As consumers seem to start abandoning traditional media channels opting instead to customize their viewing via ipod, Internet tv, etc is there a real opportunity for small business to capitalise? I think so.
Eric Tsai in his blog
3 Ways to Capitalize on the Destruction of Traditional Media and Embrace Social Media is on the money when he explores that people are consuming media in new ways. Eric says “It is now possible for individuals to choose from a wide variety of communication arsenals outside of the mainstream commercial system to reach the mass audience.” I would add to this that people can customise their communication experience and we as marketers and small businesses can leverage the social media explosion by having a presence in our niche.
Social media allows small business to build an audience very quickly and as long as the content is engaging, educational and relevant build a loyal fans and hopefully eventually customers. Tools like twitter, blogging, podcasting, utube, flickr, etc allow you to express your brands personality like never before. They are all very low cost and easy to use and most importantly the audience for this medium is growing!
How a small business can capitalise.
So as a small business you might be daunted by the prospect of entering into the social media world. Don’t be. Just pick one medium and start by listening and following. Go onto twitter search tool and look up your industry and start by viewing some tweets. It is a great education.
Visit Alltop and create an account to view and participate in some of the top blogs relevant to you. Social media has made word of mouth all the more powerful. Set up a blog to discuss ideas with your customers. You can use WordPress or Blogger they are free! According to Paul Marsden and his Slideshare, “Social media now accounts for over 50% of internet traffic. What others say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.” Another interesting statement from the slideshare is the Lake Wobegan effect in which ” 80% of CEO believe they offer superior service but only 8% of their customers agree”.
The blog environment is a chance for you to talk to your customers and get some immediate feedback and perhpas to realign expectations with reality. The idea I really like from Paul’s slide share is that “social media allows us to market with consumers instead than at them”. This change can quickly create brand loyalty and fan following as our customers come on the journey, buy in and promote us via viral word of mouth freely. The challenge for us is to listen to their feedback, solve their problems and pre-em pt their queries and engage in their conversations.
According to Neilson 3/4 of the global Internet population participate in social networks and it is now more popular than personal email! As Rupert Murdock recently said, ”Now it is the people who are now in control”. Everyone now has an opportunity to be heard and select who they hear.
Business Week says,” For companies, resistance to social media is futile. Millions of people are creating content for the social Web. Your competitors are already there. Your customers have been there for a long time. If your business isn’t putting itself out there, it ought to be.”
3,000,000 tweets on twitter.com per day
Companies doing it well.
Starbucks is doing it right also. They want to hear your ideas. You can vote on ideas submitted and make suggestions. In this way they are letting you guide their business and that makes a whole lot of sense. The whole community has an opportunity to influence the products, atmosphere, locations, merchandise, social responsibility policies, just about everything to do with the Starbucks brand.
Nike has built a great web space that converts the traditional web into a hub of ideas and education segmented on each customer group. They are trying to give the visitors tools that they can use in their fitness campaign and thereby build a community and customer engagement.
Do you have any other examples of companies doing social media well? Please share.
See previous blog - How to leverage social media – SMB. for more ideas.