New Social Network Entre Promoted as a LinkedIn Competitor

New Social Network Entre Promoted as a LinkedIn Competitor


Freelancers and entrepreneurs searching for an alternative to LinkedIn should take a look at a new social network called Entre. It’s been designed to supply everything needed to kickstart your enterprise in one spot.

Small Business Trends contacted Michael Marra, the CEO/Founder  at Entre, to find out how this product folds into The Future of Work.

“Entre is a social network for entrepreneurs, investors, freelancers, and anyone that is self-employed,” he writes. “Our mobile and web app makes it easier for entrepreneurs to network, start and grow their businesses online.”



Entre Social Network for Entrepreneurs

Like a lot of good products, it was born from personal experience. Marra explains.

“I started Entre from my own struggles finding like-minded people to connect with when I quit my job as a Civil Engineer. There wasn’t a place and easy way to get started as an entrepreneur.”

There’s a free mobile and web app. Marra stresses how Entre brings everything entrepreneurs need together under one roof. That’s a bonus, he says, that was hard to find.

“Entrepreneurship is completely fragmented,” he says. “Entrepreneurs are using 8-12 different platforms to network, start, and grow their businesses.”

This alternative to LinkedIn seeks to streamline the process for startups.

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“If they’re just starting out, they can  ask questions, get feedback on an idea and find their co-founders,” Marra says. “Entrepreneurs can also get the support they need from a community of like-minded people.”

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He says as a small business grows this platform lets them launch a service or product and connect with investors. They can find mentors and even post jobs to build their team on Entre.

But that’s not everything that separates this new platform from the competition.

“There’s no other mobile and web app that offers a social experience with all of our features for entrepreneurs. LinkedIn has similar features but they charge way more for their premium subscription than we do. And it costs a lot of money to post a job on their platform.”

Another big advantage for startups and self-employed people is the tool  is just starting out too.

“Small businesses will benefit from promoting their businesses in a new place, “Marra says, With us they can learn how to get their business online. As we grow and COVID dies down we’ll get more local with our functionality and offer more for small businesses.”

Entre plans to build the biggest entrepreneur network in the world.

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Customers Prefer Brands with a Friendly Voice on Social Media

Customers Prefer Brands with a Friendly Voice on Social Media


 

A new survey by Adzooma found 55.7% of people would unfollow a brand because of the way they spoke online. The research tried to show what customers actually feel about brands with strong personalities and how it would influence their purchasing decisions.  

Businesses portray their personalities through the way their brand speaks, its visuals, and even in their customer service policies. It is important because it helps the brand to clearly define its personality in order to resonate with its consumers.  

With the surge in online buying in the wake of COVID-19 brands are more important than ever. Besides seeing a boom in local buying around a third of households say they have also increased their digital spending. One of the main drivers here is that customers are buying more emotionally these days by aligning with brands they have a sentimental attachment with.

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A strong brand personality is a great way for a business to get noticed online. In fact 57.5% of customers would buy from brands with strong personalities. A further 51.2% of consumers have purchased from a brand because of the way they spoke online. Only almost a third (29.9%) have admitted they wouldn’t be swayed by either brand or personality.



What Kind of Brand Personalities Do Customers Want?

  • 13.1% of people prefer a professional tone
  • 13.1% of people preferred a fun or ‘quirky’ tone
  • 2.4% of people preferred a sarcastic tone
  • 21.4% of people prefer a mixture of all

Why friendly brand personalities matter: Businesses need to give their brand a friendly face. This is because it helps ease communications and engagement with customers. A brand personality helps customers to relate to the characteristics at a human level based on shared ideals.

A friendly personality helps Customers become more loyal and make them feel they can trust a brand.

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How to Use Alignable for Your Business Network

How to Use Alignable for Your Business Network


Alignable was established to nurture the relationships small businesses have with each other and create new ones. These relationships help local businesses grow and succeed. Alignable is the platform where they can come together to make this happen.

As Eric Groves, CEO and Co-Founder, Alignable, said in a presentation with Small Business Trends, when small businesses succeed, “… They create a great quality of life for people in their communities.”



What Is Alignable and How Does It Work?

Alignable is a small business referral network with 25,000 plus communities. It allows business owners to build a relationship based on trust to reinforce referrals. Alignable works by connecting business communities together and increasing word-of-mouth for their business. It is much like a social media channel for small business owners to network with each other.

1. Set Up Your Profile

When you set up your Alignable profile, you want to include information that will answer questions other small business owners will ask about you quickly and easily. This includes who you are, what you do, where you come from, the kinds of customers you are looking for, and the products and services you provide. The goal is to maximize your referrability. But don’t stop there.

You should also include your most recent contact information. From street address to a website, phone number, and social media pages, do not leave anything behind! When it comes to making your brand visible, make your logos and banner images stand out so your audience can easily identify who you are right away. And do not forget to put a great headshot of yourself to help put a face to your business.

Once you have this setup, post your events and promotions in your profile so it can be shared in your Alignable network through the “Word of Mouth” and “My Community” pages.

Finally, add tags so the Alignable system can show you to owners in your business community that relate to your business to create more meaningful connections and referrals.

2. Build Your Network

With close to 30,000 communities and millions of connections, you have many opportunities to grow and build your network.

Start connecting with your local business network by browsing nearby businesses in your community. Getting recommended by clients and customers you know in your community will start to build credibility in your business and the Alignable network. Once you have several business owners under your belt, you can start the process of growing your community based on the credibility you have already established.

3. Make and Receive Recommendations

When you make and receive recommendations, you are building your reputation and that of the people in your network. This will make your profile appear higher on the search results on Alignable.

Even though this might seem like Alignable reviews, it is far from it. The recommendations come from actual business owners who have more than a transactional experience to ensure credibility and reliability. Additionally, these recommendations show the trust your business has established with others in your community.

The 5+1 rule of thumb on Alignable suggests giving 5 recommendations as a starting point and setting a goal of adding at least one recommendation and review every month. This not only gets shared with your network, but it is one way to stay top-of-mind with your network so they can share you and your business.

4. Ask and Answer Questions

As a small business owner asking and answering questions is one way you can use Alignable and the social media aspect of the platform. This engagement will highlight your expertise in your field and show your level of engagement with others in your network.

When you like and share a question you have answered or an answer you’ve received, you will grow your small business and the social network of your community. The interactions that take place when you ask and answer questions or like a particular posting is responsible optimized to deliver more accurate connections and resources for your business.

5. Announce Events and Products

Staying top-of-mind means announcing to businesses, whether they are in your network or not, about events and products your small business is coming up with. The announcements are automatically listed on your Community Calendar and your Alignable connections will be notified. They in turn can like and refer them with businesses in their network so it can reach more people.

If used properly, these announcements can be valuable marketing research tools as you will get input from your network on what they like, do not like as well as suggestions on how to make improvements from experts.

6. Send and Receive Messages

As a business social network, Alignable allows you to send and receive messages with people in and out of your network.

You can send a single message to a single local business owner or create a Group Message Thread with up to 20 businesses to get in touch with. Once you create a group name, they will be available for future messaging with a simple click.

7. Keep Up with Notifications

Staying engaged is an important component of Alignable. This requires keeping up with your notifications in and out of your network. Your notification page lets you see your latest activity including new connections.

8. Explore Premium Features

The Premium and Premium Plus features in Aligangle give you more access and features to increase your visibility on the platform and online.

With Premium, you can get 40 introductions/connections each month (105 with Premium Plus). This allows you to connect with any one of the growing number of businesses on Alignable in the U.S. and Canada.

The tools on the Premium features include the ability to see the details of who visited your profile; increase your visibility, status and trust; stand out in Google searches; build and forward and online referral card; access to the Business Owner Advice forum.

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What is Alignable Used For?

Alignable is used to connect peers in the small business community by building trusted relationships to getting more referrals. It also allows you to promote your local business so you can increase your visibility in your community, across your state and even nationwide.

Sharing About the Products and Services You Offer

Post new products, services, events or specials regularly to keep the local businesses in your community up to date with all of your latest offerings.

1. Connecting with Small Businesses in Your Area

With Alignable you are a click away to interact with local small businesses in your area. With the connectivity the platform provides, you can grow your business together with your peers and engage with each other through Q&A and messaging. This gives you the connectivity of other social media channels without additional noise.

2. Giving and Getting Referrals

Connecting with local owners in your area also includes giving and getting referrals. This is part of the Alignable business social network that builds relationships to increase your customer base and help other businesses grow.

3. Sharing and Receiving Advice

You can contribute as an expert to business owner discussions in your industry as well as seek advice from peers to help you with a problem. With tens of thousands of communities, you can find real-world solutions to your real-world problem from actual business owners.

4. Chatting Easily with Other Small Business Owners

At the end of the day, Alignable is looking to simplify the communication channels with other local small business owners so they can chat easily without any barriers. You can create chat groups to network with like-minded business owners and industry segments to learn more from each other.

Alignable provides a way for small business owners to network with each other across a city or the country.

Who is the Owner of Alignable?

Launching in 2014, Alignable was founded by Eric Groves and Venkat Krishnamurthy with the goal of making it easy for business owners to meet one another. The founders took the early lessons learned from bringing small businesses together in Acton, Massachusetts. The process of simply introducing business owners to each other and helping them build relationships has grown the network to over 5 million businesses.

From Assistant Vice President at CitiGroup managing $90 million in a diverse credit portfolio early in his career to Senior Vice President at Constant Contact, Eric Groves brings a wealth of experience to Alignable. In his more than 10 years at Constant Contact, Groves led the company’s go-to-market efforts, leading to 400,000 customers and $200 million in revenue from the startup stage.

Groves has had leadership roles in business development, mergers and acquisitions, and sales at CitiGroup, AltaVista, iAtlas, InfoUSA, SBC Communications(AT&T), and MFS Communications. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors for several companies.

In helping small business owners Groves said:

“Everyday business owners work their way through challenges they need to overcome in order to succeed. Challenges associated with growing their customer base, serving their clients, accessing capital, dealing with regulations, managing employees and the list goes on and on. Overcoming challenges alone is a daunting task especially when the decisions being made directly impact your livelihood. The ability to connect and work with other business owners (many of whom have faced and overcome these same challenges) greatly improves the odds you’ll succeed.”

As to how Alignable will help Groves adds. “Alignable provides a platform where business owners can connect with each other, build relationships, and gain access to the referrals needed for business success. In short, they no longer have to operate alone.”

Venkat Krishnamurthy is a serial entrepreneur and alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology and Stanford University (Ph.D., Computer Science). Krishnamurthy says, “I enjoy disruptive innovation and have taught a course at MIT on the subject, and also consult/advise at all stages of growth.”

It is this disruptive curiosity that has garnered him an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 2001 and expertise in diverse fields as Manufacturing, Metrology, Orthodontics, and EAS/Security. Krishnamurthy is using his academic achievement to provide access to quality education for underprivileged (and really all) children.

In helping businesses connect Krishnamurthy said:

“Prior to co-founding Alignable, I was amazed at how business owners worked in isolation. I had a discussion with a restaurant owner who was interested in meeting the person who ran a wine store literally across the street. When he found out I had talked with him about a business idea I was working on, he asked me if I could introduce him. He’d tried a number of ways to reach the owner including asking the employees if the business owner was available joining local networking groups, but was still unable to make the connection. When I reached out to the wine store owner he said “happy to meet another business owner and friend of yours” just make an introduction.”

Adding, “That’s why helping to break the ice, owner to owner, is one of the most used features on Alignable.”

Alignable is venture-backed by Mayfield Fund, Recruit Strategic Partners, Saturn Partners, NextView Ventures and Lead Edge Capital.

Is Alignable Spammy?

No, Alignable is not spammy. Why, because you control who in your contacts gets an email. When you sign up you can deselect the “All” button and choose people you actually know and are more likely interested to hear from you.

Throughout the whole process, you choose who to send an invitation to. Moreover, Aliganable does not sell this information to further protect your privacy and that of your contacts.

Image: Alignable




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How to Use Reddit to Promote Your Lawyer Business

How to Use Reddit to Promote Your Lawyer Business


If you’re a lawyer, were you aware Reddit could be a good way to boost your business?

Now, you may be asking yourself, “What’s Reddit?”

Reddit calls itself the “front page of the internet” but it’s really just a collection of communities, called “subreddits” where users participate in threaded discussions on topics of all kinds. It’s got more than 300 million active users and has seen a bit of a resurgence in popularity the last few years.

And one attorney based in New Jersey tells us the site can be a great way to show off your legal expertise and potentially meet new clients.

“People choose a lawyer by expertise and experience,” says attorney Lauren E. Scardella. Scardella recently published an article about how lawyers can use Reddit to grow business.

“Judicious and active use of Reddit can help a lawyer showcase that (expertise and experience),” she says.

Among the thousands of subreddits are people looking for some advice, not necessarily from an attorney, but definitely some legitimate expert advice.

And if you’re vigilant and searching the right communities on Reddit, you can offer that advice to the person looking for it. And once they find out you’re a lawyer, you may be the first person they turn to as their representative in court.

Here’s a good example of how an attorney can use Reddit to potentially find a client to represent:

A person visits the Law topic on Reddit and finds a subreddit on agreements with contractors. If this is an area where you’re an expert, you visit there and find someone who’s having a problem with a contractor they hired. They’re not getting anywhere with the contractor and they need legal advice.

If you supply them with the proper legal advice, that disgruntled person could turn to you and ask you to represent them.

Scardella pointed out 2 very simple ways to meet potential new clients on Reddit and to use the site to offer your written legal expertise that addresses peoples’ real-life problems.



How Can a Lawyer Increase Business with Reddit?

Here are 2 super simple ways a lawyer can use Reddit to increase their business.

Host an AMA (Ask Me Anything)

Ask Me Anything (or AMA) forums are a great way to show off your legal expertise to a wide audience. They’re not just for celebrities and big-time CEOs.

Because Reddit is so granular, you can host a legal AMA on any area where your firm has an expertise.

Hosting an AMA on Reddit only takes a few steps to verify that you’re real. Once you’ve completed those steps and you’re all set up, be sure to promote your upcoming AMA to field questions and have responses at the ready.

Scardella says responses to AMAs are one of the top ways for a lawyer to grow business.

“Done well, you engage regularly and respectfully,” she says. “You can link Reddit to your other social media.”

Scardella adds that within Reddit’s massive user base, AMAs remain a popular forum.

Participate in Subreddits

Reddit has an endless supply of subreddits.

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“These can get pretty narrow and granular,” Scardella says. “So a lawyer can search for subreddits that fit with their areas of practice and engage with people there, not in a salesy way.”

It may take some time to find exactly the right threads in which to participate but if you find someone who genuinely needs legal advice and you can offer it, by all means, do so.

“Lawyers need to find the forums on reddit (the subreddits) where their potential clients are, and they need to engage with them there on genuine ways,” she says. “Ideally, the lawyer has genuine personal interest in the topic of the subreddit so other redditors (reddit users) have a sense that the lawyer is engaging with them in the subreddit our of genuine commitment to the topic rather than obligation.”

For example: Here’s a post from September under a subreddit called Legal Advice. You can check out the question and responses here.

“I’m being fired for following company policy. I’m currently working from home because COVID. At the beginning of the pandemic our company decided most people should work from home and we could access the on-site resources that we need through the company VPN. A week or so later they sent an e-mail asking us to refrain from using the VPN too much because it wasn’t holding the pressure very well. The new policy was to use the VPN only when necessary and just be on our home network for all the rest. I scrupulously followed this policy because lately I have mostly been working on technical reports and rarely needed to access the specific on site resources anyway. Yesterday I was called in by higher management for a “productivity review”. I was accused of spending days not working, because I didn’t use the VPN for days at a time. Turns out they reviewed everyone’s VPN login history, and decided that we weren’t logged on the VPN, we weren’t working. From what they said I’ll probably be terminated for stealing company time. I feel this is particularly unfair since we were asked not to use the VPN when not needed.

I met all my deadlines and there wasn’t any issue with any client. I probably worked even more hours than before because I didn’t waste time commuting. Since I’ve started at this company 12 years ago my performance reviews have always gone very well and I’ve been promoted regularly.

I’ve talked to colleagues and there are five of us in the same situation. We’re all over 40 and with high salaries. I think this is a covert way to eliminate “expensive” employees from the payroll. Do I have any recourse? Would it be considered wrongful termination?”

The person who posted this question is from New York. There were more than 100 responses to the question. Many of those responding were lawyers, and the person who posted the issue received plenty of good advice.

If your posted advice was something that stuck with that person, they likely would turn to you as their legal representative. You’re already familiar with their problem and when they needed some advice, you were there to provide it.

It doesn’t take a lot of salesmanship to make that connection but if a thread is crowded with legal opinions, reaching out to that user via a message on the site could be the next step to lock them in as your client.

How to Get Started on Reddit

Reddit is huge. If you don’t learn to get specific about your use of the site, you can spend too much time wading through the ever-expanding amount of information on the site.

You can avoid the overload by taking specific steps while setting up your account. Go to the Reddit site (www.reddit.com) and click on the sign in box at the upper right hand side. Fill in all the required information.

Then you can choose your subreddits. For example, a lawyer may choose “r/law – developments in the law and legal profession” or r/legal advice. You can subscribe to those subreddits.

When you sign in, you’ll see your chosen subreddits and will also get some general subreddits that all users see. You can remove those, so that your Reddit only shows the topics you have chosen.

Is Reddit Worth It for Lawyers?

People seeking a lawyer are looking for a combination of expertise and experience.

“By providing free (non-legal) advice and guidance in areas of their expertise, it allows lawyers to connect with many people, some of whom will become prospects,” Scardella says. “Even more importantly, from the perspective of the prospect, connecting with the lawyer on Reddit is a “small bet” – a way to begin a relationship without risk to see how humane, conscientious, and knowledgeable the lawyer is.”

Scardella adds that using Reddit can turn out to be an excellent tool for business development, if done well.

“Done well means engaging regularly and always respectfully with people, providing value through AMAs and helping people where you can, and (here is a valuable key) using other social media to promote your Reddit presence,” she says. “While it’s great to run an AMA, why not schedule it 7-10 days in advance and use all of your other social media channels and your website to advertise it? You never know who has visited your other social channels but is actually the most engaged on Reddit. With such a massive user base, it’s guaranteed to be more prospective clients than you think.”

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15 Efficient and effective ways to use Instagram stories

15 Efficient and effective ways to use Instagram stories


A great way to reach tons of current and potential customers with limited time and budget is to use Instagram Stories as adding this approach to your marketing strategy can be a significant boon Engagement. To help you use this feature, we asked Young Entrepreneur Council members the following question: <! – ->

“Time and other resources can be scarce. How can small businesses make the most of the Instagram Stories feature? Why is this approach so effective? "



Strategies for Instagram Stories

Here's what YEC community members had to say:

1. Use Later.com to plan stories

<! – -> “For reasons of time, I like to plan our Instagram posts and stories in advance using a tool called Later.com . In this way, we constantly create relevant content and plan it around our promotions, holidays, special offers and news. “~ Rachel Beider PRESS Modern Massage

2. Make a temporary offer

“Stories only last 24 hours and are therefore the perfect place to create temporary offers. This works well because it creates the fear of missing out, which can force users to act quickly. You will increase conversions and get involved in no time. "~ Blair Williams MemberPress

3. Plan stories around hashtags

“Hashtags are an important part of social media culture. If you want to make the most of your time and resources, publish a temporary story and use relevant trend hashtags in your story. Your audience is likely to see your content as you browse their favorite hashtags and topics. "~ Chris Christoff MonsterInsights

4. Use stories for product launches

“I like to use Instagram Stories as part of my marketing strategy week before launching a new product or service. In this way, followers can be informed about upcoming product or service launches. If you have over 10,000 followers, you can add a link to what you want to promote. I usually add a link to a landing page where my followers can add their names to the waiting list. "~ Kristin Kimberly Marquet Marquet Media, LLC

5. Share user-generated content

“Half the challenge of managing a channel like Instagram is to get engaging content. With user-generated content, small businesses benefit from authenticity and can reduce the time it takes to create content for the channel. This is also great because you can prioritize content that has been proven to perform well. “~ Kyle Wong Pixlee <! – ->

6. Practice influencer marketing

“Instead of just focusing on your Instagram story, you should contact an influencer. If you can make a deal, these people can post high quality content about their story that will actively promote your brand. This tactic is effective because in some cases, millions of people see stories posted by popular influencers. "~ John Turner SeedProd LLC

7. Track KPIs

“Stories work because customers don't like to be flooded with Instagram updates on their walls. Stories help you track which stories have had the most audience engagement, the best message, and the real engagement of such customers. Once you've tracked these KPIs, you can start the right marketing message based on real metrics instead of just guessing. That saves time and money! "~ David Chen GTIF Capital

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8. Interact and get feedback

<! – -> “Instagram Stories are an excellent tool to enable a more constant and fluid interaction with our fans and the audience. Make sure you get the most out of them: interact with your customers, create surveys, ask them which products or services they prefer most, and ask them what should improve as a company. The possibilities are endless. "~ Kevin Leyes Leyes Enterprises

9th Post Behind-The-Scenes-Stories

“While this depends on the nature of your business, most of our customers see the best results with authentic stories behind the scenes. Instead of trying to be overly creative with product placements or constantly bragging about yourself, get your team involved, showing your processes, your office, and your warehouse. People connect with people, not with products. "~ Karl Kangur About Haus

10. Create highlights

“Instagram stories are a great way to share information about a company that makes digestion easier. The disadvantage? You will lose this content after 24 hours. However, by using the highlighting feature, your content can be preserved over the long term, so that old and new users get easily accessible information. "~ Leila Lewis Be Inspired PR

11. Prioritize social evidence

“People trust content created by their colleagues through brand communication. You can share your users' content as they interact with your products and your brand. This will make your stories more compelling and also provide social evidence, build trust faster, and lead to conversions. "~ Syed Balkhi WPBeginner

12. Post questions and surveys

“Use the question and poll features in Instagram Stories to generate more engagement and get quick feedback. Your audience is looking for interaction. So instead of just looking at a story, let it interact with you. Gather feedback on product options, what you want to see more, or ask them what questions they want to answer, or what areas they need help with. "~ Jared Weitz United Capital Source Inc.

13. Share live events

“Live events can take the form of a free lesson, event reporting, an exclusive interview, or a special product reveal. It can generate traffic through notifications to your followers that you are currently going live in their social feed. These events are rarely held on Instagram. Use this space and go live as much as possible. "~ Maria Thimothy OneIMS

14. Give people a compelling reason to follow your stories

“Reward your audience and encourage engagement by making unique offers available only to story viewers. Offers can include product discounts, free trials, engagement rewards, etc. It is important, however, that you give your audience a uniquely valuable reason to follow your stories. By making your stories unique to them and their interactions, you will have a much better success. "~ Jordan Conrad Explained Writing

15. Form a community

"Don't just post content about your business. Create interaction. Use the polling feature to ask your followers questions and republish the best answers. Run a campaign that is relevant to your industry and encourages people to do so To tag them in their stories, then post them in your own story with insightful, thoughtful, or just "funny" comments. The audience loves the interaction, so take the time to encourage it. "~ Thomas Smale FE International

Image: Depositphotos.com

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