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Posted by & filed under Guest Authors

March 8, 2012
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Guest Authors

SMB is an acronym for small and medium enterprise (businesses) and yet several aren’t acting in such a manner. Business owners are finding themselves in a position where they believe they can actually do it all, rather than being more like an enterprise that has several departments. Jack-of-all-Trades.

My grandpa and grandmother used to own the only bakery in a small town in Oregon. It was amazing – they knew their customer’s first name and by 11 all the baked goods would be gone (I ate a LOT apple fritters and maple bars.) Today, they would fail. You see, it would come down to this: Doug, my grandpa, could not delegate tasks. He tried to handle everything.

Unfortunately, this jack-of-all-trades concept is prevalent in today’s SMB owners and on top of their already tedious tasks here comes the internet changing the game. So now, add maintaining online community (community management) to the list.

Allow me to compile a quick list for you to imagine a day in the life of a community manager (and this is a simple day):
- Facebook management (need content that you created for one of them)
- Twitter management (this is now how people prefer to handle their conversations with companies)
- Review sites analysis (We’ll just name the bigger ones: Yelp, TripAdvisor, UrbanSpoon, FoodSpotting)
- Content marketing (Videos, Photos, podcasts, ebooks and more)
- Blog posting (Better create a shareable post – or else it’s wasted time, this means research, content and supporting facts like data)
- Press Release (Yes, your site should have a news page that features one press release a month)
- Interact with your customers (Nobody like’s a brand with a one way message – so you need to interact with them based on their interests, not just theirs)
- All the links you use require reference, so be prepared to track them using a source like Bitly
- Since one size does not fit all, be prepared to be engaged on several media platforms, here’s the top players: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Foursquare

Social Media Actually Matters?
People spend most of their online time on social networking sites, and it’s not just kids – People age 55 and older represented the fastest-growing age segment in global social networking usage. *(ComScore: It’s a Social
World
)

It’s important to understand that being active on these preferred platforms is how you create inbound traffic back to your site. You should also note that this is how support can be handled: reviews, conversations with the consumer, customer interaction with the brand and ultimately, a stronger relationship that leads to longer customer lifecycles. But much like Doug, rather than getting additional help, today’s business owners are attempting to handle these tasks themselves. In fact, the recession has only made things worse. SMB owners are trying to reduce overhead any way possible, so
if that means taking on tasks themselves, they will. However, if you look at bee or ant colonies they do business in a very
efficient, effective manner – tasks are delegated to create ownership, pride and accountability.

Be a Bee, SMB owners, delegate! In fact, hire a community manager. Promote one of your current employees who has an above average investment in the company (I recommend someone who’s willing to be a brand ambassador) and is
socially savvy. If they are an hourly employee like a counter sales person or a server, promote them, give them a raise and get them invested. When you allow yourself to capitalize on this dynamic market shift and address the need, you will see it as an asset to your company. You will also see employing a capable community manager as an asset as well – quite
possibly your most trusted employee. A good community manager understands how to tactfully deal with customer interactions, manage crisis, get the other team members excited about being social with the company, create quality, shareable content and manage ad traffic as well. This is on top of the commitments listed above. Oh, and a good community manager never clocks out – tweets run 24/7 – real time response is critical. Wouldn’t you sleep better knowing someone was on top of it?

2012 is the year of the community manager and this is why your small business needs a community manager – social media isn’t about Facebook, it’s about maintaining the longevity of your customer lifecycle, your revenue!

If you need tools to get your content marketing/community management going, visit the Content Marketing Institute.

The blogger, Danny Schotthoefer, daylights as a community manager/digital strategist at a Bozeman, Montana based advertising agency that caters to small and medium businesses. You can connect with Danny by visiting his site: DannySchotthoefer.com or his twitter: @dschotthoefer.

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