Does Small Business Understand Social Media?

We Need More Social Media!

Said every small business owner ever.

And no, this is not a "Meme," this is truly what I think small business owners everywhere are saying.

Considering not a television commercial, billboard, radio spot or magazine advertisement goes without a "Find us on Facebook" or Follow us on Twitter," it is safe to say that the influence is there.

The popularity has created a coinciding illusion that Social Media is the end all be all and it is going to be the way that a small business will more quickly win its customers.
Social Media is not a Savior
In itself, Social Media is merely one piece of an integrated marketing solution.

So while the small business owner is asking to have an account set up with every social network on the planet (and there are many), the very presence of having an account means exactly as much as the effort it took to get signed up with it in the first place. Nothing!

Social is a vehicle, one vehicle and what makes it so popular is the exposure that it can give you to so many people in one place.

However, if you have no friends, no followers, no community and no idea what you are doing with Social Media then your return will be exactly zero.
Where Small Business Goes Wrong With Social Media
I am obstinant that there are many ways to skin this topic. Social doesn't have to be done one way and in fact it can be done many ways. But Social Media is built on the idea of "Being Social." And being social is an activity.

Let's look at an analogy that everyone can (should) get.

Your New Years Resolution is to lose weight. January 1st you head over to the gym and you join.

Question: Have you now done enough to lose weight?

Answer: No

Review: Because joining a gym doesn't account for weight loss. Now visiting the gym and working out hard and eating well can help, and the gym itself is a catalyst for those things, however your joining the gym in itself won't actually make an impact unless you execute your plan.

The same goes for Social, but when it comes to Social, the routine requires more than just posting content. That has never been the answer.

To obtain results you have to provide valuable content that is targeted to your audience. But before you can do that you have to work to make the content move which means building loyal readers and visitors.

By loyal, I mean more than just those that "Like" your page, but people who are advocates for your brand. This advocacy is built by consistency, value and engagement with a known target audience.

Perhaps most importantly, this takes time. There are no short cuts when it comes to building loyalty and community amongst your brand. It takes quality work and commitment.

What doesn't work is just having social accounts.
Parting Words for Small Businesses that Aspire to be Social
At the very root, a brand is comprised of...

Yes! People.

And people want to engage with other people. So content slung at them doesn't move like content that engages.

Social starts and ends with engagement. It builds the community we all seek.

So if your small business wants to be social the work goes far beyond have a Twitter Handle or a Company Page on Facebook or LinkedIn.

It means so much more. Raising the question...

How does your small business play in the Social Media world?