Before I begin, anyone who is interested at all in Social Media and Business needs to head over to Mitch Joel’s blog at Six Pixels of Seperation – this topic is inspired by his podcast I was just listening too! He gives incredible content and interviews other Social Media and Marketing leaders.
Social Media and Small Business… Why?
More and more, individual consumers are using social media channels to talk about your product, read others opinions, and make buying decisions. Think about this in your own life- have you ever checked customer reviews for a product or service you were considering buying? How about a book on amazon or an app on your phone? Everyday your audience is creating a consuming content about your industry, market, and products.
Are you listening?
The internet is quickly becoming an area where your product or service is being talked about, openly for and by your customers. They may not be talking about you in particular, but this information is still extremely valuable.
Consider the difficulty or cost of researching your target market, their preferences, opinions, and thoughts… Maybe you have used a survey to glean this information from your own customers.
Social media has given us an opportunity to specifically search and listen to every person talking about your brand, product, or market on a global scale – and remember customers are much more inclined to talk openly on twitter than they are on your customer survey… This is a huge opportunity!
Are you listening?
Small Business and Social Media… Where to start?
You don’t have to jump into every channel and use every tool to have an effective “social media strategy” – this seems to be the common mistake, usually because “everyone else is doing it”… I encourage you to try quite the opposite- look at things from a different angle.
Think about your audience (target market/customer)…
If you could interact with your customers one on one, in real-time, what would you want to accomplish? What strategy would set you apart from everyone else in your industry? How could you make that interaction unique, and value-added? Don’t worry about what others are doing, this answer should be unique to your business and your goals… In some ways this is revolutionary thinking- we have never had the ability to have such real-time, direct, and potentially meaningful contact with customers.
Think simply about how you want to develop the relationship between your brand and your audience, acting on the assumption that you can reach your audience personally… Once you have established this strategy, finding the appropriate channels and tools will become much easier, and more importantly, will be objective driven!
Depending on your strategy and objectives you will be able to learn more about these specialized channels, and most likely find some companies that are already doing a good job. This is great- study these companies and their strategy, observe what they are doing well, and listen to what others (customers) may be saying about it.
Make Mistakes Now, and Learn. Or Get Left Behind.
I hope by now you have realized that social media and business is not a fad, and will only continue to grow and evolve with time… Making mistakes in this field is OK.
You may try an initiative or event through a social channel that will fail- and you may even get called out by someone in your audience – and you may even have to apologize and admit that you are new at this and trying to learn…
But hey- on the other hand – you just got a real and genuine engagement from someone interested in your product- they are listening, following, and care enough to tell you, your doing it wrong…
If you are humble and transparent enough, you just might be able to encourage those same followers to help you do it the “right way” – furthering engagement and making the chances of them spreading your name and story even further…
Are you beginning to see the posibilities?
If you are an individual or small business interested in social media and have more questions or comments, please let me know by leaving a comment, or email me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org!