Getting social for your small business
April 13, 2010, 1:49PM
OK, you’re a business owner, I get it. I’m one too. But I promise one thing: If you do this right, it won’t just be one more item to add to the “to-do” list.
What am I talking about? That's right: Social media. This isn’t a blog about signing up for a Twitter account to craft 140 characters describing your lunch. Social media offers small business owners an opportunity to market their businesses in a whole new, dynamic way. It’s intimate. It’s a way to connect with your customer on a personal level. After all, the point of social media is communication.
As the owner of Kanibal Home, a lifestyle shop in Jersey City, NJ, I'm constantly changing merchandise, adjusting my business practices and altering the way I attract and retain customers. Remaining static is a death wish in business, especially retail. No one wants to see the same items collecting dust every week. The same can be said for marketing and social media. It's important that I approach (and entice) my customer in a way that keeps their interest.
So, whatever your familiarity with social media, I’m going to hopefully make you think about it a little more strategically. If you have no idea what Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Digg or Flickr are don’t worry (we’ll cover the basics in a later post). If you do, but haven’t signed up, then we’ll cover that too. Hey, maybe you even have accounts (you are reading this blog post, after all).
Social media is a powerful marketing tool. It’s cost effective and instantaneous. However, there are draw backs. It can be time consuming and self destructive. Many CEOs have done themselves in online (i.e.: commenting inappropriately on blogs, leaving anonymous tips in forums that can be tracked back, responding negatively to Yelp comments, etc.).
The most important thing to remember about social media is this: If you decide to partake than you are opening yourself up to the criticisms of everyone trolling the Internet. So pretend you’re a public relations executive and edit what you say, contribute content with substance and relevance and use this extraordinary tool for good, not evil.
I promise, if done correctly, the benefits of social media far exceed any negatives for the small business owner.