Do you run a small business? How are you connected to social media?
I think there are 2 different mind sets when it comes to small businesses. There are those who want to grow and become a larger business, and those who are content. But thinking about that – isn’t that how most people are?
Both of my parents run small businesses. Both are NOT connected to social media – nor care to. While this saddens me, I have to realize – they do not want to grow. So much opportunity with minimal costs, but being content is more of their style rather than evolving with the times.
While I don’t mean to cast a “if you are not connected to social media, you will not grow” statement on all small businesses. I do cast the statement: “Small businesses do not know what they are missing by not utilizing social media platforms.”
Social media is a diverse, minimal costing marketing effort. While it requires love and a little bit of knowledge of how to leverage it, the rewards can be remarkable for growing ones customer base and customer service.
Here is a great example of how a once small business, Sprinkles Cupcakes has utilized social media to grow their base.
Reporting from San Francisco– Charles Nelson, president of Sprinkles Cupcakes, the Beverly Hills baker to the stars, doesn’t have a Facebook profile. Nelson, who works seven days a week, has no time for chatting online with Facebook friends.
But Nelson is logged on to Facebook all the time. That’s because more than 70,000 people have declared themselves fans of Sprinkles’ Facebook page, which has its own “vanity URL” at www.facebook.com /sprinkles.
Each day on the website, Sprinkles announces a secret word, such as “ganache,” or “bunny,” or “tropical,” or “love,” and the first 25 or 50 people to show up at any of its five stores and whisper that word get a free cupcake.
“On Facebook, we can ask our customers what’s the next location they want,” Nelson said. “What do they think of our next flavor? It’s an amazing way to communicate with our fans.”
Facebook is not just for friends anymore. The free social networking site — blocked in many workplaces as a potential time-waster — is increasingly becoming an inexpensive marketing tool for small businesses.
Sprinkles is among a growing number of mom-and-pop businesses taking advantage of a relatively new program on Facebook, one that allows them to claim their name, become visible even to folks who aren’t on the site, and stay in close contact with their customers. The business, in effect, can act like any other person on Facebook, posting status updates and seeing what its fans are doing.
How can your small business utilize social media? The opportunities are endless. I’ll be going thru several techniques in the next few weeks on getting started on several different social media platforms.