The New Must Haves for Every Business Owner

It used to be that if a business did not advertise in the Yellow Pages, you were out of the game.,Now there are new “must haves” for business owners to consider to be a part of our new “connected” global business marketplace. These new “must haves” are a blog, a Facebook presence, and a Twitter account.

If you look at each of the three items I mentioned, they have one thing in common, they allow a connection with users who want information fast and to connect with and interact with the real you versus reading  a brochure-like website. It is important to note that I am assuming that you have a website already by this point. If you don’t have even that, then instant remediation is needed quickly.

The Web has changed our world and how we do business drastically, but social networking is now changing how we interact on the Web with each other. So let’s talk about these three important components briefly and why you should have each.

There are so many SEO benefits that are derived from blogging that to not now have an on domain blog puts you at a competitive disadvantage. As a blog is written in a more conversational style and allows for comments it is a wonderful way to start interacting with prospects and get tangible organic search benefits at the same time.

Facebook Presence
Facebook has gotten so big that you just cannot be using it at this point in time. It is like how a  website was considered a few years ago. If you didn’t have one you weren’t in the game. This is the same now with Facebook. Many businesses will start out with a personal profile, as I did myself, and then move to expand interaction through a Facebook Fan Page. Whichever direction you take it’s important to get in the game at this point. Recently, Facebook even eclipsed Google in user activity. Facebook  is a huge sleeping giant that can be harnessed to drive traffic, interact with customers, find prospects, and share information about yourself and your business. When Facebook finally figures out how to monetize itself properly the returns will be huge.

I have gotten quite a bit of business from Facebook over this last year and that was just from my personal profile. I have sold and closed a several thousand dollar custom website project, and in the last two weeks alone, I have gotten a new ghost blogging client and a press release client. So, if you take the attitude that Facebook has too much “fluff” and is just full of games, think again. Serious business is being done through Facebook interaction.

Twitter has grown tremendously in popularity with 300,000 new users each month and over 10 million using Twitter already. This application has potential written all over it. Twitter is not about spamming others with what you sell, but about interaction, answering questions, providing information, and sharing information. It is not as rich as an interactive environment as Facebook, but its viral marketing potential is stronger than that of Facebook.

Big business has flocked to Twitter. Say anything in Twitter about Kohls, and a real person will direct message you. Say you have a problem on Twitter about Network Solutions, and a real person will chat you up to make sure that all is well. Using mentions and search queries you can monitor what is being said about your business on Twitter and interact with others with similar interests. Twitter is growing so fast that it makes sense to get in “before the curve” and not “after the curve”.

I am always watching for the next big thing to check it out for our own business and our clients early. I’ll let you know a secret, the next big thing I’m watching is being tested by Google Labs in India. It is SMS Channels. This new application allows you to set up a channel of content and allow subscribers to receive your information directly to their mobile phone. That should be a biggy. I’ll let you know when it comes to the US.