04 Apr

Small Biz Marketers struggle with Social Media

Published in: Blog
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Owning a small business isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.   Yes, you get to be the boss, but then again, you are the boss.   There is nobody for you to “pass the buck” to. You are it. If the company fails, it’s all on your shoulders.

If you’ve been in business for a long time, i.e. 10 years or more, you’ve most likely built your business a more traditional way. You may have advertised in magazines, newspapers, television, or just plain word of mouth. These methods are still effective, but a game changer has entered the atmosphere. The game changer is social media.

Social media is defined as "a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content. Furthermore, social media depends on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content. It introduces substantial and pervasive changes to communication between organizations, communities and individuals. "

I personally redefine social media in a simpler way as “a communication platform on the internet that simplifies connections between people”. You, see in no way, is social media defined as an advertising medium. It is, just like television and radio, a place where your audience listens. With a worldwide audience and a record number of users, that audience is much bigger than TV could ever muster.   So as you can see, it’s important for you to be present on social media if you want to build your brand.

Television advertising as we knew it is also changing. We now have DVRs and record our shows. When we play back the show, we skip the commercials. In social media, it’s even easier to skip the commercials.  This is why it takes some more creative thinking and some planning to engage your users so they don’t tune you out.

Maybe creative thinking is in your wheelhouse, but as a small business owner, maybe you are way in over your head when it comes to social media. Most business owners get into business because they have a really good skill with some product or service. Usually that skill isn’t running a business or marketing in general. The struggle they will have with social media is how to talk to their audience so it doesn’t come across as “push” marketing. After all, this is what your audience will tune out. They do not want to be advertised to.

As a general rule of thumb, we tell our customers that they should be conversational with their audience. Send out tips or tricks of your trade. Give out information. Show the fun side of your business and the personality of key people in your organization. Then, with just a portion of your social media output, advertise your services or brag about yourself a bit.

The breakdown could be as follows

  • 70% Tips
  • 20% Personality/Fun
  • 10% Advertising/Bragging

There is so much value when people share your content. Be aware of what types of content are getting shared, and focus on those. What we know before you even get started, that fun and interesting photos and video will get shared much more than any advertisement that you send out. Create a social media content plan, track the results, and make adjustments on a monthly basis to maximize your results. That is the foundation for a fantastic campaign.

Last modified on Thursday, 11 April 2013 13:39
Chad VanCalster

Chad VanCalster is a businesss development specialist with Sonix Studio, a web development, design, SEO and hosting firm with offices in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Dallas, Texas. A Computer Science graduate of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Chad started his career consulting for large corporations in the northern Wisconsin region, including Wisconsin Tissue, Georgia Pacific and Schneider National, among others.

Through experiences with marketing within his own company, Chad became a student of Internet Marketing, with a focus on Social Media.  That eventually branched into helping clients with THEIR Social Media Marketing.  Chad is an expert at using social media to expand your credibility and impact in your chosen markets.

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