I was told by someone, “that what you do to help small business you can do on the corporate level”. Oh this is so not true. There is a psychological “corporate” mentality, and there is a small business mentality especially in marketing and social media, and they work quite differently. What I do for the solo-preneur and small businesses certainly just does not apply to a corporation or visa-versa.
Corporations have a different thought process when it comes to customers. They do not worry about losing a customer or two or in some cases 1000’s. If a small group of people boycott them they can live with the boycott. Nike and Chick-Fil-A are great examples of how a boycott did not affect their business or profit. A small business can ill afford the loss of one customer much less a thousand. Every person is precious. A boycott of a small business can close a business in very short time.
The Small Business Owner has Personal Influence
Small business is about the person behind the business. The owner of a large corporation is not seen or rarely heard from. However, the small business owner still is the face of their business. Everything they do and say personally affects how people view them as well as their business. The small business owner does not have the luxury of being able to “do or say as they want or wish” without consequences. This is also true on Facebook. Associate yourself with the wrong things, and you lose customers, consumers, and great clients. You may think you have freedom of speech, and you do, but you are not free from the consequences of your expression.
People Are Not Numbers to Small Business…They Are People
Corporations focus on numbers, small businesses focus on people. This is perhaps the biggest difference in the corporate mentality versus the small business mentality. This is especially true in marketing and social media strategy. The corporation has a marketing budget where they can play a numbers game. For example, if a corporation targets 10 million people and get a 2.5% return they do not have to worry about the 97.5%. Small businesses do not have these large marketing budgets, nor can they afford to accept a 2.5% return they need to focus on the 97.5% of their target market and find other more creative ways to reach them in a low cost, or no cost way. True it takes more time, and employs a different strategy, but you will reduce your losses and increase your effectiveness.
Small Business Clients or Corporate Customers?
Small businesses need to focus on client development not customers. Clients are developed out of relationships, and yes there is a personal component to these relationships. One client for a small business can generate a tremendous amount of repeat business as well as referral business. Clients are the life blood of small business. I find this especially true in the world of social media, more specifically Facebook. Large corporations do not have to interact with their customers. It is not necessary to their success. Nike does not have to respond to every comment. However, as a small business it is critical that you not only respond to every comment, it is critical to keep the conversation going and develop that client relationship. This is why that quite often the small business owners’ personal page can have far more power and be more effective than their Facebook business page. It is because they can develop a positive personal relationship that translates into great friends who are also great clients.
Small Business…It’s Personal
There is a great deal of misinformation and bad information out there when it comes to small business and Facebook marketing. Yes, some small businesses will try to employ a corporate strategy, but you are not a corporation, you are a small business. Corporations build in a level of customer risk and customer loss, something as a small business we cannot really afford to do. When you employ your social media strategy as a small business, focus on a personal strategy that focuses on people and build real relationships, versus playing a marketing game that treats the majority of people as a bunch of losing numbers in a marketing lottery. The last thing your potential clients want to be is just another number or a loser.
To your success!
Jay Izso, Internet Doctor®