When times get tough… the tough get on Facebook.

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Let’s face it, small businesses could use some help. I spoke to a relative of mine recently who has been doing pretty good in his business, even during the recent hard times. It took hard work and good planning to keep his head above water the past couple of years, but he did it. He was speaking to his accountant who said that most of his clients were not faring so well. In fact, upwards of 95% of them were either losing money or borrowing money just to make payroll.

Pretty scary.

I started to think at that point about what social media could do to help small businesses. I do believe that social media holds tremendous promise for small business in particular because many of the solutions are free or low cost. Most of it requires a tremendous time investment and some good solid planning, but any small business owner who has achieved any level of success can attest to that. Small business owners are used to going in early and staying late. And while success isn’t guaranteed with social media, it isn’t rocket science or brain surgery.

So what’s a small business owner to do when they realize that they can’t afford to keep spending money on radio advertising, or newspaper ads, or trade magazine features? Maybe Facebook is the answer.

If you look at many of the successful businesses in the country, just about all of them have a dedicated social media presence and a solid plan in place to manage their outreach. And small businesses can do it too. Facebook isn’t just for fun, and they have given business owners a boatload of tools to help you interact and reach out to your customers/constituents. I will be publishing my new eBook on Facebook soon that will give you easy-to-use advice on how to leverage Facebook and the tools available therein. (UPDATE: the ebook is available for purchase at www.steveholt.com/home/online-store)

So whatcha gonna do when times get hard? That’s right, get on Facebook. But don’t spend all your time on Farmville. Those crops can wait.

{ 2 comments }

Steve Holt January 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Great comments Don! Pardon me while I go check Facebook… catch ya later.

Don Kermath January 7, 2011 at 9:48 am

I’ve been using Facebook (FB) for just over a year to promote my industry. Only recently have I started using FB to promote my business. Only in the last month have I started to see dividends. Here’s my advice to small business owners:

1. Don’t start if you are not willing to commit the time resources – it’s a daily and sometimes multiple times a day activity. It may take months to reap dividends. Once you commit you may find FB to be a guilty pleasure and passion.

2. FB, like most worthwhile endeavors, is a lot like pushing a stalled vehicle. You have to take your foot off the brake, put the car in neutral and push. In the beginning it’s a long hard slog. Once you get momentum going the vehicle’s mass works in your favor and the vehicle moves under its own inertia – that’s called going viral.

3. Continuing with the stalled vehicle metaphor, you need an experienced person behind the wheel to steer and help push – someone like Steve Holt, for example. I was moving along at a slow pace with FB, but a couple months ago Steve helped me steer and push my FB campaign to begin the viral phase – the ultimate goal of your FB campaign.

If you decide Facebook is not for you I understand. The law of the Bell curve states most businesses will just be average or below. For my business I don’t want my fair share of the market, I want my unfair share. So, thank you for being average or below.

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