As I continue along the journey that is Bash Nation, I am struck with a profound understanding of how difficult it is for the small business and organization to balance the day to day tasks of running the company with the obvious need to promote and expand that company.  Most small businesses and organizations don’t have a staff dedicated to sales and marketing which is arguably one of the most important things one needs if you are serious about growing.  So where does that leave them?

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. etc. etc. are fantastic at giving you a level of personal interaction online in a way we’ve never really seen before.  The problem is most people have no idea how to use it or where it’s real power lies.  Because we are a ‘now!…now!…now!’ society, everyone wants everything in a hurry.  But like anything worth having, it takes time (lots of time actually) and effort to cultivate those relationships online.  It’s not a quick fix. It’s a PART of an overall marketing strategy that must be created just like anything else.

Here’s the secret that nobody tells you.  You don’t have to be everywhere.  You don’t have to do it all. There is something new every day and it is impossible for someone who’s job isn’t a social media specialist to keep up with everything.  And it can be quite overwhelming at times. Every business is unique and you must tailor your social media marketing efforts in the same way you would any other marketing plan.  Where are your customers?  What do they do in their spare time?  What social media sites do they frequent?  B2B customers are not where B2C customers are… Manhattanites spend their time differently than the residents of San Diego, California.  In order to be effective, you have to understand who your clients are and how to reach them.  There is no cookie cutter approach to social media marketing.  It’s what makes it such an effective means of communicating – the personal touch.

Remember that social media like anything else is a means to an end. Don’t get caught up in the hype.  They are tools that allow you to reach a much broader audience than ever before.  But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  Remember ‘personal’?  People want to be engaged not talked at.  They want to feel appreciated, valued.  They want to be more than just a customer, they want to be a friend.  And that means more than just being online.  It means lunch dates, office visits & phone calls.  Social media can do a lot of things but it can’t replace the human element.  And as for me, I wouldn’t want it to.

Monica Jones
3D Studios, President