Just when I thought I’d hear every rationalization for a small business not to use social media, I get this one: ” If we start reaching out to our customers this way, it will just create more noise, more stuff for my staff to do.” The obvious piece that this guy was overlooking was this: he KNEW that the use of social media would be successful, but he was actually afraid of this: Thinking that his people will be working on “social networking” instead of working on “work.” While that could be true if your team has already shown you they are easily distracted, (clue: forwarding countless silly emails or being the one always running the company football pools), it won’t be true of people in your company that “get it.” Ask a person that works in social media and they’ll tell you it’s “business suicide” to not adopt a social media model for your company.
Reaching Customers is a Good Thing
If you have an opportunity to reach your customer, to be where they are, and interact in a meaningful way with them in the environment they’re comfortable in, you are in a fortunate position indeed. It is never a bad thing no matter what way you slice it. Social media is one of the easiest, least expensive methods available today and your customers are using it. Facebook reports having 100 Million users, and the microblogging phenom Twitter cites a user base of 6 Million, up 600% over the previous year. There is no question people from all walks of life and work are there, the only question now is: When will your business start engaging them? The time should be now.
Noise You’ll Learn to Love
It’s true, time will be taken away and devoted to this part of your business; however, it’s hard to be anything but thrilled at the results. Done right, you’ll get the things most companies spend a fortune trying to get:
- Customer feedback
- Customer desires
- Brand awareness
- Market exposure
- Customer relationships
…just to name a few. A survey by SurePayroll and reported in ZDNet highlighted the fact that a whopping 55% of 120 small business respondents agreed that online social networking can be beneficial to their business, plus 1 out of every 5 said they got a new client because of it. If that’s “noise”, small businesses should be making more of it. Another nice side effect? A study by Universal McCann indicates 36% of online users look favorably on companies that blog.
Get There Before “You Know Who” Does
Reluctance is merely foot-dragging and the band will march on without you. Your customers are there and it’s only a matter of time before your competition is, too. So put your fear aside and get started. New to it? Hire a pro or have one conduct an online or in person workshop for your staff. Once it’s up and running right, it will be music to your ears.
Are you a small business using social media to your advantage? Please, share your story, we’d love to hear it and use it as an example in an upcoming post.