Small Businesses are Missing the BIG Picture: How Social Media Can REALLY Help Them
Social Media is still an area that have so many businesses offline. Why don’t small businesses and creative entrepreneurs realize the unbelievable potential they are missing out on?
In my neighborhood of Jersey City Heights and close by Hoboken, New Jersey, there are many businesses that are struggling and many that have closed up and left. Whenever I walk down Central Avenue in the Heights and Washington Street down in Hoboken, there are empty stores. More and more are closing due to this stalled economy and I truly believe it’s because they are all focused on the foot traffic of the surrounding areas… and of course there’s the rent increases and costs of operating their businesses.
Businesses need to wake up and realize there is a whole world out there, waiting and wanting what they have to offer, if they just knew about it. The combination of newer social media and community sites as well as changing technology scare many away. Some have told me, “I don’t see the point” or “I can’t write English very well, what if they start writing back?” or “I don’t want my personal information out there” or “I wouldn’t know what to say or show.”
Social Media and updating your website often is the key to your business being successful. I know because I have run my business for almost 2 decades and my clients are all over the world. I do not depend on local businesses to give me assignments, although I’d welcome them. I reach out to the “WWW.” Remember this term? World Wide Web!
Let’s begin with the basics.
The public likes entertainment, and they also like to read and be educated. They like music, videos, gorgeous imagery and thoughtful commentary. That means you can draw interested people in a lot of different ways using many different mediums and across many different social websites.
But there is always a goal.
Each business has different goals but they all have a few things in common. They want fans, to be recommended, and new customers. How is this going to happen in a dragging economy if they’re only hoping someone is physically going to come into their store. They post 30% off, 50% off and try so hard just to make sales.
Your business is unique and you need to tell the world about what you are doing. Once you post imagery, stories, or video and you do that consistently, your engagement widens, your visibility reaches out across the web to new eyes, and fans start to pass your business around and before you know it, you have increased sales.
Here is one example of what I have done to help a local small business.
This is based on reviewing the company’s Google Analytic stats. Before we began his website traffic was about 235 visitors for the past 30 days and social media engagement 0%. Once we attacked social media and updated things on the company website, 3 weeks later, the social engagement is 25%, and website traffic is now at 2,100 for the past month. Many new visitors are coming from social media, and they are staying on site longer, looking around, and more sales are coming in. The more consistently we do this, the engagement and visitors will continue to go up.
So, you’re now wondering if you have the right business and how social media can help you. Just ask me… I can spin branding and marketing ideas easily and I’m happy to offer advice that will attract more potential customers for your business. Whether you are a florist, small book publisher, interior designer or own a bicycle shop, social media can bring you increased visibility which is really a GOOD thing.
So join in and remember to be “social!”
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20 thoughts on “Small Businesses are Missing the BIG Picture: How Social Media Can REALLY Help Them”
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Branding yourself is the most important thing to do on Social Media. We must be consistent and have a great strategy on the social platforms. I’m in love with Social Media because it works for me.
People buy People. That being said, we have to engage our readers and put out good content for them. Just think of the answer to a question and there you go. Your content is out and you are giving. It is a go-givers economy so we must keep up with the trend.
As the old saying goes “You catch more flies with honey…”
I wrote this because it’s been an interesting few weeks with some of my clients. One who finally realized he needed social media help, not only to get it done but because he just didn’t have the time. He is running his business! Another is hesitant to approach Facebook but I have convinced him, and a third also has finally realized the potential. Hopefully many more small businesses will realize that with a little more effort, the ROI could be HUGE!
You hear Social Media and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. I like the Google Analytics example to show how Social Media is a measurable venture. Social Media is kinda like the “fad computer” or “fad television” set that most small biz owners are going to have to embrace sooner rather than later.
Thanks Jalanda for your comment. If you are asking what role social media has played in gathering more of an audience to that small business’s website… here’s a few interesting developments. I just looked at his analytics and because he has a very visual and sharing kind of business, Pinterest has moved into the top spot of traffic followed by Yelp and Facebook, then Twitter. Social media from different sources, is the key… not just focusing on Twitter or Facebook but moving around to different audiences. – Susan
I was just at a social media seminar yesterday–there were folks in the room still stuck in the evil predator fears of social media. I explained to one guy–father of two teen daughters, as it happens— that there’s a difference between hanging around a 7-11 to get picked up, and going in for a cup of coffee.
What I wonder…people are so overwhelmed. How do you break through the emotional/psychological blocks? My son, a graphic designer and digital native, helped me. “Mom,” he said. “It’s all just content.” In my translation, that means, it’s just you talking to others, same only different.
We do have fun, don’t we? A fun learning curve.
Yes it’s so interesting the different approaches to social media. Some avoid it like the plague and others feel they finally have a voice. I do think engagement is the key for all businesses today. Any company that doesn’t embrace change or tries out new things, will lose.
Love this message. I completely agree that even businesses that are 100% local can benefit from connecting with prospects and customers through social media. Everyone turns to the Internet before heading out to grab dinner, see a movie, buy a gift, or shop for furniture. That’s why we all have to be online, sharing what we know.
Yes, we all use the internet so much more than we realize sometimes. It’s always surprising to me how many are still avoiding social media, and I know some artists and other creatives who still don’t have websites. Can you believe that?
It’s wonderful that you are reaching out to small businesses. So many peaked pre-internet and are barely holding on. I don’t think that social media even occurs to them and to have a chance to work with someone like you who makes it sooooo easy is a true benefit to the busness community.
Thanks Susan! It’s amazing to me how businesses still resist it all. I just had a client say, I don’t think I will ever blog, and although I know some businesses don’t need this, his does… so I may have to hold his hand as we move him forward into that place.
I certainly get overwhelmed by the myriads of social media outlets out there. There’s a lot of information to bite and chew. But I also know how frustrated I feel when I can’t find a local restaurant’s or shop’s twitter or facebook page readily or see that they are not engaged with their audience – especially when I want to recommend them or give them feedback.
Hi Sara! I realize there are just so many different social media sites and most haven’t the time to devote to chatting and engaging on a wide variety of places, so I recommend this. Try out making one of them your focal point and get the conversation started there. See what happens, if it’s working you’ll know pretty quickly, if not put that one on the back burner and try another. For example, I spend more time on Twitter than most sites, I like learning and sharing the smaller bits of information. I do also visit Facebook but very briefly to comment or post and just don’t have the time to read everyone’s long posts. So you can make time in little bits for a variety of places but choose one to be the main focus and see if it drives more traffic and if that turns into business, if it doesn’t switch to another. – Susan
This post is very true, and while it seems like the whole world is on social media, many “mom and pop” stores, the local businesses that you want to see succeed, don’t understand how to use it. I have a client now who has a great concept for her store, but her branding is not clear. My plan is to help her use social media to clearly brand herself, and distinguish her store from the larger chain stores. I think the other challenge is to show some of these small business owners how to interact with their customers without constantly “selling” to them.
Hi Donna and thanks for your comment! I agree, it’s not just that they don’t know how to use it right, but there are so many sites, they don’t always know which is right for them. For example: I was talking with an artist yesterday and because her work is visual, the best places for her are YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook, not necessarily Twitter or LinkedIn. So using the platform properly and in the right way will make a difference. – Susan
You’re right Susan, social media is huge for businesses, of all sizes: small, medium and large. Nowadays it’s not enough to just have a website, we really must engage in social media to get more visibility. I just got serious about twitter a few weeks ago but after 2 week of engaging my followers on there, I got a job. So, it absolutely works. Yes, it takes times but it’s worth it.
Tanzie, So glad to hear of your success. It does take a little time and as we nurture those relationships and it’s an important way to open a business up globally. – Susan
I love this post, I totally agree with you, and I still can’t believe that in this globally society that we live in there are so many business owners that barely own a computer, and have never been on Facebook.
Yes Carla, right on my own street there are still internet cafes… and there are always people sitting at them. I know many artists and business owners that still don’t have websites and are avoiding social media thinking it is still just a platform to reconnect with your HS buddies. – Susan
I couldn’t agree more with this post. It’s funny, small business owners started out with a dream and took a risk. Then, the longer they stayed in business, the less “risky” they become. The benefits of social media seem so obvious to me but I’m finding that small business owners are still in the “wait and see” mode. By that time they’ll be swimming up a much stronger current to get to the top.
@Donna Merrill, I like the “go-givers” term. LOVE that! : )
Philip M. Anderson
Philip, Thanks so much for your comment. What you say is true, so many are not learning and growing so they can meet tomorrow’s challenges. I’m reading and watching almost everyday, so that I’m always on top of what is happening. This way I can suggest new and effective ways to help my clients. Those that don’t embrace social media and understand it’s business value, will be losing out on an important and probable revenue stream. – Susan