Small businesses have forever been on the light end of the stick when it comes to resources to compete with larger corporations with deep pockets and large marketing budgets. So often, they’ve been relegated to using inadequate tools to reach their target audiences, and the results have been lackluster. Yet now, I’ve found a disturbingly large percentage of small business owners who are contented to remain in this outmoded way of thinking, even when they no longer have to. They cling to familiar but ineffective and expensive old communication tools because they’re afraid of the stunningly effective and affordable new ones.
If I told you that there is a proven immediately effective new marketing tool that not only lets you reach directly into your target market pool, in any given location, with any message you want, at any time of the day or night, that your prospects actually WANT to receive, and that it will cost you no money…you’d jump at it, wouldn’t you?
If you were a smart business person, of course you would!
That’s why I’m truly flabbergasted when I learn how many small business owners believe that social media marketing is a waste of their time. I can’t tell you how many excuses I’ve heard from clients and would-be clie
nts when I suggest they’re missing the boat on the greatest playing field leveler that’s ever come along in the history of marketing by ignoring or avoiding social media.
“I don’t understand how it works.”
“I don’t see how it could benefit my company.”
“Our customers are older than the crowd for that.”
“That’s for big corporations.”
“It’ll take too much time.”
Um…really? THESE are your excuses for not doing what’s best for your business? Think about it: Did you understand how newspaper and magazine advertising worked before you used it? Probably not, but you found someone or something who could teach you, and you learned. And once you learn, you can’t help but see how it could benefit you, and you’ll figure out even more ways to use it profitably with some guidance from a marketing pro. You think your customers don’t use social media because they’re older than their twenties? I have one word for you: Facebook.
And, yes, it’s for big corporations, too, but the truth is, they’re actually not doing a real good job of exploiting this technology overall. And I guarantee that a small, mom-and-pop pizza or burger joint will see more immediate sales movement when they start leveraging the power of, say, Twitter or Four Square than those big guys will. It takes a lot more movement over a lot more time to show up on the big guys’ books than it does on a local business, and these channels are far more adaptable to local service territories than to global reach, at least on an immediate response basis.
And as for the argument that it’ll take too much time, that’s a non-starter. If you own a small business and you have a teenager, you could put them to work with a little guidance sending out specials to your best patrons. Or you could hire a low-ay or no-pay marketing intern to handle your social streams. But if you don’t have a social media business presence, one of two things is going on, neither of them good:
- People are talking about you, but you’re not driving the conversation — a publicity nightmare.
- No one’s talking about you at all.
I’m not a social media specialist, but I do know a great new thing when I see it, and I’m just astounded at how those who stand to benefit most from this new technology are staying away from it in droves. I understand trepidation, but by the time some of these small businesses finally come around to the idea that these tools absolutely ARE for them, it may be too late. Their younger, early adoptiing competitors will have long left them in the dust. And that would be a shame.
It’s a whole new marketing stream out there, and it moves really fast these days. Don’t let it pass you by! Jump in and learn how to swim, or you may just find yourself permanently underwater.