Does a small business have the time to make social media work?

9 Feb

Tonight Copeland hosted our second Social Media Open House. This time we had participants from a wider spectrum of businesses, including a national hearing clinic chain, a professional sports team and a digital print company.

The food was better too.

The point of our presentation is to help small businesses understand the opportunities that social media offers, and give them some strategies for successfully negotiating these new environments.

One of the more, uh, interesting exchanges during the evening revolved around the issue of how much time one should expect to spend executing and monitoring a social media strategy.

The feeling in the room seemed to be that small businesses don’t have the dedicated resources to do much more than dip their toes in the SM waters.

The opposite is probably true. Small companies are nimble enough to add social media to the mix without having to add new departments or re-organize their internal structure, as large companies are doing. All you need is a strategy that suits your available time.

Watching how the participants in our first Open House have embraced the new spaces, like Mike Boyle at the Bard & Banker, convinces me that enthusiasm and disclipine are enough to get a good strategy up and running.

You can waste an entire day on Twitter and Facebook. Or you can, like Mike, spend ten minutes, 3 times a day establishing your presence.

It will be fascinating to see how the attendees of this session move ahead.

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11 Responses to “Does a small business have the time to make social media work?”

  1. JP Holecka February 10, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    That is what I hear too. But like any marketing program you need to manage your time efficiently. 1.5 hours a day for small business should be sufficient to properly manage an effective SM program, not campaign, and engage and attract new customers. Break it into morning, afternoon and evening. Utilize things like Hootsuite’s scheduling for tweets to extent your presence throughout the day and syndicate a small portion of tweets, via twitterfeed.com, from reliable industry blogs or trade rss feeds into your Facebook, Twitter or Blog feed. These are just a few ways to better manage your time in SM and increase your frequency throughout the day.

    JP
    @jaypiddy on Twitter

  2. Allan Nichols February 10, 2010 at 9:27 am #

    Excellent opportunity to learn more about Social Media. What I got out of it was really what Doug talks about here- I need to be focused and disciplined with the time and tools that I’ve got. hmmm. sounds like most of life.

  3. dougbrowncreative February 10, 2010 at 9:30 am #

    Much appreciated JP. A good time manager will be well suited to SM.

    For those who aren’t following JP yet on Twitter, i recommend doing so for great insight into effective use of social media spaces. You can follow him here: http://twitter.com/jaypiddy

  4. Jan Ross February 10, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    Perhaps the discussion may better be characterized thus. There were particpants who were prepared to recognize that although social media is a very good and perhaps even critical tool for marketing businesses of any size, there is an imperative to build in time for commitment and consistency. Without this commitment there is is not only no favourable pay-back for the investment of resources; there is also, potential for harm.
    In the spirit,however, of postulating about the merits of social networking I refer you to Boswell’s Life of Johnson [November 1784]
    ” I look upon every day to be lost, in which I do not make a new acquaintance.” And, also, to point “….By persuading others, we convice ourselves.” [ The Letters of Junius 1769-1771]

  5. dougbrowncreative February 10, 2010 at 10:34 am #

    Jan, I didn’t feel there was any pushback from any of the participants in recognizing the need for commitment and consistency. We all seemed to be on the same page there. Thanks for coming.

  6. Sinisha Ivaz February 10, 2010 at 12:17 pm #

    Hello Doug and Robin,

    Thank you for a very informative evening, I enjoyed the presentation as well as the discussion following. I am signing up for your blog, I will try to familiarize myself with the medium first and then apply it in my business. If anyone has any interesting blogs, let me know. I am a bit of a political junke but sports, arts, travel, food and wine are my other interests

  7. Mike Shemilt February 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    Doug,

    Thank you for a worthwhile 1 1/2 hours last evening, educating me on the possibilty of social media use within the business community. For somebody who had not presented directly to a group, a job well done, your presentation along with the group discusion was very imformative. In the past I have been very skeptical as to how “social” media might fit within the different divisions of our business. My biggest concern, has been, the word “social”, how much time do we need to dedicate on a daily basis and at what cost, to justify a ROI? At this mornings sales meeting, I was able to offer a positive idea how we could take advantage of this new marketing process. Through a thorough planning process the company will embark on a social media campaign shortly.

  8. LetsEatOnline February 10, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

    I believe that any business especially small one must have time for social media to work, find some solutions and join the social media crowd

  9. dougbrowncreative February 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm #

    > Sinisha, it was a pleasure to have you. If you get on Twitter you can ask for good blog links from the people who follow you. That’s the beauty of Twitter: people are very generous with their recommendations and they take them seriously.
    > Mike that is fantastic to hear and very rewarding. With its great reputation and long-standing relationships in the community, Island Blue is a natural to add social media to its communications mix. There are a lots of great resources out there, many of them easily accessed online. If we can help point you to some of them, please get in touch.
    >Let’sEat, please feel free to share your own social media involvement with readers of this blog. We appreciate knowing the strategies small businesses are using.

  10. dougbrowncreative February 12, 2010 at 4:51 pm #

    Congratulations to Mike Shemilt of Island Blue who won a bottle of wine for commenting on this post. Red or white Mike?

  11. Mike Shemilt February 12, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    Thanks Doug.
    Great way to start the weekend…….Red please!

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