Written by: Chad Otar
For small business owners, social media is a necessity: It is a convenient, effective – and free – means of establishing an online identity, building a brand, creating a voice (sincere in its message, and strong in its appeal to listeners), and establishing a presence with current or prospective clients. As this post argues, and as I agree with the sentiment that that piece conveys, social media is a euphemism for many platforms; it is a catchall for everything from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram to Snapchat, a way to tell a story – in words and pictures – that resonates with a specific audience.
This information is important because, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), there are 28 million small businesses in America, which account for 54% of all U.S. sales. Also, the number of small businesses marks a 49% increase since 1982; reaffirming that this country is, and continues to be, a destination for entrepreneurs of all interests. Conveying this sense of dynamism through social media is important for several reasons, starting with the fact that it enables a small business owner to attract relevant followers and initiate a conversation with people nationwide.
Indeed, at its best social media reinforces a company’s values. This outlet, or rather, this series of outlets, enables a small business owner to emphasize his commitment to, say, customer service and product development; or, it allows a creative entrepreneur to engage with individuals by offering a greater degree of responsiveness and personal feedback, compared to other methods of communication.
I encourage small business owners to embrace this medium because, in my work on behalf of Excel Capital Management, I know how challenging it can be for these people to cut through the noise of the Web – I know how difficult it can be to capture the attention of consumers – by crafting a message that is as informative as it is inspiring; as pertinent as it is popular; as effective as it is entertaining.
Hence the benefits of running your own social media campaign: An undertaking that lets you, the small business owner, control the language, photographs and designs of your outreach to the public in general and consumers in particular. In so doing, there are no walls of separation between you and buyers; there are no gatekeepers between you and your clients; there are no middle men between you and your customers.
Welcome, in other words, to the democratization of marketing. Welcome to a new era of communication, news reportage, and instant analysis by amateur and professional commentators alike. Welcome to the small business owner’s chief source of promotion, sales and sustained success.
Now is the time for small business owners to seize the influence of social media.
This chance is cause for celebration because, taken as a whole, small business owners have the size – and significance – to make themselves visible (in a good way) to consumers worldwide.
Chad Otar is the Managing Director of Excel Capital Management