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The Social Web for Small Business
 

The Social Web for Small Business

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everyone talks about how the major brands are using social media - but what about the rest of us? What does it all mean to someone who only has a couple of employees and a marketing budget smaller ...

everyone talks about how the major brands are using social media - but what about the rest of us? What does it all mean to someone who only has a couple of employees and a marketing budget smaller than the coffee bill?

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  • Twitter has seen astronomical growth since launch two years ago. Yet it has seen that growth overtake all expectations in the first part of 2009 as mainstream media has cottoned on to the potential. With more awareness comes more users. Whether this huge upward trend continues or whether it fades over time, there is no doubt that right now, Twitter is where hundreds of thousands of people want to be. And therefore now is when businesses should tap into that stream.
  • For most people, social media looks like this. YouTube, facebook, Twitter etc.
  • For most people, social media looks like this. YouTube, facebook, Twitter etc.
  • I would suggest that social media is the entire internet. Sending an email is a social activity of communication. Building a website intended for others to read and interact with is a social activity. Surfing Google is a social activity as the results have been refined and influenced by other users to increase relevance.
  • The audience is now as powerful as the media. A guy in his bedroom can now create a broadcasting empire with a blog, a video camera a laptop and a phone. Used well, he can reach hundreds of thousands of people with his message – something that previously was only possible for big business with large budgets. This shift is the reason why businesses cannot ignore social media. It is already happening, whether you choose to be a part of it or not.
  • But your employees are also connected. Some businesses restrict certain websites in their offices, blocking access. When everyone else is talking about your business, why would you handicap your own troops? Sure, I don’t mean to suggest your employees should be playing and watching funny YouTube videos all day. But, if you implement clear guidelines of acceptable usage and train your staff how to interact professionally in a way that represents the brand, your staff become a powerful engaging resource.
  • So what are your target audience doing in Twitter and why should you even care? The reality is that Twitter – like a lot of social media – is where potential customers spread word of mouth. The customer decision process doesn’t happen on your website and increasingly may begin even before a person goes to Google. People ask other people for recommendations. What laptop should I get for my son? But before you start thinking that it is more relevant to tech products than anything else, let’s look what else people are discussing. My dad has given me money to buy a winter wardrobe. Where should I spend it? So there is an opportunity for clothing recommendations. A link recommending a jewellery supplier – not only a recommendation but a direct, impartial and spin-free link. Now that is gold to that business – pardon the pun. But – more importantly, what can be positive can also be negative. Avoid the café in the Lovett Tower in Woden, Canberra. Their coffee is – well, you can see for yourself. We know the old marketing saying that if someone likes your business they’ll tell 3 people. If they have something to complain about, they’ll tell 7. This is extremely true on Twitter – but multiply that by a factor of thousands.
  • So what are your target audience doing in Twitter and why should you even care? The reality is that Twitter – like a lot of social media – is where potential customers spread word of mouth. The customer decision process doesn’t happen on your website and increasingly may begin even before a person goes to Google. People ask other people for recommendations. What laptop should I get for my son? But before you start thinking that it is more relevant to tech products than anything else, let’s look what else people are discussing. My dad has given me money to buy a winter wardrobe. Where should I spend it? So there is an opportunity for clothing recommendations. A link recommending a jewellery supplier – not only a recommendation but a direct, impartial and spin-free link. Now that is gold to that business – pardon the pun. But – more importantly, what can be positive can also be negative. Avoid the café in the Lovett Tower in Woden, Canberra. Their coffee is – well, you can see for yourself. We know the old marketing saying that if someone likes your business they’ll tell 3 people. If they have something to complain about, they’ll tell 7. This is extremely true on Twitter – but multiply that by a factor of thousands.
  • So what are your target audience doing in Twitter and why should you even care? The reality is that Twitter – like a lot of social media – is where potential customers spread word of mouth. The customer decision process doesn’t happen on your website and increasingly may begin even before a person goes to Google. People ask other people for recommendations. What laptop should I get for my son? But before you start thinking that it is more relevant to tech products than anything else, let’s look what else people are discussing. My dad has given me money to buy a winter wardrobe. Where should I spend it? So there is an opportunity for clothing recommendations. A link recommending a jewellery supplier – not only a recommendation but a direct, impartial and spin-free link. Now that is gold to that business – pardon the pun. But – more importantly, what can be positive can also be negative. Avoid the café in the Lovett Tower in Woden, Canberra. Their coffee is – well, you can see for yourself. We know the old marketing saying that if someone likes your business they’ll tell 3 people. If they have something to complain about, they’ll tell 7. This is extremely true on Twitter – but multiply that by a factor of thousands.
  • So what are your target audience doing in Twitter and why should you even care? The reality is that Twitter – like a lot of social media – is where potential customers spread word of mouth. The customer decision process doesn’t happen on your website and increasingly may begin even before a person goes to Google. People ask other people for recommendations. What laptop should I get for my son? But before you start thinking that it is more relevant to tech products than anything else, let’s look what else people are discussing. My dad has given me money to buy a winter wardrobe. Where should I spend it? So there is an opportunity for clothing recommendations. A link recommending a jewellery supplier – not only a recommendation but a direct, impartial and spin-free link. Now that is gold to that business – pardon the pun. But – more importantly, what can be positive can also be negative. Avoid the café in the Lovett Tower in Woden, Canberra. Their coffee is – well, you can see for yourself. We know the old marketing saying that if someone likes your business they’ll tell 3 people. If they have something to complain about, they’ll tell 7. This is extremely true on Twitter – but multiply that by a factor of thousands.
  • So what are your target audience doing in Twitter and why should you even care? The reality is that Twitter – like a lot of social media – is where potential customers spread word of mouth. The customer decision process doesn’t happen on your website and increasingly may begin even before a person goes to Google. People ask other people for recommendations. What laptop should I get for my son? But before you start thinking that it is more relevant to tech products than anything else, let’s look what else people are discussing. My dad has given me money to buy a winter wardrobe. Where should I spend it? So there is an opportunity for clothing recommendations. A link recommending a jewellery supplier – not only a recommendation but a direct, impartial and spin-free link. Now that is gold to that business – pardon the pun. But – more importantly, what can be positive can also be negative. Avoid the café in the Lovett Tower in Woden, Canberra. Their coffee is – well, you can see for yourself. We know the old marketing saying that if someone likes your business they’ll tell 3 people. If they have something to complain about, they’ll tell 7. This is extremely true on Twitter – but multiply that by a factor of thousands.
  • Should you care that Trib doesn’t like the coffee? Can one person’s whinge really make a difference? Well, Trib is followed by over 4,000 people – far more than the 7 people we would normally assume. Trib is a popular and highly influential Twitter user – something he says has a genuine impact. But whether a person has 4000 or 400 followers, the knock on effect is huge. One of those followers can retweet the original tweet, taking it to a further audience. That can be retweeted again. And again. Some messages have been retweeted a number of times, reaching potentially hundreds of thousands of people. Don’t you want that message to be positive? If there are negative messages out there, wouldn’t you want to respond and turn that perception around?
  • When I was a boy, there was a corner shop near our house. Mr and Mrs Roberts had run that shop for decades. They knew my name. They knew the names of all the kids and all the families that came in the shop. They knew when it was my pocket money day when I walked in with my 35 pence to spend on penny chews and comics. My family moved away to Australia when I was seven. Years later, I returned to that street and of course the shop was gone. The local shops had changed, replaced by supermarkets and major retailers. But, nearly thirty five years later, I still remember their names. I still remember watching them slice the cheese for my mum and the layout of the sweets display. I still remember how they treated everyone who entered the shop.
  • When I was a boy, there was a corner shop near our house. Mr and Mrs Roberts had run that shop for decades. They knew my name. They knew the names of all the kids and all the families that came in the shop. They knew when it was my pocket money day when I walked in with my 35 pence to spend on penny chews and comics. My family moved away to Australia when I was seven. Years later, I returned to that street and of course the shop was gone. The local shops had changed, replaced by supermarkets and major retailers. But, nearly thirty five years later, I still remember their names. I still remember watching them slice the cheese for my mum and the layout of the sweets display. I still remember how they treated everyone who entered the shop.
  • When I was a boy, there was a corner shop near our house. Mr and Mrs Roberts had run that shop for decades. They knew my name. They knew the names of all the kids and all the families that came in the shop. They knew when it was my pocket money day when I walked in with my 35 pence to spend on penny chews and comics. My family moved away to Australia when I was seven. Years later, I returned to that street and of course the shop was gone. The local shops had changed, replaced by supermarkets and major retailers. But, nearly thirty five years later, I still remember their names. I still remember watching them slice the cheese for my mum and the layout of the sweets display. I still remember how they treated everyone who entered the shop.
  • The mass market changed everything. Technology, industrialisation and the ability to mass market a message through new media like television and radio allowed businesses to scale up their operations to immense proportions. But one thing they could never scale up was the relationship – the engagement. A television commercial doesn’t know your name. A supermarket of checkouts and shelf stackers is too busy to chat – reducing the customer conversation to ‘next, please’, ‘do you want fries with that’ and ‘do you have a fly buys card?’
  • The mass market changed everything. Technology, industrialisation and the ability to mass market a message through new media like television and radio allowed businesses to scale up their operations to immense proportions. But one thing they could never scale up was the relationship – the engagement. A television commercial doesn’t know your name. A supermarket of checkouts and shelf stackers is too busy to chat – reducing the customer conversation to ‘next, please’, ‘do you want fries with that’ and ‘do you have a fly buys card?’
  • Finally, technology gives us the ability to scale up those customer relationships. Finally, it is possible for businesses large and small to have those conversations on a scale that makes business sense. Finally, we are able to put the individual customer back at the centre of commerce again – where they were for thousands of years before we forgot about them in the pursuit of the mass market.
  • A true relationship means listening and responding, not just broadcasting.
  • A true relationship means listening and responding, not just broadcasting.
  • A true relationship means listening and responding, not just broadcasting.
  • A true relationship means listening and responding, not just broadcasting.
  • A true relationship means listening and responding, not just broadcasting.