I need to make something absolutely clear: I believe effective
use of social media will benefit any business. No exceptions. None
whatsoever. I don't believe you can show me one business that can't
benefit from it. Not one. If you disagree, well sorry, either prove
it or admit you're wrong.
I've believed this for some time, but let others' reservations
and the fear of being labelled a crazed social media sycophant
render me less vocal than I should have been.
I listened to the 'expert' with the marketing diploma who told
me 'social media is great for some businesses, but not all'; I
listened to the small businesses - my readers - who time and time
again told me they weren't interested in or didn't get Twitter; I
listened to colleagues who cautioned its more for media or tech
types and not our core audience; and I paid too much heed to the
stats that showed the vast majority of successful small businesses
don't use any social media and weren't searching for it in
particularly large numbers.
I didn't actually agree with any of this, don't get me wrong. My
conviction never weakened. I just respected people's opinions and,
besides, you're supposed to listen to your customers, right?
Well wrong in this instance, because they're wrong. All their
businesses could benefit from smart use of social media, they just
can't see it yet. But they will.
I do realise how arrogant this sounds, but I just no longer
believe there's a single valid argument to be made that social
media doesn't work for businesses.
How can you not want to benefit from Twitter when it gives you free
access to what 78 million people think? That's free access to what
your existing and potential customers want, don't want and think
about your business, your competitors, your sector. How does it not
make total 100% sense to interact, communicate and get to know your
If 350 million people on Facebook share 3.5 billion
pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts) each week
and 80 million Facebook users are engaging with external sites via
Facebook Connect - why are you ignoring it?
How is it not smart to put your business in the places where
your customers spend their work and leisure time and expect to find
you? How can you still avoid video when YouTube is the world's second
biggest search engine?
Why aren't you uploading images of your products to Flickr if millions of people
search its library of 4 billion images every day? How does it not
make sense to have your personal details and the details of your
key management and sales staff on LinkedIn as 50 million other people do? If a
client expects to find you this way and can't, what does it say
about you and your business?
How does it not enhance your business to use all these social
media sites and more, heck maybe just even a blog, to show you and
your employees are knowledgeable and passionate about your subject
and to prove other people think that too?
If you're telling me any of the above doesn't make sense, then
seriously, you shouldn't be in business.
If you're still labouring the same old tired excuses - 'I don't
have the time'; 'my customers don't want it'; 'I'm worried it could
damage my brand'; 'it's hard to measure'; 'what's the ROI?' -
you're either not listening, you're wrong or you're soon not going
to be in business. Probably all three. There are no excuses, let
So what made me get a grip and stop pandering to the doubters? I
listened to Smarta founder Shaa Wasmund (she is the boss, after all) and
downloaded the audiobook of Gary Vaynerchuk's (@garyvee)
Why now is the time to cash in on your passion.
I'm not going to go into detail about why this is about the best
book you can buy to understand how social media works and why it's
going to drive everything going forward - I'm just going to tell
you to buy it.
One thing, calling it a book 'about social media' is actually a
disservice - it's a book about business. About entrepreneurial
insight, customer service, product, killer marketing strategy,
If you care about your business, buy it. Seriously, do it.
Because the sceptic in me lives on, I'm sure many of you won't
though. Indeed, some of you will simply dismiss this blog post as
another load of jumped-up, social media bravado ignoring the 'real
needs' of small businesses.
So here's a quick experiment: Name me one type of business that
wouldn't benefit from social media or shouldn't use it and I'll
give you a reason why they would and should.
If I can't or three people reply disagreeing with me, I'll
donate £10 to charity. If it's your business and you try what I
suggest then realise I'm right, you donate £100 to charity (that's
a pittance to the savings and sales potential I'll have opened your
mind to). Deal?