were engagement with followers and fans really pays off: If you are able to motivate your most engaged followers to post your content, like the shared link, comment on your blog & retweet your twitterstream. Find a few ideas on How to Activate Your Brand’s Super Influencers

 

Clipped from mashable.com As a marketer, you’ve undoubtedly […]

Rich Tehrani’s 9 Social CRM Tips For 2011
Most initiatives stop at #4 – However there is more. A great list of actions and questions by Rich Tehrani – Chairman of this year’s ITExpo in Miami Beach Convention Center Feb 2 + 3, 2011.

 

Clipped from blog.tmcnet.com

To improve your social CRM strategy for 2011 consider focusing on/doing the following: Meet: Have regular social networking meetings […]

5 Ways to Use LinkedIn Groups to Build Influential Connections
Clipped from www.socialmediaexaminer.com

If you want to build truly influential relationships online, you have to find places where you can consistently add value, spend quality time and have engaging conversations with members of your target demographic. LinkedIn Groups offers one of the best ways to make the most of your social media engagement time, but you must adopt […]

Social Technographs Ladder updated

A few days ago Groundswell author Josh Bernoff posted an updated version of the Social Technographics Ladder, the method to catogorize the activities intensity levels for Internet users on the participatory online space. With the update also came a change to include Twitter as a microblogging environment of it’s own kind, that seems to change engagement levels, in the eyes of Josh Bernoff.

The Social Technographics Ladder was first published in April 2007 introducing the concept and the first % for the various levels of activities on the Web 2.0 environment. The participatory online space covers sites that allow user generated content, such as the whole blog-o-spere, review sites like Yelp, content sharing sites, like Flickr, YouTube, social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, online forums, wikis and usage of aggregation and syndication.

The levels were:

  • Inactives, 
  • Spectators,
  • Joiners, 
  • Collectors, 
  • Critics, 
  • Creators.

Bernoff and Li stressed that these categories are not exclusive. There are overlaps and depending on the site and interest of the user, individuals move up and down the ladder. “People participate in multiple behaviors, and not everyone at a higher level on the ladder actually does everything in the lower rungs.” writes Josh Bernoff. This month’s announcement added the “Conversationalists” between the Critics and Creators, which makes it harder to compare previous published data and follow progression. The Internet space does not stay still. Or does it? It seems that the Inactives are subsiding from almost half to a sixth of the online adult population. Almost every one got the bug and the buzz. The Spectators seem to have reached the plateau around 70% and so have the Creators around 25%.
The levels in between are fluid and with introducing a new category, are also not quite helpful any more. This Ladder seems to have run it’s course. 
It was interesting to watch the development over the last 3.5 years, when the socialnet, Web 2.0 finally went mainstream in about six, seven years of coming.

Below graphic shows the various activity levels in their development from April 2007 to October 2009 and January 2010.


Updated data was provided in October 2008

Expanded & updated data January 2010

Twitter & RSS Feeds

You can use various web applications to deal with Twitter’s RSS feeds. 

TwitterSearch

Each Twitter Search has it’s own RSS Feed. Enter the keywords, click on the “Feed for this query” link and add it to your RSS Reader. TwitterSearch is probably the best way to familiarize yourself with Twitter, by searching for a topic of interest. Just entering a few keywords will show you a set of Twitter users, talking about your chosen topic. Click on their Avatar (= profile picture) to check out the “ppl” (=  ackrynom for “people”), and their other tweets (= posts to Twitter).









 


Sometimes a group of people (ppl) tweeting about a topic agree on a so-called hash (#) tag and a twackrynom, to post together on a particular topic. Southwest Florida Twitterers (also called “tweeple”) post under #swflorida or #swfl. A trending topic right now is “#iranelection”.  Tomorrow starts the AAUW Bi-Annual National Convention, and you can follow #aauw09. If you would like to review the Google I/O conference (end of May, 2009), search #googleio. 

 

 

TwitterFeed

Take any RSS feed and auto-tweet it with TwitterFeed and add a bit.ly link to it to keep track of click actions. Twitterfeed.com will auto-post any RSS feed you deem fit to post, and will do so automatically. The feed can be from your blog, from a client’s blog or from any other RSS feed. Twitterfeed allows you to prefix and postfix the tweets. If you have an account and an API key for your url shortener, Twitterfeed will use it to shorten your blog url, and it will allow you to keep click-through statistics for your posted Twitter links.

 

RSS Friends

RSSFriends allows you to look at your followers, friends and favorites differently. The twitter.com web site is so rudimentary, that there are literally hundreds of twitter applications out there that make up for the short comings of twitter.com.

Many people actually do not speak of twitter as a web site, but as a platform, and there are rumors that extending the API (application programming interface) for commercial use might be a better business model than plastering advertising all over it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning Your Passion to Profit – A Workshop & Mini Trade Show for Entrepreneurs

Turning Your Passion to Profit - Entrepreneurs Workshop & Mini-Tradeshow at FGCuUpdate:  August 28, 2011

The 3rd Annual Event will take place again  on October 1st, 2011 8:30 – 3pm at the Student Union at FGCU.

Keynote: Normal Love, Chef, President & Founder of Norman Love Confections

Presenters:

 


Presented by the Florida Small Business Development Center at Florida Gulf Coast University & Southwest Florida Business Today

Saturday, October 23 2010

8:30am – 3pm

At Lutgert College of Business at FGCU Campus

Click here for Full Program, List of Presenters and Registration Form (PDF)

 

On the afternoon Technology Panel Discussion

How Do I Know What My Web Site Is Doing For My Business?

Birgit Pauli-Haack, Owner Pauli Systems

Take a walk with Birgit through the maze of Web site analytics options as she shows you how to track the effectiveness of your Web site for little or no cost.

 

Utilizing Technology For The Success of Your Business
Shelly Osterhout, Founder CSA, Inc.

Shelly answers your questions on topics ranging from determining what type of computer system is best for your business needs to the changing state of technology and how to harness its power to grow your business.

Getting The Monkey Off Your Back
Charlie Ingram, FounderVeritas Employer Services
You started your business because you enjoy your business not all the administrative stuff that comes with it a lot of it legal or regulated, thereby required. Explore ways to free up your time while stillkeeping up with the paperwork? and making all those deadlines.

Using Social Media As A Tool To Build Your Business
Theresa Ayers, Owner Get Smart Women
Theresa shows you how to incorporate internet technology, creativity and innovation to maximize your company’s Web presence through the use of social media.

 

Do You See What I SEO?
Mike Ricker, Owner Management Specialties Web Services, LLC
Mike understands what it takes to maximize yourWeb site presence through the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and will answer your questions regarding ways to improve your standing on the Internet.

 

Facebook – Richer Link Sharing

A few days back, I found this short post in my news feed on Facebook. I was already familiar with PACE Center for Girls, and was interested, but I found the post sharing the good news a bit anti-climactic. What happened was that my friend used a tiny link for the sharing. And, it was minimal information. If I want to be an advocate for an organization I care about, I want to be able to do better for them. I would like for my Facebook friends to have a richer experience and, by showing more enthusiasm, I have a better chance to convince my friends to also care about causes important to me. At the very least, I would like to give more information about the organization and the link, so they can make an educated decision about this post.

 

So, I followed the Tiny link, and landed on the archive page of PACE Center for Girls newsletter at Constant Contact.

 

 On the top of the page, I found a Facebook sharing link, which I clicked on.

Another window opened with the Facebook post section and information already filled in.

 

You’ll notice that Facebook pulls various pieces of information from the web page:

  • The page title
  • A short description from the page
  • An thumbnail of an image it found on the web page
  • Select arrows to switch to different thumbnails of images found on the web page

Hopefully, both the page title and description provide my friends with relevant information about the page. And, that an image illustrates the post as much is it illustrates the web page.

 

Let’ take a closer look at the image section of the post: Left of it, you see a picture grabbed from the web page. We all know how a good picture or graphic can augment information or a message we would like to convey. Facebook collects all the pictures it finds on the linked web page, and makes them available to browse through. It displays the first one, and then you get previous/next picture arrows, that let you browse through the whole array.

 

The same process happens if you don’t find a Facebook share button on a particular web page, but copy and paste the URL from your browsers address bar into the link box and click onAttach?.

 

 

 

 

 

Now that we’ve managed the link part, we can add our opinion and write about the reasons my friends should be interested in this web page.  I can add a tag to the PACE Center for Girls’ Facebook page, too, and my facebook friends can stay on Facebook and find out more about the organization on their page. More ways to interact with the organization.

 

This a so much richer sharing experience; ultimately it serves your facebook friends as well as your favorite organization. Your facebook friends read more information on  your profile, and also helps the organization you care about, by offering a richer representation on your profile. 

Depending on the organization’s Facebook page settings, they might allow others to post to their page and show to their community of people who liked? it. In this case, the organization has opted to not allow for others to post to their page.

 

Be a better advocate! Share your trips and tricks in the comments, and let us know if your have questions.