Be David, Take on Goliath: Social Media Can Make Winners of Small Businesses
Be David, Take on Goliath: Social Media Can Make Winners of Small Businessesback

Small business owners, take note: For the $99,000 it spent on social media marketing and public relations, Seventh Generation, the eco-friendly laundry detergent, had sales of $27.5 million (not including sales at Walmart), a 1 percent share of the laundry detergent market.

This according to a New York Times article which listed Proctor & Gamble’s investment in marketing Tide as $133.8 million to garner a 45-percent of the same market that same detergent market.

Or almost $3 million per percentage point of market share. A lot more than $99,000 per point.

What does that tell me? It tells me that small businesses and social enterprises can build a very good business by using social media platforms to connect with customers. A small percent of a very large market can mean a thriving business.

What’s your plan for recovering from bad weather, the economic slump, and changing markets? If it doesn’t include social media, I urge you to take a second look at the possibilities.

Knowledge is power … and that’s what social media is about: knowledge of your customers, what they want, what they don’t like, where they are shopping and why.

I’m not saying scrap everything you do now. I’m saying start learning about the business applications of social media. Listen to the conversations going on out there, pay attention to new ways of reaching customers, whether through smartphone applications or Facebook fans.

Then choose a tool and get started. It may be that FourSquare or GroupOn is just what you need to find customers for your product niche.

If you already have a Facebook page, ratchet it up a notch. Experiment a little.

The upside is you can learn and tweak as you go; the downside is, well, almost nothing. Some time wasted … but probably not. Even if your first venture into social media doesn’t have the outcome you expected, you will probably learn a lot about your market and your company.

What has been your company’s experience with social media? Are you going to include social media in your marketing plan this year?

Photo: Ruchhöft-Plau: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license.