This article was excerpted from OPEN Book: Social Media. Find more resources and information from OPEN at openforum.com/socialmedia.
JASON RUDMAN, DIRECTOR OF OPENFORUM.COM, EXPLAINS HOW THIS RESOURCE FROM AMERICAN EXPRESS OPEN OFFERS A GREAT WAY TO STEP INTO THE SOCIAL MEDIA POOL (DOWNLOAD THE FULL PDF)
For business owners who are new to social media, OPEN Forum offers a great way to step into the social media pool without feeling like you’re diving in. OPEN Forum has a number of easy-to-use tools and practical tips to guide you, and you’ll be in the company of other business owners, many of whom are just as new to it as you are.
With OPEN Forum, we wanted to design a site where entrepreneurs could find the resources they need to help them build their businesses. Recognizing that connections can be powerful contributors to growth, we also wanted to enable you to share ideas and opportunities with each other. So we built into OPEN Forum the means for you to start using social media, a great tool for making connections. The following offers three simple ways for getting started.
First, there’s the Idea Hub, a library of insights and advice from experts like Anita Campbell, John Jantsch, Adam Ostrow, and Henry Blodget, as well as Guy Kawasaki of Alltop, Scott Belsky of Behance, and Jill Fehrenbacher of Inhabitat. There are also video interviews with celebrated entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, segments from MSNBC’s Your Business, presentations from events like the New York Times Small Business Summit – and more. Participating in the right social media channel means finding the right audience. On OPEN Forum, you’ll be in the company of other business owners whom you can engage with simply by adding a comment to an article or responding to others’ comments. Or, if you are wondering how other business owners are handling a situation, you can ask them by starting a discussion topic or using the Ask the Members feature.
Building Your Profile
Second, there’s the Connectodex – OPEN Forum’s tool for connecting business owners. It’s powerful and easy to use, providing you with a number of ways to find, meet and exchange ideas with potential partners and customers. You can search for companies that offer what you want, and if you have an OPEN Forum profile, others can find you when searching for your products or services. Your profile can be a digital business card for your company, describing who you are and what you offer. Add a logo or other images, your business story, and a personalized URL, as well as links to your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook pages.
To create a profile and start building your network in the Connectodex, you do need an American Express OPEN Business Card. Then you can simply log in using your americanexpress.com user ID and password. (If you don’t have these set up yet, there is a link for more information.)
Third, you can begin building your network. Members of OPEN Forum have a message center in the Connectodex where they can make direct introductions after viewing each other’s profiles. You can search businesses by industry, geography, business size and more. You can participate as much as or as little as you want. As your comfort level increases you can feel confident about engaging more and even in other channels, further building your network – and your business.
What You'll Find on OPEN Forum
OPEN Forum is home to a number of articles and resources specifically selected and designed to help business owners succeed. While we are continually looking for more content and tools to better serve our members, the following is just a sampling of what OPEN Forum currently offers:
Expert advice and insights from:
- The Business Insider
- Duct Tape Marketing
- How to Change the World
- Small Business Trends
Exclusive online articles from:
Video interviews with iconic entrepreneurs and experts from:
- OPEN’s “Inside the Entrepreneurial Mind” series
- MSNBC’s Your Business
- The New York Times Small Business Summit
- Plus, exclusive webisode series featuring profiles of entrepreneurs and experts, produced by Big Think and Next New Networks