Seizing the Opportunities and Dodging the Risks of the Digital World
At the rate our world changes, some say they feel they’re on an entirely different planet than they were 30 years ago. Technology is reaching a singularity where it fundamentally changes the way we work with each other, the way our businesses connect with customers, and even the way we live and love each other. With no time to even take a deep breath, it can seem overwhelming - especially for small to medium sized businesses. However, with the right mix of perspective, just-do-it mentality, and personal customization, it might be just the boost that’s needed.
We live in a paradise of available technology.
Open-source content management systems power web presences and allow customers to edit their own websites. Google Apps for small to medium size organizations have entire email servers for a fraction of the cost of old Microsoft Exchange Systems. If you’re just getting started on using social media to connect with customers in a trackable, viral way, you’re in luck. Today, you have more social media options than ever before.The fact is, for most internet users, social media is the main reason they get online. Chances are, many of those same users are also your customers and potential clients.
As technology saturates everything we do, people are increasingly starved for those personal-touch extras like homemade meals and personalized notes/messages. There are many occasions where small businesses operate at a disadvantage, but today we certainly have the opportunity to establish the perception that we are more personable than our larger competitors. Facebook, Twitter, and other social tools that allow us to humanize our business and inspire communities to believe in us, are marketing elements that many enterprises, no matter how hard they try, will never have.
Here are three reasons why the small business has the edge on the social front:
- We are constantly evolving: Although grounded in a few unchanging factors, small business have the luxury of constantly rethinking and implementing their goals, messages, and communications strategies. When you skip the red tape tightly wrapped around huge corporations, you have the power to build a strategically-evolving personality and match your branding efforts accordingly.
- We eliminate the intimidation factor: When you write on Coke’s Facebook timeline or send a tweet to Nike, the response most likely comes from a database of answers, carefully formulated to say all the right things. Small businesses can follow the same best-practices approach, but add a lot more personal flair and dimension to the brand. Odds are, when Dana’s Bridal Creations responds to your tweet, it sounds like you’re talking to Dana herself and the best part is, you probably are.
- Everyone loves underdogs: There’s a certain charm factor that comes with the grassroots approach of small businesses. In most cases, the core values of an enterprise business are so far removed from their audience that they lose significance. But if you can continue to grow while staying true to your business’ original intent, you’ll win a lot of hearts.
While these advantages represent opportunities, they aren’t necessarily a magic wand.
There’s a fine line between quickly accepting and tactfully embracing the latest advancements in the industry. Hundreds of articles pop up every day alerting you to grab hold of this, sign up for that, and start executing X, Y, and Z. However, business success doesn’t come from simply completing these recommendations in the form of a checklist.
Instead, it’s about keeping a steady eye on your brand, how you want it to be perceived, and which of those ideas will align with those goals. I could probably name a dozen unique ways to customize your company’s LinkedIn page. But, if you do all of them for the sake of saying you did all of them, you’re almost definitely losing focus.
The digital era is here to stay.
If you do your part to maintain your top-level initiatives, there’s usually someone else who do the legwork for you. Investing in an agency partner is a valuable long-term move. They take on the job of understanding your brand, solidifying your goals, and finding the perfect combination of ways to make it happen.