Social Media for Small Businesses – Can you really beat the big boys?

As I was driving yesterday I was listening to an audiobook about Social Media Marketing and I heard something that made me stop and think.

The author, Mitch Joel, was enthusiastically explaining how social media is democratising the web and how it allows small businesses to compete with the ‘big boys’ and propel their own brands and businesses into the limelight.

He talked about social sites being the one space where money couldn’t by you a larger share, where you had to be passionate and committed to gather an audience.

He went on to say that most large corporations are either scared of the social space or haven’t realised it’s value yet so the opportunities were there to become kings of the new frontier!

His words hit me like a brick.

A creeping thought I’ve had for a while coalesced into a chilling reality.

His words just aren’t true anymore. (To be fair I must point out this book was published in 2010!)

Now most big brands are in the social space, and is this world of promoted posts, social ads and social media marketing departments, money is buying them a larger audience.

Once again the playing field is decidedly tilted against the small business 🙁

So what should you do? Just Give up?

Errr… No!

Just because the ‘big boys’ have come to play it doesn’t mean the game is over!

Smaller businesses have several advantages, if you choose to use them…!

1. You’re more agile, with less layers between the top dogs and the workers (or in a lot of cases no layers!) you can see what’s happening and respond quickly.

2. Smaller businesses are more  personable.

The social space is all about people, not representatives. If you engage with your customers in the social space they know you’re there because you want to be, not that you are being paid to respond but you are more concerned with what you’ll have for your dinner!

3. Local is loved!

Times have changed, now the majority want to buy local wherever possible. As a smaller business you are more likely to fit that profile so get out there and meet with people local to you online!

4. The ‘big boys’ are often thought of as the ‘bad boys’

We used to trust corporations, we figured that if they’d got that big they must have been doing something right! Now they are viewed with suspicion, a lot of this is down to the fact that so many of them have behaved badly! As a smaller business you have the advantage of being seen as hard-working and honest.

5. Enthusiasm is contagious!

I assume you do your business because you love it? Well that enthusiasm will really work for you! Share your passion, your knowledge and your expertise and you still have a fighting chance! The social space is all about sharing, and it’s full of people that want to be entertained, educated and enlightened! Tell us your stories and your tips and tricks! It will help us care about you.

So there you are, the playing field might still be a little tilted but it just makes it more fun!

One little word of caution though, you must be passionate and willing to actually converse with people online to succeed. If you aren’t it will show, not just in what you do but in what you don’t do!

The British Book of Social Media Marketing
The British Book of Social Media Marketing

Gemma Thompson is the author of the best-selling “The British Book of Social Media Marketing”. She is a full time social media consultant and speaker who loves helping businesses grow. When she’s not working she can often be found watching Dr Who with her teenage daughter or indulging in a spot of inept D.I.Y (but no, she still hasn’t managed to make her house bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!)

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