I wrote a blog post for Search Engine People that was published yesterday. It basically addressed the question of whether your business is approachable these days and how the evolution of communication has lead us to a much more proactive state of marketing companies.
A long, long time ago, there were only a few businesses who used a telephone. All of the sudden, small businesses began to adopt having a telephone to help run their business. It became a necessity. Soon, it became necessary for the small business to be buy advertising in the phone book… Would it be a long shot to assume that those early adopters of the phone never looked back and said, “Man! I wish I never made the decision to help my clients connect with me?” Suddenly, the awakening of the internet came our way. A handful of large corporations jumped onto the social media train in order to actively engage and listen to their customers. Some large companies did a great job of accomplishing more sales, better customer service, and new market insight by joining social media… Of course, many failed because they treated the network as just another marketing or PR opportunity. They failed to listen.
It would seem as if the dawning of a new day for small business is here. Social media works in the advantage of the small business owner, when done well, in order to dominate their local market. Unfortunately, small business owners have no idea what is needed to manage their online presence. Typically, the rush into creating a blog or a Facebook page because of a keynote speaker at the (Your Niche Here) Business Conference promised them new small business sales goals and rainbows. For the small business owner, your rainbows are created by continuing to make a great product or service. Your new sales goals come from figuring out how you will embrace the internet to win your local market.
My ramblings on “Are You Approachable” are below, with a link to Search Engine People (Canadian SEO operation.)
Many companies, especially small business owners, are afraid of opening these channels up to the internet world. They are worried about what customers might say about them. What they don’t understand is that their customers are already talking about them. Giving your customers a controlled access point to which they can communicate and interact with your company offers you, as a business owner, the upper hand. These channels also offer you the opportunity to join in the conversation with your customers. This is much more proactive approach to marketing, customer service, and PR for your business.
The story for social media and small business owners is that they have had a hard time maintaining these channels for their business. More often than not, when small business attempts to harness these channels, they have failed by their lack of maintaining their presence. They are often discouraged because they have been promised overnight, magical results. The truth is that building your social media channels, organically, may take some time and patience. Your day to day business often takes precedence over your online presence. Since you can no longer ignore these social channels, you may want to look into outsourcing your online presence.