As a child, I would go with my Dad on his sales trips. At that time, my dad sold Hoover vacuum cleaners. On his trips to the retails stores he would stop and train the owners about the benefits and uses of his product line.
At a time before we had cable TV, mobile phones, Walmart, or the Internet, if you had a problem you would go down to the local store and look for a new product that would solve that problem. The owner was the expert, so you would tell him of your problem and he would recommend a solution. These were simpler times, with fewer products in the market.
When Walmart opened in 1962, it changed the way we shopped. Walmart brought hundreds of products together under one roof. They introduced larger selections, at a reduced price. But, finding a knowledgeable employee that could tell you where to even locate a particular product often became a problem.
By 1985, the Internet was widely established. We now had the ability to look for product reviews on our own. We could read plenty of reviews, compare prices, and look for a place to buy it. The business model was changing again. Customers were now buying their product at the end of the search cycle instead of talking to a sales rep. But we were depending on strangers to make these recommendations.
“The times they are a changin’.”
Today, with social media, we ask our friends on Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter for their recommendations. We see pictures of meals that they are about to enjoy. We hear about the wonderful vacations they took, a giant flat screen TV they bought, a particular store that offered exceptional service.
Small businesses went from the expert at the corner store to championing their own products and services online. As Bob Dylan reminds us:
” If we aren’t swimmin’ with the tide, we’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’.”
Marketing experts tell us many small businesses are sinking.
“Many smaller sized businesses have tried to go the Do-It-Yourself route leveraging their can-do spirit,” says Jason Peaslee of Thrive Analytics. He writes. “However, they are falling short in a number of areas as well:
- 77% of small and medium-sized businesses don’t think they have the time or knowledge to manage their digital media efforts effectively
- 70% wish they could take advantage of digital media to help them expand their businesses and reach
- 55% have websites
- 40% of those that do have websites aren’t optimized for mobile
- Only 31% have a strategy to attract the mobile consumer
- 58% of those who manage their own websites update them infrequently (every six months or more)
To complicate matters even more, we are seeing a new trend called “Distruptive Technology.” According to Clayton Christensen, the keynote speaker at the TR100 conference Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
“Good companies don’t fail because of radical new technologies, they fail because of the companies’ reactions to those new ideas.”
Companies have problems dealing with disruptive technologies because they are not prepared to handle the changes that come with new technologies.
A great example of a Disruptive Technology is the invention of the cell phone. It thoroughly disrupted the land-line phone business and their public pay phones. Seen any of them lately?
Another great example is Social Media. It has turned the traditional advertising model into an upheaval. As you can see from the statistics above that many small business owners have not been able to grasp what this new technology means to their business.
They either do not understand what benefits Social Media can bring to their business or hastily comment, “they don’t have the time.”
Social media marketing is an excellent way to reach and engage with your customers, clients and patients.
It can be low cost and an easy addition to your marketing efforts. Do not fool yourself into thinking that it is free – even if you do it yourself, your time is money!
In conclusion, your social media marketing campaign can be a cornerstone of your overall marketing strategy. Social media is an amazing tool that allows you to spread the word quickly and broadly, to reach all of your potential clients.
Ignore it and, as Bob says, ” … we’ll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin’.”
To read about 8 Tips to for Social Media Marketing Success, go to: 8-tips-for-social-media-marketing-success