can your small business be heard mediavine marketingAs a small business owner or leader, you’ve probably wondered if you can possibly be heard above all of the “noise” in social media.   To address that question, I’ve come across a couple of interesting quotes from people who are widely regarded as experts in marketing.  Do you see the common theme in both?

“We’re entering an era of reciprocity. We now have to engage people in a way that’s useful or helpful to their lives. The consumer is looking to satisfy their needs, and we have to be there to help them with that. To put it another way: How can we exchange value instead of just sending a message?”
– — Kim Kadlec, worldwide vice president of Global Marketing at Johnson & Johnson

“Talking isn’t the only thing that makes social media social. Just like adding Facebook, Twitter and other sharing buttons will not magically transform static content into shareable experiences. Listening, learning and adapting is where the real value of social media will show its true colors.  Listening leads to a more informed business. Engagement unlocks empathy and innovation. But it is action and adaptation that leads to relevance. And, it never ends.”
– – Brian Solis, social media futurist and author

The answer to being heard seems to be… listening first.  That does sound familiar.  People tend to do business with other people that they know and trust.  And how do you get people to know and trust you?  By listening and responding to expressed needs.

What does listening in social media mean for a small business?  It means using some of the tools that are available and searching for, and paying attention to, what people are saying about your industry, products and services. For instance, a local payroll company hears that other businesses are confused about a new IRS rule and offers clarifying information and helpful tips.  A small online toy merchant listens to so-called “mommy bloggers” and starts carrying eco-friendly toys and offering tips on recycling and restoring toys that require imagination.  A web development company responds to other small business’s requests for cost-effective websites that they can edit themselves.

Most small businesses don’t need to be heard by everyone.  We just need to be heard by the right someones.  And that means listening to the right someones and responding the best that we can.

What a great challenge!