Social Media for Small Business – It’s Still Early Days

The Social Marketing Process

The Social Marketing Process ©Jeff Korhan

The art of marketing has always been about making meaningful connections with ideal buyers.

Modern marketing is a practice that is new to most small businesses. Prior to that small businesses made meaningful connections through selling, not marketing.

One of the reasons for this is that most of the media available in recent decades, including magazines, radio, and television advertising, were far too costly for the average small business.

The Early Days of Modern Marketing

In the early days of marketing, impressions were a common metric that media agencies measured. The idea was the more times an ad was served to a target audience, the more likely it would stimulate buying behavior.

That’s not a problem anymore. In fact, these days the practice of focusing on impressions is considered spamming.

Every business has the capability to use technology to achieve countless impressions, and that is possible with even the smallest budget. As a result, we have gone full circle.

Now we are right back to where we started seeking to use social media marketing to make meaningful connections with our ideal buyers. This requires practice, training, skill, and a bit of good fortune does not hurt either.

Digital marketing requires a strategic approach and committed focus. In the earlier days, most small businesses used the same forms of marketing — advertising in local newspapers and telephone books (Yellow Page advertising).

Today, mainstream small businesses have moved their focus to Facebook.

Is that the best approach for your business? It may well be, but the truth is achieving results with Facebook is challenging, because the changes are ongoing and many.

Whereas, by comparison, Twitter largely works today as it did in its early days. One could argue the same is true for LinkedIn and more recently, Google+.

These Are Early Days for Small Business

It’s true that the good old days of Twitter were five or six years ago.  I was there, and I can say that getting in early was a lot of fun.  It enabled me to learn by rubbing shoulders with leaders such as Chris Brogan, John Jantsch, and Mari Smith.

There are really two early days here: this thing that we once referred to as new media, and its use by respective business communities.  New media is no longer new, but its use by many small businesses is.

I was delighted to hear my friend Michael Stelzner comment in a recent television interview that we are indeed in the early days of social media. That has certainly been my experience from speaking to small business groups in multiple industries, including retail, franchising, agriculture, construction, and hospitality.

It was that experience that led to my authoring Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business. Today I’m celebrating its official release – and that is exciting, because I’m proud of the result.

Built-In Social Cover

The challenges and opportunities for small businesses are much the same from one industry to the next. Blogging and content marketing are still practiced by just a few. Although, nearly everyone is waking up to the fact that it is a practice that effectively attracts leads that drive their social media engagement.

What’s Next for You and Me?

Those of us that have been doing this for a while have learned two things:

a. What works for you may not work for my business, but I can still learn from your practices.

b. You have to make this a practice, expect to make mistakes, and then find a business model that works.

What I find fascinating is how social media amplifies our strengths, weaknesses, and personal qualities and capabilities.

For example, I could never match the personal magnetism of Mari Smith, the productivity of John Jantsch, the community focus of Chris Brogan, or the business-mindedness of Michael Stelzner – but I can learn from them.

And so can you.

Early days means you have plenty of time to find your way. What are your unique qualities that will best help your communities? That’s what’s next for you – and me.

Find it.

Show up – and show us who you are. You’ll probably surprise yourself, and make a significant contribution as a result.

Are you ready?

 About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Released April 15, 2013 (Wiley)

Memorable Marketing Content is Original, Fresh, and Personal


The practice of repurposing marketing content across multiple channels seems to be not only acceptable, but one that many online marketers encourage.

Is repurposing marketing content really a good idea on a web that is rewarding original work? 

Google Authorship in particular, as well as the periodic freshness updates by the search engine giant, all suggest otherwise. Indeed, this business trend is probably one of the easiest things for Google to check; after all, it is one web.

What’s interesting is that businesses, marketers, and content contributors that would otherwise take exception to their content being scraped by others, are in fact leading the dilution of their own original work.

Focus on Your Customers

Recently, I was asked to speak at an event, and then repeat the presentation 30 minutes later to a new audience. I dreaded the thought, but agreed nonetheless because that is what my client wanted.

While the presentation slides were identical, I discovered from the opening comments that the words and stories were completely different. This wasn’t so much intentional as it was a product of simply focusing on the audience.

When you focus intensely on the needs of your audience, which may be defined as your customers, prospective buyers, or even a larger community, the message will become more personal, and as a result, more memorable.

Getting into the zone only happens when you focus on what you came there to accomplish. If you think “prepared presentation” –  you are dead.

If you think about affecting change, you are more likely to accomplish what you showed up for – delivering a favorable result, something that happens to be memorable.

Keep Your Expertise Fresh

Keeping your expertise fresh is something that happens when you consistently practice it live, thereby regularly creating new solutions from it.

Repurposing the same tired message (or solutions) disengages your business from the process of helping those who depend on it.

How much effort does it take to go just a little bit further to freshen things up? It takes minutes to customize a solution, especially when you consider the particular audience, place, and relevant period of time.

This is what makes the new social media so powerful. Context is the magic for revitalizing content and collaborative efforts that have previously proved their worth –  by making them even better.

Be Your Memorable Self

There are a number of methods for being memorable, and one indeed is to focus on the audience.

As any skilled presenter knows, when you are thinking about yourself your ego takes over, and you then project what you think people want you to be. Instead, focus on them and your unique qualities will naturally come out to make a memorable, human connection.

The better marketers understand that most buying decisions are made on emotion, rather than logic.

Thus, whenever your messaging can be personalized, it stands a far better chance of being memorable.

If you want to make your content social marketing memorable, keep it original, fresh, and personal.

What are your thoughts?   Please share.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, helps mainstream small businesses create exceptional customer experiences that accelerate business growth. Get more from Jeff on LinkedInTwitter and Google+.

Jeff is also the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business – Released April 15, 2013 (Wiley)

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