Many times in business, the early adopters gain the most by embracing new marketing techniques. Being first to advertise in a new channel is an indicator of a business’ forward thinking and proactive approach to be on the front line of new technology. In this way, they create new strategies for business development and improve client retention. As a business, its better to be ahead of the curve than trying to play catch up after realizing your competitors beat you to the punch. Social media marketing is gaining more steam and acceptance among the well known brands, but I find many small and mid-size businesses are still dragging their feet.
One reason for pause with many small and mid-size business owners is that they don’t understand the channels from a personal perspective and naturally shy away from the media from a business perspective. Which raises the question, do you have to participate personally in social media sites in order for your business to benefit from the channel? The answer is a resounding “No”.
Back in the day, the phone book was the “go-to” source to find businesses before the internet became such an integral part of our lives. I recall working for a company who was at the forefront of selling online advertising to small and mid size businesses when the phone book was still King. The most common objection business owners gave for passing on the option to utilize the internet to market their business was that “everyone uses the phone book to find us”. Well, fast forward and look at how Search has dominated the way people look for businesses today. I am not here to announce the death of the phone book as an effective marketing tool, but the younger generations simply do not use the phone book anymore. Consequently, it was the early adopters to internet marketing that reaped the greatest benefits as more and more people use search engines to find and research businesses before making a purchase. The experience gained by starting early (and making mistakes along the way) are precious in the long run.
The shift is well on its way with the social media channels. It is a rare occurrence that I don’t see or hear a commercial that references Facebook or Twitter, even though the commercial itself is not promoting either of those sites. These social media networks are simply becoming part of our digital culture. It won’t be long, and we are well on our way, where one’s social network profile will be as commonly used as their cell phone. Businesses who find creative ways to develop a presence in these channels will undoubtedly have the advantage over their competition. It’s a numbers game and your potential customers are gravitating and engaging in social media sites in increasing numbers.