Small Businesses Need A Wake-Up Call
Small Businesses Need A Wake-Up Call
by

Now that the world knows Erik Deckers and I have written the soon-to-be-published No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing, we’re beginning to do a lot of interviews. The first question we’re typically asked is, “Why did you write this book?” While that question is somewhat answered in the promotional video (see below) we recorded for the book’s spiffy new website, I thought it might be wise to dive a little deeper into that reasoning here.

As you may have seen on the Exploring Social Media infographic Social Media: Bridging The Gap we published last month, the stark reality of the marketplace is that too many businesses, especially small businesses, aren’t using social media. Heck, 44 percent of small businesses don’t even have a website! Only 27 percent of small businesses use Facebook. Just 18 percent use LinkedIn. The numbers are similarly staggering for the use of SEO techniques and online advertising. An astonishing 65 percent of small businesses — many brick-and-mortar retail shops — say that mobile marketing is not valuable to them. And this one floored me: 68 percent of businesses update their websites no more frequently than once per month. (See the infographic for the various sources of that data.)

Buy This Book! No Bullshit Social MediaWhile I’m sure Erik and I could have penned, “No Bullshit Digital Marketing,” and frankly, we may have to, we wanted to deliver the business possibility for social media to the masses. Business owners, marketing managers, executives … the people who are running these companies who don’t use or see much reason for using social media, mobile marketing or Internet marketing at all … they need to see that you can use social media marketing with business in mind. You can plan for success. You can establish goals.

I’ve said a few times I think this might be the first book that looks at social media marketing through a strategic planning filter, like you would other communications channels. We’ve stripped away the tree-hugger, Kumaya bullshit and laid out the seven drivers social media can fuel for your business. We’ve collected case studies and examples of how others are using social media to drive those seven areas and we’ve put it all together into a book that hands you a blueprint for success in the social realm.

In my opinion, the book should have been written and published two years ago. But fate/timing/whatever got in the way. It might be a little late to the conversation for some of you, but I’ll guarantee you it isn’t for the mainstream business owners and executives who are showing up in those statistics as not getting it.

My professional mission at this point in my career is to make social media marketing more accessible. I help individuals do that through my learning community and question-answer site at Exploring Social Media. I help companies do that individually as a social media marketing strategic consultant. I try to translate that when I give talks and speeches as a social media keynote speaker.

No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing is another way Erik and I can evangelize what we do and make social media marketing more accessible to those that need it most.

Download a free chapter at NoBullshitSocialMedia.com and pre-order your copy for a mid-October delivery today. We’d be honored if you did.

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  • Jason
    I have followed your  log as one of the innovative thought leaders in Social media marketing. This post and the first chapter hits the nail on the head. But the bigger point is that  US as a force in Digital marketing is losing ground. We are not training our future ( business students) and current managers in Digital marketing. Check this out . 

  • Jen Zingsheim

    Jason–interesting post, but I don’t fully agree with the fundamental premise which seems to be that small businesses need a social strategy. I started forming a response, but my keyboard got away from me and it turned into a rather long blog post. It’s on Media Bullseys if you’re interested: http://blog.customscoop.com/mb/2011/07/social-heresy-101-not-every-small-biz-needs-a-social-strategy.html

    Great food for thought though–and a big, hearty, congrats on the book!

    Best,
    Jen

    • Thanks, Jen. I responded over at Custom Scoop!

      On Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 12:31 PM, Disqus <

  • Anonymous

    You might have heard it said that swearing is for those with limited vocabs – not me though. Bullshit sums up a lot of the beliefs getting around in the world of SM perfectly, so I think you’ve chosen a ripper name for your book. Look forward to checking it out.

    Cheers
    Dan

  • I ran into this page accidentally, surprisingly, this is a amazing website. The site owner has done a great job writing/collecting articles to post, the info here is really and helpful when i do research. You just secured yourself a guarenteed reader.

     

    Socialkik
     

  • Your stats are quite surprising. Obviously, businesses don’t see the ways in which social media can be useful nor, apparently, do they realize that their customers are already out there talking about them. Time to join the conversation.

  • Jason,

    Great post- your view falls in line with what we are seeing
    in the market. It’s a shame because when it comes to social media, most small business owners have a tremendous advantage over larger brands. 

    In general, small businesses tend
    to be more customer-centric. They already
    know how to “wow” their customers and build personal relationships.  Additionally, unlike a big brand, a small
    business can actually respond to every customer without having to spend lots of
    time or resources managing social media. It’s amazing how often a negative
    experience (and thus a negative review/comment) can be turned into a positive
    one simply by reaching out to that person. Social media offers a great
    opportunity to do just that and most small businesses are naturally good at it.

    We could chat for hours about the benefits of social media
    for small business, but what it really comes down to is education.  Most small businesses don’t need to be convinced to use social media, but they do need help in getting started, understanding the landscape, building their presence and putting best practices into action. 

    That’s why your new book is a much need resource and why we launched the Social Media Quickstarter which is a nice compliment to your book. The Social Media Quickstarter (http://www.socialquickstarter.com) is a free online resource for small businesses to get started and successful with social media.  

  • Congrats on the book, Jason! Let Compendium and me know how we can help you promote it!

    • How about you guys buy 100 copies for each client!?! Ha!

      Kidding, of course. But thanks, Max. I’ll be in touch.

      • You got it :) Looking forward to hearing from you!

  • Anonymous

    God speed Jason, I’m with you all the way! Hope we can see you in the UK promoting the book.

    • Let’s figure that out! Love to come back to Britain!

      • Anonymous

        Would be great to see you over here. Manchester Business School happy to host if you are doing a European / UK promotional tour. http://www.business.mmu.ac.uk/

    • Let’s figure that out! Love to come back to Britain!

    • Let’s figure that out! Love to come back to Britain!

  • Hi Jason,

    I feel like there are three core problems here:

    1. Most businesses continue operating without a strategy – which is being addressed by excellent books like this and Social Marketing to the Business Customer. I also see the notion of having to develop a strategy being taught at local chamber sessions, social media breakfasts, etc. (To varying degrees of quality I’ll admit, but I do feel like that’s what I’ve seen here in Duluth, Minn. One of our competitors even paid for Jay Baer to come in and talk about his book at a social media day, for example). Two years ago small businesses were asking “What is Facebook?” and “What is LinkedIn?” Now the questions revolve around “How do I use this effectively for my business?” 

    2. Obviously small businesses are always strapped for time. And I don’t think there is a genuine appreciation for the time it takes to learn and implement these tools, or many clear examples small businesses can identify with as showing results. I teach sessions all the time, and I think sometimes audience members are outright irritated at all the follow up work it is evident I advise them to pursue, if they want to use social media effectively. I always point them to exploringsocialmedia.com. Often it is at a session of mine that they begin to realize these tools can’t be mastered in a half-day session.

    3. Part of the problem is hands-on sessions are pretty hard to come by, compared with lectures on the value of social media etc. Eric Schwartzman does a great job highlighting this problem here: http://spinfluencer.com/2011/06/how-to-conduct-a-hands-on-social-media-training.html
    He says there is a real dearth of courses on digital literacy. Increasingly I’m seeing that my goal needs to be moving toward offering hands-on sessions, and showcasing small businesses seeing results. I think exploringsocialmedia.com is by far the best value when it comes to learning this stuff, but there is a vast amount of people who would rather pay for local assistance. Heck, there are a lot of business owners that don’t even know online communities exist. So that’s a hurdle as well.

    Anyhow, great post and can’t wait to read your book.

    • Anonymous

      Patrick – Your point about “hands-on sessions are pretty hard to come by” is spot on. I just left a position where I taught graduate level education for 8 years using the principles of the adult learning model; essentially touching upon the various ways that people learn. Sharing and doing is a key part of that process.

      A key component of my new business model is offering social media marketing workshops. These are not seminars (or lectures) – they will be half-day or day long events. In small work groups of 3-4 people, they will use workbooks and checklists to develop practical applications specific to each of their needs. When they walk out, the participants will not have theory, they’ll have a blueprint ready for implementation and execution.

      • Thanks Subbob, 
        You should definitely check out http://www.ericschwartzman.com/pr/schwartzman/default.aspx he shows the stuff he teaches in his one and two-day sessions. Might help you craft some of your programs. I find it much more difficult to teach hands-on, because you need computers, and you get a wide range of skill levels, and inevitably someone can’t find their password, etc. That’s why I think speakers tend to focus on theory. But yes, we need more people like you out there teaching the nuts and bolts.

    • As usual, Patrick, great observations. I wish it was economically and operationally feasible for me to tour the country doing hands on training. Everywhere I go I see that need, too. That’s why ESM exists. Unfortunately, there’s still a lack of both interest and time for most small and even medium businesses.

      Maybe the book will help. But for what it’s worth, thank you tons for continuing to tell people about ESM. Love having you there, my friend.

      • It’s the least I can do for all the free education. I love this stuff, so it’s easy for me to want to study and learn. ESM is like crack cocaine to me. But if you’re a non-tech small business owner, I can see where this stuff is a hassle, so it’s easier to stick your head in the sand. Our job I think is to keep making it easier and easier to learn this stuff — which is why I  offer a monthly Social Media Breakfast event for free. Bit by bit our industry is attacking this problem, led in part by great guys like you. I’ll quit, before this gets gushy.

  • The only thing more surprising than small businesses not doing social media – or indeed not having an Internet presence at all – are ecommerce sites that don’t understand why increasing conversions is more important than driving more traffic.

    Small businesses that think they can afford to ignore online and mobile marketing aren’t paying attention. They can NOT keep doing business as usual even if they have always had plenty of revenue before because economic challenges have reduced the amount of disposable income available to their existing customers. They MUST reach NEW sources of income to survive.

    • Well said, Gail. Thanks for chiming in. 

    • Well said, Gail. Thanks for chiming in. 

  • There are lots of people ‘doing’ social media, but we all need more education and exposure to what it means to do it well.  There’s still a ton of drivel on social media channels and we all need to work collectively towards making it a more productive environment.  Thanks for adding to the mix – just pre-ordered your book!

    • Thank you, Clavoie. I appreciate the comment and sentiment as much as I appreciate the pre-order! You rock!

    • Thank you, Clavoie. I appreciate the comment and sentiment as much as I appreciate the pre-order! You rock!

    • Clavoie,

      You make an excellent point.  There are so many wanting to use social media for their business ventures but dont have the tools to do it well. 

  • I agree.  I work with entrepreneurs and small businesses all the time – both through the SBA and  calls for HELP to the School of Business at Howard Univ. where I’m a marketing professor.  The problem seems more severe among African Americans, possibly because their networks are less likely to contain social media and technology experts as African Americans were more likely to go into traditional businesses such as Medicine, Law, Business, etc.

    I run a website called Let’s Blog for Money (http://letsblogformoney.org) where I help small businesses get a digital footprint by demonstrating SEO, blogging, and social networking.  I’m not an expert on every aspect, but the strength is I show, rather than tell.  When I first got started in social media and internet marketing, it was that aspect I found most lacking in the websites, books, and ebooks I read.

    Keep up the good work.

    Angela Hausman, PhD

    • Thanks, Angela. And thanks for what you do with SMB’s. I’m sure there are differences in the African-American experience here and at some point, I think it would be interesting to explore those for our audience. Would love a guest post on the differences if you ever feel inclined! Thanks for stopping by.