Paul Wackell – Web Designer – Social Media Consultant – Marketing Consultant
Imagine Web Designs
The following business owner is fictional. He is a composite of many business owners I’ve come across in my travels (including me). The names have been changed to protect the innocent (Dragnet reference for the kids in the crowd and not the Dan Ackroyd version.) And he is speaking in the first person! Its as though there are voices in my head!!
Business owner mental rant (not Dennis Miller) – I don’t have time to go out with friends anymore, or go to the game, or read a book, or figure out who this Justin Bieber kid is, or have a life! I own a business!! That’s my life, that’s it! Particularly in the this crappy economy, (pardon my political incorrectness – did I say crappy economy, I meant to say the Summer of Recovery, Mr. Biden). I spend all my time chasing new business and holding on to those clients I have!
Now every so called marketing expert, business consultant, blogger, cartoon character, talking mouse, social media pundit, the kid next door, my mom and a several Starfleet Cadets, are telling me that I must use social media to market my business or I’m done for.
Then I read some article (I don’t know where I found the time for that either but it makes the rant work) comes along that tells me I need to be on 50 Social Networking sites! Are you kidding me?! I’m not on any! 50 Sites! 50 Sites! Really! I’m a one guy operation, what’s a typical, generic, American business owner such as myself to do?
Yikes! It took me years to get around to getting a website built. I haven’t had time to order new business cards from Vista print in months and I only have 13 left (I hope that’s not a bad omen), the phone rings from time to time but all they ever want to know is how much my services cost and then they hang up!
I’m chasing jobs in a down economy (excuse me – the Summer of Recovery). Every proposal I send out comes with it the crushing burden of anxiety waiting to hear back from the prospect. Dread and doubt hang over me like the sword of Damocles (yeah, I thought that was clever too and didn’t even need to look it up on Wikipedia). I want to beg them to hire me! I’m great at what I do! I can help you! I’m worth what I charge! We’d work great together! And now I seem to be wasting a few of my precious moments for a fictional mental rant! Who has time for social media!
First I have to figure out what social media and social networking actually is. Which one of the hundreds of sites do I work with, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, Four Square, Reddit, Del.Icio.us, Stumble Upon, Technorati, Ning, Squidoo, Furl, YouTube, Ecademy, Focus, Xing, Ziggs (you thought I was kidding – the list goes on forever – and all those freaky names are giving my spell checker chest pains). It’s enough to drive a fictional business owner like me to drink, and vote Libertarian!
So how do we help this poor overburdened business owner?
Social Media is all the rage for marketing. Its a relatively new business tool and I’m certain all the bugs aren’t worked out yet. For a large company it may make sense to have a team of employees dedicated to developing your online and social brand, but is the same true for the sole proprietor?
Probably not. For business owners like our fictional friend here, time is of the essence and any time spent on marketing really needs a plausible, quantifiable return on investment. Bang for the buck is important. So should he take several hours a day to play social media Yahtzee? In my opinion – probably not.
If you are a business owner and want to develop a social media presence the best place to start is with LinkedIn. This site is focused on business professionals. Spend a bit of time (wherever you find it) to develop a well crafted LinkedIn profile and develop a network of professionals that can actually help you grow your business and vice versa. It will be time well spent.
If you really don’t have time to do it yourself contact your marketing or web professional to help you with it! It will be marketing money well spent.