Anyone who was in business twenty years ago heard a similar mantra, “if you are going to be in business then you MUST advertise in the phone book.”  

Ten years ago the mantra started shifting towards, “…you gotta have a website.

Today you hear everyone say, “…you have to be on (fill in the blank).”

Why do some many people suggest these mediums?

I believe it is due to the assumed ease of the medium.  20 years ago, advertising in the phone book was a sure thing and only cost money.  10 years ago building a website was a bit more complicated, but we hired the techie graphics guy and paid them money.  However, there was a difference with websites…Notably, they did not work like phone books.  Having a website did not guarantee business, in as much as having a phone book ad 20 years ago did.

The last ten years have been spent trying to figure out how to use technology to increase commerce, but for the most part technology has gotten in the way.  Building websites and getting listed on search engines has required specific skills.  In the Social Networking realm, we are once again returning to the simplicity of the phone book days, the only problem is which social marketing medium to use.

The basic rule in marketing is be first.  However, in the case of social networking this mantra does not hold true.  Being first on a social networking platform is very lonely.  Instead, in Social Networking, following the herd is the best practice.

Facebook advertises they have more than 750 million users.  How does a small business owner stand out in that crowd?  My suggestion is we go back to the days of the phone book ad and take note.

Our phone book ad became a brand for our business.  Some businesses used humor while others used flashy graphics.  In the social world, your brand, is your personality.  In my book, social networking is just another form of business networking where our mission is establishing a feeling for us as people, not our business as a product or service.

So why use social marketing?  To introduce your personality brand to the market place and capitalize on your uniqueness as a person to set your business apart from the competition.