Compete in the Social Media Realm - dummies

Compete in the Social Media Realm

By Marsha Collier

Competition in the realm of social media is pretty much a level playing field. The big boys hire high-powered agencies to handle their social media outreach. But that means that these big brands need big agencies to do what you, the small-business owner, can do every day.

You and your staff speak to your customers daily, so you innately understand social media. Bring your business personality and culture to the web by personalizing your website and social media interactions.

As a small-business owner, you have enormous advantages over the big brands. Small firms can act more quickly than large ones. If the marketing team at a large company comes up with an idea, their proposal has to work its way through many layers of management, until someone at the top approves it or rejects it. A small business, on the other hand, can react quickly to new ideas.

Another aspect of large companies is that each department can become its own little fiefdom, or silo. Big businesses are often fraught with the “my department versus your department” culture, but small businesses have more of a “we’re in this together to take care of the customer” attitude.

This figure, from David Armano, executive vice president of Edelman Digital, shows how hard business has to work to create “team overlap,” which is second nature to most small companies.


Entrepreneurs have the edge in another way. If they start a campaign on one social media network and then think that the campaign would work better on another platform, they can do a swift 180. Should an online promotion fail miserably, a change can happen almost immediately without permanent damage to a brand.

Small-business owners can also reply to social media messages quickly, without having the messages pre-approved by a communications department. The allure of social media is that it happens in real-time. A spontaneous response, whether to breaking news or to comments, is far more effective than a scripted corporate missive.

Can you picture a major corporation hiring an agency and starting a social media campaign, only to have it end up in shambles? Big business can’t possibly right commerce wrongs as quickly as you can. Social networking is your chance to shine.