Social media and small business – an update

I last wrote about social media and small business almost exactly a year ago. As with everything internet related a whole bunch has changed:

  • LinkedIn went public
  • Facebook went from 500 million to 750 million users
  • Twitter now handles 200 million tweets per day
  • And, Google has entered the race with Google +

But many things have stayed the same, including the slow adopting of social media avenues by small businesses despite the obvious advantages (low cost / no cost, flattening the playing field against Goliath, huge exposure). This mainly because they can’t get past three main obstacles:

  • How do I get started?
  • How do I know what’s important and what isn’t?
  • How do I fit it in when I’ve got 10,000 other things to do?

Here’s an excerpt from “Small Businesses Still Lost in Social Media” that discusses this as related to restaurant owners in NYC. At the end of the seminar they got questions from the audience:

Audience members who asked questions at the close of the talk seemed more confused by social media than the most casual tweeter on the panel. Some asked “Where do I start?” and “What should I tweet?” and “Should I find a publicist to do this for me?” Others believed that a Twitter account would be better managed by a very young person, perhaps because they don’t know the average age of a Twitter user is nearly 40. These very rudimentary questions further support the point that an aggregator tool is only useful to businesses that already understand the sites they aggregate.

The answer is the same as it was this time last year. If you don’t have the time or expertise to get more involved in social media – hire someone, preferably me!

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