Using Online Communities to Grow Small Businesses - share your story and win!

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  • Updated 9 years ago
Ok time for all you great story tellers to come out and share.

If you have a Yola website and a small business, and use social media, I would like to hear from you. Let me know how you use tools like Get Satisfaction, Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo! Groups or any other social media to find information, promote your business or offer customer service.

I would love to hear what works for you or what doesn't. Would you recommend online communities as a resource to small business owners? If so, why?

Best story gets a free premium style or domain name (winner can choose which they prefer)
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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  • hoping for some great stories!

Posted 9 years ago

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John McCarthy

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Hi Monique

I used many different social sites to get my site more visitors.
As my site is mainly aimed at teens i used a teen socializing site called 'Habbo'
This really helped my site get many new visitors who have enjoyed my site.

I also use get satisfaction as a support forum like yola does.
These resources are really great to get more vistiors for your sites.
especially if you go to a site related to you audience like i did.

If done in the correct way it can have great results for your sites visits.
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Donald

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Well, I recently started something that's actually working really well.

I never really paid too much attention to Twitter, I thought it to be a waste of time, hard to get followers, etc. So I found out what to do!

Follow People!

sometime about 12 to 14 hours ago I had 1 follower (my girlfriend that don't view my site so she don't count).

I then took some of my articles... humanities, language, arts, culture, etc. and I searched these words in the find people section then added everyone til I reached a limit of 982. It took me a matter of 4 hours to go from 1 follower to 86 followers, when I woke up this morning I had 112 followers. Some of these followers actually view my site. This number is expected to grow largely from time to time. Every month I am going to go through my followers and delete the more irrelevant ones so I can add more that are more relevant to get more followers.

Having a lot of followers on twitter gives you the opportunity to share your website information and updates to bring in additional traffic. All you need is for someone to like what you write and they will be visiting.

Besides twitter, getsatisfaction has helped the most from website creation to SEO and ultimately... visitors... afterall, about 60% of my visitors are from getsatisfaction but that will probably change soon now that I'm using twitter.

The 982 following limit on twitter is because the ratio to following and followers is too far apart. However though, there is a 2000 maximum following limit but there is NOT a follower limit.

When you follow people on twitter, your profile shows up on all their following lists therefore giving you exposure to anyone viewing their following list. Having 982 people that I follow could mean 10,000 people get to see your profile every day as an example
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Thanks! Excellent tips. Looking forward to hearing more. . .
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Rob.B

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If some follows me on Twitter to further their business two things happen:

1. I bar them.
2. They are automatically reported for spam.

My account, my choice.

Rob.B
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Rob: great point. We don't tolerate spam in Get Satisfaction either. On Twitter we help people with questions, but we don't spam them with unsolicited Yola links! Understanding the difference between spam and valuable, sought after content is a key skill of anyone who participates in online communities.
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Donald

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actually, 90% of everyone on twitter uses it as a means for promotion. I have 982 people I'm following and I would have to say at least 800 are advertising. But if you use twitter for your website (instead of personal) you're not advertising or spamming... the people that (WANTS TO KNOW) more about your site are simply being told about the updates your site makes. I've only posted a few tweets in the past day... so it's all on how you look at it. It's not considered spamming if you're simply "informing" people of updates especially when they asked to be informed.
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Donald

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and if someone is following you (the only people that receive your updates) then they "ELECTED" themselves to be informed.

I don't go on twitter and say, here, donate for my site or show some support and visit my site... I say...

today we implemented some new features or something along those lines. That's what twitter was made for "to inform" people of what you are doing. So... instead of 'advertising' your site, you inform your followers of changes and updates.
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Donald

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Because if the statement, "If some follows me on Twitter to further their business two things happen" was true... then businesses wouldn't have success on twitter. Which they do. I've seen some twitter users with 2,000,000 users and they are constantly trying to further their business. Why aren't everyone blocking those users?
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Donald

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I guess noone wants to win!?
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cmd ceramics

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I hate social sites! usually completely irrelevant traffic is all you get out of it
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Donald

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it depends on how you go about it. I post a status message on my myspace about twice a day and I get between 4 and 20 visitors from clicking on my link on myspace. I get emails all the time from these visitors asking for changes or telling me its a great site. I just wish they'd donate LOL!
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Donald

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and as for twitter, it's nothing but relevance... I follow people (usually companies) regarding topics on my site and the people that elect to follow me are usually those companies or followers of those companies. I have 122 followers and nearly 80 of them are 100% relevant and the other 42 are about 60% relevant (this is an estimate from reviewing my followers this morning). I calculated 100% relevance based on the fact that everything in their twitter or business has something to do in relation to my site and 60% is a rough estimate based on having more relevant information than irrelevant information.
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Donald

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I also contacted a lot of these companies asking for a link exchange... I reminded them that I was following them on twitter, and about 25% of them posted my link after a mere 4 hours.
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Donald

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And when it comes to social networking, it's the easy way to advertise. On the MySpace that I am currently using I have over 1,000 friends (making it easy to get responses to my status messages)...

another one of my myspace pages which I'm not currently using has over 8,000 friends. I could decide to get 200,000 friends if I wish. But it's very time consuming and takes awhile so I'll do it later. And my source for obtaining friends - everyone spams everyone... it's basically a business exchanging service (myspace) if used that way. The people that are on your friends list (found from certain sources) are actually asking to be informed making advertising easier with more friends. It all depends on how you use it. I've heard the phrase before, "Noone likes spam" but this is only true if you don't like to spam. Spam might not be fun unless YOU ARE THERE to spam also - what's "spam" mean in this phrase? Simply to advertise because everyone you're "spamming" to has chosen to receive your advertisements and they may view, purchase, make use of, donate to, your business simply because they want the same respect and they're trying to gain popularity and purchases.
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Kimberly

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Hi Monique.

I began my business 'BransonNightLife.com' a little over a year ago with a site on Yola. Venues and bands in the local area advertise on my site with a 'mini' 1 or 2 page site. I use as many communities as possible to promote the site. I have a presence on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and 2 blogs besides the 1 on site. I also post comments, suggestions and links to my site in 2 local forums. I find each of these resources to be valuable in different ways. Twitter is a great resource to send updates with direct links to pages of interest within my site. I have 500 followers there (all chose me to follow) who are interested in the events and info I share.

Since my site is music and nightlife based, Myspace has been a great resource to connect with hundreds of people who are interested in my site and info. I track the hits I get from all these communities and I am positive they are the main reason my site comes up 1st page google search for any nightlife searches for Branson, MO. and many of the local venues.

Facebook is also a great tool for events and attention when used in conjunction with a 'page' I created for BransonNightLife.com. It is highly customizable and useful for reaching my audience directly.

I have gone on to build stand alone websites for some of my advertisers, and branch out in other areas. (wish me luck :)

Thanks for all you do and I hope this is helpful. <><Kimberly
Be sure to check out
http://.BransonNightLife.com and
http://twitter.com/BransonNiteLife