Today we live in a society saturated with social media. It’s literally everywhere you are: computers, tablets, smart phones, television…you couldn’t get away from it even if you tried. This begs the question of why some small businesses continue to ignore it as a key marketing strategy for their company.
Since its inception, the internet has been changing the way we as a culture shop and advertise. Once, we were willing to listen to long radio ads, or read full page product placement in magazines. Now those days have been replaced with the short and sweet era of 140 characters or less. People want a short, catchy blurb about your product or services with an option to follow up for more information if they feel the need.
It is for this reason that while, depending on your company, ignoring social media may not be a death sentence, it will almost certainly be a hindrance.
Even small town, mom and pop stores benefit from the use of social media. A great example of this is Jimmy Beans Wool, a small yarn store just outside of Reno Nevada. When Laura Zander decider to start the store, she focused mainly on traditional methods of selling yarn: word of mouth and local advertisement. The store did relatively well for a new opening, gaining a local customer base, but the truly amazing sales happened when Zander decided to being uploading how-to videos to YouTube.
“The first five years in business we just focused on selling wool yarn,” Zander told the New York Times. “In 2007 we started focusing on building a brand.”
For her, the first step to building her brand was YouTube, where she posted product reviews and Q&A sessions with customers.The first YouTube video went live in June 2008, and in less than three months, sales had increased 67%. Now, her YouTube channel has more than 1,500 video clips and nearly 1.5 million views, with both numbers growing almost daily, and her company has an annual income of over $7 million dollars. Once her following expanded, Zander took proactive steps to remain a social media standout in the over 2,000 yarn retailers available on line. She began making using other social networking sites, and even went so far as to put a hot tub filled with yarn in her store as a talking point and photo opportunity for her customers, many of whom actually came from around the world just to stop in.
This turned out to be an even savvier move than she expected, and now multiple pictures of the store and hot tub appear scattered across Twitter, Facebook, and Google.
Though your results probably won’t be as drastic as Zander’s, this and countless other success stories give testament to the fact that when used properly, a social media campaign can do wonders for small business of all shapes, sizes, and designs.