More On Social Media And Small Business

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If you’re thinking that social media is just for those with too much time on their hands… teens or disaffected souls… you’re in for a surprise. Social networks have now become part of our online experience… and as such are something you need to think about… just as you do your website or the other aspects of your online presence.
Beyond an essential website, there are blogs, texts and email campaigns as options for business owners… all virtually unknown 20 years ago. The good news is that by making the investment of time and energy to create an online presence for your business, you level the playing field.
Your website can be just as good as that “big fish”… to the user you’re equal.
BusinessWeek article by columnist Steve McKee makes an interesting case for owners of businesses of all sizes paying more attention to social media…and he’s right on two counts. Social media is free… and to get it up and running requires a simple investment of time.
Just as you’ve gotten comfortable with other technology, it’s easy to get used to using social media. Take an hour or two, look at the options, then pick the one you like best and sign up… experience the site and see how others use it, look for the way to apply this method of contact to your own business. Your object is not to create a huge, lukewarm network, but rather a smaller, more intense and passionate one.
What’s more, like a website and other online contact methods you might use, social media offers your business some intriguing opportunities… product ideas, service feedback, a source of testimonials… a network of contacts… which is why there’s so much interest in it. By making thoughtful contacts, offering genuine attempts to help (not sell) and being respectful of others, you’ll build a network, and reputation, that’s amazingly valuable.
And while the names of the providers may change moving forward, the social media idea is likely here to stay. Today facebook claims 200 million users, LinkedIn has more than 30 million profiles. And we’ve just covered Twitter, who report thousands of IMs (think mini blogs they call tweets) per day. Clearly there are a lot of people already doing this… no doubt about it.
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