Saturday, February 23, 2013

6 Business uses for Twitter

1. Talk to suppliers.  It can be a very fast route into the customer service team of your larger suppliers, such as utility providers. Twitter, or other social networks, can also provide an alternative communication channel with smaller suppliers, particularly sole traders who may find it the easiest option when on the move.

2. Travel news updates. Twitter is a great source of real-time news about road closures, rail delays and problems at airports. Use the Twitter search function to look up the road name or place that you need information about.

3. Promote special offers. Many small firms run special deals, and even giveaways, on Twitter. It's one way of adding new followers or promoting deals at very short notice.

4. Find out what’s going on at an event. An increasing number of conferences, exhibitions and other big events are using a common hashtag to connect all the tweets. If you follow the tweets using that hashtag, the many tweeters using it will give you a great feel for what’s going on.

5. Get answers to questions. Twitter gives you access to hundreds of thousands of people, through various levels of followers. If you have a specific question, there’s a good chance you can get an answer through Twitter, or at least be put in touch with someone who can help.

6. Build a network of expert contacts. Within minutes of opening a Twitter account, you could be following a host of specialists in your chosen field. Using the search function, and then seeing who follows who, you can discover experts from across the world.

By Andrew Knowles, social media consultant and copywriter, based in Dorset.

Visit our other business tips page for more valuable information.

Looking for more Twitter tips? Take a look at these:

Become really effective on Twitter with your 5-Day Twitter Action Plan 

5 Reasons why posting links in Twitter doesn't work

5 Reasons why you're not getting more followers on Twitter

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bournemouth start-up is to challenge the ecommerce giants

Two Dorset entrepreneurs, Cas Paton and Simon Lennon, are launching a brand new online marketplace in May, helped by their team of four drawn from the local area.

OnBuy intends to be a simple and easy to use online marketplace, offering shoppers competitive prices on a range of products; from big-name technology giants to hand-made arts and crafts. It plans to offer its sellers lower fees than its major competitors and is aiming to become one of Europe’s leading online marketplaces.

It’s a hugely ambitious project, but one that the pair are incredibly excited about. Simon Lennon said: "In all honesty I expect OnBuy to be able to become the number one retail platform in the UK and we have our sights on the US next. Our biggest selling point over our competitors is the ease of use, making it simpler and easier for the seller to both use the site and find exactly what they are looking for”.

Although the pair are hugely enthusiastic and confident in OnBuy at the moment, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. Lennon came up with the embryonic concept initially while he was studying for his BSc in Computing from Bournemouth University, building a simple eCommerce platform for his dissertation.

These ideas then grew into what is today called OnCommerce; the eCommerce solution that lies behind the OnBuy website that the public and sellers will see and use when it is launched in three months time.

Lennon explained: "The biggest issue, in all honesty, has been resources as we've essentially tried to take on Magento Solutions, who are a multi-million dollar company with a 200 man development team, with just me working on our concept! Considering what we have I think we did pretty well, but it’s taken a lot longer than we originally planned to get it all moving.”

Taking on the big-boys doesn’t daunt the pair; as they are making their d├ębut onto a marketplace which has some of the world’s leading companies at its forefront, such as Amazon and eBay.

Their confidence comes mainly from their total belief in the new platform, Paton’s entrepreneurial streak and Lennon’s background in computing. They have also benefited from investment from Hampshire based IT provider, Centerprise International which has helped the concept develop by considerably boosting their resources.

Paton and Lennon own OnRecycle, a product price comparison site for mobile phones and gadgets.  They are hoping that in the future the two companies will complement each other; as consumers purchase items on OnBuy they can recycle and help fund their purchases by recycling their old gadgets with OnRecycle.

They are already building up a catalogue of sellers ready for the May launch of OnBuy. If you have a product you'd like to be considered for inclusion, get in touch with Ces Paton.

To find out more about the project, whose website is under construction, visit their Facebook Page. They are also on Twitter as @Onbuy_UK

Click here for more Dorset start-up stories.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A 5-day action plan to succeed on LinkedIn

Become Really Effective on LinkedIn in Just 5 Days
by Rachel Knowles

Are you one of those people who set up a LinkedIn profile because someone said that it would do wonders for your career, only to be stumped by what to do next?

If so, this new ebook may be just what you need to make LinkedIn work for you.

“Become Really Effective on LinkedIn in Just 5 Days” follows the pattern of its companion volume on Twitter, providing a five-day, step-by-step action plan to using the leading social network for professionals successfully.

Developing a LinkedIn routine

The key to making LinkedIn work for you is to use it regularly. Whilst having a complete profile using those all-important keywords is vital, without continued activity, your profile will slip down the search rankings of those looking for people with your skill set and fail to deliver all that it could. Over the five days, this book shows you not only how to create an effective LinkedIn profile but also how to develop a routine for using it that will enhance your visibility on the network and increase your chances of discovering new work opportunities.

This is a very practical guide to getting the most from LinkedIn.

“Become Really Effective on LinkedIn in Just 5 Days” is available as a Kindle ebook from Amazon. You don’t need a Kindle to read it because Amazon provide free reading apps for almost every computer, phone and tablet. Just follow the links below:

“Become Really Effective on LinkedIn in Just 5 Days” from
“Become Really Effective on LinkedIn in Just 5 Days” from