What I Learned From 30 Small Businesses

Goldfish in a bowl

Recently I was asked to write a post about small business who are doing unusual social media campaigns.  The campaigns didn’t need to be successful, they just needed to be different.  When I got the assignment I thought “hey, this is going to be easy

Wrong

In fact, it was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever had to write. It took me more than 30 hours over three days. Everywhere I looked I could find unusual campaigns being executed by big brands.

We all know about the stuff RedBull is doing. And we all remember the the ads that ran during the super Bowl power outage. But we don’t see stuff like that from small businesses.

A post on this topic should’ve been a breeze to write. There’s supposed to be unusual and amazing campaigns all over the social media landscape but there’s not.

Where are the local burger joints at in all this?

Where is the local handyman?

Nowhere! They don’t exist!

Small businesses have a unique opportunity with social media to stand out from their competition AND on the same stage as big corporations. But they don’t do it.

The problem is that most small business owners don’t see the pay off. They don’t see the benefits because there isn’t an immediate return on their investment. When you’re running a small business you want to see efforts pay off quickly so you know what to do next.

This is why so many small business owners like using PPC(paid ads). With PPC, it’s very easy to see what your efforts are doing for you.  Most places(like Google) even give you a ‘handy-dandy’ dashboard to make it even easier for you to measure.

Social media doesn’t work this way. You can’t just look at ‘the numbers’ at the end of the day to see if you’re moving in the right direction. Social media is a long-game and small business owners still aren’t ready to accept that.

Gary Vaynerchuk says any business that’s not effectively using social media will be gone in the next few years. And he’s right but there’s one big problem with that. That was about two years ago. It’s time to get busy guys.

The upside

There are far less people actually trying to be effective on social media than you think. As troubling as it is, this leaves a lot of room for those who are willing put in the time. Anyone who goes out there and really tries, is going to see some success.

The average person is at home, or at work just scrolling through an endless stream of worthless content. They are waiting for you to grab their attention.

What I learned…

Remember, I was looking for unusual campaigns – not successful campaigns.  All I had to do was find people that were doing things a little differently than their competition.If the campaign was a flop, it didn’t matter.

Of the 30 campaigns I found, only one that could be considered a failure. That means you’d have to try harder to fail than to be successful. They key is is that you have to try.

I know we’re talking about small businesses and you might not feel like that relates to you if you’re a blogger. But you’re wrong. Your blog is your business and unless you’re bringing in millions in profit then its a small business.

Look around.

How many bloggers are actually doing something different on social media?
Most of them are doing the same thing as the next guy.

They all talk about providing value and engaging with your audience over and over. They continue to repeat those safe little phrases that make everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside but no one is trying something different.

I’m challenging you, right now to do something different. Even if it means leaving a comment that’s not so friendly. Everyone leaves comments like “great post” or “thanks, I really enjoyed the read.”

Do something different.

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Comments

  1. says

    When it comes to work related stuff, I find no matter what it is, if I expect it to go easy it never does.

    I work with local clients too and from what I see none of them have the time or knowledge to do anything with social. A few may have a facebook page half setup with a few posts.

    Anyway I better get back at it.

  2. says

    I love this:

    Where are the local burger joints at in all this?

    Where is the local handyman?

    Nowhere! They don’t exist!

    I’ve thought the same thing! That’s why I truly believe small businesses should have an online presence. I’m going to write a post and narrow in on this topic. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Chris M Cloutier says

      That’s great! I hope you’ll come back here and share the post when you’re done writing it.

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