Small Business Social Media: Is Anybody Out There?

Updated: October 29, 2010

In 1994 when putting up a Web site became fashionable, there were mostly two camps: People who thought the Internet was a silly fad and people who thought they could put one up and just sit back and rake in the money.

Well, 16 years and about 300 million sites later, some small businesses are getting it right (that it takes strategic thinking and constant management) and many others still fall into one of those same camps.

I implore you to adopt the right attitude about social media. The plain truth is that you will have to work hard to make social media work for your small business. I wholeheartedly recommend you get a consultant who can help you craft your strategy, but you still have to create great content.

I'm going to give you two pieces of wisdom. One comes from a very well-known source, the other from a relative unknown.

Zig Ziglar has always said that he loved sales because it allowed him to help people get what they want. That's important when you're a small business in the social media world because everything you say has to be relative. And you can remove this statement from your small business talk: "I just don't want to bother my customers by sending them stuff all the time." Listen, it's only junk if it's not relevant. They'll tell you if they are tired of hearing from you. Until then, give them timely, relevant and fun content, such as:

Live Web cam of your coffee room, words of wisdom from a co-worker's mother, links to videos and articles that demonstrate your knowledge or show that you understand

Joel Osteen and his people understand this. That's why he has nearly half a million "likes" and 1,000 comments a day.

My second little nugget comes from my friend Markel. He always reminds me that people don't buy products. They buy people. So, I advise you to give everything you do a personal flair. People want to experience your brand, not just buy it.

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