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Friday, December 7, 2012

Do Small Businesses Really Benefit From Social Media?
Suggesting as some have that any business, large or small, can afford to totally ignore social media is just crazy. But how a business interacts with social media and how much time and money they invest in it can vary greatly by objective, business size and industry category. Consider the discussion:

1) It takes a lot of resources - - Depending upon the category, a quick daily update or two on Twitter, a few new photos with captions on the Facebook page every few days, or a thoughtful new post to the blog each might be enough for a small business' loyal audience.

2) Apple seems to be doing pretty well without posting to Facebook or Twitter - - Yes, Apple may not be on Facebook or Twitter, but you have to believe that they are monitoring social media. You might debate whether your company would benefit from a public voice in social media, but NO company can afford not to listen and respond to what their customers and prospects are saying.

3) Direction and content -  Thoughtless babble via social media isn’t doing any business any good. You need a content strategy. For many of the largest corporate Facebook players (Coca-Cola, Converse, Starbucks, Red-Bull, Oreo, etc.) the goal as with much of their traditional media advertising is to maintain visibility and top-of-mind awareness. Games, entertainment, discounts, coupons, sweepstakes, event coverage and a little bit of product related news can do this. That approach is likely unaffordable for most small businesses. They need to use social media to build awareness and provide customer support in other ways.

4) Your corporate page needs to have millions of followers -- If you are not one of those global corporate players or a well-known entertainer, politician, or sports figure it’s tough to build a large following in social media. But if beyond your basic presence you can also find ways to stimulate a few hundred, or a few thousand of your loyal customers to write and tell others more about you through their own Public and Private social media then you will not only generate awareness -- but thanks to the trust people put into their personal friends that they follow, you can enjoy gains in consideration and purchase intention.

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