The conventional wisdom over the recent couple of years has been to encourage small business owners, amongst others, to adopt a mindset akin to that of a publisher. All well and good when you think of our ability to ‘publish’ so much information with one keystroke but maybe we should think a little more. Being a publisher implies that you have a body of work, usually garnered from sources other than oneself, which you then edit and send out into the world to sink or swim. The distinction being made was needed as so many people were not appreciating the power of their ability to engage with such apparent ease in so many media formats.
Like me, you may well have become irritated last year or so when every Social Media guru and gurette was driving home the reality that the volume of users was unprecedented, you remember; if Facebook were a country it would be the fourth biggest country in the world etc….. true but essentially of no practical or helpful use to you the business owner. I think some of us got caught up in the idea that unless we had millions of users we had nothing worthwhile to offer. Clearly this is false but understandable, we live in a world where just enough is good but more than enough is better.
Let’s look at these high use social sites for a moment; are they really engaging with the owners and managers of the site or each other? Obviously , it is each other AND in far smaller numbers, so in effect having hundreds of millions of people to potentially talk to is of no material interest to me — the user — if ALL those people do not want to do what I want to do.
This all then brings me to something which I think we are missing in small business creation and prospecting. We don’t pay enough attention to the small everyday things which are already present, things which we could enhance with our technology. Many times we see people trying to create new things from scratch when there is a perfectly good vehicle for engagement staring us in the face already. Today, I went on a guided walk along a canal, a canal which during the last century was responsible for delivering not only the cotton to the mills but also the American grain to the flour mills and a host of other major enterprises like coal and steel industry uses.
None of this event was publicized on social media, no radio and no e-mail campaign…just the local free newspaper. Interesting to see that there were 40 people of all ages attending today, 130 attending yesterday, all from a small advert in the paper.
Yes, they had published their event but imagine what the attendance would have been like if they had broadcast the event! The subtle difference here is that these folks had done a wonderful job organising the event, they had free food, a knowledgeable guide and great history to illustrate along the way BUT nobody attending the event really knew what to expect. Had this been broadcast , had the content been explained beforehand perhaps there may have been many times the attendees. Had they thought like broadcasters they would have made sure local people knew what was going on and what to expect.
In my eyes this event and many like them are prime candidates for social media enhancing their efforts not social media defining their efforts…there is a difference. Some may say this is ‘small beer’ and not worth the effort but think about this; it was a free event but was hosted by a local pub with eating facilities at each end of the walk along with shops.
40 people all spending £10/$15 gives us £400/$600. Take this $600 average spend per event over the three events held this 24 hour period and you have £1200/$1800 spend in local businesses . Hold this event every month and you can see £14,400/$21600 spend over a year. Bear in mind, the walk yesterday had 130 people attending! Tell me about a local business community that does not want 40 people turning up in a one hour time frame and spending £400/$600 without having to spend any money advertising? Exactly, there are no such communities.
More than the obvious financial consequences of having people knowing what is going on there is the added value of the incidental benefits for the community. I now know of a local restaurant/pub which is within easy walking distance of my house which I will add to my list of places to go in the future. NONE of this would have happened had I not attended the walk…the free walk at which I spent £40/$60 actually…. get the picture?
In this video we hear how social media needs to listen to the community which is one step after actually letting them know you are listening. We hear how what we have are tools and it is the community that ‘drives the bus’…..now that’s worth broadcasting!
[youtube id=”CUQuek8Oy_Q” mode=”normal” maxw=”560″ align=”left”]
My feeling is that, as content marketers, we should not approach businesses with the implied criticism often received by the owners. This idea that we can make what they do better is OK to a point but why don’t we celebrate the good they do and see where we can unobtrusively enhance their work by being broadcasters not publishers. We need not edit to fit our ideas but rather broadcast their ideas.
The content is all around us, our task is to broadcast it largely as it is, it’s really all about seeing what you have rather than what you don’t have!
see you on the long and winding road….. PatrickShare