According to new data, only about a quarter small-business owners have a plan for how they use social media. That’s the bad news. The good news is that most of the rest—about half the total—are interested in social media. It seems they’re just having trouble getting going with it, or they’re going by the seats of their pants.
So the big question here is: what do small business owners need to bridge that gap? The obvious answer is almost certainly “infinite time,” but is there something else that could shift these numbers toward more strategic social media use? More training and discussion through small-business associations and the like? What’s it going to take?
To excel at social media, being socially savvy matters more than being media savvy. That is, knowing how to communicate—how to tell your story, how to connect with people, how to be social—is a better predictor of success than knowing the difference between a Facebook page and a Facebook group.
Once small businesses realize that their customers patronize them because they enjoy dealing with them on a personal level, they’ll begin to appreciate that social media isn’t a block box, but something they’re already doing in real life, which is transferable to the web.
2. Many small businesses approach social media with a “let’s-do-it” attitude, rather than a strategy. They think, “We need to be on Twitter!” instead of taking the time to ask “why” and “how.” But before you entertain a social media strategy, you need a business strategy. Once that foundation is in place—laying out, for example, what content they’ll tweet, who their key audiences are, what balance they want to strike between self-promotion and serving as an industry resource—a LinkedIn profile or a Pinterest page begins to make a lot more sense.
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