Social Media

How to Explain Social Media to a Business Owner

Mark Hayward is a small business owner.  He lives in the Caribbean on Culebra Island and owns a charming bed & breakfast called the Palmetto Guesthouse.  As a declared advocate of using tools such as blogging and social media to promote small business, he is active in learning from so called “social media experts” how he can use tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and others to help drive eyes, ears, and feet to his doorstep.  Mark has something that I would say most other business owners do not when it comes to the world of social media. I’ll simply call it understanding.

Mark understands social media. He understands the lingo, the tools, and the opportunity in leveraging these tools to promote his business.  He understands what he needs to be thinking about in terms of his strategy for using these tools, and what he could expect to get out of their use. He understands that he should be tying in their use with promoting his ownership “story.” Mark understands social media.  He’s one of few business owners we know of who truly do. (Note: This is not a negative on those that do not understand, in fact, you’ll soon see how what I’m getting at is the failure in those of us that offer Social Media services in helping business owners understand what Mark knows.)

As a small business owner myself who teaches organizations how to develop and implement integrated marketing campaigns (including the use of social media,) I was both excited and a bit convicted when I read one of Marks’ recent blog posts called “Ideas for Social Media Types (from a Small Business Owner)” – Aug. 11th, 2009 – that gave thoughts about what small business owners actually need from us “social media experts.”

Most of us will pound the podium all day long about how you “have to be engaged in social media” and “social media is the new economy” or even “you’re old and outdated if you think traditional marketing is of any use anymore!”  Okay, okay… so I picked some statements from the extremists.  You get the idea.

There’s such a push as to why businesses need to get engaged with social media tools that we as marketers often forget that what they really want to know is how they get engaged and what they can expect from using these tools!  They’re business owners! They’re thinking bottom lines not connections and conversations!  They want accountability in their marketing and to know that pulling time out of their already busy day to engage people in a digital world is actually going to pay off for them in the form of either goodwill or what they really want, SALES!

What Mark posted really spoke to the core of us here at mPower Consulting who live and operate under the same rules of engagement with our clients that Mark spoke about.  Why? Because we didn’t start out in the realm of social media ourselves (yes, we’re older than you think!) and many of these were the same questions we had.  Owners need to know how to effectively use social media tools, not just why they should – no matter if everyone else is doing it or not!

Read Mark’s post, it’s fantastic insight for us marketers as to the mind and thoughts of business owners who we may be promoting the use of social media to!

So thank you Mark! Lessons learned!

If you want to share your feedback with Mark directly, you can comment on his site or connect to him on Twitter at @mark_hayward

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