by Rob Lightbody
That might seem like a bold statement, especially to those of you who’ve been in business for several years. Here’s the news – the world is changing. FAST. Marketing, advertising, and customer relations are different now than they ever were, even last year.
I’m going to say it again. Small Businesses MUST use Social Media.
Well, I’m glad you asked.
There are several BIG reasons that a small business needs to include aggressive use of social media in its marketing plan. Let’s have a look at them. . .
First, it’s where your customers are. Simple as that. If you want to get in front of some eyeballs, this is how to do it. People are using Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and others. A lot! You can’t afford NOT to participate. People talk to each other using these channels. They talk about what they do, what they like, what they buy. Consumers trust their online friends’ recommendations almost as much as they trust their real-life friends’ recommendations. You can’t buy better advertising for any amount of money.
That statement leads us to our next reason that small business must use social media – Traditional marketing and advertising is in chaos. People simply don’t rely on newspaper, television, or radio as much as they once did. Back in the day, there were three television networks. A company could buy a couple of thirty-second ads, even in their local market, and rest assured that it would be seen by most of their target audience. Today, the medium of television is incredibly fragmented and has become a much less effective marketing tool for small business. Newspapers? Do we even need to talk about it? Classified ads have moved online. Craig’s List anyone? As for radio, this medium’s audience has been destroyed by our love of devices, mp3 players and such. Even today’s phones undercut radio’s popularity and usefulness with their ability to play music and podcasts. It has become abundantly clear that the dependable old ways of marketing aren’t so dependable any more. When consumers want to gather information about a product of service, they Google. I hope that your company or product appears near the top of the search results. Utilizing social media can help make that happen.
As a business owner, you need to know what people are saying about your company. Using the social web permits you to monitor the buzz about your business. Hopefully, you will be thrilled to see all of the glowing and enthusiastic reviews about your wonderful service and beautiful products. There will probably come a time when, through no fault of your own, I’m sure, someone will have a less-than-perfect experience with your company. In the past, this person might tell their family about it, maybe their close friends, and damage would be somewhat limited. Today, on the other hand, the dissatisfied customer can tell the entire online world. The practice of reputation monitoring allows the business owner to be quickly alerted to such a complaint and to respond quickly to address the issue before it gets out of hand. This is an important and powerful tool in itself; another great reason to use social media for your business.
The last reason that I want to illuminate for you today – and if nothing else convinces you to take your business ‘social’, this alone should – YOUR COMPETITION IS DOING IT! ok? ok.
Now, social media is not an end in itself. It is not the silver bullet for success in the digital age. Social media is, however, a hugely important tool to include in your marketing strategy. The days of simply ‘broadcasting’ your product, your service, your image, are done. Your image is what the customers say it is. To be successful, a business needs to engage the consumer. By using social media, your business can create a feeling of pride and community among it’s customers. To me, that sounds like a recipe for making money.
I’d love to help your business make the most of social media. Please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss the most effective strategy for your company.