Social Media is for Local Business

What in the world is Social Media?
Let’s face it, people really want to be listened to.  Social Media allows everyone to share experiences they want to talk about so that others can benefit from their experience.  They may want to help others prevent something from happening to them, or share the wealth, so more people can have positive experiences too.  Paying it forward is really not just for selfless people.  We all have that instinct!
The wise man learns from others’ mistakes is an old adage that fits well here.  Because human beings want to avoid making mistakes, we usually do whatever we can to prevent them.  The Internet and the arrival of Social Media have created an amazing dialogue for people who like to get ahead.  We are no longer limited to mom’s recipe book, the yellow pages or direct mailers for our holiday shopping ideas.
We can access virtually anything, as long as we know what we are looking for! From where I sit, in my home, within my community, I cannot learn much about what is happening in other cities, states, or countries.  Media is limited and often skewed and overdone.  Who wasn’t tired of the media hounds when Michael Jackson died?  Does anyone really need to see Tiger Woods that much to understand that he has made a huge error in judgment?
However, since the Wiki made user-generated content the most popular and (shockingly reliable) source for data, I can turn off the television and find information that I am interested in.  I can find consumer advice for almost anything! The greatest thing about social media is that it provides and encourages people to use their experiences to guide others.  Mother and Fathers can actually share their advice and find an audience that listens!
What does this mean for Small Businesses?
Well, it means that your customers are looking.  They are seeking the best service, top quality products, honest salespeople and positive experiences.  They are looking for convenience too.  However, while they are looking for shortcuts, if they are given the opportunity to buy locally, they almost always will.  Our economy has made things difficult, but consumers still want to support the local economy!  However, not when they have to spend more time, money and resources to get it.  That is why huge corporations like Amazon and Target are still flourishing in spite of our economic crisis!
Now is the time for Local Businesses to take action!
If the local business is positioned where their customers can find them, they will build business relationships and return customers.  If there has ever been a time to learn how to be the business of choice for your customers, that time is now!  Social Media is the vehicle to take any business to the top of their local competitive market.  It just takes optimization of your existing web site and a marketing plan that meets today’s new model of consumer.  It’s really a very simple process!  There are customers waiting!