[Liz Strauss has been a friend to Small Biz Survival for... ever, it seems like. She called us SOBs back in our very first year: 2006. We finally met in person in 2008, when we stayed at Sheila Scarborough's house together for SXSW. Liz is a mentor, a friend and a constant fountain of encouragement. -Becky]
By Liz Strauss
I grew up in a small town. My dad owned a saloon. I’ve been thinking a lot about his social networks and how they relate to what I do online. Truth is what my dad did with his cash register I do with my computer … the biggest difference is the speed and reach of the Internet. And I believe that entrepreneurial view is what gives every small biz an advantage in establishing a web presence using social media tools. What I mean is that small biz entrepreneurs soon pick up that …
- a website is a store. If we keep it organized, clean, and focused on our key business, our customers will be able to find what they’re looking for in no time at all. They’ll want to buy from us because it’s easy and efficient.
- a blog is conversation over the counter. If we put out information that answers questions and solves problems, the people who shop in our store get interested in us and what we know. When they have a problem of their own, they’ll bring it for advice. When they have a solution, they’ll add to the knowledge base, and our blog will be come a meeting place like the old general store or neighborhood coffee shop.
- LinkedIn is a professional group, like the Chamber of Commerce It’s our chance to connect with people who run small businesses like ours, but also who run organizations and enterprises that are very different as well. We can join groups, ask questions, share expertise when we show up.
- Facebook is the company picnic. Our families and friends are there with us. Business is more casual and more about sharing events and news.
- Twitter is the world’s largest networking event. If we join the room with a friend, soon that friend will introduce us and we’ll conversations with people we could never have met any other way.
Every small town entrepreneur knows that no business thrives without being part of the community that we serve. Social media tools simply stretch that community to give our business some visibility to the world. How do you use social media tools to do the same things online that you’ve done offline for years?
She says he grew the mustache for the town’s centennial celebration in 1953.