Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Social Media loves Small & Medium Business

As a Founder CEO of a B2B specialist firm on Social Media Strategy and Analytics it did not take me a lot of time to realize that it was not only the investors in facebook’s IPO who were thwarted with the Social Network but also a lot of small and medium businesses who claim to have burnt their hands by spending too much time and money on Facebook for negligible returns.

Now every time I’ve met a small business owner and had this scenario I ask them 3 basic questions:
  1. Who was running your Social Media campaign and how skilled they were with Social Network sites?
  2. What was the strategy they had adopted to achieve their business objective? Or did they actually put any strategy in place first of all?
  3. What was their metrics on ROI?
On detailed investigation it was a learning that most of these businesses’ campaign did not even qualify for social media campaign criteria.

What do most of the businesses get wrong in Social Media Marketing?

It’s a sad state that most of the businesses today are more sales oriented rather than to be Marketing centric. Even the marketers today talk the language of reaping immediate yield, rather than to wait for the time to harvest. Instead of building an ecosystem and a network of customers, prospect customers, employees and stake holders on social media they want immediate lead generation and results.
While Attract, Engage, Convert are the 3 milestones of Social Media Campaigning (let’s call it Interactive Campaigning); Patience is the key to its success!

So what is recommended to the entrepreneurs who want to go social?

It’s simple, go back to the basics and start building the blocks – Who your target audience is? What are they looking for? Does your business have a service/solution they require? If your answers are a definite yes to such questions then start thinking of ways to engage them. I’d like to strongly emphasize here that one does not require insanely large numbers. It’s not about quantity but quality. Remember that Content is the King, but Context is the Emperor.

Also the success of a small business very much depends on creating a personal connection with each customer. Do not mix it with a Facebook paid Ad campaign; you might just end up blowing your marketing budget on a “Friends of Friends” advertising where a message seems to come from a friend but is actually an Ad. People hate this – think about it.

What other tips for Small & Medium Businesses who want to maximize their impact on Social Media?

  1. I always like to refer Social Media Marketing as Interactive Marketing. Unlike traditional marketing social media has a two way conversation.
  2. Having a million followers / fans does not mean your business would increase exponentially. What really matters is to have that one great follower/fan that can make your brand go viral with a strong “friends of friends” engagement as a brand ambassador.
  3. Don’t advertise – Offer information instead. Build a social credibility.
  4. Remember the old saying – “Rome was not built in a day”; same stands for your Social Media Ecosystem. If you just keep at it, in the long run you’ll find it will pay off in huge returns and cost savings.
Viral Thaker, Founder & Director | TheSocialPeople
A seasoned HR & Marketing professional, Viral was one of the early adopters of social media. With over a decade of industry experience under his belt, his skills span corporate strategy, delivery management, customer relationship management, business development and operations management. Viral is a voracious reader, a travel enthusiast and enjoys adventure sports. Follow Viral on Twitter @vrlthaker


  1. Excellent post. Yes, patience is key and results aren't always precisely measureable. Hmmmm...sounds like human resources (hard to measure exact cost per hire) and public relations, which isn't even responsible for sales conversions. Both fields are much older than Social Media and are still very much alive. I guess it takes time for a new discipline to mature and gain credibility.

    1. Hi Mark, Indeed patience is the key but as you'd rightly mentioned about the sad state of today's marketing - everybody wants immediate results. I think this is something all the fellow Marketeers and Marketing thought leaders need to do collectively to change the mindset! It may take time but it's worth every ounce of effort. :)

  2. Excellent post Viral, hope the marketers are listening...

    1. Thanks Vikram. A lot of it is out of our personal experiences.. ha ha.. & I really hope Marketers not just listening but also acting on it. Social Media is the future of how we would exist online. The sooner we break this inertia the greater opportunity and gain lies ahead.