(Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, blogger Jason Kienbaum posted an article about the social media sites for small business owners to keep an eye on in 2011 and was nice enough to mention BizSugar as part of the mix. We were so happy we asked Jason to join us this week on the BizSugar blog for a talk about small business and social media in the near future.)
1. First Jason, could you tell us a bit more about what you do?
I am an internet marketing consultant for small businesses in the Denver area with a focus on web customer service and support. I am also the administrator and author of businessdonenow.com where I showcase products and write about customer driven marketing content that can help small businesses.
2. I know you mentioned BizSugar in a recent blog post on social media sites to keep an eye on in 2011. Thanks for that. What do you think small businesses should generally look for in a social media site?
Pick the one that best fits your way of communicating to others; not just based on what everyone else is using. There are so many options when it comes to where and how you can participate. You can go the video route with YouTube, micro blog with twitter or you can lead and introduce yourself with content on BizSugar. The key is to pick the one you will excel at first and then move into being involved with other social media platforms.
(Check out the video Jason shot below especially for this post elaborating on some of the issues we chatted about in our interview.)
3. Is there advice you would give any small business person regardless of the social media platform they choose to utilize?
Consistency with focus! Social media can’t be something you do in your free time to promote your business. You really have to commit to it and go in with the mind frame of building a trusting relationship with people who have the same interests as you.
4. Though it seems hard to believe, you still hear small business owners expressing doubt or trying to figure out whether there’s a good ROI for social media. How do you respond to this?
Business has been and will always be built on relationships; it’s what makes companies successful and leads to the failure of others. Even if that one follow on twitter or that one like on Facebook doesn’t turn into a sale, there is something to be said for those actions. It means that someone chose to associate themselves with your brand and that they believe in your product or message. It goes a long way in establishing brand reputation by having an active community. That is what the doubters need to look at. Sure it might not result in business right this moment, but that association is still helping influence others about your brand who might be ready to buy.
5. Where do you see small business social media heading in the future? What would you predict that small business owners may want to think about in terms of their future using these tools?
It will actually be what small business owners do aside from social media that will have the biggest impact. Use social media at the first contact or engagement, then take the next step to further strengthen the relationship with a Skype video chat or meeting up at the local coffee shop to discuss ideas, career opportunities or even to complete a sale. I don’t think we as a society have completely become comfortable with this idea yet, but it will one day become the norm.
Anything else we could add?
Video is a growing trend to watch with social media and for the overall experience online. If you are comfortable with video and it is one of your stronger suits, then you should start doing more of it via video blogging, YouTube or live streaming. One thing to also watch for is video commenting, which I hope will develop into a commonly used feedback tool. I would love to be able to leave a short video in response to a comment someone made on my blog. Just some food for thought!
Jason Kienbaum is the President of Business Done Now and the administrator of BusinessDoneNow.com. His mission with Business Done Now is to help small business owners improve the way they work!