SMB’s: Forget The Website, Got Social Media? Plus A Shout Out To @ginidietrich – You ROCK!

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Social Media and Donuts @ThreeShipsMedia
Photo credit: Photo Giddy

I can't say enough about Gini Dietrich. There is not another woman on the planet who I would love to see hit her new business venture out of the park!

Her and her team have been working tirelessly for the last 8 months to launch "Spin Sucks Pro"  to the masses, only to be running into wall after wall. If it was easy, everybody would be doing it!

Gini Dietrich Kicks Ass!

Can you say balls? Pardon my French, but doing this launch on the social web every step of the way and putting yourself, your reputation and everything you've built all on display for everyone to see you hit it out of the park, or god forbid, fall flat on your face takes some real cojones. This lady is destined to succeed big time. Courageous. Bravo!

If you haven't yet – you should stop by and let her know you're supporting her efforts.

In the mean time, team Spin Sucks continues to churn out cutting edge content on their blog, which inspired this post.

The article, "Executives and the Ostrich Syndrome," basically spells it out very clearly; the reason businesses don't use the web or social media for business growth is simply FEAR. It's a good read for any business owner who is not leveraging the web to grow their business. It may actually save your business.

Forget the website, Got Social Media?

While more than 40% of small businesses have survived without a website over the couple of decades, it's important to understand that the social web or social media is not a website. They're communication platforms that carry real-time conversations that are influencing opinions & buying decisions, sparking ideas, breaking news and having a positive, negative or no impact on your business.

It used to be cost-prohibitive for small businesses to leverage traditional media like TV or radio, but now you can reach those same consumers via social networks for a very small investment. You now have the ability to create content on a media platform you own and control for about the cost of a cup of coffee a day. What more could you possibly ask for?

The social web isn't an option for companies to pay attention to – it's a must in this day and digital age. The value of just being able to plug in and listen to what the marketplace is saying about you or the industry you serve is priceless.

That value can be elevated by learning how to effectively engage consumers, whether they are your customers, or potential future customers, it's a competitive edge that can put you in a position to dominate your niche. Blogs and other social media platforms are providing the experience new customers are looking for.

Today, companies can leverage blogs to create content that serves their marketplace. You can do effective outreach with platforms like Facebook and Twitter to drive awareness and build your audience. The key is building an engaged community around your brand, company, products and with everything you do, attempt to provide value and insight to your readers – preferably content that initiates conversation.

Today's Internet user is becoming accustomed to offering their opinions and feedback on things rather than being talked at. It can be as easy as posing questions to your community and getting them involved in the topic of discussion.

There are many companies, small and large, that deliver an awesome customer experience and value to consumers with their social media efforts. It’s still very early in the game, which provides many benefits to those small businesses that start to establish their social footprint now vs. later. Simply getting started is the most important thing a business can do. It takes time to establish a solid social presence that makes sense for your business.

There will be many things you’ll learn and adjustments you’ll make along the way. The key again is getting started and learning what these social platforms can do for your business and how to best utilize them. What you don’t want to have happen is wait around until everybody else is doing it and then suddenly realize that in order for you to stay in business you’re going to have to participate on the social web.

At this point you maybe too far behind to catch up!

The majority of businesses are not participating on the social web at this present time, however, nothing will prevent the social web from becoming the standard for business in the not so distant future. If you plan on being competitive, or being in business at all, it's time to figure out how the social, mobile, web stuff can be leveraged to grow your business.

The Sales Lion: Bringing Hope to Small Business Everywhere

If you own a small business, do yourself a favor and listen to this podcast on BlogcastFM.com with Marcus Sheridan AKA "The Sales Lion."

This awesome entrepreneur has built the most popular swimming  pool website on the Internet in just the last two years and has expanded his business by the multi-millions by leveraging blogging and has done it in during one of the worst economy's in decades.

If you don't start to "get it" after listening to this, there's probably no hope for you. Check out his personal blog as well – it's one of the best blogs on the social web that can teach you how to leverage inbound marketing for your business and thrive in this challenging economy.

Okay, that's all I have for today, now over to you…

How are you leveraging the social web to grow your business?


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Category : Blog &Social Media

  • http://www.itinerantentrepreneur.com/journal/ Robert Dempsey

    “You now have the ability to create content on a media platform you own and control for about the cost of a cup of coffee a day” – I’m assuming you’re referring to a website and blog, as no one outside of Facebook and Twitter own those platforms. If they decide they don’t like you for one reason or another you can be kicked off. No one can kick you off of your own website. Having said that…

    Social is definitely part of the equation. What I find most effective though is connecting with people on social media, building and cultivating the audience, and being extremely pro-active in forming relationships with potential customers, supporters, and influencers. Once I connect I work to get them off of social media so a deeper relationship can be formed. Then, we continue the relationship online.

    Research shows that search and websites are still the most influential online when it comes to business to business purchasing. However that’s not all there is to life, and getting to know your customers at a more personal level, whether they realize it or not, can have a huge impact on the bottom line.

    The better you understand your customer, the better you can provide them solutions to their problems, and the more win/win the situation is.

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Yo yo Robert… thanks for adding to the conversation here bro, I appreciate it. And yes, I am referring to a blog. I’m a big proponent of utilizing a blog for all of your social media activities as it is the only virtual real estate you control.

      I love Twitter and FB for outreach, but all of the work and effort you put in to building your business on these platforms could be gone tomorrow. They are great however to invite people over to your own house!

      You said it best Robert: “What I find most effective though is connecting with people on social media, building and cultivating the audience, and being extremely pro-active in forming relationships with potential customers, supporters, and influencers.” This a website can’t do.

      The best way I know to better understand your customer is listen to what they are saying. Social media provides that. The next best thing is actually engaging with them. Again, social media provides that. Social media allows you to engage potential customers and add value, provide insight, ideas, and answers before they make their buying decisions.

      It’s just smart business.

      Thanks for this add here Robert, I’ll be seeing you soon over at your place ; )

      • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

        I agree with you regarding the importance of ‘owning’ your
        own virtual real estate but would like to add the need to protect it too by
        backing it up.

         

        This is critical and it is something that business owners who
        aren’t tech savvy sometimes forget. The last thing you want to have happen is
        to lose countless hours of work and a ton of valuable information.

        • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

          YIKES! 

          Jack, it has happened to more than once… I know, stupid. Dah. Anyway, backing up my data regularly theses day’s : )  - 

          Cheers Jack!

  • http://websitesgiveback.com/blog/ Elena Patrice

    Ahhh Mark! I just did a vlog about small biz not using FB as their website! ;) Interesting … now let me clarify that WGB focuses on the trades (plumbers, roofer, etc.), so … (you’ll have to watch). I feel like bashing my head again the wall at least 20 times a day when I get asked, “How can you get me at the top of Google?” Well, first we’re not an SEO company, but … we do a lot in the way of helping their SEO efforts including video, etc.. I stress all the time of how they have to learn to “work” their business! I constantly reiterate how we’re are not in the same times when word of mouth was good enough and it’s not going to change. I actually just had a small business tell me that they “don’t believe in the internet!”. Really?! Your post makes the importance of social media and the power it holds very clear and my heart goes out to those who are missing the boat! It’s becoming a personal mission to help educate these businesses and inspired me to start writing an eBook on it.

    Marcus is the one to listen to you are right! He helped me so much in his interview with Danny Iny and Firepole Marketing last week – it was pure gold to me!! You are a wealth of amazing information that you so selflessly share with other Mark – it blows my mind! (And yes Gini IS the “woman of women” … I can’t even go there, she’s just someone I aspire to be like one day.)

    There is really no excuse that an entrepreneur or small business person cannot succeed when resources like your blog and so many other amazing ones out there rolling the red carpet out and inviting them to take the walk! The only thing holding anyone back is lack of vision and lack of effort!

    You’re awesome and I’m grateful!

    Blue skies Mark!

    Elena

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      I’ll be back to reply, but if you wouldn’t mind leaving that link here for Marcus’s Firepole Marketing Interview for folks, that would be great Elena : ) — back soon!

      • http://websitesgiveback.com/blog/ Elena Patrice
        • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

          Ah, thank you Elena!

          And I couldn’t agree with you more. It seems the business that are making progress in this economy are finding that success leveraging technology.

          You need to be proactively seeking to engage with your customers. If you’re not, you can be sure that your competition is!

          I have not had the pleasure of listening to Marcus’s interview on Firepole… thanks for sharing that link here with the community ; )

          Your are gold Elena – I’m so happy to be connected with you!

    • http://twitter.com/skywardjason Jason Hughes

       Elena,

      Many of our (Marcus and my) clients in our web coaching business are blue collar guys.  It’s a two-edged sword because they often have almost no web competition, but they’re also typically the least willing to embrace the new technology.  Those that do will have a bright future for sure, as we’ve seen in the pool business. 
      Keep up the great work Elena! 

      • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

        I love the work you and Marcus do with small businesses Jason. What you’ve accomplished with social media for your swimming pool business is awesome… but what’s even more important is how many businesses will become engaged in the social web  and ensure their future in business as a result.

        That matters a lot!

        So cheers to you, Marcus and Elena for your contributions and work! 

  • http://twitter.com/NancyD68 Nancy Davis

    Great post Mark. I could not agree more. Companies need to realize that social media is not a fad, and that if they do not realize that they will be lost.

    The customers are online. Go where they are, and listen to what they have to say. Then respond. Rinse and repeat. This is the way to do things, but it takes time. No one wants to hear that, but it is true.

    We all love Gini don’t we? I mean, who doesn’t like her really? C’mon now, that’s just crazy. She is a great example for someone like me to look up to, and I love how she handles herself. I learn from her everyday.

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Hi Nancy, thanks so much for adding to the conversation here.

      Firstly, yes, Gini is one awesome business professional and friend to the community. She’s one of the very best thought leaders serving the business side of the social web today.

      In regards to the social web and business, you know how I feel. What get’s me going more than anything is the fact that small businesses all around the nation could be insuring their success rather than prolong their suffering.

      Let’s hope that even one business owner is motivated to get off their butt by this post!

      Thanks again Nancy, I will be seeing you soon!

  • http://diyblogger.net/about Dino Dogan

    That @ginidietrich:disqus is a superwoman, isnt she?

    Simply getting started is the most important step for sure. I just had a conversation with a printing company. They want to set up a blog that matches their website in design. So I asked them, do you want to do this now, or do you want to do it right?

    They said, we want to do it right (of course). To which I told them, its never gonna happen. If you wait for everything to be just right, its never gonna happen.

    If you wait till you have all your Ts crossed and Is dotted, its never gonna happen.

    If you think you know what you will need 3 months from now, you dont.

    Has anyone even been involved in any project where everything went off without a hitch? I havent. Nor would I want to…I love rolling with the punches :-)

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      You’re so right Dino. The one thing that can really ensure success for businesses on the social web is understanding what the platforms are and how to use them by participating on them.

      Here’s where the “ah-ha” moments can start to take place and a real strategy that fits the business/ goals/ resources can began to come into focus.

      Oh, you haven’t been involved in a perfect project (that involved dang techy stuff) that goes as smooth as silk..? I’m sorry you haven’t had that experience yet.

      When you find someone who has, let me know so we can go hang them… they’re lying : )

      Cheers brother!

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Oh, I forgot to answer the Gini question – she is a tremendous asset to the social web. What an awesome person she is!

  • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com Kaarina Dillabough

    Put me on the @ginidietrich cheerleading squad! That girl is indeed superwoman, @Dino Dogan
    Now look guys: I need help. I’ve contact diqus about this, Gini helped but we f@dinodogan:disqus
    Whenever I type in the @ person’s name and tab, the link stays dead (although Dino just popped up in the middle of a sentence, you rascal!)

    @name:disqus You’ll also see the word name at the beginning of this sentence…random pop ups wherever I’m commenting.

    Whose got the answer? 100 words of thank you for the solver of my problem:)

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Hi Kaarina, I’m a techy neophyte… however, Mr. Dogan is a brilliant tech head : )

      I hope he see’s this and can provide suggestions…

      • http://www.kaarinadillabough.com Kaarina Dillabough

        Dino, Dino, where for art thou Dino? I’ve had many great minds trying to figure this out, yet to no avail. Help:)

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    I have no idea what to say except thank you. I’m at a conference and wanted to peak in, but I’ll be back. Soon!

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Enjoy the conference Gini : )

  • http://www.slymarketing.com Jens P. Berget

     Hi Mark,

    I haven’t been following Gini Dietrich, but I’m certainly going to. She sounds amazing. But, I have been following Marcus Sheridan, and it seems that he’s doing everything right. In just a few months, he’s turned his blog into a community of raving fans. There are so many things to learn from this.

    When it comes to the social web and the university where I work, we’ve done a lot of interesting things on Facebook. And we’ve connected with the students and we’ve started conversations (and I’m doing everything I can to stop pushing information). But, what I’m doing is to focus on a few things (because we don’t have enough people to manage blogging, twitter, facebook etc..). At the moment, we’re just involved in Facebook, but I want to be launching the university blog sometime soon :-)

    - Jens

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

       Hi @berget:disqus , that’s really exciting – you have your own lab and smart kids to tinker with : )

      @ginidietrich:disqus is great people, you will really like her work and she’s a great friend of the community you’ve tapped into.

      Check out her blog as well, I’m sure you’ll find some valuable insights and good ideas throughout her blog.

      Thanks for stopping in this AM Jens, it’s always great to see you : )

  • http://hustlersnotebook.com Jk Allen

     Hey Mark – Hop things are good in the CR!  I surely can’t complain on my end. Especially since it’s a Friday…well it’s 12:45AM, so technically it’s Saturday..but still, it’s the weekend! 
    I think the social web is a great platform to promote anything. Whether that’s a business or person (yourself). I consider myself to be a business, and boy have I benefited greatly from the social web. Even in the last 2 weeks or so, Twitter has become a common space for me and I will now call it awesome. I credit Marcus for “making  me” get on Twitter and you Mark for showing me th ropes and the possibilities. 

    Gini is what I consider “one of the best.PERIOD”! I really really mean that too.

    Have a great weekend!

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      It’s great to see you’re spreading your wings on Twitter : )

      Fly Jk, Fly!

      I will have to start engaging you more on the platform…

      Treat Twitter like your blogging efforts, just 140 characters at a time – you will rock the twitterverse JK : )

      Cheers my man! 

  • http://twitter.com/skywardjason Jason Hughes

    Yeah Mark, Gini and Marcus are both amazing!  Both on the cutting edge of where blogging and social media meet small biz. Anyone making the leap needs to check them both out. Great post!

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Hi Jason, I believe you give honor where honor is due and both of these awesome individuals are honorable with everything they do… Truly two of the best on the social web : ) 

      Have a blessed weekend sir!

  • Anonymous

    Hey Mark,

    I must confess, I haven’t ventured over to Gini’s site yet. She’s probably the most talked about person on the blogosphere who I haven’t visited yet! I remember a time when I made a plan one day to visit both Ingrid and Gini for the first time, as they were hot topics.

    I made it to NittyGriddy, but not to SpinSucks. So I’m halfway there!

    About social media, there’s a lot more choice now than there was even 12 months ago. Facebook is more customised for businesses, Twitter is being used as a proficient tool, and more and more networks are springing up designed purely for business (LinkedIn anyone?)

    Those companies who aren’t aware of social media, or even ‘refuse’ to get into social media, have two choices. They may either:

    - Continue their ignorance/stubbornness, and slowly slide to obvilion, or they may

    - Utilise social media, and discover the power of the internet

    ‘Internet’ means so much benefit for any business; costs can be cut, new clients can be made, new conversations can develop. It seems amazing that some would refuse to recognise the potential, but it’s their choice, and we must respect that.

    The world keeps on turning :-)

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Hey Stu – it’s great to see you sir and thanks for leaving this thoughtful comment and adding to the conversation here.

      I believe you and Gini will be a treat to each other. Good people are what make the social web so dang cool and you and Gini are two the social webs best friends : )

      With so many new people, especially business owners, jumping in to see what this social media stuff is all about, its important to write articles for those folks who may not have seen this information before. It certainly has been said before, but every article has the potential to motivate even one business owner to get busy with their social strategy.

      You are right though, the world keeps turning regardless – and whether the consequences of taking action, or not taking action are good or bad, nothing will prevent either from coming to pass.

      Thank you for weighing in on the discussion Stu, I appreciate it very much. 

  • http://www.thesaleslion.com/ Marcus Sheridan,The Sales Lion

    First of all Mark, I must echo your words about @ginidietrich:disqus . When you say, “This lady is destined to succeed big time.”, that just doesn’t do her justice. I know you’re a lot like me in that you’re grateful to be a friend of someone that does Marketing and PR magic every day— and you can observe the whole thing as it happens. All I can say to that is ‘WOW’.

    As for me sir, you’re mention is very, very kind. I’ve had some of the nicest comments about that Blogcast FM interview, and I can only hope that it’s helping people on a high level to attain success within their business.

    Cheers to you Mr. Harai for always shining light on people to whom you appreciate and admire. You’re a heck of a selfless guy.

    Marcus

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Hey Marcus, thanks for stopping in and supporting the conversation here bro.

      This is all a learning experience Marcus. What’s great about it is discovering and connecting with people like you and Gini. 

      You’ve both been a huge inspiration to me and I appreciate it very much. 

      I find myself repeating this over and over again, but the social web is about people, personalities and connecting in meaningful ways. 

      I know I sound like a broken record, but this one thing must be understood by folks in order for the social web to be a valuable and productive activity to participate in.

      Cheers Marcus!

  • http://beliefandaction.com/ Robert Pinto-Fernandes

    Hey Mark, like Stu I haven’t yet passed by Gini’s blog, but I will get over there real soon, thanks for the heads up! 

    I did a Podcast with Ryan Critchett today, and we were talking about the importance of Social Media for business. It’s quite simply a must. Ryan recommended me the “Now Revolution” by Jay Baer. I’ve heard of it but not yet read it, and that talks about how businesses need to jump on the Social Media “bandwagon” today. Have you read that book? 

    I think we’re already at the point where it is a must for all businesses, but as you mentioned, many businesses still have not jumped on, either because of having an obsolete business model that may be effective now but soon won’t be, or out of FEAR.

    I’ve recently discovered Marcus and TSL, but yeah, it totally kicks ass! Haha

    Speak soon; and thanks for this great, insightful post!

    Robert

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Hey Robert, love your attitude and vibe here bro!

      I have not read Jay’s book, but I do read his blog regularly… I admit I’m a bit of a lurker over there, but I will change that soon : )

      I always get good insight from Jay’s blog.

      @MarcusSheridan:disqus  is an adopted blog mentor and good friend. He is gold Robert. There are many golden nuggets (people) here and in his community that are just great resources. 

      Connect and jump in here bro, see you soon!

      • http://beliefandaction.com/ Robert Pinto-Fernandes

        Thanks Mark, you’ll definitely be seeing me here more often, and I’m all over TSL (theoretically)! haha

        Yeah Jay is a cool guy, looking forward to reading his book in the near future.

        Take care man, speak soon no doubt.

  • http://lingonlife.blogspot.com LingonLife

     Just wanted to add my voice to all the others that are following Ginny at Spin Sucks and rooting for a successful launch of Spin Sucks Pro!  Can’t wait to see it up and running :-) Monica

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Go Gini!

      It’s great to see you Monica – I hope everything is going your way!

      Cheers to you and Gini! 

  • http://billdorman.wordpress.com Bill Dorman

     Dude, how did I miss this post? It must have been during my 15 minutes of fame. Gini D does rock to the nth degree and that’s all I will say about it.

    You rock to bro; you have a great sense of community.

    I’ll see you around.

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Hey Bill, thanks for dropping your finger prints over here, it’s much appreciated.

      Waiting to hear what your decision is with the direction of your blog  : ) 

  • http://www.squareberry.com/ Mayan Lee

    Hello Mark, In my opinion it is better to have website and got social media. Hitting  2 or more birds with one stone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/markharai Mark Harai

      Indeed Mayan… I must have been on my social media podium when I wrote this… the journey has been one learning experience after another.

      Thanks for visiting : ) 

  • http://www.sleepinggiantmedia.co.uk/ Search Marketing Agency

    social media platform build buzz, boost business and offer smaller businesses as low-cost/no-cost marketing resources. Little businesses need to understand how these resources strategically offer and support business first so they best implement social media strategies to sell products and/or services.

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      Agreed, thanks for sharing your thoughts here : )

  • social media strategy

    Well i agree with you that social media is not a site in fact it is a communication platform like Facebook, Twitter that drives attention of audience and build customer. Thanks for sharing this nice article.

    • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

      You’re very welcome – have a wonderful weekend!

  • http://markharai.com Mark Harai

    Thanks for stopping by : )

  • http://www.ugconsultancy.co.uk/ ug consultants

    Well, first we’re not an SEO organization, but. we do a lot in the way of assisting their SEO initiatives such as movie, etc.

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