Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting better at Social Media

When you are running a small business, there are so many demands on your time, it's hard to know how to prioritize. Lately, everyone has been after me to spend more time with social media, (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc). It' not that I have anything against this type of media, in fact I am quite a gregarious kind of guy who loves to chat, both online and via voice, but I'm really busy and I don't have time to waste when I am working.So my question becomes: is social media more important or more profitable than something else I might be doing instead?

The answer probably depends up on the type of business you have, the kind of person you are, and what you might be doing instead. For me, as the owner of a public relations company, it's a balancing game. I need my name and the name of my company, ProLine Communications, (see how I slipped that in there when you weren't looking?) to stay in the forefront of the minds of editors and business people. I need to stay in touch with editors because they are in charge of what is published - and the very thing my clients pay me to do is get material published in one form or another. I also need to stay in the forefront of the minds of business decision makers so that they think of me when looking for a public relations firm or PR project manager. You can't be considered for a new project if you're not on the list.

Social media is very good at keeping you right at the top of the list in the forefront of everyone's mind. However (And isn't there always a however?) I don't want to overdo it and become the pest everyone wants to avoid - publishing endless updates of information that no one wants to read. And sometimes I just don't have that much to say, as hard as that is for people who know me to believe. Further, much of social media is NOT business related and many people don't appreciate seeing self-aggrandizing business material in a social context. So where does that leave me? Should I or should I not spend valuable business time promoting myself and ProLine on social media?

Let's go back to my original supposition: the answer depends on the type of business you have, the kind of person you are, and what you might be doing instead. We have already determined that my business is substantially dependent upon mindshare, so score 1 point for social media. I am a gregarious type of guy, who is usually quick off the mark with a joke or relevant comment, so give social media one more point. Finally, what might I be doing instead?

Ah, this one is harder... Is it more important for me to make one HHAY (Hi, How are you?) phone call and one LMIM (Let me introduce myself...) phone call than it is to update social media. Yes. But do I always have the ability, or the time, and am I always in the right frame of mind to do that? No. So when I can't make those calls, can I update social media? Yes, I probably can. Looks like social media gets that final point.

Uh oh, I guess you'll be seeing me on social media much more often.....Let me know how you feel about doing business with social media marketing. We can compare notes. Bruce

Sunday, February 14, 2010

New Radio Program - Smallbiz America Radio Network

Albuquerque NM (February 15, 2010)… For the past year, Small Business Professor®, Bruce Freeman has successfully hosted the series: The Entrepreneurial Mind featuring two minute humorous and inspirational entrepreneurial stories with “lessons learned along the way”.

Smallbiz America is pleased to announce a new program, The Small Business Professor. The monthly series will include 8 minute interview segments with Bruce Freeman on a wide variety of topics. The first three topics scheduled are: Having a Plan B, Is this the right time to start your own business and Is the Obama Plan to funnel 30 billion into community banks enough to get small business going again. Future segments may include – corporate partnerships with small business etc.

Commenting on the Small Business Professor’s new radio program format, David Wolf, CEO of Smallbiz America Radio Network said, “Our listeners loved the humorous insights from Bruce Freeman’s series”. In his new format, Professor Bruce will discuss major small business issues and provide tips and ideas to help entrepreneurs grow their business. The program will begin March 1.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Relationships are key in business and life

I recently presented "The Entrepreneurial Mind" at the University of Pennsylvania to members of the Wharton entrepreneurship, marketing and technology clubs. I discussed how I started my business, ProLine Communications, with a database of 2500 contacts from all the editors, colleagues, vendors, clients that I had been involved with over the years. Your most important asset is your relationships. Everthing else can be purchased. You can view the video at:


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Have fun and dream big

Don't stress about not being the smartest or having the best grades. People who are entrepreneurs have a weird blend of creativity mixed with ambition and a dash of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). We're a lot like an artist in many ways -- very passionate individuals who need to keep their egos in check, but at the same time be fearless. -- Nick Veneris, founder of Xomba

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Plan B Revisited

I teach at two universities and require my students to do a Plan B paper. When I announce the assigment, I say to the class "Suppose, for example, you majored in public relations. There are no public relations jobs when you graduate or every PR agency went under. What are you going to do?". Well, you have developed skills ie writing, pitching (calling journalists and trying place your client in a particular story or article). Are those skills transferable. You bet. You could write for a blog, publication or write ad copy for an ad agency. With the pitching skills you started to develop in a college PR program or internship, you could sell almost anything for any company.

Until you get a job, you could have a few hundred announcement cards made up regarding your new public relations practice and try to get freelance work. OR You could work for a franchise and organize jewelry (or any product) parties.

Keeping your skills strong and making sure your name is always out there is critical. When the economy recovers (and it will), you want people to remember your name and what a hard working, creative individual you are. After all, you were always out there, plugging away.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Successful College Entrepreneur

"The progress of the world depends on the persistence of the unreasonable man"
--- George Bernard Shaw

Matt Ackerson, a Cornell University senior, was bit by the entrepreneurial bug. His story is inspiring.

For more on Matt's story, listen to my new radio program, The Entrepreneurial Mind, Smallbiz America Radio Network.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For New College Grads, Have a Plan B

You are about to graduate college and you majored in a field that was most interesting to you, but the job market is tough in your area. Just because things look bad now, it doesn’t mean that your field won’t open up in a couple of years. However, you need to pay your bills, including your educational loans, right now. Start thinking about what else you can do and develop a detailed alternative plan that you can fall back on should things not work out. Your alternative should preferably be in an area considered “recession-proof.” This is a required assignment in the management and entrepreneurship courses I teach.