Twitter has not been readily accepted as a small business tool yet but there are those who are having a great deal of success using it in many ways. So why should small business be using social media at all? The most prominent reasons are responding to customer questions, networking and education… but there’s more. To date, most small businesses have not been looking to help build the sales funnel through these channels. This is interesting considering some of the success that can be found with a small business that gets it. And for those who do, and execute effectively, the opportunity to directly facilitate and create sales are out there and have the potential to be huge since the volume of additional sales that can make a difference are fractional compared to what it takes for a large organization.
With social media the bang for the buck can be enormous, but the results are hardly immediate and a long-term outlook is necessary. My vote is study up on the cause and effect, tools, and concepts. Develop a basic strategy of what utility or value you want to offer. Get started on your own and build a thorough understanding of how to interact, engage, and connect. Then hire a smart young intern (many available at a mere $10/hr, and some simply to fulfill college internship requirements) to help execute a lot of the basic time consuming functions… with your hands-on guidance. And you, the owner or manager, always being the voice.
In the future it is going to be critical for small businesses to decide where they want to put their scarce resources so they can maximize their ROI. With a constantly moving target however that is increasingly difficult, so the future of small business and social media will be interesting to watch… especially due to the relationship and reputation building opportunity social presents.