Author: Thomas Bernal

How Organizations Can Use Twitter Spaces

It’s likely that social media marketing plays a vital part in your brand strategy. If that’s the case, you’re probably always on the lookout for new platforms and product features that enable you to interact with and engage your audience in different ways. This means you should know about Twitter Spaces.

Hot on the heels of launching Fleets, Twitter announced the initial rollout of Spaces, a new social experience built around audio-only chat rooms. It’s currently in the private beta phase, but it’s already clear that Spaces could offer numerous benefits to brands when it’s more widely available.

Here’s my take on Twitter’s latest feature.

What Is Twitter Spaces?

If you’ve got your finger on the pulse of social media, you’ve likely heard of a buzzworthy platform called Clubhouse, an ultra-exclusive, invite-only, audio-based social app that’s been a big hit with A-listers and Silicon Valley leaders alike.

Users have described it as akin to a live-action, free-flowing podcast where you can jump in and out of different rooms, listening to or joining in with conversations on a vast range of topics.

Spaces is effectively Twitter’s take on Clubhouse, except that it’ll (eventually) be available to everyone, not just a select few.

screen shot of tweet behind the twitter spaces feature

However, whereas Clubhouse has drawn criticism for its light approach to moderation, which makes it a potential breeding ground for online harassment, Twitter has made Spaces big on inclusivity. Its vision is to replicate the “magic feeling” of a “bomb dinner party,” where you don’t know all the guests, but everyone feels comfortable at the table.

At the time of writing, Twitter Spaces is still in the beta testing phase, with only a couple hundred users onboard, predominantly from groups prone to experiencing harassment and trolling. However, the initial reception has certainly been positive.

screenshot of a room in twitter spaces

How Does Twitter Spaces Work?

Now, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of Twitter Spaces.

Only those in the beta testing group can create Spaces, but anyone on iOS can join one. Twitter promises to expand the list of people who can create Spaces over time. When you get access, you’ll be able to start Spaces in two ways:

  • By long-pressing the Compose button, and then tapping the Spaces icon on the far left
  • Or by tapping your profile image in Fleets, scrolling to the far right, and tapping Spaces

While there’s no ceiling on the number of listeners to any given Space, the number of speakers is limited to 10. However, Twitter prefaces this with the words “for now,” which suggests it may increase the capacity for speakers down the line.

The host of a Space can determine who’s allowed to join with speaking privileges by choosing from:

  • Everyone
  • People you follow
  • Only people you specifically invite to speak (invites are sent as direct messages)

Once a Space is up and running, the host has the power to remove, report, and block participants, and they’re also the only person who’s able to end a session.

Now, more on that bit about removing, reporting, and blocking. In an ideal world, Twitter Spaces would be self-policing, with trolls immediately kicked out and reported for infringements, but that’s not the case here.

Twitter says it’ll retain copies of all Spaces for 30 days after they end, giving its team the chance to review the session for violations of the Twitter rules. If they find any violations, they’ll increase the timespan to 90 days to allow people to appeal if they believe a mistake has been made.

For as long as Twitter retains any given Space, the host can download a copy of the full session data. They also have the option to download a transcript of the session, as long as they enable transcriptions.

While it’s still early days, the Twitter Spaces team has also unveiled a handful of other features that are in testing, including:

  • Hand gesture-style reactions
  • Live transcriptions, although Twitter says it’s working with a “very early version” of this feature
  • Sharing tweets in Spaces

How Organizations Can Use Twitter Spaces

Now you know what Twitter Spaces is, and you understand a bit about how it works. How can brands use this new feature to take their Twitter marketing to the next level?

These are my early impressions; I’d like to qualify them by noting that more use cases may become apparent once Spaces leaves the beta phase and gets rolled out more widely.

Gain Audience Feedback

Audience feedback is super valuable. It helps us iron out creases in our products, road test new ideas, and measure consumer sentiment toward our brands.

Traditionally, gathering feedback was all about running focus groups, but those in-person sessions take a lot of time to organize and, by design, only reach a tiny proportion of your audience.

As a result, brands have increasingly moved toward online customer surveys, often through tools like Google Forms. Surveys help you reach a much wider audience and make it easier to gather quantitative data that you can track over time.

However, surveys aren’t perfect, either. In particular, they lack the face-to-face, human touch that makes focus groups so effective. It’s easy to miss the nuance behind an answer when it’s typed into a form rather than delivered as part of a two-way conversation.

Twitter Spaces could be the perfect balance between the two:

  • They’re digital, so you can reach many people without dragging them to a physical location.
  • They allow for real back-and-forth conversation, which helps you get much richer, more nuanced feedback.

What’s more, because Spaces are part of Twitter, you can use social listening to track down the ideal people for your digital feedback sessions. Monitor Twitter for mentions of your brand, products, competitors, and other relevant keywords, and send invites to the most relevant, engaged users.

Roll Out New Features or Products to Followers

When it comes to gaining general audience feedback, it’s helpful to look beyond your existing customer base. This can help you understand how non-customers perceive you versus your competition.

However, when you’re planning new features or products, it makes sense to stay closer to home because the most valuable feedback to help guide those decisions will come from the people who use your product day in, day out.

Again, Twitter Spaces can assist you here, provided you have a decent social following. Set up a Space, add your followers, and then ask for their feedback. It’s faster and easier than sending out a survey, and it allows you to leverage your existing audience on Twitter.

Host Discussions on Trending Topics in Your Industry

Panel discussions offer a double win for brands:

  • They position you as a thought leader with your finger on the pulse of your industry. Why does this matter? Research from Edelman found that thought leadership strengthens your reputation and positively impacts request-for-proposal invitations, wins, pricing, and post-sale cross-selling.
  • They allow you to invite potential prospects to join your panel, giving you a chance to network with them, demonstrate your expertise, and nurture your relationship.

Additionally, Twitter Spaces could be an excellent substitute for in-person panel talks because it’s easier (and more cost-effective) to invite a group of people to a Space than to a physical event.

Because the host has complete control over who joins a session and who’s allowed to speak, and they have the ability to kick people out if they’re not playing by the rules, Twitter Spaces could be ideal for discussing trending topics in an environment that’s free from abuse and trolling.

Interact With Followers in Real Time

Once upon a time, brand communication was pretty much a one-way street. You’d launch a new campaign, sit back, and hope your audience laps it up.

That’s not the case anymore. Today, people expect genuine, two-way interactions with brands. Not only that, but 64% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect those interactions to happen in real-time.

That sort of live engagement just isn’t achievable through most platforms, but Twitter Spaces makes it possible. Your audience can tune into your live discussions, react, and potentially even get involved in the conversation (as long as they’re selected as a speaker).

However, it goes way beyond just engaging your existing audience.

Because people in your Space are allowed to invite other participants, you can encourage your followers to share it with their followers, thereby getting you in front of a much wider audience.

Conclusion

With Spaces, Twitter appears to have retained many of the elements that made Clubhouse such a hit while addressing the harassment concerns. That makes it a safe and palatable space for brands to build and nurture a highly engaged Twitter following.

Any platform, tactic, or tool that helps marketers break down the barriers between brands and audiences is worthy of attention, so I’m looking forward to learning more about Twitter Spaces when the private beta ends and it gets a full launch.

Do you want help with your social media strategy? Contact us!

What do you think about Twitter Spaces? Perhaps you’re part of the beta trial and have hands-on experience, or maybe you’re just excited to try it out yourself. Either way, let me know in the comments!

The post How Organizations Can Use Twitter Spaces appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Fight Back: Get an Unsecured Business Line of Credit in a Recession

The COVID-19 pandemic has quite literally turned the economy on its head.  Businesses are suffering, and recession is imminent.  Not only that, but aside from the influx of federal funds to the SBA, banks are not going to keep lending so freely for much longer. The time to get funding to help your business survive the recession is now.  Still, is it even possible to get an unsecured business line of credit in a recession?

Everything You Need to Know Before You Apply for an Unsecured Business Line of Credit in a Recession

Even during a recession, it is almost impossible to run a business without financing.  At some point you will need a large supply of cash that you do not have. Even if you do have sizeable cash reserves, it is typically not a good idea to deplete them all at once.  A line of credit can be a huge help, because the credit line is revolving. This means you do not have to continually apply for it. It is just there to use as needed. The problem is, small business lending drastically decreases during a recession.   How do businesses survive then? How can you get an unsecured business line of credit in a recession?

Before You Learn How, Learn Why

Before the how, know the why.  An unsecured business line of credit in a recession can help you make repairs, cover a cash gap, or just take advantage of an awesome wholesale promotion without reapplying for credit. You are likely not going to have all the cash on hand.  This is especially during a recession.

Even if you do, a business line of credit is a great way to build business credit and manage cash flow.  If you use it properly. The question then becomes not “if” you need business financing, but rather “what type” of business financing do you need.

The options are many. Which one is best for your business will depend on multiple factors. There are both unsecured and secured lines of credit, term loans, various types of invoice lending, credit cards and more.  During hard economic times, some financing options are more available than others. The greatest cutbacks on lending are in the larger banks. Typically, traditional term loans are squeezed the hardest.

Therefore, finding an unsecured line of credit in a recession isn’t impossible.  It may not be as easy to come by as during an economic boom, but it is possible. You are likely to have better luck at the smaller banks.

Check out how our reliable process will help your business get the best business credit cards, even during a recession.

The Fine Print

Under each lending option there are sub options for specific types of borrowers, specific borrower needs, secured, unsecured, and even options with cash back and other rewards.

The best way to make a decision is to learn as much as you can about each one.  Do this before you need financing. Then when the time comes, you already know what you need.

The unsecured line of credit is one option that is often misunderstood. It can be difficult to determine why you would choose this option over a secured line of credit or a term loan, and if you do, what are the benefits?

Why Choose a Line of Credit?

The best way to explain this is to line up the unsecured line of credit head to head with the most commonly used other options.

Unsecured Line of Credit in a Recession vs. Term Loans

Besides the fact that it is much harder to get a term loan during a recession, the answer here is pretty straight forward. If you need cash occasionally for various reasons, a line of credit is your best bet.  If you have a large, specific purchase or project, then a term loan could work better depending on a number of variables.

Consider the following scenarios:

One company is beginning to see cash gaps due to a lag in customer payments.  The recession is hitting everyone hard, and while no one has completely stopped paying, the average time receivables stay on the books has increased. In this situation, a line of credit is the best option. You will have the financing to use from month to month.  Also, you can take only what you need, and pay it back once the invoices are paid.

The next company needs to add another truck to its fleet to handle the shipping for increased orders.  This kind of growth is fortunate given the recession, but they need to finance the truck. In this situation, a term loan would be best.  It may be difficult to find given the slow economy, but the smaller banks may just come through.

Unsecured Line of Credit in a Recession vs. a Business Credit Card

A credit card is very similar to a line of credit. Most often the glaring difference is the use of a card, though some business lines of credit offer a card for access in addition to checks.  Similar to how some credit cards offer checks for access as well as a card.

Another difference is that sometimes you can use your lending institution’s online banking option to make direct transfers from a line of credit to a checking account, if the accounts are at the same institution. Also, if you need cash, there is no cash withdrawal fee usually with a line of credit. Credit card cash advance fees can expensive.

Credit cards tend to have higher interest rates than business lines of credit also, though unsecured lines of credit in a recession can have very high interest rates as well.

What if You Could Have Both? Credit Line Hybrid

What if there were an option that allowed you to have an even better interest rate than a secured loan, and yet get the money faster and easier than any type of traditional funding.  What if you could get business funding similar to an unsecured business line of credit without having to supply any bank statements or check stubs? Imagine that you could get funding in a few days rather than weeks without supplying any collateral or documents? This is exactly what the credit line hybrid allows you to do.

What is a Credit Line Hybrid?

A credit line hybrid is basically revolving, unsecured financing.  It allows you to fund your business without putting up collateral, and you only pay back what you use.

What are the Qualifications?

How hard is it to qualify?  Not as hard as you may think.  You do need good personal credit.  That is, your personal credit score should be at least 685.  In addition, you can’t have any liens, judgments, bankruptcies or late payments.  Also, in the past 6 months, you should have less than 5 credit inquiries, and you should have less than a 45% balance on all business and personal credit cards.  It’s also preferred that you have established business credit as well as personal credit.

If you do not meet all of the requirements, all is not lost. You can take on a credit partner that meets each of these requirements.  Many business owners work with a friend or relative to fund their business. If a relative or a friend meets all of these requirements, they can partner with you to allow you to tap into their credit to access funding.

Unsecured Line of Credit in a Recession vs Secured Line of Credit

Now that you can see the benefit of using a line of credit over other financing options in certain situations, you need to know when and why to choose an unsecured line of credit.

The fact is, an unsecured line of credit in a recession, or in times of a strong economy, is harder to get. It typically has the higher interest rate of the two as well.

Check out how our reliable process will help your business get the best business credit cards, even during a recession.

This is due to increased risk to the lender. A secured business line of credit has collateral. If you don’t pay, the lender can still use the collateral to recover some if not all of the loss.

Some business owners either do not have collateral to offer, or they have no interest in tying up their assets with financing. In these cases, they may be able to get line of credit without security.

An unsecured line of credit in a recession typically has strict approval guidelines and qualifications. Due to the increased credit risk, it will likely have higher interest rates and less favorable repayment terms as well.

Where Can You Find an Unsecured Line of Credit in a Recession?

As a general rule, the same places you could any other time.  Not all lenders offer this as a product, but there are options available at many traditional and alternative type lenders. Which one you go with depends, again, on your specific situation.  During an economic downturn, alternative lenders may be your best bet.

Traditional lenders offer the lowest interest rates, but their repayment terms may be less flexible. They will also have qualifications that are harder to meet and a longer approval process. In addition, it can take several days after approval to have access to the funds.

An alternative lender will usually have easier to meet qualifications and more flexible repayment terms, but the interest rates are much higher. The approval process is much faster though, and usually takes place all online.  In some cases, you can have access to funds in as little as 24 hours.

Application Preparation

The items you need to apply for an unsecured line of credit in a recession are the same as what you would need for any other time. It will vary from lender to lender, but a general list includes:

· Bank statements

· Financial statements

· Tax returns

Some lenders will check your business credit score, and sometimes even your personal credit score as well. A score of 620 is usually the minimum requirement for approval, but some alternative lenders do not require a minimum score.  Some traditional lenders may require a higher score for an unsecured business line of credit in a recession than it would otherwise.

They are looking for minimum annual revenue as well.  Traditional banks are more likely to grant approval at $180,000 or more of revenue annually.  Alternative lenders usually have a lower threshold.

Basically, lenders want to see how long you have been in business and what your annual revenue is, thought exactly what they need to see to grant approval varies from lender to lender.

Examples of Unsecured Line of Credit in a Recession Options Unsecured Business Line of Credit in a Recession Credit Suite2from Real Lenders

Seeing exactly what types of products are currently available from real lenders can be helpful in understanding the difference between what traditional and alternative lenders offer.  Please note that lenders change product offerings and terms at their leisure, and then a change in economic client with trigger a change. Therefore, there is no guarantee these products have not been adjusted since this writing.

Traditional Lenders

Bank of America

There is currently an unsecured line of credit product available from Bank of American that ranges from $10,000 to $100,000. There is a $50 origination fee if approved. The origination fee is a limited time offer.  It is usually $150.

A business must have been in business for two years and have a minimum of $100,000 in annual revenue to qualify.

Alternative Lenders

Fundbox

The unsecured line of credit offered by Fundbox goes up to $100,000. You will also have to have a business bank account. 

The interest rate will increase based on annual revenue and time in business.

OnDeck

OnDeck offers an unsecured business line of credit of up to $100,000.  You repay it weekly for up to 6 months.

Check out how our reliable process will help your business get the best business credit cards, even during a recession.

Blue Vine

This one ranges from $5,000 to $250,000.  The repayment term is from 6 to 12 months.

StreetShares

With repayment terms from 3 to 36 months, this is a good option if you qualify. Amounts start at $5,000 and range up to $150,000. They also offer some specialty products with lower interest rates.

An Unsecured Business Line of Credit in a Recession Is a Viable Option

Even if the recession has caused lenders to cut back, an unsecured line of credit in a recession could be an option.  It is way better than a term loan during a recession for a number of reasons. The first is that you can control payments.  

A term loan requires a set payment each month, while a line of credit requires you only to make payments on the amount you use.  If you only use what you need, you will very likely come out with a lower monthly payment.

If you don’t have collateral or do not want to tie up your assets with financing, an unsecured line of credit is an option. The repayment only on what you use may cost less than an unsecured term loan despite the higher interest due to being unsecured.

The bottom line is that an unsecured business line of credit can be more costly than a secured line of credit, but less costly than a term loan. While they are easier to get if you have been in business longer, have higher annual revenue, and have a great credit score, they are not impossible to get without these things. If you are not sure how much you need, or the need could vary, and you do not want to tie up assets or do not have assets to offer as security, then an unsecured business line of credit could be for you.

The post Fight Back: Get an Unsecured Business Line of Credit in a Recession appeared first on Credit Suite.

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Top 2 Niagara Falls News Websites To Follow in 2020 (City in New York)

Top 2 Niagara Falls News Websites
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1. Niagara Gazette | News

Niagara Falls, New York, United States About Website From inception in 1854, the Niagara Falls Gazette has been the record of local news and events in and around Niagara Falls. Frequency 1 post / day Website niagara-gazette.com/news
Facebook fans 21.1K ⋅ Twitter followers 6.6K ⋅ Instagram Followers 1.6K ⋅ Social Engagement 5 ⋅ Domain Authority 63 ⋅ Alexa Rank 300.8K View Latest Posts Get Email Contact

2. The Niagara Reporter

The Niagara Reporter Niagara Falls, New York, United States About Website The Niagara Reporter is a newspaper publication that has served Niagara & Erie County since 2000. Follow the website to get the latest local news, stories and updates in Niagara Falls, NY. Frequency 1 post / week Website niagarafallsreporter.com
Facebook fans 11.7K ⋅ Twitter followers 1.3K ⋅ Social Engagement 75 ⋅ Domain Authority 55 ⋅ Alexa Rank 849.9K View Latest Posts Get Email Contact

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Top 10 Wisconsin News Websites To Follow in 2020 (US State)

Top 10 Wisconsin News Websites
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1. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States About Website The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is Wisconsin’s largest news organization and your source for breaking news, analysis and investigative reporting. Frequency 30 posts / day Website jsonline.com
Facebook fans 221.7K ⋅ Twitter followers 74.3K ⋅ Instagram Followers 40.1K ⋅ Social Engagement 342 ⋅ Domain Authority 84 ⋅ Alexa Rank 20.1K

2. WKOW

WKOWMadison, Wisconsin, United States About Website We’ve got you covered on all things news, weather and sports in South Central Wisconsin. Frequency 10 posts / day Website wkow.com
Facebook fans 155K ⋅ Twitter followers 39.3K ⋅ Instagram Followers 8.3K ⋅ Social Engagement 12 ⋅ Domain Authority 66 ⋅ Alexa Rank 81.7K

3. Isthmus | Wisconsin News, Politics, Music, Movies, Restaurants, Events

Isthmus | Wisconsin News, Politics, Music, Movies, Restaurants, EventsMadison, Wisconsin, United States About Website Isthmus is a Madison, Wisconsin’s alt-weekly covering local news, politics, restaurants, beer, music, movies, arts and entertainment, restaurants, dining, and events. Frequency 1 post / dayAlso in Wisconsin Blogs Website isthmus.com
Facebook fans 25.6K ⋅ Twitter followers 41.9K ⋅ Social Engagement 931 ⋅ Domain Authority 64 ⋅ Alexa Rank 346.4K

4. WisPolitics | Wisconsin Politics News

WisPolitics | Wisconsin Politics NewsMadison, Wisconsin, United States About Website WisPolitics is a Wisconsin’s premier online political news source, with thousands of pages of useful information and articles that are a resource to anyone who wants to be informed about Wisconsin politics. Frequency 25 posts / day Since Jan 2017 Website wispolitics.com
Facebook fans 2.7K ⋅ Twitter followers 13.1K ⋅ Domain Authority 59 ⋅ Alexa Rank 636.8K

5. RightWisconsin | Wisconsin news and politics

RightWisconsin | Wisconsin news and politicsWisconsin, United States About Website RightWisconsin provides Wisconsin latest news and updates regarding politics. Frequency 10 posts / week Since Apr 2016 Website rightwisconsin.com
Twitter followers 10.6K ⋅ Social Engagement 125 ⋅ Domain Authority 53 ⋅ Alexa Rank 1.7M

6. The Guardian » Wisconsin

The Guardian » WisconsinLondon, England, United Kingdom About Website Latest Wisconsin news, world news, sports, business, opinion, analysis and reviews from the Guardian, the world’s leading liberal voice. Frequency 2 posts / month Website theguardian.com/world/wisconsin
Facebook fans 8.3M ⋅ Twitter followers 8.5M ⋅ Social Engagement 25K ⋅ Domain Authority 95 ⋅ Alexa Rank 127

7. The Center Square » Wisconsin

The Center Square » WisconsinUnited States About Website The Center Square was launched in May 2019 to fulfill the need for high-quality statehouse and statewide news across the United States. Get essential news, data and analysis delivered with velocity, frequency and consistency. Frequency 2 posts / day Website thecentersquare.com/wisconsin
Facebook fans 240.8K ⋅ Twitter followers 23.3K ⋅ Social Engagement 17 ⋅ Domain Authority 66 ⋅ Alexa Rank 294.3K

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