Both big and small businesses are wading through the murky waters of social media, trying to get a handle of how success is achieved. Both wanting to be the other guy. Do big or small business have a better opportunity to succeed in social media?
Big businesses are desperately trying to act small in the social space and gain a true connection to their customers.
Small businesses wish they were big and had the brand recognition and what seems like unlimited amount of fans or followers.
Advantages of Big Business / Brands
Large brands and companies come with the luxury of instant recognition. I doesn’t take long for a well known company to rack up thousands and sometimes millions of fans and followers quickly.
Social media is not free. Most of the tools may not cost any money to use, but it’s extremely time consuming and requires resource allocation. Fortunately, large businesses often have big marketing teams or budgets in place to hire or outsource talent to drive social initiatives.
Built in Conversations:
Engagement is the buzz of buzz words in social media. The nice thing about a big brand is that, conversations are most likely already going on about them. That makes engagement much easier than trying to create those conversations from scratch or just listening about your industry.
Advantages of Small Business
Low (close to customers)
The connection to a sale for a small business and a customer are often small. Many customers are literally walking into a business or buying direct. This puts them at an advantage using social media because they can directly connect with customers quickly.
Being small allows for flexibility. If a business tracks social numbers correctly, they can react and change direction on a dime. There are no meetings that need to be scheduled. There are no national television campaigns that need revision. They can react.
Social media can provide instant feedback on anything from product or feature recommendations to new marketing campaigns. Small businesses have the ability to listen to that feedback and apply it rapidly.
Lack of corporate b.s.
Nothing drives me more nuts that going through 7 different people and a legal team just to get an ok to send out an email campaign. Large corporate cultures are the jokes of movies and sitcoms for a reason. Small businesses can just do. If you have an idea, implement it.
Easy to Identify a Win:
Small businesses can easily identify if there strategies are working. It’s easier to track where sales are coming in from and if awareness is truly being built.
It’s Cost Effective
Without large ad budgets, social media may be one of the few options. It does take time, but if done correctly, the move to social media marketing can return a nice ROI.
Can Appear Bigger:
Transparency in social media is an absurd notion. We post the content we want people to see and read to help shape our brands. In a digital space, you can appear to be larger than a 5 man / woman operation with no central office. We are our own wizards behind the curtains.
I think the real answer is that like all things in social media…it depends. The point is that regardless if you are big or small, get in the game. Quit waiting on the sideline and pouting because you’re not the other team.
Regardless of the advantages one has over the over…without focus, objectives, and an execution strategy both big and small businesses alike will most likely fail in the social space.
What are your thoughts / opinions?
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Scott S. Bishop is editor for Real Time Marketer and a marketing strategist with a specialty in social media. He is an avid blogger and active across the net. He is @thescottbishop on Twitter