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Small Business Success Index 4

Index Score*   Grade
73 marginal
Capital Access 67
Marketing & Innovation 65
Workforce 76
Customer Service 88
Computer Technology 73
Compliance 92
*Index score is calculated on a 1-100 scale.

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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

How to Manage Twitter When You Have a Zillion Followers

October 28th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

By Monika Jansen

Every time I get a new Twitter follower, I look to see how many people they follow and how many people follow them (I’m at—feel free to look me up).  When I see numbers in the tens of thousands, I think, how the heck do they manage all those followers?

I did some research and found the answer.  Three answers, actually:

  1. Good tools
  2. Selective communication
  3. Regular housecleaning

1. Good Tools

An online application or platform that helps you manage your social networks is absolutely essential, because it will organize your Twitter feed for you.  I thought everyone used one, but based on what I read, that is definitely not the case! I happen to use Hootsuite, which I really like.  Every morning, I log in to check Twitter and Facebook.  My direct messages (DMs) and mentions (@s) on Twitter are aggregated in their own columns, so I look there first.  I’ll briefly skim what other people are posting, too, but I only visit Twitter briefly and once a day since I also have to work.

Two other popular tools that can help you manage Twitter are Seesmic and Tweetdeck.   It doesn’t matter what you use, just use something!

2. Selective Communication

I do not strike up a conversation with everyone who follows me.  I use Twitter to share information on B2B, social media, and small business marketing, not to make friends.  The first thing I do every morning is check my personal and professional e-mail.  Then I spend around 10-15 minutes checking Twitter and Facebook.  I reply to most DMs and mentions, which doesn’t take long, and look for new people to follow.

3. Regular Housecleaning

Because quality, not quantity, of Twitter followers is important, it’s a good idea to regularly clean your Twitter house.  Friend or Follow creates three lists for you: who is not following you back, who you are not following back, and who your mutual friends are.  Simply plug in your Twitter user name, and the first thing that pops up is a list of people who are not following you back.  (I was shocked by who was not following me!  But then I realized most of them are not active on Twitter.)

Use Who Follows Whom to find more people whom the power users in your circle follow.  It is a really great way to increase the quality of your followers.  You can type in up to five names.

Image by Flickr user yushimoto_02 (Creative Commons)

Tweetchat Recap on Blogging Effectively to Market Your Small Business

July 7th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

Shashi Bellamkonda wrote this great recap on the Tweetchat held on June 24th where the topic was about blogging effectively to market your small business. It is over at Small Business Trends but here are a few highlights:

  • When thinking about blogging, companies should think about goals first. What info you want to share and who will blog?
    • Content creation  -getting in habit of looking at daily business from blogging perspective (@eyeinfo)
  • Reasons to blog: Thought leadership, education, seo, branding, customer service and event promo
    • The blog is the hub or center of your business community, usually. Another key reason to maintain a blog w/social links (@CreativeSage)
  • Should SEO be a top consideration when starting a Blog?
    • SEO is a great goal but for a business blog, I feel that producing content that is useful to the reader is most important (@bethschillaci)
    • SEO should be a constant consideration for your blog, but content is always King. SEO is a tool.

Go to the full article to check out the whole recap.

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Killer Ways to Find Followers and Influence People on Twitter

June 7th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

The title of this post is inspired by the seminal business book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. But it was a post from my friend, Dave Delaney, on fighting spam and finding followers in Twitter that got me thinking – what are all the ways to find people to follow on Twitter and how do you know if you are influencing people?

Finding Followers that Matter

So I headed on over to Laura Fitton’s site,, which is essentially “The App Store for Twitter”. Now Dave talked about this site, which is really cool because it helps you figure out when someone starts following you if they are a bot and spammer. Saves you a lot of time and keeps out the junk. One the site there were four that are the most popular and most recommended.

Here are their summaries and links to their respective sites from the site:

Friend Or Follow “helps you manage your Twitter contacts. Submit your Twitter screen name to find out who you’re following that’s not following you back, and who’s following you that you’re not following back”. This is really powerful if you missed people that started following you and you want to make sure you are connected with those who matter and who will listen to what you have to say and vice versa.

Twit Cleaner “analyses the people you follow, identifies the time wasters, spammers, bots & those who’ve quit Twitter (& much more besides). Allows you to easily clean out the garbage (& save those you want to keep following)”. I found it to be super easy to use and it took only two clicks to unfollow all spammers. What I really loved about this service is that it DM’d me my report and the report showed me who is a good tweeter, who has mostly links, who is a conversationalist, who is a serial retweeter and so on. Really cool.

Listorious simply says “it is a directory of Twitter lists so you can find interesting ones” so that vague description leaves me wishing they would describe it better. I head to the site and it is very cool and uses the Twitter login to add me to the directory if I want. It is very intuitive and is a people search engine that leverages tags for the most part. This is a compliment to Twitter lists which are defined by the individual and this helps you discover new people based on interest. Very nice. The only thing I wish it would do is allow me to follow from the page. I hope they incorporate the @Anywhere pop-up in the page so I can see the summary of the person and have a follow button.

MrTweet, according to the site “makes it easy for you to find great people to follow. The moment you sign up, we will send you completely personalized suggestions of great people you might want to know about. Also, instead of #followfriday, make your props go a longer way by recommending great tweeps on MrTweet. Your effort will be used in our recommendation engine, and also be shown across many Twitter applications like Seesmic.” What I found is that this has two very powerful functions – recommending who you should be following that you aren’t and letting you know who you are influencing, which leads me to the next section of this post….

Influence is Powerful if You Are Influencing the Right People

So you have all these Twitter followers and hopefully have scrubbed your follow/follower lists to focus it on people that you want to have a conversation with or at the very least care what you have to say. Many people who have large size Twitter followings wield quite a bit of influence so I thought I would look into tools that measure and help you increase your influence.

TweetStats, according to the site “graphs your Twitter Stats including – tweets per hour, tweets per month, tweet timeline and reply statistics”. I found this a nice place to start because it asks for your Twitter handle and does a quick analysis of your Twitter activity. It makes some really pretty and revealing graphs. Two of my favorite are those that @ me the most (who I have a conversation with) and those that Retweet me the most (those that like what I have to say).

GraphEdge is a report system that according the site is “designed especially for companies and individuals who want to know exactly what’s going on in their Twitter network. GraphEdge can tell you: * How many of your followers you’re really reaching * How quickly your network is growing (or shrinking!) * Who’s dumping you * Who your most influential followers are, and how to reach them * Who else your followers are following *”. I just ran it and an waiting for the report which takes about a day. From the look of the screenshot on their home page you could call it a “Google Analytics for Twitter” app.

Twitter Grader is from the fine people at Hubspot who started with Website Grader and have a ton of other “Grader” tools. I got a grade of 98.9 out of 100 so I am happy. It means I am a good steward of my Twitter account.

Twitalyzer is a very fast way to know your audience reach. It analyzes your Twitter handle and goes out to your network and based on their own algorithms, figures out what kind of influence you have with others. Its dashboard reports show five dimensions – Impact, Engagement, Generosity, Velocity and Clout. This is an extremely powerful tool especially if you need to improve in some areas. This tool will tell you.

Klout – No, I didn’t spell that one wrong. is a pretty powerful site and uses your Twittername and shows who influences you and who you influence. It has something unique called an “Influence Graph” which shows you were you are in relation to your followers. Apparently, I am an activist and share the space with @WickedJava and @CaseySoftware. You can read a more in depth review and interview of Klout done by Ken Yeung over at the Solutions Are Power blog. In the mean time, give a spin. It is eye opening.

What Tools Are You Using To Find and Influence?

There are a ton of tools out there and the site is comprehensive but do you have any favorite tools you would like to let us know about? Leave a comment.

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Finding Nirvana – Book Review of "The Zen of Social Media Marketing" by Shama Hyder

May 14th, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

So are you a “Zen Master of Marketing”? Most likely, no. However, I am confident that after you sit down and read “The Zen of Social Media Marketing” by Shama Hyder Kabani you will feel like you have got a handle on this “social media thing”.

Learning how to get social media to “ACT” the way you want it to

She starts the book with the required basics to lay a foundation for even the newest of social media practitioners. What she then does is lay a foundation for how you approach social media in a 1-2-3 phase methodology called “ACT”. “ACT” stands for “Attract, Convert, Transform” and that forms the core of how you should look at each tool in your social media marketing toolbox. If it can’t help you do that and you don’t have a plan to make it happen then you need to revisit why you are using that tool and get a plan of action together.

Who is this book really for?

From Shama’s introduction she says “if you are responsible for marketing in any shape or form, this guide is written for you. Perhaps you are a small business owner responsible for attracting your own customers or clientele, or perhaps you’re an employee at a huge firm who is responsible for your company’s social media efforts. Maybe you want to get the word out about your nonprofit. It doesn’t matter; the principles are all the same.

While I would agree with that, I would add that if you are new to social media or have just dabbled in it then this book is perfect for you. If you have been doing this for six months or more you have probably learned many of these things through trial and error. However, in each social media area she covers, there are some in-depth looks that everyone should read. I really like how she dives into the user experience and layout of these applications explaining what each thing is for and why it might be relevant or not for you and your business.

My favorite part of her “who this is for” is how she lays it out for those who the book is not for at all. She says “This guide is not for those who want to become overnight millionaires, internet marketers looking to turn a quick buck, or those looking to grow their Facebook friend count so they can spam those friends.” Love that.

There is Much to Learn and This Book Delivers

As you move through the book you will notice many real life examples and case studies from real small businesses who have seen what works and what doesn’t. That approach makes a book real. Not a lecturing diatribe like some other social media books out there nor a 50,000 fly over of major sections with the usual toolbox suspects (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Digg). What I really like the most and what I think you will get out of this is that using social media is one part toolkit and two parts conversation/community. It is very clear that not everything will work for you and that you must find your own social media voice to create a solution that is successful for your small business. You will fail but I have saying “if you haven’t failed then really haven’t tried hard enough”.

For More Info and To Buy the Book

As someone that practices what she preaches she has a great online and social media presence for the book. You can find the web site for the book at

She also has provided bonus resources for those who know the secret passphrase, but you will have to buy the book to find that out. You can find the book online at all major outlets below:

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I Hated Twitter…But Not Anymore

April 9th, 2010 :: Monika Jansen

Two months ago, I was on a conference call with my fellow Network Solutions bloggers.  We always talk about social media during the call, so naturally I brought up the fact that I hate Twitter.  It was decided that my hatred of Twitter would make a great blog post in April, when our theme would be (and now is) inbound marketing.  Steve Fisher, who oversees our little gang of bloggers, told me to write down the title, which was Why I Hate Twitter…But I Use It Anyway.



The reason I hated Twitter was because it was so exclusionary.  How do you figure out that tweet jargon, all those @’s and #’s, on your own?  How do you find people to follow?  How do you un-follow people who are suddenly annoying?  And how on Earth am I supposed to keep up with it and use it as a communication tool with clients and prospective clients and people in my industry when I also have Facebook, LinkedIn, email, paperwork, and my actual work to keep up with?   I figured it out on my own, but still…I hated it.

All of that has changed, as you can see by the title of this blog post.

For now, lo and behold, Twitter has wizened up.  They have published a user’s guide for business owners called Twitter 101 for Business.  Why it took so long I’ll never understand.  However, I’m glad it exists, because it explains exactly how its real-time communication tool can help you connect with clients.  They offer examples of how and why to use Twitter: you can follow conversations about your company, product, or service; get instant feedback; solve problems quickly, or offer special deals exclusively via Twitter.

Twitter 101 is broken down into 5 sections, which I’ll discuss briefly below.  My main problem with Twitter will remain, though: how to find the time to use it effectively.  I am on Twitter (look me up @monikacjansen), but I don’t use it the way I should.  I post interesting marketing-related information on it, but I do not use it to connect with clients, current or prospective.  By doing a search, I could be connected to graphic designers, web designers, SEO specialists, and full-service marketing firms, all of whom send me business regularly.  But, like everyone, I only have so much time, and like most people, I wonder if I will have time to keep up with it.   

Twitter 101

  1. What is Twitter?  Basically what I wrote above.  It’s just an introduction to how businesses use Twitter.
  2. Getting Started.  This section explains how to effectively use Twitter and integrate it into your marketing and sales efforts.  Then it walks you through setting up an account.
  3. Learning the Lingo(!). My favorite section!  A glossary of Twitter jargon and symbols. 
  4. Best Practices…on using Twitter, posting tweets, and measuring ROI.
  5. Case Studies.  13 real world examples of how a variety of companies have successfully used Twitter.  Very interesting!
  6.  Other Resources.  Books, articles, websites, and blog posts that share information on how to use Twitter. 

Small Business Tweet Chat on Tuesday Feb 23

February 22nd, 2010 :: Steven Fisher

Small business owners interested in finding out how to start using social media should join the Tweet Chat #sbbuzz on Feb 23rd, 8-10PM (EST).

Tweet Chat on Small Business Success

Anita Campbell, Editor of Small Business Trends, will moderate the discussion to provide additional insight on how to effectively use social networks to generate results.

SBBuzz is a Twitter Chat that allows people to follow a group conversation across Twitter using the hashtag #sbbuzz for search filtering and adding their comments using the hashtag to create a stream of conversation.

For instructions on how to participate in the SBBuzz Tweet Chat, you can go to

Pre-tweet Radio Show with Anita Campbell

Prior to the Tweet Chat, Anita will be interviewing Shashi Bellamkonda, “Social Media Swami” (Director of Social Media) here at Network Solutions and Founder of Happenings, Advice and Technology Thoughts, and small business owner, Dr. Alan Glazier, join Anita Campbell for an in-depth discussion on the results of the Small Business Success Index. This special episode will be followed up with a TweetChat at 8:00PM EST including @ShashiB and @smallbiztrends using the hashtag #SBBuzz@SBBuzz.

If you haven’t heard of the Small Business Success Index or SBSI, the SBSI Index measures how they are doing in six key areas of business: capital access, marketing and innovation, workforce, customer service, computer technology and compliance.

To download a copy of the Small Business Success Index and also find out how your business scores on the six key dimensions of small business success, visit

And of course, don’t forget to join us and Anita on the #sbbuzz chat on Tuesday, Feb 23 from 8-10pm EST!

Eight Things to think about before you use Social Media

December 24th, 2009 :: Michael Dougherty

Every day, more and more people become aware of the possibilities, successes, and capabilities of using social media as part of their marketing strategy. Some take the time to learn how to use the tools. Some will start blindly, get frustrated, stop using, and cry of it’s a failure/waste of time. Others will create accounts on the big social media sites, be less than passively involved, and ultimately forget they have them until someone asks a question.

With the people who are looking to get started using the tools of Social media, or are in the early stages of using them, here are Eight Things to think about before you use Social Media:

  1. Will this be a marketing tool or a customer service tool? People have a wide range of reasons to start using social media for their business. Often it is to promote themselves or their business, but companies, like Comcast and Zappos, have found that Social Media can be a great tool for improving customer service/experience.
  2. Are you the best person to take this on? Speaking of Zappos, their CEO Tony Hsieh, is their voice on Twitter. Not every CEO is the best person to be the online face of the company or organization. Chris Brogan, in his post “Develop a Strong Personal Brand Online Part 1”, wrote that you should “…remember that branding isn’t playing a role. Be yourself. It will become apparent rather quickly if you’re being someone that you’re not.”  This is the same whether it is a personal or professional brand. Deciding if you, or your boss, are the right person to be on social media is hard choice to make, especially when egos are involved, but depending on how you decide to use social media could make that choice for you.
  3. Do you have people around you that can teach you? Or is there someone in your company/organization that is already passionate about social media? Like Zappos, Comcast uses social media as a customer service tool, but instead of their CEO using it their Twitter account is maintained by Frank Eliason, Senior Director for Comcast National Customer Service. Because of Frank and Tony’s efforts, there have been a lot of companies following their format and finding success, and failure, in social media.  These are just two examples, but make sure that whatever your choice that the voice you choose fits the overall tone and attitude of your company.
  4. Are you willing to listen more than you talk? A big part of making social media an effective tool for marketing/customer service is the ability to listen to what your audience has to say as much as you intend to talk. People want to be talked “to” not “at”, so make sure that you find a balance between reviewing, responding, and posting.
  5. Do you have the time to focus on social media? Social media, like any other marketing/customer service effort, will take time out of your day. But, like checking your email or attending a meeting, if you believe it to be important to the success of your business, or your personal brand, you will find the time. A rule of thumb that works well for me is, and I can’t recall where I first heard it, “If you have time to schedule and attend a meeting…you have time for social media”.
  6. What social media tools will you use? Whether it’s wiki, blog, Twitter, Facebook, or any of the other avenues you could choose from, you need to decide which will be the best one for you depending on who your intended audience is. Take a little time and do some research to see just where your intended audience is, and they may not be using social media yet, to see if your choice is worth the time before you jump head first.
  7. Are you patient? Just like finding the time for social media, you need to understand that it will take time. Unless you are already a well known individual in the public eye, and being a legend in your own mind doesn’t count, then it will take time to grow your audience. You are also going to have to live with some people either not buying into your idea or talking negatively about your company, or personal brand. Don’t try to judge your success by the successes of others, but don’t throw in the towel early because it’s not doing what you think it should. You didn’t start a company just to quit did you? Treat your social media the same way.
  8. What will you determine as success? Will it be number of follower (which I don’t recommend)? Will it be how often your messages are shared? Will it be how many of your followers take an action on your behalf/request? That is really up to you, but I implore you to be realistic about your goals. Remember, you will need patience, clear intentions, and an ability to weather the storm as it comes, but success is ultimately determined by you, your efforts, and your choices.

What I can tell you is that if you are looking for a quick solution, or instant boost in sales, then social media is not for you. There, I said it. I’m sure you’re expecting me to say that no matter who you are or what you do that you should jump on the social media band wagon, but I’m sorry that’s not true. It has to make sense for you, your brand, or your company.

I would love your thoughts on this post or if there are other things you think people should keep in mind in the comments below. You can reach me on Twitter by sending a message to @wickedjava, or on Facebook at

As all ways, if you have been reading, thank you and stay wicked.

Recession-Era Marketing: Learn from the Experts for FREE

December 18th, 2009 :: Erica Knoch
Online Experts

Photo by Monashee Frantz/OJO Images/Getty Images

Now that you have made that leap into being a small business owner, it’s time to let others know you exist.  So how can you pitch your product, show where your store is, or let anyone know of your services when you have a zero marketing budget? Learn from the experts!

The online space is full of experts – experienced professionals who give free advice, write articles, post on social networks, and link to tools to help you learn, promote, and retain your customers.  Assuming you have already set up your website/blog, here are a few FREE ways to learn from the experts and market your business:

1.  Basic Social Media Accounts: Facebook, LinkedIn, & Twitter.

  • On Facebook, open a personal account, then from that, create a page for your small business. (example: Aeroka Media and Network Solutions)  Start uploading photos, links to your services, and promote to get “fans”.  Post new content and links to your blog/site often.  Become a fan of experts in your field, read their posts for advice.
  • On Twitter, sign up for an account for your business. Post about your Facebook fan page, links to different parts of your blog/site, and do a search in Twitter to see what your customers say about you. Follow experts in your field of business and learn from their links and posts.
  • On LinkedIn, sign up for an account for you, which you can then add a link to your business. Start a group, answer questions, and connect with others in your field.  Ask questions as well, and connect to experts.

Note: There are a lot of applications in each of these to crosss promote (Twitter-to-Facebook, etc) so try to automate, or use sites like Ping to post once and automate to all the above  social networks and more!

2. “Marketing 101″ for FREE:
Educate yourself, all at no cost.  Some examples are:

  • Attend conferences and events of your choice via Twitter! No need to pay for travel, tickets or registration!   Just sign in to your Twitter account, use this symbol # (hashtag) in front of the name of a conference in the search box.  There are Tweets about who might be there, cool factoids on speakers, sponsors, and inside information from attendees and speakers AT the event.   Example:  I wanted to attend the 140 Character Conference in New York last Spring.  I typed in #140Conf in the search box, and received a lot of facts about the panel speakers and links to their advice.  When the live streaming from the event website went down, I found an attendee there on Twitter who was streaming from his personal webcam, and he shared a link to his video feed with me!
  • Visit and Subscribe: To be on top of  the latest news in marketing your business, trends and updates on the competition, find the right sites and  subscribe to feeds/newsletters!  I like to keep on top of marketing, media, tech and small business news, so I visit and subscribe to Mediapost, Variety, Mashable, PaidContent and Grow Smart Business.  I also like to use Alltop to customize and aggregate all of my favorite news feeds from marketing experts such as Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki and many others.
  • View Marketing Presentations: Check out Slideshare, do a search on any subject, and I’m sure there is a presentation for it.  I just searched on “Small Business Marketing” and came up with this list of presentations.  Here is a presentation on Social Media Marketing for Small Business.  Sign up and try doing specific searches to your needs.  They just might help you with a presentation to a new client!
  • Take a course: There are a ton of webinars you can take from your couch!  I like to expand my knowledge of  website optimization, so I Googled “free webinars for SEO” and found free Hubspot webinars taught by SEO experts.  Do a search on free webinars in your area of business, you’d be amazed at what courses you can take at no cost!

3.  Join Niche Communities of Experts:

  • Join Meetup: Meetup is a great place to join and target your exact niche to the actual area you live, so that you can connect, not only online, but with folks in your group in real life!  Also, type in “small business” and your zip code, and you can find other small business owners you can meet  in person!
  • PartnerUp!:  Seriously if you have a job that is just too big for your business, and you need help with a part of it, PartnerUp is a community is the place to get the help you need!
  • Associations:  If you haven’t already joined an association related to your field, do.  There will be a fee, so if you can’t pay, there are FREE resources too.  In my case, the American Marketing Association site has a blog, list of events, and other items that I have utilized for free.  Try your association!

These are just a few ways to get you started in marketing your business, for free, but without having to go it alone.  A marketing expert is just a few keystrokes away.  Please tell me if you have any success with these ideas, or share with me where you are finding expert advice for FREE by commenting below.

Wishing you much success. :-)

Jill Foster – One of Thirty Women Entrepreneurs To Follow On Twitter

December 3rd, 2009 :: Steven Fisher

jill_fosterFirst she was the co-founder of DC Media Makers, then she founded as part of our small business community of blogs, then the Washingtonian recognized her as one of the Tech Titans of 2009. It is an award totally deserving of some one as awesome and as giving as Jill Foster. I mean just look at that face. For those that have met her know her infectious laugh and penchant for using midwest phrases like “Thanks for Asking” and “You Betcha”. For those of you that have not met her in person but know her on Twitter @JillFoster, it should be no surprise that Forbes Magazine recognized her as one of THE 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter.

Part of a Killer Twitter Follow List

Jill who is always there on Twitter to offer help, share a great resource link or tell you what interesting event she is at along with the cool person she just met shows you why you should follow her on Twitter. She puts my Twitter usage to shame and I love that about her. It is through people like her that we learn how to properly use this medium. She has been responsible for teaching me to interact more and not just have my Twitter account look like a blog robot (thanks, Jill) and many of my followers should thank her and I have gotten a large increase since that change.

She shares this list with some great entrepreneurs and small business thought leaders. Here are a few of the others on the list:

@JackieBiz: Jackie Burgoa is a business owner and blogger who tweets about business resources, inspiration and opinions. 7,336 followers.

@LindaCSmith: Linda has an excellent feed for entrepreneurs because she constantly tweets quality resources, tutorials, tips and articles. 1,424 followers.

@NicoleSimon: Nicole is a sought after social media consultant in Europe who tweets about the latest social media happenings. 10,827 followers.

@NikkiPilkington: Nikki owns an Internet marketing company and tweets about search engine optimization. 8,884 followers.

@sheconomy: Stephanie Holland tweets about advertising, social media, branding and marketing to women. 5.988 followers.

@ShellyKramer: Shelly owns a marketing agency and shares branding and marketing strategies that work as well as those that don’t work. 22,466 followers.

@smallbiztrends: Anita Campbell is an expert on small business trends and her tweets will help you be more successful as a business owner. 30,869 followers.

@SmartWoman: Vicki Flaugher is an entrepreneur who tweets about women, business and events for women entrepreneurs. 11,084 followers.

@startupprincess: Kelly King Anderson’s goal is to empower women entrepreneurs and she tweets about various small business topics. 14,825 followers.

@WomenWhoTech: Allyson Kapin champions women in the tech industry and tweets her opinions and helpful business resources. 8,137 followers.

For the entire list of the 30 Women Entrepreneurs, check out the Forbes Article.

Social Networking Etiquette 101: 5 Ways to Mind Your Manners While Online

December 2nd, 2009 :: Monika Jansen
When I first joined Facebook, I got a friend request from a total stranger.  Turns out she was a “2nd”, aka, the friend of a friend.  That’s really ballsy, I thought, but I wasn’t totally surprised.  It’s happened to all of us.  While having a total stranger follow you on Twitter is flattering, LinkedIn and Facebook are a bit more intimate.  Being approached by a stranger on those sites is kind of stalker-ish.  Needless to say, I blocked the person who tried to “friend” me.

I do wonder, though, why social networking causes so much mindless behavior.  Perhaps it’s because we’re in a rush, or perhaps we’re just trying to stay active on all those social networking sites, or perhaps it’s because some of us were raised by wolves in the outback.  Most of just really want more connections on LinkedIn and more followers on Twitter.  Whatever the reason, though, gazillions of people out there don’t think before they type…or click…or send friend requests.

So, here you go: 5 ways to mind your manners while online.

  1. Don’t automatically subscribe someone to your e-marketing or e-newsletter program.  Engage with that person first, then ask if they’d like to be added to your distribution list.  And be sure that instructions for unsubscribing are clearly stated somewhere in your email.
  2. Do not attempt to “friend” someone on Facebook or connect with someone on LinkedIn unless you personally know them.  If you’d like to meet them, figure out someone you have in common and ask for an introduction.  If that fails, email them through Facebook and introduce yourself.
  3. Don’t ignore attempts to connect.  Respond to someone’s note with a note of your own and suggest an alternative way to connect.  However, if you don’t even know the person (see above), go ahead and block them.
  4. If you are attempting to connect with someone you only met briefly, remind that person how you know each other.
  5. Don’t attempt to connect two business acquaintances, colleagues, or friends without a heads up to both people.  Fair warnings are always appreciated.

If you have any other etiquette tips, email me at [email protected]. If I receive enough suggestions, I’ll write them up in a future blog post.