Time and time again we've heard of how small business owners are wanting to get social media right for their business but somehow there is this perception of large corporations being able to outdo them, keeping them away from being successful. In actual fact, social media favors small businesses.
How true is that? Let's take a look at 10 reasons on why small businesses can benefit best as compared to large corporations.
THIS is the tool to be on the same playing field with the big boys. How so? A successful social presence is something money cannot buy. You can buy hits, views, clicks, retweets, shares, followers but you cannot buy engagement and participation. Every business have to go through the same motion of building their own community- and this is a battle you can actually win against them.
#2: Flatter Management
Small businesses tend to have a flatter or shorter line-of-management. This also means that decision making becomes a lot easier thus effecting your response time to your followers. You no longer need to wait for the customer service department for that memo or the PR team for the direction and what to say. Quicker (and quality) response makes customers happy.
#3: Easier to cultivate
One thing about technology is that it never stays the same. One day it's phones, another it is smart phones. One day it's email, another is instant messaging. Small business are seen to be able to adapt to advancements or new cultures better as compared to large corporates - simply because they are more light and agile. It also takes lesser effort (or time) to cultivate new habits or values - such as the usage of social media.
#4: Plenty of room to explore
They say that the sky is the limit; or rather, the bandwidth is the limit! Most small businesses are open to new ideas and challenges. They are not tied down to the tried-and-true plans and strategies, and â€˜experienced' marketing personnel that is always about â€˜been there, done that'.
#5: Plenty of room for mistakes
With plenty of exploration done, mistakes are bound to take place and in small businesses, some mistakes can easily be overlooked simply because they have nothing to lose. A viral campaign that didn't take of? An online launch with low response? These failures only lead to a better future. For large corporations on the other hand, may receive a huge backlash immediately from internal and external stakeholders (and also customers. think: GAP).
#6: Plenty of room to expand (scalable)
With much to explore and little to lose, it is only natural for greater plans and rewards. Your social media campaigns become scalable and it is only a matter of time for it to grow when done properly. Plus, the point #10 also contributes greatly to the opportunity for expansion.
#7: Easier to get active participation
Small businesses typically have a smaller team of people - 2, 5, maybe 20? Having a small team allows more opportunities for everyone to get involved. The company's social media presence belongs to everyone and not just the PR / support / sales / marketing department.Every employee now plays a part and in most cases, works far better than having only one department managing it.
#8: You've got nothing (or lesser) things to hide
This is one of the major advantages of small businesses - you can afford to be transparent and creative at the same time. Doing random interviews with different colleagues, webisodes and share tips without the need to worry about a competitor stealing your ideas. Once again, you've got nothing to lose!
#9: You are your brand
It is often a tough thing to do to get your CEO to equally contribute unto the company's social media presence but it is another thing for the business owner of a small business - they'll seize the opportunity to do so. After all, it is their business and they need all the exposure and the network they can get. And since they represent the brand, things become more flexible (and transparent) when engaging on social media.
#10: Lesser rules and regulations to follow
Policies? Guidelines? Most small businesses (especially newer ones) do not have such a thing. With lesser rules to follow, they do not need to worry about breaking a rule that gets them fired. Without these restrictions, employees are free in expressing their ideas on how to maximize their social media presence. Having said that, small businesses should also look into having a certain boundary to protect the interest of the company, just in case.
So do large corporations have an upper hand at social media?
Not exactly. Unlike traditional media (e.g. print ads, billboards, etc) where small businesses may lose out, social media levels the playing field and allows small businesses to stand out, too!
Author: Jan Wong / Posted: 14-05-2011