Social Media Week Social Media Week

Next Conference: Past Conference: September 22-26, 2013

Getting Social with Small Businesses

Getting Social with Small Businesses


82 days until SMW February 22-26 Conference in Hamburg, Jakarta, Lagos, and New York. Learn more here.

Are you a small business owner wondering about how social might help your business? Our “Social Society” Theme Sponsor BMO shares some of their thoughts on the topic.

Recognizing the opportunity to connect with Canadian entrepreneurs, and help their businesses grow, BMO is excited to host the ‘Accelerating Small Business Growth in Our Economic Times’ event on Thursday February 16, as part of Social Media Week. Featuring two panels and a networking session, the event is intended to provide practical takeaways for small business owners.

First, Sean Stanleigh, editor of The Globe and Mail’s Report on Small Business moderates a panel of social media experts including: Julie Howlett of LinkedIn Canada, Chris Eben of The Working Group and Liz Strauss of Inside-Out Thinking. Then, Ian Portsmouth, editor and associate publisher of PROFIT Magazine will moderate a panel of small business owners, sharing firsthand insight into how they’ve leveraged various social platforms and digital tools to overcome obstacles on their way to success.

With Canadians spending almost twice the amount of time online compared to the worldwide average, the Internet and social media serve as excellent platforms through which to reach engaged audiences. A comScore study released last year showed the average Canadian spends 43.5 hours a month online, well above the global average 23.1 hours. Meanwhile, about one million Canadian small businesses have a website, Google Canada said last year.

Based on such knowledge, social media serves as an ideal means through which business owners can connect with each other and potential customers to build their businesses. It also provides the opportunity to share important business resources with each other. The BMO SmartSteps® for Business Community was launched in June 2011 with such goals in mind. Anchored by a daily blog, the community provides tips, techniques and resources relevant to small business owners, across topics including start up, cash management, marketing, financing and investing, and daily operations. Predominantly written by BMO Small Business Bankers, they offer firsthand knowledge that holds real value for small business owners.

Equally powerful, blogs, Twitter, and other social media channels allow business owners to share their own stories, resources and best practices with each other. Strong communities of entrepreneurs share blog posts hosted on their own company websites, and chat back and forth through Twitter. As a result, they develop mutually beneficial relationships to help each other grow. The BMO SmartSteps for Business Community embraced such sentiment through a video series that highlights three business owners’ lessons for innovative business growth. Other business owners can easily benefit from the firsthand insights shared through them. Meanwhile, the @BMOsmb Twitter handle is thriving as a source of interaction for business owners, and a tool for sharing business tips and new ideas.

Social media provides invaluable opportunities to answer questions, provide resources, and listen to what Canadians are saying about their business needs. By getting online, small business owners can truly benefit from the insights of others, while sharing their own lessons for success. In doing so, they will also be equipped for future developments in social media to further their business development.