For local business owners the world over, and in Southern Oregon, the three keywords to opening or running a business have been location, location, location. In today’s economic and marketing environment the new three keys to success are patience, patience, patience. From an economic standpoint, we’ve been in a cycle where disposable income just doesn’t exist like it did a couple of years ago. From a marketing standpoint, the ROI that you could expect from traditional media isn’t producing as it once did.
Fragmentation between social media and traditional media has played a part of the diminished ROI. (If you missed it, check my post on Fragmentation.) Experts, professionals, MBA’s and a lot of people a lot smarter than I say social media is where you need to be, and they are correct. There are many reasons that local small businesses need to play in social media, but patience is required.
At a time when a lot of local business owners don’t have a lot of patience, it is expected with social media. In some ways, social media is like starting your business all over again. If you have branded yourself correctly through traditional media, you will have an advantage when you jump into the social media pool. You’ll have your brand and awareness within your community that will help you build your base with consumers who are aware of what you do and how you do it.
The problem is, a lot of local businesses haven’t branded themselves correctly most people within their community don’t know what they stand for if they know them at all. (Struggling on this, check out this blog, Finding Brand). This makes it harder to build your fan base, and also it will take more time building a relationship with that base. If you’re doing social media right you’ll be talking to them in a different way than you have in the past, you’ll be branding, you’ll be communicating, you’ll be social. You won’t be selling, selling, selling.
Diving into social media will take patience as it will be like starting your business all over again. Today there is NO magic wand; there isn’t a magic offer or word that is going to drive more traffic to your store. Today more than ever success will come with hard work, a lot of grass roots marketing. As a business owner, you have to balance today with tomorrow. You have to do what it takes to stay open today and build towards tomorrow so that your hard work pays off with more market share.
A saying that is used a lot is that if I only knew then what I know now I would? Here is your chance. As you dive into social media in some ways, it can be a fresh start for you and your business. Take advantage of that fresh start, listen, listen and listen. I know patience can be very hard right now, but that is one of the most important traits that businesses perform well tomorrow are going to have today.