Social Media and Small Businessess

It is no secret that I am a fan of social media.  But one part that really grabs my interest is the effect of social media on small businesses.  I wrote a blog post called “Twitter and Small Businesses” that referenced a New York Times article that highlighted small businesses using Twitter to gain more business.  It showed that the larger companies who use Twitter to interact with their customers are not the only ones benefiting from social media strategies.  Throughout the last few months, Mashable has published articles about their thoughts on social media and small businesses beyond Twitter.

A Mashable article published 6 months ago called “How Small Business Is Using Social Media” surprisingly showed that only 16% of respondents are using Twitter for customer service purposes.  I feel like a lot of people think this is the only use of social media for companies, but the statistic really showed that there are so many ways to utilize social media.  LinkedIn and Facebook seemed to be the most used tools to create company pages.  It is true that almost every company you can think of has a company page and not every company uses Twitter yet.  Despite articles that show the importance of Twitter for small businesses, many of these companies do not see the value or purpose of Twitter.  Even more so they will not use this social media tool in a strategic manner.

Another article by Mashable “Why Small Businesses Shouldn’t Take Social Media for Granted” says that the size of the smaller businesses and their simplicity are actually assets when using social media.  It is so important to have that intimacy when communicating through these social media tools, and small businesses can achieve this easier.  The article highlights Starbucks as a company that is great at using social media, but they cannot communicate with all of their customers.  By being smaller, these businesses can interact with a larger percentage of their customers.  Who doesn’t like to get a response on Twitter from a company after tweeting at them?

Now with the recent trend toward smart phones, located-based deals are becoming prominent.  Just look at Mashable’s“5 New Ways Small Business Can Offer Location-Based Deals”.  Small businesses can use verified check-in rewards, social barcodes, group deals, challenge-based rewards and opt-in deals to gain not only more customers but more satisfied customers.  Mobile is one of the biggest upcoming trends, and small businesses have the perfect opportunity to become early adopters and use this tactic.

What do you think about the ways that small businesses can use social media?  Is it effective?  Or do the larger businesses have more control?

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