Small Business Solutions

Before you read any further, if you are considering spending considerable time or money on a FANCY NEW WEB SITE or WORKSHOPS, BOOKS, or CONFERENCES regarding SOCIAL MEDIA we have two words of advice:       
  DON'T BOTHER! 

Why?  Simple.  This approach starts with solutions when what you really need to do is understand the problem you want to solve.  First define what you want to solve, then seek solutions.  

"First pants, then your shoes." -Larson
 
First, the good news.  You may have heard that small businesses represent 99.7% of all businesses in the U.S.  However, you may not know that small businesses employ half of all private sector workers and 43% of high-tech workers (scientists, engineers, computer programmers).  And small businesses are growing more than many other types of businesses even amid a litany of horrible financial news elsewhere (see Intuit's Small Business Employment Index).

There is even more good news for small businesses: Technology, and specifically social media, such as Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter can offer significantly more exposure for far less cost than than ever before which helps level the playing field with larger competitors.  It is becoming more and more difficult for large corporations to 'buy' customers by loading up on expensive advertising campaigns as consumers have begun to rely on digital interactions with their friends and colleagues for purchasing decisions.  More than ever before, marketing and traditional advertising are undergoing a seismic shift toward consumer-to-consumer REAL information.  If you have a great product or service, this is great news because your business can speak for itself! 

The key word here is 'can' speak for itself.  More on that below.


The bad news, especially for small businesses, is that there is mass confusion over how to use this new technology.  The diagram to the right contains some current available options. If that is not enough, here are 22 more. Don't worry though, because the very people who inundate you with information about these technologies also offer seminars, books, consultations, and conferences about how YOU TOO can implement these technologies in your business.  Can you imagine how long it would take to gather enough information to understand even 10% of these applications?  By the time you figured it out, the chart would look totally different.

Again, DON'T BOTHER.

You don't have the time to become an expert on all these technologies.  Even if you did, your time would be better spent focusing on your core products and services.  Social Media can be extremely time consuming.  The only thing you need to concern yourself with is maintaining a great business and communicating with your customers. And we can help!


But first, there are four things that you need to know about Social Media:

1) There is no formula that you can use that will automatically drive customers to your business.  Social Media is about communication among real people, and as such, formulaic approaches will alienate your customers (as spam does).

2) Expansive knowledge about the technologies does not help you attract customers to your business.  It is just as likely to turn people off.  It is funny like that-- a double-edged sword, I guess.  It all depends on your message.

3) You will lose customers to competitors over time if you do not make your company easily digitally available and interactive with customers.  In time, Social Media will become nothing more than a cost of doing business, but for now, it can be a huge advantage.

4) Don't fight the current!  Social Media enables customers more than businesses.  It is about giving consumers easily available information and a voice.  The most powerful way a small business can use it is to make its information available, step out of the way, and listen and adapt.




 
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