This week, our social media class was assigned chapters from New Influencers, by Paul Gillin. Chapter six definitely struck a chord with me because the chapter talks about why social media is so well-turned to smaller businesses. My family owns a small flag manufacturer on the outside of downtown Cincinnati. The National Flag Company has been in my family for years. My dad is the President and CEO and employees about 30 people. National Flag recently created a Facebook page, but the flag company does not know how to utilize other social media sites.
Gillin states several reasons as to why social media can be helpful to small businesses:
1) It’s all about the search – Sites like Google are the best thing that ever happened to small businesses. Companies, like National Flag, that can’t afford much advertising can achieve international visibility in vertical disciplines through search performance. National Flag recently hired someone to optimize their search engine so when consumers search for flags in our area, National Flag will show up first on Google search results or be at the top of the page.
2) Get personal – One of the main reasons people do business with a small company is to get personal service. Although National Flag has not yet tapped into podcasts or blogs, they are certainly something to consider because they bring a distinctive voice and a sense of humor.
3) The voice of authority – Google favors content over commerce. This is more cost efficient for small businesses than using advertising.
4) You can’t beat the cost – The real investment is the time. Most social media sites are completely free of cost. This is definitely helpful for National Flag. Two summers ago, I organized a marketing project that included mailing magnets with our name, logo and phone number on them and mailed them out to past customers. This took a lot of my time, wasted envelopes and the magnets cost money. Social media will help National Flag keep costs for advertising way down.
The chapter goes on to discuss some small business blogging successes. The National Flag Company has tapped into the social media world, all they need is to do is figure out which sites will work for them and how to gain followers and fans to get our name out to the public.