If you are reluctant to use Social Media in small business, perhaps you might take a look at what you're up against.
Don't get me wrong, no one is asking you (nor wants you to for that matter) to post pictures of your morning coffee or tell the world how you feel about a guy you sat next to on train home from work. However, if you're looking for a cheaper and more efficient way to promote yourself, your product or service, Social Media is the solution.
What about good old fashioned Newspaper you ask? Similar to Books, Magazines, Comics and Journals, it appears that a good proportion of us are opting for the digital version these days. So, if you haven't asked yourself why you are still paying to advertise or indeed what you're getting in return for your money, do it now.
The rapid shift from traditional media platforms to the digital realm may well be merely a hop from one evil to another, however gone are the days when spending $10,000 for a corner piece of a weekend newspaper/kitty litter liner is a strategic investment. That 10K could be used for more pressing business activities, the first of which - if you haven't already done so - would be to make or purchase yourself a clean and functional website. If you're savvy, you could spend only a minute portion of this sum and stick the rest into your Hawaiian holiday fund. The glorious thing about everything going digital is that we now have the option and ability to do most things ourselves (or find someone in the office to do it for us).
Nowadays your homepage and/or online profile is very often the first point of contact you have between you and your potential customers. Just like the old saying goes, first impressions last. Without an attractive landing page or up-to-date information about who you are and what you do, there is no doubt that this lack of invested time will be to your own detriment. If you allocate 20 minutes a day (even less for most businesses) to maintaining your Social Avatar, you'll be performing a technique termed in Marketing lingo as "Front of Mind Marketing", something that many business fork out big bucks for.
The upside of most, not all, Social Media sites is that they offer users a freedom of expression that would not have been tolerated in mainstream print media until the explosion of the www. I can't imagine that the Hangover Helpers would have done as well as they have without Facebook as their main interface. Despite the relatively controversial basis of their business, they've featured on most major tv networks across the US. That and I hold the fundamental belief that everyone, even the whackiest of self-proclaimed entrepreneurs should be able to offer whatever it is they like to their fellow citizens using the words and images they find fitting (without being dangerous or exploitive of course). I am certainly not planning on purchasing a pair of Doggles, but I'm 100% sure that there's a whole pool of people out there who would jump at the opportunity to buy presents for their trusty pals. It is these pools that a good business person will try to locate. Using Social Media, these pools easy to find and usually free to enter.