Tag Archive for 'traditional marketing'

Can social media be dangerous to your small business?

Social media for individuals is as easy as falling off of a log. But for a business, could social media actually be dangerous? In my opinion, absolutely.

“Blasphemy!” you cry. “Heretic!” you say. Guilty as charged. Remember, Martin Luther was a heretic with a blasphemous message. But today’s heretic may be tomorrow’s prophet.

For a business like mine, which creates content for the consumption of an audience, social networking is pretty logical. But for a Main Street business, like a restaurant, dry cleaners, contractor, etc., these folks struggle to create an effective social media strategy, if they even try at all. And by effective, I mean one that brings in business without shifting too many resources – especially time – from classic strategies that have worked. And that’s where the problem arises.

Sometimes I fear that some business owners, especially start-ups, get caught up in the social media whirlwind and, since it’s all the rage, actually believe that spending time “connecting” will cause the sales dollars to roll in. Connecting is a good plan; connecting at the expense of executing tried-and-true marketing practices – not so much.

Even so, social media as we know it, with all the attendant sites and applications, may be a craze, but it’s not a fad. It is real, and it will last. And just like the evolution of websites, in time we will use social media less as entertainment and more as a tool. But for the time being, the social media phenomenon is pretty obnoxious and yet to be a universally beneficial tool for every small business.

So the rest of the answer to my blasphemous question is this: To prevent your social media marketing strategy from being dangerous – or almost as bad, not having one – practice the concept of both/and rather than either/or. This means that while you continue to develop and execute on your traditional marketing strategy, simultaneously get involved in and learn about life and business in the 21st century social media universe. Get a LinkedIn page and use it, but don’t live there. Acquire a Twitter address and do some following, but don’t get sucked into the time drain.

Nevertheless, to demonstrate that I am an equal opportunity heretic, consider this: With every year that goes by, social media will become a bigger part of the marketing strategy of your business, while traditional marketing strategies will become less.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with one of my favorite heretics, marketing expert, Ilise Benun, author of The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing. Ilise is even more skeptical of the immediate benefits of social media for Main Street small businesses than I am. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear a couple of heretics/prophets. And, of course, I would love for you to post your own blasphemy right next to mine.

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