Between social media and tools like Dropbox and Skype, the small business environment is totally different than it once was. Those that only know the basics of computers can no longer cut it. While you don’t have t be a technological whiz by any means, you do need to know social media basics.
And for those that are still lurking in the dark ages and still haven’t gotten a Facebook account, your chance of survival is roughly the equivalent of a slow worm crossing a hot sidewalk on a long summer’s day.
Let’s face it, folks. Social media has redefined the way most businesses do their marketing. It has forced many businesses to alter the way they do business altogether. Sure, there are still a few of those fossils out there that continue to moan and groan about how social media is nothing but a waste of time and that it takes so much of the personality out of the business world.
Try to locate one of these people and then ask them how their business is going. Then compare their stats and numbers to a business within the same industry that has mastered social media. Compare the two and see how they are viewed by the public.
You’ll probably see a very drastic difference.
So what of the few slow-grazers that are still on the outside looking in…those that have started to slowly realize the error of their stubborn ways? What can they do to resurrect their brand and remain active and fruitful in this scary modern age?
ACCEPT SOCIAL MEDIA
Well, it starts with social media. There is no question at all about whether or not you need it; social media is vital for small business success today. Your social media presence makes up for a great deal of your brand identity, so it’s important to have at least some understanding of how social media works.
Keep Track of Social Movement: For most companies, social meida is filling a role that PR agencies used to fill. The huge benefit is that social media is free.. The speed and efficiency of social media gets information to targeted individuals and audiences faster than ever before. Because of this, PR agencies need to keep tabs on social media trends.
It’s not enough to check your own social media accounts; you also need to know what’s going on in the world of social media. Keep up with news, trends, and social media developments as much as you can, Subscribe to newsletters or blog feeds to help.
Use Social Media the Right Way: There are far too many business out there that simply create Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn accounts just to have them—and then don’t update them or use them at all. This is one of the most common social media mistakes you can make. Just like a good website, no one will find you unless you make some noise.
You have to have at least some sort of social media presence to be effective. Learn each platform and how to use it to its full extent. Social media is without a doubt the quickest and easiest way to spread your message and stay in touch with those who keep your business at the top of the competition.
MOVING MOBILE MEDIA
Making sure that your business is mobile friendly is the next surefire way to make sure you are alive and kicking in the midst of today’s busy world. People want instant gratification with everything these days—and that includes access to the best deals and sales. They don’t want to look through hundreds of ads anymore. People want the deals to come directly to them.
Sure, this may seem demanding (and, in a way, it is), but mobile marketing allows you to get this done…meeting the needs of your needy customers in every way they need.
For instance. Quick Response (QR) code technologies are allowing businesses to connect to their customers in real time. They can create and even change up the details of special offers and deals at the push of a button.
These same technologies can be used to connect with potential clients and other businesses for any number of reasons. This goes far beyond simple texts and emails; mobile marketing is slowly revolutionizing the way people use their phones and how businesses interact with their target demographic. As long as someone has a smartphone (and who doesn’t these days?) you now have one more way to get your message to them.
Building New Relationships: Because so many businesses have expanded online, businesses that were more traditional in how they orchestrated their friendships are in for a rude awakening. It’s nothing new for current business to work closely in tandem with other businesses on the other side of the world—relying on people they have never met face to face.
That’s not to say there isn’t still strength in fostering relationships with people and strengthening those that already exist, your network becomes larger. But by branching out to the online and offline worlds and merging them together, business of all shapes and sizes are now able to offer potential clients much more than they could ever get on their own through their new media channels.
STAYING HONEST WITH YOURSELF
Check Out That Elephant: Okay so let’s address the elephant in the room to wrap this up.
One of the downsides to all of this easy accessibility is that anyone with a keyboard can get online and type out their opinions. This means that you will almost certainly get at least one or two negative comments for all to see somewhere along the line. Businesses need to have a plan for these sorts of events, assigning someone to act as the friendly face of consumer PR. This individual should address the negativity and what they can to stifle it immediately. There are several different ways to monitor these types of situations online, most of which are free.
As the social media landscape seems to change frequently and without any real warning, it can be hard to stay up to date on all of these items. Still, the adaptability of your agency or business needs to take the change as it comes.
Consider how quickly things change. Home phones are basically extinct now and it happened within just a handful of years. When was the last time you used a phone book? Exactly. And just take a look at the advances and popularity in self-publishing. Digital publishing played a huge part in Borders going out of business, and it is slowly chipping away at Barnes and Noble as we speak.
Look folks…change is inevitable. As a business owner, you need to be ready for it. And as a successful and responsible business owner, you need to be aware of the shifts and trends in today’s ever-evolving world of marketing, media, an