Does Your Local Business Really Need to Do Social Media Marketing?

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If you're an entrepreneur with a local business, you may be wondering what all the hoopla is about surrounding social media marketing.
You may wonder if it's worth your time and effort to establish a presence in social media.
Most entrepreneurs have a local business.
They are a "mom and pop" shop with a single or multiple locations in a small geographical area.
Others are "solo-preneurs", a sole business owner usually with a service based business.
While wearing the many "hats" of a small business owner, your most vital hat is that of chief marketer for your business.
If you don't market your business, it may be that few prospective customers will even know your business exists.
Gone are the days (if they every really existed) of "Build it and they will come!" Today, it's like the wild, wild west.
We are living in frontier country on the fringe of civilization.
The relentless cacophony of marketing messages drown out all but the most insistent of messengers simultaneously dulling the senses of all of us who reside in the marketplace.
How do you, a local business owner, manage to be heard - and found - in this raucous frontier town? When we lived in "civilization", the rules were simpler.
You just chose a medium or two - radio, TV, print advertising or yellow pages advertising - paid your advertising "dues", and waited.
And, for the most part, these traditional forms of media advertising worked.
Now, we live in the new frontier called "Relationship Marketing.
" Suddenly, "who knows you" is less effective that who you are "in relationship with" from a business standpoint.
The reason is because there is more than one saloon in town, one barber and one boarding house.
When consumers are looking for service providers of almost any kind, the options are many.
Before deciding to purchase or invest their time and money in a service, they will seek reviews, testimonials and other data they consider reliable insight into the worthiness and credibility of a business.
So to earn new business, business owners must first demonstrate that they care about their customers and clients and that their customers and clients are happy with their experience with the company.
Accountability is king.
Relationship-building is its queen.
And relationship-building is what social media is all about.
If you want to increase your business' visibility, credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of your prospective customers, then you want to be knee-deep in social media circles like Facebook and Linked In.
You want to have not just a website that is a static online brochure for your company, but a living, breathing communication platform for interaction with your customers and prospective customers.
You want to have a blog.
So, in a word, yes, you want to establish a strong presence in several social media networks.

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