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Business.gov Launches First Government-Sponsored Online Community for Small Businesses

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Business.gov Launches First Government-Sponsored Online Community for Small Businesses

By erinwhaley
Published: March 23, 2010

It's official - the press release went out yesterday! Since we lent live one month ago, we are thrilled to have over 1,200 registered members. That's an average of 40 new members per day! Now that we are off the ground, we want to share how things are going, and explain how we are raising awareness about the Community and encouraging member participation.

Raising Awareness with Social Media

When we launched the Community last month, we leveraged the extensive social network that we have built over the last year to get the word out. Through the use of tools such as Facebook and Twitter, we have been able to share important information with more people than ever before. Over 100 people have joined the Business.gov group on Facebook and over 1,700 people are following Businessdotgov on Twitter. We post messages or 'tweets' on all topics relevant to small business, and aim to be responsive to the needs of the small business community. A single 'tweet' can have a viral affect, resulting in follow-on 'tweets' and other communications between industry experts and other members of the small business community.

Since the launch, we continue to reach out to our friends and followers to participate in the discussions occurring in the Community forums. We 'tweet' on a daily basis about small business matters and our followers are quickly becoming reliable resources for the Community. For example, when a member recently posted a tough question, we 'tweeted' about it and received an immediate response.

Encouraging Participation

One of the ways members can participate is by submitting ideas in the Tell Us... section. In response to an idea submitted by one of our first members, we created an Introduce Yourself board where members can share a little bit about who they are and what they do. So far, 108 members have introduced themselves, representing the many different faces of small business. They include self-employed individuals, aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners, as well as industry and government experts.

One business is in the US. and wants to sell products abroad; another is in another country and wants to sell products online in the US. One is trying to sell certified green products to the government; another is trying to get a new product certified by the EPA. One entrepreneur is a practicing CPA and another is a retired federal employee. The list goes on.

We have made it a priority to try to respond to each and every member, welcoming them to the Community. We are starting to see other members respond to each other's introductions as well. It is amazing to see everyone's willingness to help each other, through introductions, and in the discussion forums. Members are sharing advice so that others can benefit from their experiences. This is what the Community is all about and what will sustain it over time.

Giving Thanks

Thanks to all of our members for making the launch of this Community a success! We will continue to post articles like this one to share more going forward. Stay tuned for related articles in the coming weeks, including Partnering with the Government, Why Not Community?, and Community Ranks & Roles. You can also view the blog calendar at any time.

About the Author:

Comments:

Hi, I like the community very much and it seem to be working fine. However there are many people who come and start promoting their own services in the first post they make. I think that some restrictions over self-promotion would make the discussions much more useful for those who come to search for help and reference. ThanksAlexCEO of Host Color - Web Hosting ProviderMessage Edited by NicoleD on 09-11-2009 09:51 AM
Very novel concept with GOOD info for us small business owners. A lot of the guides here / resources were enormously helpful! John.VPS HostingSmall Business Web HostMessage Edited by NicoleD on 09-11-2009 09:51 AM
Reading and talking to other small business owners have had a really positive effect on my business. The people in the community are great and help a lot when you have problems. Thumb up. HenkMPH OosteekloComputers Els Message Edited by Christine_Lai on 09-08-2009 12:12 PM
Thank you for the positive feedback! We are thrilled that the community is working for you.
Hi, I like the community very much and it seem to be working fine. However there are many people who come and start promoting their own services in the first post they make. I think that some restrictions over self-promotion would make the discussions much more useful for those who come to search for help and reference. ThanksAlexCEO of Host Color - Web Hosting ProviderMessage Edited by NicoleD on 09-11-2009 09:51 AM
Honestly, being able to talk to like minded small business owners on this community has been enormously helpful. Keep up the great work on business.gov :) Omer A.MMO and RPG Music Site OwnerVG Alliance LLC (New Jersey)Message Edited by NicoleD on 09-11-2009 09:50 AM
Very novel concept with GOOD info for us small business owners. A lot of the guides here / resources were enormously helpful! John.VPS HostingSmall Business Web HostMessage Edited by NicoleD on 09-11-2009 09:51 AM
Honestly, being able to talk to like minded small business owners on this community has been enormously helpful. Keep up the great work on business.gov :) Omer A.MMO and RPG Music Site OwnerVG Alliance LLC (New Jersey)Message Edited by NicoleD on 09-11-2009 09:50 AM
Thank you for the positive feedback! We are thrilled that the community is working for you.
Reading and talking to other small business owners have had a really positive effect on my business. The people in the community are great and help a lot when you have problems. Thumb up. HenkMPH OosteekloComputers Els Message Edited by Christine_Lai on 09-08-2009 12:12 PM

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