Social media in my area (the Tri-Cities Washington) has quite suddenly become something that most small businesses are showing interest. This is good news for me, as a social media consultant. But what is the driving force behind this surge? I have a couple ideas and they may not be good indicators.
The small businesses of the world, you know, the type that are less than two hundred employees but much more likely to be just a one man show, have had a rough time the last couple of years. The great recession is perhaps the biggest driver of small business social media adoption. I point to the pervasive thinking that social media is a form of free advertising as evidence for the recession driving the trends. Small businesses have struggled with the sluggish recovery and their advertising budgets (if they have any) are slim and they need to stretch those dollars as far as they can. Many people come with the preconception that social media is free and must be a great way to get the word out. They aren’t completely wrong, of course, but many are under the impression that social media is just another advertising option. This poses a problem for many businesses.
Another reason for the sudden surge (and again I speak more about my local area in this regard than in the area you may live in) is that social media has reached a critical mass. Local small businesses are starting to promote the fact that they are on social media. This creates buzz about social media in general and their company specifically. As the word gets around people start paying attention. Additionally the success stories are starting to reach the ears of the more owners and everyone seems to think they could be next. These "early" (I use the word "early" loosely) adopters have paved the way and are showing that social media is an important part of their business.
The difficulty in these two reasons is that most businesses don’t understand the "cost" of social media not to mention how to replicate the success of their competitors or other businesses. So while the recession is slowly fading and small businesses are trying to find a way to grow they need to understand exactly that social media is not free and that there is a right and wrong way to do social media to be successful.
The importance of finding someone who understand social media and can walk a person through the process and keep them up to date on the constant changes in the social media world is imperative. CnctNOW is here to be that expert that can create success in a social way rather than just another marketing campaign.