Social media has changed the way that we market our brand as it is that constant billboard of brand message as well as consumer reaction. The shift from the one to one communication in traditional advertising has evolved from a consumer-to-consumer conversation into a brand-to-consumer conversation. It is not a new conversation but a new means of conversation. Some brands are adopting and embracing whereas others are shaking in their boots trying to figure out why they would expose themselves in such a way. Social media marketing is not creating conversations, it is enhances the way that we have them. We have always talked about brands, just not as openly with the brand as we do now. Consumers/customers are what makes a business thrive or fail. There is not a business that can survive without money and people bring money to a business; whether that be a profit or a not-for-profit business.
Small Business Have Always Talked
Small business owners have longed for the time when they can be competitive with the larger businesses. The marketing budgets are smaller, the manpower is scarce, the campaigns are on a different scale but yet we see more and more smaller businesses emerging. Why? Because small businesses have always talked to their customers. They know them, they know their likes, dislikes … they know their name and buying habits. They know when certain people visit them what they are going to buy and have it ready. That is why people come back … the conversation whether it be about a recent happening, a talk about the game, the kids, the new offering, etc, the conversation was there.
Social Media is Not a New Conversation
Social media is marketing and marketing costs money but yet marketing brings in money. While small business owners are somewhat scratching their head with this new ideaology of creating a conversation with social media, they are seeking guidance from the big brands on how to converse online. They have always talked to their customers but now social media is paving the way for a new conversation that reaches new people and builds relationships. Small business owners are competing with big business on establishing goals and objectives for a social media campaign to reach their target market and talk to them in a way that they always have but yet in a new medium.
Brand & Consumer Want vs Need
Social media is not new but a new way of thinking or conversing. People have always talked to each other about a brand, the likes, dislikes, the reasons they purchased or not purchased but they never talked directly to the brand on such a large scale. Brands are fearful of how to adopt social media into their marketing plan and consumers are fearful that their brand will not be where they think they should be. It is a want vs need on both sides as the brand tries to establish the need to be there to answer the want of the consumer but yet the consumer has the wanting of the brand to have a presence so they can fulfill their own need for reaching out to the brand but yet also to talk about their brands’ presence to their friends.
Traditional marketing yielded brands needing and consumers wanting. In social media, brands still want and consumers still need but also want. Consumers need the brand to have a presence so they can reach out but yet also in WOM to show people why they are a consumer through a FB page, a charitable contribution or an article. Brands now have an audience that needs them to perform in a manner that is expected. Isn’t that really what has always been for a brand? Their product had to perform for us to buy or we would not have? Social media sensationalizes it as if they do not perform consumers have a louder voice and more folks to converse with.
Social media is not a new conversation as brands, especially small businesses have always talked to their customers. Big brands are now catching up but yet gaining ground on small businesses who do not have the resources to be taking the lead on what they have always done. Conversation, engagement and dialogue is not new, the platforms are but the fundamentals of small business are prevailing.
What do you think? Has the conversation always been there for the small business? Should everyone engaging in social media learn from them?
photo credit: mcazadi