Holly KolmanTwitter Specialist & Small Business Strategy
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Recently told, "Nobody tweets better than you!' by a client, I will focus your efforts for maximum results to build relationships to result in sales and word of mouth referrals.



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I recently asked an IP attorney how people get startups off the ground when the idea can't possibly pay for itself in the idea phase.

Her answer? Go get a job at McDonald's. She didn't actually mean to get a job at McDonalds - what she meant is, find other income that won't cut into your personal expenses to fund the idea to execute it properly.

If there isn't money to pay a coder, there's probably also not money to pay your IP lawyer - and how will you get a patent without an IP lawyer? Even LegalZoom charges you to do an application.

The main reason startups fail is that they burn through all their cash faster than they thought they would, or are undercapitalized in the first place.

It's very enticing (and quite maddening) to have an idea that you just "know" is going to be a success but not have the money to pay professionals to do it for you. But, that's exactly what must be done - pay professionals.

Or, take a free course online from Stanford or MIT on how to use Swift (the iPhone coding language) - or take the gaming classes on Udemy and hope for the best.

Because, in the final analysis, you're not just coding an app, you're starting a business. A business that will need marketing and copywriting and social media support - and if you come back asking for someone to do that for free, there are plenty of answered questions here from marketing professionals telling you that you can't ask that, either.

Failure to launch isn't just a movie about a guy who won't leave home. It's also an unfortunate scenario for a lot of would-be business owners - one that I hope for your sake that you can avoid.


Yes, there are several apps that allow you to Tweet directly, such as Hootsuite and Buffer, along with other enterprise-level solutions. Yes, there is a Twitter API. However, this particular API has proven to be difficult for a lot of developers and they have left the space.

If you're going to go this route, be sure you hire a developer who knows how to get their app working with the "new" API.


It's less about the service and more about who's on the service.

On April 17, 2009, at 10:11 AM, Oprah Winfrey tweeted: "HI TWITTERS . THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21st CENTURY ."

And that was it.

Twitter servers started crashing every fifteen minutes. A piece of artwork known as the Fail Whale was a constant fixture preventing the rest of us from carrying on our early adopter conversations.

Then, other celebrities started taking it seriously.

Then, journalists started showing up.

There are a lot of other services that work like Twitter. Some of them are even free and open source. Some, like App.net, have paid membership levels.

They just don't have the same people on it as Twitter, and that makes all the difference.


My hat is off to you for starting a non-profit. That's never easy, but hopefully it's rewarding.

If I were in your shoes, I'd look for someone with experience with the IndieGoGo crowdfunding platform to donate their time to help you with your launch, and gather some volunteers to write posts, tweets, Instagram pictures, etc. that generate excitement about what you're doing.

I say volunteers instead of $10/hour workers, for the same reason everyone else has said that - because you won't get high level help at that rate.

What you CAN do is pay for a Hootsuite Pro account that allows team members to write and schedule posts that won't go live until someone with more life experience and a better understanding of your brand can review them to make any edits or to delete the ones that don't match your brand identity.

If you really want to go cheap and find people to write the posts, you may find them on Fiverr.com, where you can hire people for specific gigs on an as-needed basis. Again, you'll only want them to post to Hootsuite in a way that can be monitored by a more senior spokesperson.

Take a look at LinkedIn for people who have expressed an interest in volunteering for the keywords that match what your nonprofit hopes to accomplish. They'll be there.

Another way to amplify your message is to join a program like Social Buzz Club, Triberr, or Empire Avenue that will let you add links to be reposted by others in those clubs. Club members pick and choose what they want to send out.

Best of luck to you, and look for those volunteers! They're out there!


I would look for people who are influential in your target market and talk with them individually.

Even though your product is based online, it might be beneficial to start with local chamber of commerce networking so you can meet your prospects in person. If your product can capture their attention, keep them close to you and overcommunicate to get their feedback on what they like and don't like and where they get stuck. Help them build the habit of using your SaaS.

Iterate if you need to overcome roadblocks to successfully adopting the software - maybe make training videos, or add documentation, or make changes to the product itself if there's resistance to using some part of it.

What you want to do is really bond those early users to you and find your evangelists who will talk about your product on social media and livestreaming platforms like Periscope and Blab.

Interview the early users on video using Blab or Google Hangouts or use one of the Skype recorders to ask them how they use the product, how it helps them, how it's made their life easier or their business better, and get their permission in writing to add that to your YouTube channel and then share it on your social media channels, paying careful attention to LinkedIn, since that's where you'll find a lot of B2B customers.

Once you've built up about 5 or 6 of those evangelists, start hosting webinars. Splice the YouTube comments into the webinars so attendees can see how people just like them are using your SaaS.

The main thing is to remember to treat people as individuals and not try to lump them into a group, and really do a good job of babysitting and nurturing those early users of your service.

If you'd like some strategies on finding those people and how to reach out to them, please feel free to schedule a call with me.


If you're entering the world of eCommerce for the first time, I would pay careful attention to the security of your website. If you plan to build on WordPress, make sure your developer is up to date on security protocols, such as making sure the hosting company has the latest version of PHP. WordPress is built in the PHP language, and some hosting companies are behind on updating, which makes it much easier for hackers to take control.

You'll also want to make sure you're up to date on tax considerations. For example, if you have customers in Europe, you'll want to educate yourself on the VAT rules that came into play at the start of the year and ensure your web developer knows how to handle them.

You'll also want to educate yourself on social selling, such as Pinterest buy buttons.

There are other considerations, of course, but those are the first ones that spring to mind.


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