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return on investment return on ignoringSo many times I’ve heard businesses, especially small businesses, say that social media just isn’t for them. It takes too much time. They’re not sure where to start or how to keep it going.

Well, to honor National Small Business Week, I think it is time everyone to get over that idea and embrace social media. It’s where your customers are, so go to them! Don’t be afraid to get close to them and give them a big squeeze.

What value does social media have for small businesses? For starters, imagine your target market is your small town of 1,200 people. Add in a Facebook profile page and Twitter account and your target market has increased dramatically. You’re able to connect with people around the world who may be looking for your product or service. Not only that, but it gives you the chance to keep in touch with your community outside of the store.

At the cost of a few hours a week, you’re ROI (return on investment) can be huge, just with the few quick clicks of a button.  You support and grow your brand while at the same time building and maintaining relationships with current and new customers. It’s great because small business owners can stretch their marketing dollars using what I call OPM, or other people’s money.

What about your ROI (return on ignoring)?

Conversations are going on with or without you. Wouldn’t you like to be in on those conversations, especially if damage control is needed? Even scarier – what if there are no conversations going on about you? Don’t leave dollars on the table by ignoring where your customers are talking. Go to where your customers are.

To get started, set a policy for engagement. Then decide who is going to speak for your company, and make sure that they speak with one voice. After that, get out into the social media world and establish and protect your brand.

As a general rule of thumb of what and when to post – quality always beats quantity. Remember that customers shop at small businesses for value. Dare to be radically transparent! Don’t be afraid to have a personality online and keep giving your customers something to come back for. When you build your relationships, you build your business.


Jeffrey Hayzlett is a global business celebrity and speaker, bestselling author, Contributing Editor for Bloomberg Television, and former Fortune 100 c-suite executive. He is the CEO of The Hayzlett Group, an international strategic business consulting company focused on leading change and developing high growth companies. Contact us for more information.

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