Why Social Media for SMBs?

The world is changing, and so is how people stay informed.  Not so many years ago if a business wanted to get in touch with potential customers they had few options.  For a B2C businesses traditional marketing activities was the way to inform the potential customers, such as using television, radio, printed media, distributing flyers, etc.  B2B businesses relied mainly on trade magazines and in forming a strong customer relationship to ensure their success.

These traditional strategies still work and are necessary in many ways, but new technologies have created new ways in which society communicates, and therefore new opportunities for businesses to get their word out to the public.  Today we choose exactly what information to consume, when and how we consume it.  And we only consume information that is relevant or interesting to us – the days of viewing a TV ad because there was nothing else on TV are over.  We don’t waste anytime consuming information that has no value to us as we did before.

The Internet and the Social Media platforms have democratized the generation and distribution of information.  Before the magazine editor or TV producer had the responsibility and privilege to decide how the general population was informed.  Today users have become publishers and content generators, and anyone with an Internet connection is a potential source of valuable information to other users and the community in general.

Traditional marketing techniques consist in reaching the largest amount of people during the duration of the campaign, with what the marketeers consider the best or most appropriate content possible.  The campaigns have little focus – only a small percentage of the audience will really have an interest in the content -, and the only way to keep the interest over time is to consistently maintain campaigns active at all times.  As you can imagine and have probably suffered before, these strategies can be expensive and time-consuming, and many times it’s very difficult to measure their real effectiveness.

The technology available today has created a new way to do marketing and position your business.  Let’s consider this blog as an example to see the main differences and advantages:

  • Focused audience: if you are reading this it’s because someone you trust recommended this blog to you or you searched for related words online and this page came up.  Either way you are interested in this content and find it valuable to you in some form.  Even though this is not reaching the thousands of people that traditional marketing would, the ones who do choose to consume this information are a much more focused audience.
  • Available over time: you are probably reading this many months after I actually wrote it.  The effort necessary to create this post is not wasted nor does it have an expiration date as happens with traditional marketing campaigns.  This post, and the entire content written on this blog, remains available for all interested in this subject for a long time.  Over time, having more focused content on this blog will make it more interesting to potential new readers.
  • Low budget: writing this blog does take time, and finding valuable focused content to publish is not always easy.  However it still is a low-budget marketing tool, which makes it accessible to professionals and businesses of all sizes, specially small and medium businesses.

Therefore when considering if and why you should incorporate Social Media into your small or medium businesses, consider the following:

  1. Customers are more informed than ever.  They choose how to get informed, and the Internet and Social Media are becoming key sources during this learning stage.
  2. It’s focused, cheap and cumulative.  I’m not saying it’s easy, but the efforts invested on these strategies last over time and help to establish your reputation online.   The content becomes extremely focused which helps you to make sure the right messages reach your target audience.
  3. This is not going to change.  This is a worldwide trend which will continue to grow.  Soon all your competitors will be jumping into this boat.  Be among the first ones and lead the pack, reaping all the benefits.

I hope you join us on this journey.  On the next posts we will start exploring what platforms are available, what kind of content you should focus on, and how to put all this into action.

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