Brown credits his blog with changing the way people find him, he created a podcast that gives him great “fishing stories” and loyalty from guides up and down the Gulf coast, he uses RSS and content tagging to automatically produce fresh blog content, and email marketing to blow his competition away at trade shows.
The amazing thing to me is how many of these smaller businesses could differentiate themselves, but simply choose not to. They dismiss the notion of using tools on the Internet because they think it’s irrelevant to their business. Or worse yet, they don’t know anything about social media and never educate themselves.
To me, if you’re a small business, social media is your best route for growing your business. That Brown guy is selling fishing lures, for chrissakes, and he’s cleaning up. He might not have the best lures or the greatest service, but he’s doing one thing that’s far superior to his competitors: he’s making it personal for his customers. They relate to him because he tells them stories about their passion. I still agree with Seth’s premise in Meatball Sundae, that if you’re in the business of producing “meatballs,” this marketing 2.0 stuff doesn’t apply so much to you. But if you’re in a business where you can tell a story, relate to your customers, and be able to use tools on the Internet to leverage your business and have new customers find you (not you hunting them down), then you need to get on top of social media.
Not taking part in social media will hurt you in the long run. More and more of your smarter competitors will leverage it to help their business, and you’ll be left behind.