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13 Posterous Group Tool Makes Small Business Sense

Posterous, the email based blogging tool, has quietly (or not so) built a very large user base. The tool’s popularity I believe is in large part due to how simple it makes it to engage in the act of blogging. Users post content by sending an email .

While it is indeed a simple tool some very well known bloggers such as Mashable editor Jennfier Van Grove and Edelman Digital’s Steve Rubel have moved to it as one of their primary sources for information streaming.

Actually, while many people swear by Posterous as an information posting platform I haven’t really seen it as particularly powerful tool for small business over any other platform such as WordPress.

This week, however, Posterous added a feature that I think may have some real utility for small businesses.

Posterous users can now create their own public or private groups and add users that can share, post, and submit various form of content. Again, using email only, group members don’t even need to have a Posterous account to add content. The two panel interface presents the information in a very accessible way.

Groups have been around for a long time from Yahoo and Google, but I think this platform is a much better tool for multi-party sharing around specific topics of content much like a forum with better structure, more types of content and let’s face it a higher coolness factor.

I can see:

  • Business units in organizations using the tool to archive content
  • Loosely formed networks sharing information as a group
  • Small business teams creating and sharing information
  • Customer groups creating what amounts to user generated sharing
  • Organizations building community around shared ideas
  • Non-profits building groups sharing around an event
  • This might also be one of the best family sharing tools out there too

To  create a group all you need to do is send an email to new group@posterous.com and tell them the name of the group. You can then add a list of group member. Posterous will send your member an invite and create the URL for the group blog.

All groups are private by default, but I could certainly see public uses for the tool. Group owners have the ability to see permissions for members.

29 Using Posterous to Dispatch Content

posterousBy now you’ve likely heard of the online content publishing tool posterous. If not, it’s billed as the dead simple place to post anything – just email us.

Anyone can set up a posterous site and add just about any form of content by simply sending an email to your account. If you want to create a blog, you can get started in about 2 minutes. Families and groups can create a site and start adding all manner of information and pictures without any technical know how at all. You can make your posterous site private if you like, get fancy with professional looking themes and create custom domains. The tool can easily act, as it does for growing numbers, (Here’s Steve Rubel’s Stream built entirely on posterous) as an online business hub.

The feature that I don’t think gets enough attention though is the tool’s ability to easily auto post content of all sorts to many of the social networking platforms you may use as part of your online presence. Note: I’m not suggesting you spray every bit of content automatically to every piece of online real estate. I am suggesting you look at posterous as your dispatch center for placing content from one source.

Here’s how you can do this.

Posterous allows you to tell it where you want your content posted when you send your email. If you’ve enabled your social media sites such as Flickr, Facebook and Twitter (there are more than 30), you can publish to posterous and tell it to send the video to Facebook as well. Or you can add a picture and have it automatically added to Flickr and Facebook.

autopost

To publish content to posterous you send an email to posterous@posterous.com. To add services you just add to the email as such – flickr+facebook+posterous@posterous.com. Or you can simply send it to one service by sending the content to twitter@posterous.com.

Of course there’s a posterous iPhone app that posts picture and videos directly from the camera as well – PicPosterous

For many people, particularly those that rely on email as their primary communication and storage tool, this is a great way to create and curate content.

27 Small Businesses Will Simply Become More Naturally Social

small business georgetown coThis past year brands large and small rushed head on into social media marketing. They had to learn about all things Twitter, hire social media consultants and create special social media metrics and budgets. Now that hype surrounding the next new thing has settled a bit, businesses are coming around to the understanding that social media isn’t a department or separate marketing tactic. In fact, It’s not so much a tool as it is a behavior. And as such it can and should permeate the whole of the business.

Trapping social media engagement in the marketing department and demanding a tradition ROI measurement structure is a mistake. Social media activity and behavior can help facilitate communication and connection with your entire collaboration universe: prospects, customers, suppliers, partners, and employees and as such should be freed from the limited thinking. I’m not saying you shouldn’t demand a return on anything you do, but I am suggesting that you explode the notion of social media as one segment of one department.

My guess is the most successful small business will simply become more naturally social.

Here are few ways social media behavior is applied throughout.

HiringLinkedIn is the one the leading tools used by organizations these days to find job candidates. Scanning social media participation of prospective hires is a great way to access their social skills and (one of my new favorite terms thanks to Tara Hunt @missrogue) wuffie factor – a bit of a social media graph that can demonstrate what one values.

Training – Using social bookmarking tools like delicious or Instapaper you can easily create reading lists of information your entire team, customers in various industry segments or strategic partners should read to learn and grow.

Awareness – Social media has become a tremendous lead generation tool when used as a way to create awareness about valuable, education based content. Facebook Ads, for example are a great tool to employ to point out your upcoming webinars.

Public Relations – One of the best ways to achieve media coverage these days is to build relationships with journalists using social media tools. Most every journalist has a blog, leave comments and participate in their conversation. Create a Twitter List of key journalists for your industry. Create Google Alerts for those same journalists and start building relationships – that’s how you get covered

Referrals – Giving and receiving referrals was, is and remains the first and ultimate social behavior. Making a referral publicly, in a forum like Biznik, is a great way to demonstrate your belief in the power of giving. Reading and leaving ratings and reviews on sites like Yelp! is another great way to start the referral machine.

Strategic Partners – Finding strategic partners to work on projects or simply share the work of marketing to a target group is a great strategy empowered through social media tools. You can easily find businesses to connect with through networks like OpenForum or LinkedIn and then use a tool like MeetUp to co-host an event. (Disclosure: I am a contributor to OpenForum.)

Internal News – Using a tool like Yammer, Posterous, or even well formed hashtags on Twitter is a great way to communicate with a team and highlight content that should be seen by that team. Setting up RSS feeds and alerts for brand, industry and competitive mentions is another simple way to make sure everyone knows what’s going on and being said.

Lead Conversion – Adding a customer or prospect’s social activity to a CRM record through tools such as ACT! 2010 or Batchbook is a great way to discover the wants, needs, interests and challenges they face. Carefully reviewing that information can lead to ways to deepen relationships and even uncover unmet needs. It’s funny how often we sell something our existing customers are asking for but didn’t we had!

Customer Service – Countless organizations have turned to Twitter as way a to communicate with customers in need of some help. I think the serving of customers in public offers a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate how well you take care of business.

Research – I get great information every time I ask a question on LinkedIn or put up a quick Involver application poll on Facebook. The speed of this kind of research and the conversations that can erupt offer incredible opportunities to learn and connect.

Inspiration – This one can be hard for some get their head around, but I can’t tell you how ofter I’ve turned to my RSS reader to find inspiration for an idea, content, and even just as a way to regain my focus. In fact here’s my list of 10 places (mostly social) I turn to for content inspiration.

SEO – In case you haven’t heard, social media and SEO are pretty much hitched. Simply building profiles in communities such as TED or BusinessWeek Exchange can help you claim search real estate and provide those valuable links back to your primary web site.

Testing – I’ve seen authors test book titles, businesses test pricing and logo designs, and professionals test various service offerings in Facebook and Twitter. The immediate and often quite informed feedback of a carefully built social network is an extremely useful tool.

Sourcing – Has anyone used XYZ software? I need a good WordPress designer. These kinds of requests go out all day long in social networks and have become one of the primary ways I make buying decision and hire professionals for projects.

Help Desk – Social network communities can provide incredible amounts of help for the most specific kinds of challenges. Let’s say you can’t make a computer network connect. One tweet can provide the answer. Let’s say you need some Photoshop tips, a quick trip to the Behance Network will likely turn up dozens of design software resources.

Brainstorming – When I’m wrestling with an idea for an article, book or strategy I’ll often put some form of the idea out for discussion on Twitter and engage some really smart people who follow me in discussions that can lead to some pretty interesting validation or other conclusions. It’s a fascinating process. Of course you can also create public Mindmeister mind maps and draw in even more brainstorming collaboration with employees, customers and partners.

What ways have you found to apply social behavior to your organization?

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