I crossed paths with Alex de Carvalho because we were both working with the same customer segment. We both have since moved on but Alex & I continue to be connected. Alex is busy with many things: he teaches courses at the college level, has his own business & also organizes social media events in Florida. He’s definitely an influencer & very busy!
This fits in perfectly with the series that I’m working on now on branding & establishing a presence for your business online. It’s imperative that others have an awareness of your site. I listed StartPR.com as a tool that you can use. This is Alex’s business venture.
Alex offers a lot of information in this interview. His suggestions in the answer to question five are excellent advice.
Connie: What motivated you to create StartPR.com?
Alex: The idea for StartPR grew out of a need for better blogger relations. About a year ago, I helped launch an online service that received hundreds of favorable mentions from bloggers and websites in the US and around the world. A few months later, my friends Brian Breslin and
Xavier Bussiere launched their own service, which was also well received. However, we noticed and commented to each other about how manually tedious it had become to manage the online conversations! In fact, we were responding to each blogger and there was no way to easily keep track of mentions or reporting on our activity. We soon decided to create StartPR, a service that would make it easier to identify the online conversations, to manage blogger relations, and to document our communications activity.
Connie: How do you see small businesses using it?
Alex: I think it’s important to realize that more and more people are expressing themselves across various social networks and blogs. Without a doubt, some of these conversations will be interesting or very relevant to your small business. Whether people mention your company’s name, products, employees, industry, or competitors, it is important to keep track of what’s being said in order to respond appropriately. Since StartPR will track any term or combination of terms across the internet (including on photo- and video-sharing sites such as Flickr and YouTube), you may easily keep up with the latest conversations that are of interest. Whether the mentions are positive or negative, you now have a way of receiving them centrally, managing the response with your colleagues, and keeping tabs on your blogger relations efforts.
Connie: What would a work flow be for using your product?
Alex: Immediately after setting up the key terms you would like to track, you will start receiving search results in your workspace. These results are drawn from a variety of blogs, social networks (including Twitter), and multimedia sharing sites. Most any online mention of your terms will appear in your workspace. The next step is to decide whether to respond to the mention, and if so, who among your team is best suited to do so. In our multi-user environment, you may post notes about each mention and delegate these mentions to your colleagues. This way, you may coordinate an appropriate and timely response with your team to respond to the people, bloggers, and websites that are talking about your company and products. After an important announcement, you may also want to visualize the number of mentions you are getting by consulting our charts. At the end of the week or month, you may print out reports on your blogger relations activity, or download it to a spreadsheet for further analysis.
Connie: What sets your product apart from others in this space?
Alex: Online brand monitoring is still a nascent field in response to companies’ efforts to engage with the growing number of people participating in various types social networks. Competing services in this space differ on focus, features, and price. Each service offers different sets of features, and many of them focus mostly on displaying metrics and charts of online mentions. We aim to provide the best user experience for engaging with bloggers, while also providing tools to facilitate intra-company collaboration and reporting.
Connie: What advice would you give small businesses as they add an online presence?
Alex: If you’re a small business, the primary strategy must be to increase your rank in Google. Too often, businesses spend too many resources on their website’s design and not enough effort on increasing the number of organic (unpaid) visits from Google searches. Choose to work with professionals who will advise you on how to build a website and online presence that will position you highly in Google. Next, think about
which social networks to join and how to participate in them. After all, people are spending their time socializing on these networks — from Twitter to Flickr to Facebook to YouTube, and many more. By maintaining an active presence on the appropriate social networks for your business, you will attract new people to your own web properties. Finally, consider maintaining a professional or business blog. A history of quality posts may turn into your most powerful asset for establishing your online presence, establishing your credibility, and gaining authority in your field. Working on these aspects should lead to increased conversions and customer retention. There is a slight learning curve to using social media, but in time, this should feel natural and something you look forward to!
Our thanks to Alex for his time & contributions to the social media world! For the last question, I consider the social networking as building community & completely agree with Alex. It takes time, starts slow & builds. But you definitely need tools to do it.
You can find Alex at:
his blog – AlexDC.org
Have you tried StartPR.com? I’m sure that Alex would welcome your feedback.Google+