co myBigz.com: Social Media for Local Business |

With online networking and social media sites getting so popular these days, it´s to be expected that more specialized social media websites will spring up. Recently, I was contacted by Stan German, a college student who has just launched his new networking resource, myBigz. This is a social media platform directed specifically at small businesses, home businesses and freelance professionals to meet and network with potential clients. He asked for feedback and ideas on how to expand his website, so rather than simply shoot him an email back, I decided to review myBigz here and give him a little publicity.

myBigz Social Media Site for Small Businesses Review

First Impressions: The web design is neat and clean, with blue bars dividing each section. While there are ads on the site, they are very unobtrusive, which I find makes for a better user experience. At this point, it is important for German to build up his membership, more than earn money, so I would suggest he hold off on any aggressive advertising until his numbers are up. When you first land on the homepage, myBigz is quite user friendly and easy to navigate.

What I Liked:

  • The clean layout and easy navigation
  • You can register as a small business, a creative professional or just a regular person, but if you are just looking for a business, you aren´t required to sign up.
  • Your business listing includes a Google Local map to help people find you, great idea!
  • Photos and videos are allowed on the site, as well as text, which means you can really show off your portfolio right on the social networking site.
  • When you register as a business or creative professional, you have the option of creating your own blog right there on myBigz, this really opens up the possibilities for gaining search engine traffic and bringing back repeat visitors.
  • The ability to add your own keywords to your profile is a very useful one that could also boost SEO if done right.

Improvements That Could Help Expansion

To tell you the truth, I do like how the website is laid out and I love the concept, but while advertised as a social network . . . it really isn´t based around a community. Of course, myBigz did just launch, but I think German really needs to focus on getting people to connect and network. At the moment, it seems a bit like a place for small businesses to put up ads and then forget about it.

Creating an incentive for members to participate might be helpful. There are a few ways to do this. First, German could offer a rating system on profiles or blogs so visitors can rate the businesses they find most helpful, thus spurring businesses to offer more in the way of participation. Another option could be to feature a business each week or day on the home page. At the moment there is a list of newest members, that could easily be replaced or added to with a “Business of the Day” feature. However, the businesses featured would have to be active participants on the site. As myBigz grows, a featured position could be quite the lure!

There is a forum on the website, but it currently has no messages. A good way to help with that is to simply start things off and maybe send out some emails inviting existing members to participate in the discussions. Most websites take a while to get their forums going and some even hire professional forum messengers to keep things active!

Apart from the community side of things, it might be a good idea to add a “Tell a Friend” link to each profile, making it easy for people to share businesses with their non-myBigz pals. Just something to think about. Apart from that, I would focus on getting the word out. Most businesses are thrilled with the idea of free advertising, so once German gets other people talking about his social media site, I think it will really take off.

Getting Others to Talk

A few ideas on how to get businesses interested:

  • Article marketing
  • Write bloggers and let them know about the site
  • Comment on blogs and leave the link to the site
  • Join other communities like MyBlogLog and StumbleUpon, build up a profile and you´ll gain extra exposure
  • Don´t forget to go offline, getting a press release in to local newspapers can be a great way to catch people´s attention.
  • Contact businesses directly. There´s no reason these have to be in your hometown, start looking for business websites elsewhere and contact them individually. Be careful not to spam, though.

Overall, I would have to say that German is off to a good start with myBigz and I look forward to seeing his social media and networking site grow in the future. If you have a business or are a creative professional, why not pop over and list your business for free? Free advertising certainly never hurts!

Caroline
Small Business Mavericks
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