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Social Media Rocks; Have you engaged?

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Social Media Rocks; Have you engaged?

Published: October 8, 2010 Updated: March 2, 2012

Last week I was asked to wrap up the third and last day of training of a Marketing Success* session for 20 small businesses by presenting on Social Media for business. My presentation title?... Social Media for Business 101: The Big Three.

Social media & social networking are everywhere. So much so that we are seeing it in the mainstream with television segments dedicated to it on CNN and even your local news stations. News outlets are using it to not only connect to their viewers but to gage the relevancy of their programming and even find breaking news. Posts on Twitter* during recent disasters have been an invaluable mechanism for receiving information when all other communication channels were jammed, effectively turning everyday citizens into on-scene journalists*.

National and local news outlets understand the power of Social Media, educators are beginning to* as well. So imagine my surprise when I talked to small business owners who still either saw it as a waste of time or, more understandably, felt so overwhelmed that they were paralyzed to the point that they did;t even make an attempt.

The possibilities for business building growth via social media are limited only by the depth of the business owne-s imagination. I-s the perfect platform for economical marketing, promotion and especially awareness campaigns. The more creative you are the more successful your marketing efforts will be. Consider the reintroduction of Old Spice* to the new generations. It has't necessarily sparked the sales of their body wash Swagger as much as they had hoped but who does't know Old Spice now? The Old Spice campaign is so successful that even libraries have embraced the campaigns video tactic*.

So, wha's my advice? Of course to use social media for your small business marketing campaigns!! Ok, something more reasonable to start? Ho's thi'Just Start! Start slow; create a profile on Twitter*, Facebook*, and YouTube*. Find your friends and accept some new friends suggested by the social media platforms. Play and have fun but most importantly learn' watch and learn how people are using the platforms. Listen in to Twitter conversations, watch videos on YouTube then just stick your toe in the water a bit. Write an update status, send a link, or upload a picture. I's all about exposure, exploration, and experimentation. Here are some suggestions to help you out:

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

You can also find Tonya on twitter at @TonyaWilson

* This hyperlink goes to a non-government website

About the Author:

Tonya Wilson
As a member of the Ohio SBDC at Columbus State, we provide entrepreneurial development assistance and business consulting to start-up, emerging, and existing business owners. In addition to one-on-on advising, we create, coordinate and promote programs and events to inspire, educate and engage individuals who wish to start or grow a small business.


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I couldn't agree more with the comment above. In my classes on social media and in my book, 'Social Persuasion: Making Sense of Social Media', the first point I make is to ignore all the hype. There's tons of it -- to the detriment of small businesses trying to figure out how to market. Choosing to use social media to promote is dependent on a good marketing strategy, and there's more to it than using one's imagination. It's been shown that social media works better for some products than others, for example. And the social sites you choose depends on the audience you're trying to reach. And finally, comparing small business to big company case studies doesn't always make sense. Small business owners simply don't have the same resources and therefore can't devote the time necessary to make it work the same way.
Thanks for the article Tonya! I take a different view however; the 'leap before you look' approach can be very dangerous for time-starved small businesses. I advise clients to think carefully about strategy and desired business results before jumping to tactics. It takes a substantial time investment to get returns from social media, and this is one area where doing it wrong is worse than not doing it at all. We've all seen Facebook fan pages and/or Twitter accounts with only a handful of followers, and with only sporadic updates from the host. These are often businesses that 'just started' and found out they were not able to keep up with the demands of social media; accounts like these can actually damage your business because a dying facebook or twitter account can make prospective customers think you are a dying company. Your social media efforts have to measurable business value, or its a waste of time. Your Old Spice example is a propo because their social media campaign seems to be driving results for everyone... except Old Spice. Chris Rooney Digital Bridge Solutions ---This post was edited to remove a commercial link. Read our discussion policies for more Community best practices.

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