Are You a Social Marketing Leader?

Small businesses typically play it safe when it comes to marketing – fishing in the same ponds as their competitors, and typically using the same bait.

This includes publication advertising, trade shows, and direct mail.

Could this explain why so many small businesses are slow to adopt social media practices?

What’s missing?

Leadership, innovation, and the willingness to take acceptable risks.

Leaders Change the Game – And Then Own It

There are many leaders in every industry.  They all know what to do; they are just waiting for the right time to take action.

If you lead and make mistakes, you have valuable experience that can then be used for your benefit.

Why do businesses fail to innovate?  According to Seth Godin:

a.  They don’t know what to do.

b.  They don’t know how to do it.

c.  They don’t have the resources.

d.  They are afraid.

While there is no scientific basis for this claim, I believe being afraid is the number one reason for failing to innovate.

When it comes to using social media, the biggest risk for most small businesses is looking foolish to the entire online universe.

As it turns out, that quality of being authentic and transparent is precisely what makes this work.

Be the one that leads your industry through the uncharted waters of social media and you may well own that territory.

Inaction is the Biggest Risk for Any Business

It is prudent to safeguard your business because it is your livelihood.  However, when it comes to marketing, playing it safe is a risk you cannot afford.

Taking action feels risky, especially when you are seeking results in new and innovative ways.

When I started my first small business nearly 25 years ago, I decided to educate my community.

I couldn’t afford a graphic artist so I made my own drawings for advertisements.  When I later saw them in print, I indeed felt foolish.

What I discovered was the market desperately sought the type of information I had shared with them.

By trusting my intuition, I stumbled upon what I now know to be content marketing – the very thing that drives your social media marketing.

You Have to Engage – Get the Phone to Ring

What was the risk?  Just looking foolish. I quickly got over that when the phone started ringing (this was before email).

If you are in business you have to do something to bring in new business.  You have to get the phone to ring. This means you have to take action.

So, where should you do that?

There are 800 million people on Facebook, 200 million or so on Twitter and LinkedIn, and over 60 million on Google+.

You can smile and dial prospects one at a time.  Or you can build an online community of dozens, hundreds, or thousands that you can collectively reach out to on a moments notice.

The choice is yours.

The paradox is that given the reach of social media, innovating and leading with it is actually the safest move you can make.

As with anything else in business, there is work involved.  You will have to make an investment in time, but that’s about it.

Trust your intuition and suspend your fear of failure.

What happens after that will either be success – or the ingredients for achieving it on the next pass.

All you need is leadership, persistence, and the willingness – yes, willingness to fail.

It works and you know it.

Aren’t those qualities the hallmarks of small business success?

Leave a comment below or share this with your community on with any of the share buttons below – or on the little red bar at the bottom of this page.  

Until tomorrow,  Jeff

Photo Credit: David Castillo Dominici
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  1. Good post. If I can make one observation? Social marketing is not the same as social media marketing. Two different things altogether. Check it out. 🙂

  2. Jeff Korhan says:

    Thanks Elaine. To be perfectly honest, I used social marketing because it fit on one line. So, in that respect I was indeed taking some liberties.

    However, while I understand the difference between the two, I don’t see them as distinct.

    My view is they overlap, because to succeed moving forward, I believe that EVERY business should have some component of social marketing in their marketing mix – regardless of whether or not they use social media.

    But of course, if one is using social media marketing, it is going to be more effective if there is a social marketing component to it – i.e. social media marketing is not marketing in a traditional sense. Again, my viewpoint.

    Thanks for getting me to think more deeply on this, because it’s a key topic in the book I’m working on. 🙂