Last on the List

Here’s a great rant, worthy of it’s intent by my friend Chuck Blakeman, gutsy small business advocate. Tune in to my upcoming interview with Chuck. More proof that small business is “last on the list” of the Washington agenda regardless of of partisanship. “Talk to any banker who used to give small business loans, and they will tell you very quietly and in complete anonymity that the reason their lending standards are beyond the reach of most healthy small businesses is because the government regulators are putting such pressure on them that they can’t adopt REASONABLE (not loose) lending standards. The pendulum has swung the other way and guess who’s coming-up short! Seventy three percent of small businesses who need capital haven’t even bothered to apply because they know it’s useless – 43% get rejected – astonishing statistics. The 25 biggest banks control 32 percent more deposits than they did in 2006, but made 30 percent fewer small business loans. This is your small business advocacy in Washington. In case you wondered if anyone is looking out for you, the small business owner, on either side of the aisle or in any of the halls of the giant bureaucracies there, you might think again. I’ve said this in dozens of places on the internet for three years – access to capital is the #1 issue for small business and has been since October 2008. #2 is predictability from our govt., and #3 is regulations that hurt small business and help the big ones. The SBA says the #1 job growth sector is businesses with 1-9 employees and the #2 job growth sector is 10-19 employees. Then they, the rest of the government, and the giant corporations who all got us into this mess, continue to use this crisis to help each other just get bigger. Expect large donations from giant corporations to both sides next year. Small business doesn’t want a bailout. And I personally don’t have time for recessions – I have somewhere I need to be with my business. None of the above make it impossible to succeed, but it does make it harder. And when government proactively kills jobs and small businesses like the State Dept. did on July 15, that is interventionism in commerce that is unacceptable and needs to be addressed, even if the SBA doesn’t have the spine to do it (in case you wondered, the SBA isn’t focused on small businesses under 19 employees). Caveat emptor – for too long we have bought that someone in Washington is looking out for us. Think again. You won’t get help and you don’t need it. You can succeed without their help; just know that they are not in Washington to make it easier for you, but to make it easier for themselves and their giant corporation donors. It’s time to expose the game for what it is, one “big” scratching the back of another “big”, all at the expense of 28 million small businesses and the American economy. This isn’t a lack of courage to act. This is simple self-preservation at work – both bigs (giant government and giant business) will protect their “bigness” at any cost, even the worst recession in history. And certainly without blinking an eye at the demise of small businesses.” Thank you Chuck. Let’s face it we’re last on the list. Mark Deo

Social Media Integration

If a status update is made with no one to read it, did it really happen? 

This is obviously an adaptation of the old “If a tree falls in the woods” parable to modern day, but the sentiment holds true.  Statistics show that the vast majority of status updates and tweets go unread or are ignored.  So that begs the question- if no one is reading it, what’s the point?

While most small businesses have jumped on the social media bandwagon and have established profiles on the major sites (Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Google Places, etc.), many utilize these accounts in a vacuum that is completely separate from their actual website.  Doing so limits the chances that any interaction that occurs on these sites will be noticed by those that are most important. It also means that any updates, blog posts, and other website additions will go unseen on the networks that make sharing this content incredibly easy.

The solution to these problems is integration- it is vitally important that you tie your social media profiles into your website, or you end up with content that is only available to a small subset of potential viewers.  Integration also makes it easier to share your content across multiple networks with minimal effort, thus decreasing the amount of time you need to spend managing your accounts.

Integration Tips
There are some easy ways to make all of this happen.  I will assume that you have a website with a blog and that you already have social media accounts with Facebook and Twitter.  If you do not have these already and need help setting them up, please let us know– we can help!

Facebook– make sure that all of your blog posts have Facebook “Like” or “Recommend” buttons.  You can review the code needed to add these to your website at: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/ These buttons will allow readers of your blog to share your posts with their existing Facebook friends with one click, and is normally a simple copy-paste to get these buttons added.  Many blogging platforms have plugins that will add this code for you without having to even utilize the Facebook code directly.

Twitter– again, make sure that all of your posts have “Tweet” buttons, which allow a visitor to share your content with their Twitter followers with one click.  You can review the code needed to make this happen at: https://twitter.com/about/resources/tweetbutton These buttons will let a user send out a tweet about your blog post quickly and easily.  Many blog platforms have simple plug and play options for sharing that enable this option without using the Twitter code directly.  I also recommend adding a Twitter “badge” to your website, which will let someone view your Twitter feed on your website (so they don’t even need a Twitter account to read it!)  You can find the necessary code to do so at: https://twitter.com/about/resources/widgets

Status updates across platforms– you can share the same status update on multiple networks through various means.  One is to tie your profiles together directly, so that any Tweet you make appears on Facebook as well, and vice versa.  A more useful means of doing so, however, is to use a service such as http://ping.fm.  This site will let you post an update to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Myspace, etc. all at the same time.  This means that when you reply to comments on these networks, you can do so individually, and not have your Twitter response get sent to Facebook users that are only seeing part of the conversation.

Blog syndication– using the RSS feed that your blog has, you can syndicate it to your networks.  You can add an RSS feed on a Linked In profile, and post your content to Facebook, Twitter, etc.  One site that lets you do this is http://www.twitterfeed.com and another that also works is http://www.dlvr.it  These sites both make it so that when you post new content to your blog, the first few sentences are posted to your social media profiles with a link to the full content.

I hope these resources make integrating your social media sites into your website easier for you, and we are available to help you make this happen.