The other day I had an epiphany.
After years working as a social media consultant, trainer, author and speaker, it finally dawned on me just where my passions lie: it’s in a coalescence of small business, social media, and introducing this medium to emerging markets.
I am cut from small business cloth. Each of my parents owned small businesses, both my wife and I run small businesses, and many of my past clients have been small businesses. Needless to say, I know the challenges small business owners face from the inside out, including those that are marketing-related.
My passion for using social media for marketing is driven by more than just ROI. Social media is a means by which people can connect in honest, transparent, authentic ways irrespective of borders. These connections may be virtual, but they are visceral as well.
Its use harkens back to a time that pre-dates mass media and mass marketing, where the business owner knew his or her customer by face and by name. It is a people-powered medium that is changing the way communication is done in nearly every respect, including business.
As a social media evangelist, I feel a strong sense of mission to introduce social media marketing to emerging markets where its use is less known. That’s why, at the behest of the U.S. Department of Commerce, I went to Ukraine in 2011 to present a series of full-day social media training workshops, and why I helped lead the first ever business blogging seminar to be held in Asia back in 2005.
Recently, I’ve been given the opportunity to work with a couple of global technology companies to train their small business channel partners – many of which are located in countries like India and China, and regions like Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Emerging markets don’t just exist in foreign countries, however. Many small businesses located in cities and towns all across American have yet to experience the benefits social media marketing has to offer. That’s why I make time to work with a local university in their adult education program, providing over 20 hours worth of training on all forms of Internet marketing, including social media.
Therein lies the key. Rather than work with small businesses one at a time, I’m being given opportunities to work through gatekeepers and, thus, reach many small businesses at one time.
Hopefully, my seven years of experience in using social media both personally and professionally, combined with my background as a small business owner, entrepreneur, startup co-founder, marketing consultant and trainer, qualify me to provide the training needed to assist small businesses, both locally and globally.
With that in mind, I am currently looking to partner with other gatekeeper organizations to provide similar training experiences via webinars, on-demand video, and on-site. If you represent such an organization or company – managing small business channel partners, for example – I’d like the opportunity to speak with you. If you know of someone in that role, please refer me. Your willingness to make an introduction would be greatly appreciated.