Jolina Pettice

SES NY: Social Media for the Little Guy

Day 2 at SES NY kicks off with a lesson in Social Media for tdsc06314he little guy.

The purpose of the session is to find out how small companies with small budgets can freely tap the world of social media to improve business and increase sales.

Here’s what we learned from Jennifer Evans Laycock:

Take the ‘marketing’ out of Social Media Marketing because it isn’t about marketing, but rather about conversations.

In addition, there is a reason social media is called the bleeding edge, because it can hurt especially if approached in the wrong way.

Remember, when you are developing marketing plans, that the goal is not to integrate the latest big thing but rather to integrate what works. As a small guy, the people on the leading edge are other marketers and not likely to be your prospect. There’s nothing wrong with leveraging pre-established social tools.

What social media sites should you use when getting started? Jennifer recommends:
Flickr – Post images to draw people in and start conversations about relevant topics. You can also start by engaging in conversations already happening around relevant images.

Twitter – Twitter is an instant way to communicate and share information. In addition, if you provide valuable information it’s likely that one of your followers will re-tweet your information expanding the reach of your content.

Get involved by understanding who you should follow and who you want to follow you.

YouTube – Second only to Google in terms of sites where people search online. Optimize for YouTube, like you optimize for SEO and make sure your videos are found.

LinkedIn – Leverage LinkedIn to make connections with influential people by understanding how many degrees separate you. Ask your connections for an introduction and continue to expand your network.

Audience Q&A:

Question: How do you pull yourself away from traditional marketing? As a small business there is a perception that you still have to invest in offline marketing.

Answer from Amber Naslund:
What we’ve found is that as we built our community organically, we were also creating loyal customers and goodwill from non-customers. The insight you can get from being engaged with your customers one-to-one is more valuable than metrics you will get from traditional media.

Question: What about a customer base that trends older or those that are ‘scared’ of Twitter, etc.

Answer from Christina Kerley:
So many seniors are becoming tech savvy, especially as they work longer.  The short answer is that if you help educate an audience, they will be more loyal to your brand for having helped them.

Answer from Jennifer:
Keep in mind that social media are the conversations happening online. Audiences may not be aware of the technology facilitating the conversation.

Answer from Amber:
Really think about who your target market is. Social Media is not for every business. If you are a local liquor store and all your customers are in a two block radius, you probably don’t need a social media presence.

Question: How do small businesses get over the fear of social media?
Answer from Christina: If someone is saying something negative, they have probably already said it elsewhere and to other people. By telling you directly, they are doing you a favor by making you aware of the problem and giving you a chance to fix it.

Answer from Amber: Social media did not create criticism. What we have now is an amazing opportunity to listen better, solve problems and help create happy customers.

Panel Overview

Stoney deGeyter
, President, Pole Position Marketing

Amber Naslund, Director of Community, Radian6
Jennifer Evans Laycock, Director of Social Media, SiteLogic
Christina Kerley, Marketing Specialist, ckEpiphany
Tim Kendall, Director of Monetization, Facebook

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  1. I completely agree that social is all about the conversations. I think business owners understand that they need to jump on the bandwagon of social media, but are very confused about how to proceed, especially if they’re small.

    I think the best thing they can do to jump in and get a feel for how powerful it is is to task a customer service person with finding anything online related to their company and contributing to the conversation. I just had an instance come up where a client found some horrible reviews about their company online, and I had to stress that they have to respond to them. As Christina and Amber mentioned in response to the last question, people are already talking about you, and it must be viewed as an opportunity to improve your company.

    -Marc @ Brand Labs

    • Agreed, Marc.

      Many SMB’s aren’t sure where to start because Social Media can be daunting.

      When working with clients, we recommend that they listen first, engage second. Free tools like Google Alerts are a great way to start. It’s easy and can start to give you an idea about what people are saying about your brand online.

      No effective conversation starts with both people talking at the same time.

  2. I have recently dived into the Social Media ( and have found that it is very useful for one thing: building relationships. As a small business owner, I know that people hire ME, not my company. Sites like Facebook and Twitter help me connect with my prospects and help them get to know me.

    I believe this relationship can be built w/o a conversation, per se. In reading through a profile, looking at pictures, reading recommendations, and so forth, people can get a really good feel for each other.

  3. I never really thought of using youtube. Great recommendations.

  4. Hi, really useful post.

    I am an online bullion dealer trading online for 3 years now.

    I am trying to grow online presence and have some great ideas for videos which can be put on Youtube etc…

    The problem is that in order to promote the business, the videos need to be of high quality and professionaly made. This costs quite a bit of money to do. Do you have any suggesions?

    MAny thanks

    • Ahmet, the thing is about online video, they DON’T need to be professionally made. Many “viral” videos on YouTube for example, have been shot with a digital camera and used free or low cost editing tools. The important thing is the creativity and entertainment/information value of the video. Plus the ability to share the video with a network.

      • Avatar Marc Dula says

        Ahmet, I agree with Lee. The videos don’t have to be professionally made. The “flip” video camera is a great inexpensive camera you can get a hold of. The classic example of something that’s been highly effective on Youtube is the Blendtec blenders series, and it worked because of how unique it is, not because of broadcast-quality editing.