What is Global Entrepreneurship Week? #GEW

#GEWNovember 18 – 24 is an exciting time each year for the start-up, innovation, education, entrepreneur and broader communities of the world: it is Global Entrepreneurship Week (#GEW). And it is really “global” in every sense of the word.

The growing popularity of these events is partly due to the global connectivity of social media networks. Never before have so many buddy entrepreneurs had so much opportunity to use ‘free’ global communications tools to inspire, share and make connections, experiences and ideas. Twitter is buzzing with the hashtag #GEW, #GEW2013 and other country specific hashtags and LinkedIn provides opportunities for targeted networking: social media helps develop international relationships, introduced through #GEW, that many innovators will find as they pursue their goals.

So what is #GEN? Perhaps the best way for me, as a social media strategist, is to use social media (YouTube) and let the international organisers explain for themselves:

#GEW is here. Jump on, jump in or take that first step – it may just change your life! If nothing else, you will find following all the tweets and other social media posts and events an inspiring spectacle in its own right! So, enjoy and feel free to contact Optimize Business if you have any questions or queries. Here is the Australian GEW page link:

#GEW

Storify: the Telstra 2013 Australian Digital Summit

On Tuesday Telstra hosted the 2013 Australian Digital Summit in Melbourne, social media and the #DigitalSummit hashtag went into overdrive.

Tools, strategies, innovations and techniques are constantly evolving in the digital space.

Storify.com

If you have not seen Storify before, please take a look at what it does here and also check out our story as a resource to catch up on what you may have missed at the Digital Summit!Today we spent about an hour using “Storify” to create a record of the #socialmedia chatter that surrounded the hashtag #DigitalSummit this week.

Minor CBA system upgrade leads to bank meltdown and social media backlash

The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) has taken a beating overnight on social media platforms Twitter and Facebook. What started as a ‘minor upgrade’ to NetBank ended in a social media and literal spat for cash. By 3am the issue had not been resolved, with CBA customers at the end of their tether.

Read the posts on Storify.

It all started with a small Facebook post on the CBA page on Sunday 27, 2013. It was not dissimilar to the outage notice of the night before (1am – 7am), about a minor upgrades, except this notice was of an earlier start to a 6 hour upgrade may impact some accounts from 6pm-12midnight on Sunday evening:

“We’re upgrading NetBank tonight, making several minor enhancements to Australia’s #1 online bank. NetBank, mobile, tablet and CommBank Kaching apps will be online, however some accounts and features will be unavailable 6pm-12midnight (AEDT) on Sunday 27 October. You can stay up-to-date commbank.com.au/update
 

cba tweets A

The post from the Saturday outage from 1am caused no ripples, with 56 people liking that update and about 25 comments. Sunday’s post, however, turned into something of a social media storm with 85 likes and nearly 500 Facebook comments on the post and over 100 comments directly on the Commonwealth Bank’s Facebook Page. The @NetBank Twitter account also did a short innocuous tweet about the same time, then seemed to go to sleep for two hours before it responded to the tweets for updates, cash and help. Initially mild queries and complaints came in of inconvenience came in:

  • small business owners lamented the timing for their Australian Taxation Office Business Activity Statement due on Monday;
  • some asked “is netbank not working at the moment?”

Then some more desperation started to appear in the posts, like from Angela on Facebook over a 2 hour period:

  • What is going on?? I tried to make a purchase from a store and my card was declined…I went to an ATM and i kept getting error messages…I have tried calling …no response…..NOT HAPPY
  • I’m pissed off…i’ve been a customer since forever..paid THOUSANDS in interest and this is the service I get????
  • And what is wrong with the call centre…why cant I get through to anybody ..it even hangs up on me!! Very frustrsting. Feel sorry for the person at my local branch in the morning

After several hours, the impact of the “minor up-grade” became more apparent, with CBA customers almost crying out for help:

  • unable to pay for dinner or takeaway
  • spending hours shopping then being unable to pay
  • “humiliation” and “embarrassment” at having their cards declined
  • people trapped at petrol stations with a full tank but unable to pay
  • others frantic to transfer money, pay rent or withdraw cash
  • customers unable to pay for flights and facing the possibility of losing flights
  • employers unable to pay their staff 

And so the list of individual dramas, tension and frustration continued. Several CBA employees jumped in to defend the corporate giant and leading to with a tongue in cheek poke at impatient customers, led to them being identified as employees and images of their full name, work role and other details being taken as screen shots and posted online. CommBank posted a warning directed at several individuals, deleted several customer posts that identified an employee and reminded the customers of the Facebook Community Guidelines.

At 2:15 am CBA updated their web page with “We’ve had an unexpected issue that we’re working hard to resolve. We still have more investigation and testing to do before we bring our systems back up.”

At 2:30am the CBA posted on Facebook “Hi everyone, we apologies that NetBank still isn’t available right now. We’ve had an unexpected issue that we’re working hard to resolve. We still have more investigation and testing to do before we bring our systems back up. This is all the information we have at present, our next update will be later this morning. Again, we apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”

And that brings us to 3am when this writer will cease monitoring the situation. I became involved while trying to phone the CBA tonight to advise of overseas transactions on my account, only to eventually get the message “we have encountered a technical problem” and the call was terminated by the CBA.

Interesting facts in the notes from the Twitter S-1 IPO Filing

The little bird that took flight.Some interesting facts on the Twitter IPO thanks to David Cummings. Like David, I also find Twitter an amazing (free) global communications tool that I use on a daily basis (@optimize_biz).

I truly think it is revolutionary. Who would have thought the value proposition of just 140 little alpha numerics could lead to such a literal and virtual revolution.

David Cummings on Startups

The Twitterverse is buzzing about the upcoming Twitter IPO, and now we have all the intimate details courtesy of the S-1 IPO filing with the SEC. I’ve found Twitter to be an amazing medium that I use on a daily basis (@davidcummings), so I want the company to succeed in a way that grows both the value of the community and shareholder value.

Here are a few notes from the Twitter S-1 IPO filing:

  • 215 million monthly active users (pg. 1)
  • 500 million tweets per day (pg. 1)
  • 75% of users accessed it from a mobile device (pg. 2)
  • 45% of Super Bowl ads used hashtags to engage users (pg. 5)
  • 300 billion Tweets created since origination (pg. 6)
  • Revenue (pg. 10)
    2010 – $28.3M
    2011 – $106.3M
    2012 – $316.9M
  • Losses (pg. 10)
    2010 – $67.3M
    2011 – $129.8M
    2012 – $79.4M
  • 87% of revenue from…

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LinkedIn Company Pages 101

It is not often you get things for free, but Company Pages from LinkedIn give small business owners, managers, NFP and NGOs a chance to showcase their organisation for no cost (at the time of this blog!). Linked in Company Pages currently have four sections:

  1. Home page
  2. Products and services
  3. Careers
  4. Insights (including views)

Will creating a company page on LinkedIn really make any difference? Well, have you noticed how when you are searching for a local business or person on Google, LinkedIn profiles typically rank very high in the ‘natural search’ results.

  • Natural search is what Google finds based on its proprietary search algorithms and ranks the results for you to review.
  • Paid search are results that appear (usually at the top or side of your search engine results page) that are only there based on advertisers paying for you to seem them based on your key words and phrases used in your search.

Adding a company page to LinkedIn strengthens the natural search result rankings of your business. You can create a Home page and Product / Service descriptions with links to your other websites and social media accounts. While not only providing a free way to showcase your business, it also provides a structured way to think through your products and service offerings.

You can link individual LinkedIn profiles of your management team and key staff to each product or service. You also have the option to ‘pay’ for your job listings in the “Careers” section of your Company Pages. This paid service targets your job vacancies to those meeting your requirements and will cost about $200 AUD for a 30 day local posting in Melbourne (Australia).

Check out the attached guide for more information on LinkedIn Company Pages above. You can create a Company Page from the links here at LinkedIn FAQ.

LinkedIn Company Pages: a great way to showcase your organisation, for free!

Free Guide: LinkedIn Company Pages

It is not often you get things for free, but Company Pages from LinkedIn give small business owners, managers, NFP and NGOs a chance to showcase their organisation for no cost (at the time of this blog!). Linked in Company Pages currently have four sections:

  1. Home page
  2. Products and services
  3. Careers
  4. Insights (including views)

Will creating a company page on LinkedIn really make any difference? Well, have you noticed how when you are searching for a local business or person on Google, LinkedIn profiles typically rank very high in the ‘natural search’ results.

  • Natural search is what Google finds based on its proprietary search algorithms and ranks the results for you to review.
  • Paid search are results that appear (usually at the top or side of your search engine results page) that are only there based on advertisers paying for you to seem them based on your key words and phrases used in your search.

Adding a company page to LinkedIn strengthens the natural search result rankings of your business. You can create a Home page and Product / Service descriptions with links to your other websites and social media accounts. While not only providing a free way to showcase your business, it also provides a structured way to think through your products and service offerings.

You can link individual LinkedIn profiles of your management team and key staff to each product or service. You also have the option to ‘pay’ for your job listings in the “Careers” section of your Company Pages. This paid service targets your job vacancies to those meeting your requirements and will cost about $200 AUD for a 30 day local posting in Melbourne (Australia).

Check out the attached guide for more information on LinkedIn Company Pages above. You can create a Company Page from the links here at LinkedIn FAQ.

Twitter for small business


Is your small business on Twitter? Do you understand how Twitter works and why so many small businesses have jumped onto Twitter?

The above two minute video from Twitter gives a basic understanding of how you might use this social media for your organisation or business. Optimize Business uses Twitter as the main form of social media to engage, communicate ideas, develop business relationships and keep abreast of the latest news or trends in business.

Social media is an investment in our brand. Five years ago, people would use a search engine like Google to find your website, learn about your business and assess if they want to do business with you. Today, consumers and businesses also look at your social media presence to gauge “who you are”: YouTube is now one of the most popular search platforms and Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media are also being used to find businesses.

Unlike Google and Yahoo!, if you are not ‘present’ in Twitter (for example), you will not appear in the results of a search that is done within Twitter. Your business will be Missing in Action in the Twitterspere, this is unless your customers are talking about you (good or bad!), or worse, your competitors are filling your void.

The absence of “your voice” from social media platforms, like Twitter, says something to the world about your business. For those who have used social media to find you, or to talk to you, your absence from their preferred channel will be noted and probably not in a good way.

It is important not to just jump into social media. You should speak to other businesses that use social media, and make sure it is done in a planned way, as part of a social media strategy that suits your brand, your business and your customers. A failed social media presence is perhaps even worse that no social media at all.

Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn and other forms of social media, each “Tweet” is limited to only a 140 characters.  Other forms of social media have larger word limits. Tweets therefore need to be short, engaging and easy to understand. The 140 character limit is quite helpful in helping you take the ‘padding’ out of your business communications.

So back to Twitter. It is a great tool for start-ups, small and large businesses alike. You can easily share (tweet) links to videos, blogs, webpages and photos to provide richer content with your short Twitter ‘broadcasts.’ If you content is engaging, you will probably find each tweet brings in additional new followers and people may share your communications by retweeting (RT) your message.

Twitter is a free social media tool that provides an incredible networking and communication channel into the hands of even the tiniest business, NGO or NFP. You can do a lot of targeted ‘campaigns’ yourself for free:

Twitter can provide almost perfect customer targeting, for free! Just search for a topic relevant to your organisation on Twitter.com and look at the people that are engaging in discussions or following others on that topic. Then search through the “followers” of relevant people and you will find people, businesses and organisations that are interested in the topic. These people will therefore be likely to follow you back if you follow them. Be a little selective in who you follow (avoid those who you would not really want following you) and you can easily build up your own followers by simply following those with common interests to your own.

Businesses, large and small, can also pay to have their products or services promoted on Twitter, via promoted “accounts” and promoted “tweets”. This video gives you a good sense of how you can pay to promote your organisation, but most new Twitter users would initially try the free approach outlined in the paragraph above.

For more information, Twitter publishes a great guide to get your organisation started on this exciting social media platform: Twitter for Small Business.

FreshBooks 2012 Andrew McIntosh CPA Optimize Business @Optimize_Biz

Need a store on your Facebook page?

Product information from Payvment’s Facebook page.

If you find you are driving interactions with your customers and fans via Facebook, why not add a store to your Facebook page?

Didn’t think it was possible?  Well, applications, or “Apps” as they are affectionately know as, are a real revolution in the functionality of software these days.  From social medias like Facebook, to accounting software like Xero, you can get an App for just about anything to enhance or quasi-customise your software purchase.

One such App is Payvment. Currently offering a free online store to Facebook users, its a god send to businesses that have developed a heavy Facebook following.  Many business face the customer experience problem of moving customers from social media to webpages or external shops or payment providers, but Payvment is an example of a great way to enhance your Facebook experience and secure a secure a sale or lead in the process.  Check out Payvment.com on the web, via Facebook or Twitter.

Read more about online stores in Facebook in the NY Times. © 2012 Andrew McIntosh CPA, OptimizeBusiness.org

SMB’s – it’s your free video channel…. don’t lose the wonder!

Imagine it is late last century (say 1992) and you were told you could have your own video channel and distribution network to build your brand, engage your customers and advertise to those who care.

Two decades ago, what would you have given to have this capability for your small or medium business?

It’s incredible, it is free, and twenty years later, how many business owners just ignore this amazing tool?  How much value are they leaving on the table, when two decades ago they would have given an arm and a leg for these capabilities!

Imagine that futuristic world from 1992, now even richer with handheld devices that stream an amazing colour TV image; can help you find products, services or friend just around the corner when that would have taken a phone box, a good phone book and 20 minutes back then…..

Oh the possibilities of mobile video for your own business!

So please don’t lose the wonder at these amazing capabilities that surround us!  Seize the day again and re-look at your opportunities, especially those are just waiting for you on social media tools like YouTube!

You would have given an arm and leg for this capability 20 years ago, so don’t ignore it now it’s free….. SMB’s, please don’t lose the wonder of what is right in front of you!

Check out this video for some new inspiration and don’t forget to share any creative new thoughts on OptimizeBusiness.org:  YouTube – its your free channel…. are you using it?

If you need help or advice with creating your own SMB channel or video content, contact Andrew McIntosh CPA via the social media of your choice…. or call on good old-fashioned mobile phone to Australia +61 4 48516151.

© 2012 Andrew McIntosh CPA, OptimizeBusiness.org