All posts tagged small business

  • Small Business Owners are the ‘NCOs’ of the Current Economic Struggle

    I just finished watching an HBO series called The Pacific, which recounts in brutal detail some of the hardest fought battles of the Pacific Theatre during WWII. There is a scene, which I’ve clipped from YouTube, where the company commander is speaking to a group of NCOs regarding their role in winning the war. Read more

  • Local Small Business Trumps Walmart on Facebook – Score One for the Little Guys

    Walmart Local Facebook Page

    I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart.

    On the one hand, I admire the company’s business prowess and its efforts to move the needle where social commerce is concerned with its new Walmart Labs division. On the other, coming from a small town I’ve seen first hand the deleterious effect its presence can have on small local business.

    Though it may not mean much, small business still trumps Walmart where Facebook is concerned.

    Last year Walmart initiated a program to create individual Facebook Pages for each of its 3,500 stores. It hasn’t worked out so well.

    A new study from Facebook marketing company Recommend.ly (as reported in AdAge) found that, on average, fewer than four percent have more than 1,000 fans, and that 85 percent of Walmart’s local-store pages didn’t respond to any fan comments during the study. By contrast, of the 1,900 local-business pages surveyed, 22 percent had more than 1,000 fans.

    “Local businesses generate more engagement than Walmart local stores because they have more local content, including local promotions or responses to local events, activities or weather,” said Venkata Ramana, CEO of Recommend.ly. “Walmart local stores tend to be posting what is centrally controlled. We see very little that’s localized.”

    The following quote, which comes from an interview done by AllFacebook.com with Ramana, explains things in greater deatil:

    “I think the problem is that they don’t have any local content strategy in place. In Walmart San Francisco, maybe a guy sitting in San Francisco could be expecting some kind of content relating to San Francisco, not a generic discount that you have anyway on the Walmart page. There’s nothing unique about local pages that Walmart is doing currently, and if you look at the responsiveness of the page owners when it comes to the main pages and the local pages, the local pages really don’t give any feedback or response.”

    Just because you call something local doesn’t mean it is. In Newton, Mississippi, the small town I come from, Garvin’s Food Center is local. Walmart Supercenter is not. And just because Walmart may hire local residents doesn’t change its image as an interloper. That fact becomes readily apparent when you look at a true local business’s Facebook Page and one that isn’t, even though it may pretend to be.

    So, why has Walmart’s experiment with localization fail? For one simple reason: local it’s not.

    Score one for the little guys.

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  • Most Small Businesses Use Social Media But Few Do It Well

    Small business social media

    The Los Angeles Times reports on a new survey from Manta, an online forum for small business, which found that, of the 600 small businesses surveyed, 78% use social media in one form or another. The survey also found 58% say they “struggle to find value in using Facebook to promote their businesses or don’t have a page at all” and that “25% of those surveyed said their company website drives the most business for them.”

    Which brings me to this article at MarketingProfs – Four Reasons to Jettison the Traditional Website and Go Social – that says small businesses are “dispensing with the traditional website in favor of integrating the most popular social networks right into the website.” While the article doesn’t advocate complete abandonment of traditional websites, it does recommend that companies opt for the use of social sites.

    Which brings me to the question – traditional websites: to be or not to be? Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of having a traditional website or to take arms against a sea of troubles by opposing them? (with apologies to Shakespeare) Perhaps THAT is the question.

    My belief: It’s not either/or, but both/and.

    There are some very good reasons to have a more traditional company website supplemented by a presence in social media as a secondary layer. And, if you can integrate the two, mores the better.

    Website or Social Site

    All in favor of websites, say “aye.” 

    As the scale above indicates, there are four good reasons to have a website.

    1. You control the design, so that it matches your company branding.
    2. You own the data. Guess who owns the data on Facebook? (Hint: It’s not you.)
    3. You can do a better job of targeting and personalization.
    4. You can reach the entirety of your audience.

    All in favor of social sites, say “nay.”

    There are an equal number of good reasons to have a presence within social media.

    1. Social sites are inherently interactive. Most small business websites aren’t.
    2. Social sites are where people spend time.
    3. Social sites are easy to acquire. It costs nothing to use them and it’s relatively easy to set up an account.
    4. Social sites facilitate viral sharing.

    Like I said, not either/or but both/and.

    Now that we have that question resolved (and, of course, I am always right about these things), it’s time to move on to the question of why small businesses aren’t experiencing a lot of success.

    Easy answer – they lack the know-how, which is the #1 reason why guys like me exist.

    More expanded version of that answer – not only do they lack the know-how, they also lack the time and budget to maximize the value social media has to offer, which is the #2 reason guys like me exist.

    My advice to small business owners is simple and succinct:

    1. It’s worth having a presence within social media for all the reasons mentioned above.
    2. Take some time to get trained on how to leverage social media to your advantage. There are plenty of resources available to help you, both online and in your local area.

    Of course, if you find your back up against a wall, I’m always ready to help. Give me a call.

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  • My Small Business Social Media Training Manifesto

    Small business social media

    Small business social media

    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.

    Small Business

    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.

    Social Media

    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.

    Emerging Markets

    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.

  • Small Business Social Media Marketing Starter Pak

      Small business social media starter pak
    Four tools every local retailer should put to use are Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Foursquare. Paul offers a social media starter package which incorporate the use of these four tools. For one price, you get:

    • Customized Facebook Fan Page
    • Twitter account setup (with customized background)
    • Yelp Business Profile
    • Foursquare Business Profile
    • Two hours of training (hour one, how to update and maintain the sites; hour two, best practices)

    Using his “social media that sells” process, Paul will train retailers on how to use these tools to generate repeat traffic into their stores, increase customer loyalty and grow their business. 

    Cost: $1495$995.00 (Limited-time offer)

    The starter pak is offered to businesses directly as well as to agencies. If you would like to get your starter pak or to learn more, contact Paul via email at pchaney@gmail.com or phone, 337-804-2081.