jump to navigation

A Social Media ‘How to’ for Small Business March 29, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Web 2.0.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
8 comments

In my conversations with small business owners about social media and utilizing it to promote their businesses, one theme is consistent in almost every conversation, and that theme is their intimidation about using it.

This intimidation likely results from the fact that social media is still a relatively new medium, particularly for those who have not previously been involved in the internet or advertising industries. Therefore, as with all new technology-based ideas, there is a learning curve involved in bringing the masses up-to-speed. To help enable that learning and shorten the curve for readers of this blog, I went in search of some other writers’ “tips” to add to my own, which can help you get started with an easy-to-understand procedure.

The following are among the best of the articles I found, and I believe a review of these articles should be enough to help you get started.

  • During this quest I found a blog posting that was specifically targeted to small business and will get you started in the right direction. Click HERE to read information from Chris Garrett in an article entitled, “Quick Social Media Tactics for Small Business”. I like Chris’ list, but one thing that I do see as a problem with it is that I’m don’t believe it’s basic enough for the majority of people in search of this information.
  • Another interesting article I found in the New York Times included an interview with a small business owner who has effectively put social media to work for his business. It even provides an example of a promotion he did utilizing social media and two other methods of advertising. He tracked the costs and results of each method to identify which provided the best ROI. Click HERE to read the article.
  • A third article I found on the Startup Nation website speaks specifically about LinkedIN, a social networking site for business people. This site allows you to develop a very comprehensive profile on yourself and your business, allows you to join ‘discussion groups’ on just about any topic of your choice, and also allows you to start groups if you want to be the one managing the discussion. I personally recommend this site as the one you start with, and I suggest that you begin with building out your profile as completely as you can (it’s very easy to understand and implement). I then recommend that you do a search for groups in your industry and join a couple of them. For the first week or two, just observe – or answer a question/comment in the group discussions now and then. The idea is to get a feel for the “personality” of the group, ie: what gets positive reaction and what gets negative reaction. After you’ve ‘learned your way around’ so to speak, then you should start making postings in the group –information of interest, articles you’ve seen, resources group members would find of value, etc. These postings are designed to help you build your credibility as an expert – but DO NOT attempt to sell anything. Click HERE to read the Startup Nation article for additional information.

Social media is a burgeoning industry these days. Almost everyday I learn about another site that seems to be gaining momentum. The danger for a small business owner lies in trying to participate in all of them (and I know several who have tried!) and ends up doing none of them well and getting nothing else in his/her business accomplished. A far better strategy is to check them all out as you learn about them, but only join those that really look as though they will have value to your business. To help you start your process, have a look at this list of social media sites by Peter Bordes; it’s comprehensive but by no means complete. Review the sites that interest you and try a couple of them out. And remember, start slow – observe first and then begin participating. It will make your participation much more productive once you become more active.

If after reviewing these materials you still feel you need some guidance on developing the best social media strategy for your business, please feel free to call upon us. We can be reached by email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

_______________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.