The Personal Touch Remains Vital
A recent article in USA Today, Small Businesses Get Personal with Social Media (Nov. 12, 2012), did a good job in highlighting the vital connections made through new technology.
The article states, “Social media and the Internet have leveled the playing field for small business owners, helping them foster closer relationships with clients and identify potential customers. Although small business owners are under much pressure to generate new customers, they should spend time nurturing and maintaining their existing clients, says Tory Johnson, founder of Spark & Hustle, which creates conferences for women-owned small businesses.”
However, the article goes on to point out the reluctance of much of the small business community to make use of thriving Social Media. In New York City, for example, fewer than 20% of small businesses are capitalizing on technology, says a Smarter Small Business report released in August by the Center for an Urban Future (CUF). In particular, they found that there is a technology gap among neighborhood-based mom-and-pop firms.
Some small businesses are too overwhelmed to develop social media outlets, and others have a lack of understanding how best to use it, the article relates.
However, what seems vital is maintaining the roots of a successful small business: the people-to-people aspect. According to the article, “One mistake is when small businesses use social media only to promote themselves. “That does nothing,” says Nika Stewart, CEO of Ghost Tweeting, which provides social-media services for small businesses such as authors and self-help coaches. “Customers don’t want to hear about promotions. They want to be talked with and cared about.”
“We live in a relationship economy,” says Scott Steinberg, CEO of business consulting firm TechSavvy Global. That means it’s important for small-business owners to smartly use social media to personalize their business and build trust.”
“But that’s not enough. They have to act on it. As Steinberg puts it: “It is the high-tech equivalent of the old barbershop or local bar where they greet you by name when you walk in the door.”