Twitter Can Improve Your Search Engine Ratings

Thanks to Andrew Williams of Vac Shop, Mayfield, Newcastle Australia for pointing out this post at Website Magazine.  Search engines Google and Bing (formerly MSN search) announced last week that they’re going to start indexing Twitter tweets.

According to Website, a new eMarketer report (“Social Commerce on Facebook, Twitter and Retail Sites”) “while some e-commerce merchants are experimenting with these sites, most merchants are still ignoring them.”

Considering that social media sites can be used to promote your business at virtually no cost, it makes sense to use them, especially if your competitors aren’t there.

 

Step Away From the Computer

This blog focuses on small business, quality, and social media.  We try to provide an equal balance of all three.  But as I look at the various blogs, podcasts, twitter streams, and other social media that I follow I’m noticing that there’s way too much coverage of social media.  I mean, how many posts about using Twitter in your small business can you read anyway.  My apologies for contributing to this glut of redundant information.

Today I’d like to offer a short, simple piece of advise for your business.  Close this page, get up from your chair, and go find a customer.  If you’re in retail it should be easy.  There’s probably a customer under your roof as you read this.  If you don’t operate out of a storefront, you may have to do a little more.  You may have to make a phone call.  You may have to actually leave the building.

As I write this many of you are past the half-way point of your work day.  Set the paperwork aside and actually communicate face-to-face, or at least by phone with another human being who might  buy your product or service or refer you to someone who will.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m still a big believer in using the internet, especially the web 2.0 tools, to market your business.  But you can fall into a viscious trap if you spend your whole day staring at a computer monitor.  Life is all about balance.

That’s it for today.  I’m outta here.

Five Things to Expect in 2009

fortune_tellerThey (whoever ‘they’ are) say to start every blog post with an intriguing headline; one that will draw the reader to the post like a moth to a flame. That same ‘they’ will also tell you that people like to read predictions. And, everyone knows that you like lists, So, “Five Things to Expect in 2009” should be a winner.

But, here’s the thing. I don’t have the faintest idea what to expect in 2009 and I’d say the so-called experts don’t either. I stumbled onto one of the expert predictions on another blog. “Ahha!” I thought, this should be something my readers would want to see. But, frankly, the post wasn’t worth the paper it wasn’t written on. With the exception of changing the dates to 2009 and throwing in the “R” word once-in-a-while, the post could just as well have been written in January, 1999 as January, 2009.

There are just too many unknowns, too many uncertainties to make blanket predictions of what the next twelve months hold for small business or any business for that matter. But, I don’t want to be left out and I definitely don’t want to disappoint you, so here’s my list of predictions for 2009.

1. The harder you work this year, the more money you’ll make. The correlary would be, if you don’t work hard this year, chances are that you won’t make much money. There will be some exceptions, but I believe that it’s generally true. [Disclaimer: Note that I said “make” money. Lottery winnings, lucky picks at the track, financially advantageous marriages or the death of a wealthy relative don’t count. However, if one of these does occur, be sure to contact me.]

2. Whether you’re a one man/woman operation, or the biggest company in your field, the cost of a blog, podcast, FaceBook page, or twitter account is exactly the same. You CAN compete effectively by using these tools. In fact, the social nature of web 2.0 make it easier for an individual or small business to make an impact using these tools.

3. If 6 % of the population is unemployed, then 94% are employed. Unless they’re selling products and services specifically geared to job seekers, companies who ignore the six and go after the ninety-four will be the most successful.

4. If unemployment remains at relatively high levels, a lot of very educated, experienced, well-trained people are going to be looking for jobs. Many of these people who might never consider working for a small business under normal circumstances will be a little less picky. They’re also likely to be more inclined to work on a pay-for-performance basis. [Hint: I know someone with decades of experience in retail and manufacturing who’s available on a contract basis. See the contact information in the left-hand column.]

5. Barter will become more important in 2009. Whether it’s through a so-called barter exchange, or it’s just two guys who meet at the coffee shop on the way to work, exchanging products and services will be a popular alternative to spending hard-earned cash. If I trade you $100.00 worth of consulting service for a $100.00 widget, we both come out ahead getting what we need at a wholesale price. [Note that Mining the Store is not advocating that you try to avoid paying taxes on the exchange. That would be wrong! Check with your accountant.]

6. Finally, here in the US we have a new President who made a lot of promises on the campaign trail that he won’t be able to keep. The trouble is that it’s hard to say what changes will actually be made. So, here at Cliche City we recommend that you hedge your bets, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and remember that when the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Seriously, there’s money to be made in a recession. It’s a little harder than usual. It will take more time and more work. But 2009 has the potential to be a year of great opportunities.

Stay tuned!

Twitter: Be Careful Who You Follow

Last night I was watching John McCain’s speech on television while I tried to catch up on some work.  TweetDeck was running in the background.  The Twitterverse was alive with comments about the speech.  Let me be clear that I don’t follow anyone for political reasons.  Most of the people I follow are social media and business types and to be brutally honest, I really don’t care all that much about their political opinions.  I find politics are best left out of business discussions.  Frankly I was surprised by the volume of comments.

But I do care about people’s judgement.  If I’m going to follow someone, I rely on them to provide good, thoughtful comment, no matter what the subject.  I couldn’t care less who you plan to vote for, but your reasoning and your comments speak volumes.  If you plan to vote for Barak Obama because you feel he’s the best man for the job, good for you.  If you plan to vote for John McCain because of his record in the Senate, or because he’s a war hero, that’s good too.

But if you’re going to waste my online time by tweeting about the color of the candidate’s tie, I’m sorry but I’ve got better things to do.  If you plan to vote for either candidate because you don’t like the oponent’s skin color, or gender, or religion, you’re credibility with me is seriously damaged.  If you’re forwarding something on Twitter that’s obviously not true, count me out.

It was while I was reading some major nonsense that it occurred to me that it’s not the number of people you follow that’s important, it’s the quality of the content.  I’ll be darned, it’s just like the real world.  I’ve begun to cull my list of followees based mostly on some really stupid political comments.  There will be more.

My time (and yours) is too valuable to waste it on shallow comments from shallow people.

Episode 5

Welcome to Mining the Store, the podcast for small business owners who want to mine more gold from their businesses.  This is Episode 5.

There’s no “I” in podcast, so your comments are very important.  You can leave a comment here on the show notes page.  Or, you can email your comment to mike@miningthestore.com.  If you’d like to leave an audio comment, you can attach an mp3 file to your email.

Skype users can leave an audio comment at mike.buckley3.

Our music is called “Shenandoah” and it’s by Larry Allen Brown from the Garage Band web site, find it here.

Mining the Store is a member of the blubrry podcast network, http://www.blubrry.com.

2:04   Harvey Korman
2:45   Missouri Department of Revenue–How not to do customer service.
6:57   78 million Baby boomers are a diverse group.
US boomers range in age from 44 to 62
They ARE on the internet
44% of internet users age 50+ have broadband service
They use the web for a variety of purposes.
If you’re not reaching out to boomers, you’re missing business.
10:45 Contact me on Twitter and Facebook.
http://twitter.com/michaelbuckley
11:16 Anna Farmery–Healthy Business Relationships
http://www.theengagingbrand.typepad.com
12:23 More Anna–The Engaging Brand Episode 167, Joe Medina
Brain Rules
13:12 Minor League Baseball, the Gateway Grizzlies, and good marketing.
16:34 Donna Papacosta–Adding time codes to show notes
http://trafcom.typepad.com/blog/

Direct download: Episode_5.mp3