Confused by all of the stuff swirling about surrounding Social Media and how to Market your Small Business. Apparently, we can't yet even figure out what to call all this stuff, as Beth Harte logged almost eighty comments on her blog when she posed the question. While the Marketers rant about what to call it, perhaps we as Small Business Owners and Operators, can simplify it as just "Marketing"

But Where to Start
Start here;Train, teach and lead your organization to a fundamental understanding that It is always about the marketing, and that We are marketing in everything we do. With that our chances of creating remarkable increase exponentially.  But,.............., that's what all the books tell you, right? Well, something interesting is emerging. Seth Godin coins the term Tribes, and small, medium and large Tribes are popping up everywhere. Our responsibility is to facilitate leadership of these Tribes, and leadership my friends has nothing to do with control. You simply cannot control the message, but you can participate in the conversation. Here is what Seth says about Tribe Management

How About an Example
I share as much as I can from First Hand Experience, and I hope you find value in that. It seems that sharing what has worked and what has not with you may have some positive impact. We started a company blog for our Small Business about three years ago, and it only ever sputtered along at best. It wasn't until we, or I got out of the way that it took off. We turned it over to a Tribe, our most passionate customers. We recruited six staff bloggers, all of which were either current or past residents. The rules were pretty simple, the UrbaneBlog is about cool and hip happenings, interesting establishments and people in and around Royal Oak MI. It is not about our company. Be respectful and be responsible for your posts and comments. That's it, those were and still are the rules.  The results have been satisfying, and our traffic and following has taken off exponentially. We helped to Shape the Tribe, and leaders within our core group of Evangelists have emerged to Lead the Tribe. Pretty Cool!

A Confirmation
Apparently, "Looking Within" and tapping your best customers, the evangelists' may work best, as evidenced by a story that Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester Research posted on his blog about Walmart and how they have changed their blog strategy. Quoted directly from Jeremiah's blog post;

"Rather than forcing the message with their own branded community, fake blogs, and corporate blogs, Walmart gets it right by creating a platform for customers and pundits to tell their story

 So why is this a change for Walmart? It's pretty simple. Rather than Walmart trying to tell the story themselves with a community, and blogs. They've now figured out how to let their customers tell the story on their behalf -and that's the difference. At Forrester, we call this 'energizing' which is commonly known as word of mouth, rather than "talking" which is the company speaking directly with the market, learn more about the five objectives. Given that corporate blogs aren't trusted -and people that you know are -this is the way to go for Walmart.

Sometimes, the companies that have the roughest start (like Dell) with social end up being the case studies of success, I have a suspicion Walmart could fall into that category."

So, What to Do
Start practicing, it isn't so easy to "Let Go", but it isn't all that hard either once you try it out. There are lots of folks out there doing it with success when you look around, ask questions, but get started. It may well be a sure fire way to Market your products, by Looking Within.

January 17, 2009

Eric Brown has (30) years in the Multi-Family Apartment Business having built and developed over 17,000 apartment units, both market rate, luxury and tax credit apartments. Having started Urbane Apartments in 2003 after leaving a lengthy stint as a Senior Vice President at Village Green Companies, a national apartment developer, Eric decided he wanted to create wealth, and set out from Corporate America on his own and created Urbane Apartments in Royal Oak, MI.


At one point I used to live in Royal Oak. Man has it changed - especially the Ferndale area. Just checked out the Urbane Reflections blog, and looks great. Bookmarked!
free grant money

@FreeGrantMoney, Thanks for stopping by. A small world indeed. Royal Oak and Ferndale have exploded, and really have been somewhat insulated from SE MI woes. We actually just purchased and are rehabbing an apartment building in Ferndale.

We appreciate the follow on the blog too, thanks!

Thanks for the good tips. Social media seems to be the hot topic among small businesses right now and its good to read about. Thanks.

Thanks for the info. Always good to keep on top of marketing ideas ~

I run a marketing firm that specializes in social networking and blogging.

We manage social networks after a company has set them up and also set up, manage and promote blogs for the business.

If you know of anyone that would benefit from this service pass it on and let me know if I can be of service in any way.

I can relate to this post. Marketing has really changed a lot. The playing field is so wide right now what with a lot of web 2.0 sites sprouting here and there.

So the challenge now is how should small businesses capitalize on this web 2.0 arena especially for small niches like my sterling silver cz rings.

We all have to be creative. My usual marketing includes blogging, blog commenting, forum posting, and many more all intended to have 2-way intimate communication with the bloggers and other web 2.0 fanatics. It really works. My traffic and rankings are improving and my bottom line is better now.

Just write what is the best for readers and that's all.

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