Micro, Meet Tech; Tech, Meet Micro

Square-Event-July-300x225CAMEO has been on a quest to bring you information about the technologies that are empowering self-employment and microbusiness. Last week, we co-hosted a lunch for our Bay Area members at Square’s offices with representatives from Square, LinkedIn, Salesforce, and Twitter to discuss how their tools help small businesses. Andrew took notes on how the different tools work with businesses.

Lana Khavinson, LinkedIn
The social media space is always changing: new platforms are constantly emerging and established platforms adapting. It’s important to think about where a business’s clients congregate online and build a presence there, rather than trying to chase every platform. LinkedIn is all about businesses answering questions for each other, such as, how do I attract customers? how do i retain customers? LinkedIn has several free tools. Urges everyone to have at least a basic LI profile, naturally. How do you find partners investors vendors or suppliers on LI? Service providers should DEFINITELY have a presence on LI. Retailers and food trucks probably not going to be best served by the platform, unless they’re specifically looking for B2B connections.

Karen Martell, Square
The Square reader lets you accept credit cards on your phone or tablet, for which they charge a 2.75% fee and offer next day deposits. They also sell a stand that serves as a more full service POS register. They’re interested in providing their users with a more complete backend service, so they’ve recently rolled out an invoice solution, plus inventory management services and analytics. Square integrates with QuickBooks and other online accounting services.

A lot of salons rely on Square for their register needs, and so Square has started to offer an appointments program for businesses to book their clients. They’ve also started to move into microlending, launching a capital program to their users. Businesses can run their payroll through Square, too, for a small fee per employee per month.

Nelson Huang, SalesForce
SalesForce is focused on Customer Relationship Management. The product covers the entire sales cycle from attraction to post-sale follow-up. They offer packages for nonprofits and small businesses, which provide a smaller list of features at a reduced rate,. Many users rely on SalesForce for their contact database, but they offer even more beyond; SalesForce grows with the business, so companies can expand their database as they increase in size and complexity. Many email programs like MailChimp and Vertical Response integrate with SalesForce, and there’s a robust app ecosystem covers a wide variety of user needs.

Will Heidrich, Twitter
Will helps nonprofits get the most out of Twitter. He walked us through the basics of using Twitter (and other social media) effectively: have a plan, first and foremost. What do you want to use Twitter for? Are you connecting with customers? Raising money? Developing community? Start tweeting once a day then respond to people as they talk to you. Slowly grow your post frequency as you get more comfortable with the platform. Create a brand voice; establish basic rules around what kind of face you present. Are you friendly? Informative? Be careful with hashtags; look at what other users are doing with that hashtag before you use it.