Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Social Media and The Real SMALL Business

So, something struck me last week in a discussion with a friend of mine. He is a small business owner, very small, in the auto repair business. He wanted to know if this type of marketing will help him develop an increase in a certain type of sale. He is a one man shop. Does not have alot of time on his hands, but through his children, realizes that this medium is valid. I talked with him at length about my thoughts, however, something from my PM past was nagging. I am a problem solver nature. This should be cake. Here are the knowns,

  1. Limited budget
  2. Limited time
  3. Small funnel of capacity
  4. Limited understanding of the medium 
I tell him to give me a little bit of time and I will get back to him. Well, I did. With the following, translated from mechanics speak.

Short of doing it yourself, there are very little pre package systems that will truly be of value. Many are fine systems built and sold by successful social media experts, but they do not really get to the heart of the problem for small business(Let's say small businesses with less than 50 employees). Filtered results that lead to business opportunity. These filters will have many variables based on geography, age demographics, social demographics. Anything short of managing these filters could be disastrous for the business. Flooding of communication which will lead to brand tarnishing. The world of small business is unique in and of itself. Each potential client requires a personalized evaluation to establish the right path. A small restaurant would be much different than a home remodeling business. A hair salon needs solid people mining to ensure proper matching. So I am inclined to think that this vast market of small business need more of the consultant model with a strong focus on geo and social awareness as it applies to their business. It's back to knowing people and knowing the market. The profiles we create on these platforms say something about who we are or want to be. Analysis of that data is at the cornerstone of what will work for small business. They are not looking for 1000 followers or friends. They would be thrilled with 100 geo and socially sensitive people who are engaged with their content and would be willing to refer them to, wait for it, A Friend.

So, this journey has just begun for me. However, I am very sure that as social media is applied to small business, it's all about people, not programs.

More to come.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you on that small businesses are more interested in a smaller number of geo and socially followers. However if they get into the social media business now, they could see a larger area of people that are interested in their business.