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Those of us that regularly engage in social media can forget that for first timers it can appear to be a daunting and uninviting prospect. We know from experience that running your small business is challenging and time consuming. Now where do you find the extra time to engage in social media. How to be social?

The truth of the matter is that you have to find the time. Be brave be social.

As with most new innovations, those companies that were first to adopt, typically got what’s called first mover advantage and generated an increase in leads and new sales. However, as time passes, more and more companies adopt the new innovation, in this case social media, and the battle to attract new customers becomes more competitive.

Since the advent of social media we’ve also witnessed an incredible shift in how consumers interact and consume news and information about our products, services and brands. Welcome to the world of mobile. In a recent paper by Harvard Business Review and Google (don’t worry, it’s very readable and not at all academic) the concept of the ‘Micro Moments and the Shopper Journey’ was introduced. Basically, in our world of constant connectivity, our digital lives have become defined by frequent moments in which we intensely want or need something—a destination, a fact, a product, a service, an activity—right here, right now.

The paper gives four examples of a consumer and how they frequently turn to their always-on and connected device for a variety of needs. Do any of these ring true for you and by extension, do any of these examples have an impact on your small business?
I want to know: Specific information on an infinite variety of topics and products.

I want to go: Where to head, and when, for an activity or to find a particular product.

I want to buy: Purchases, opinions, facts, deals, and comparative information on products and services, even while standing in a store.

I want to do: How-to information on any variety of tasks or activities, from a home repair to a new yoga pose.

Look around you, smartphones are everywhere and what’s more, it’s not just the younger demographics. All ages are using them. As the HBR/Google paper quite rightly points out “Smartphones are radically altering the landscape for search and how people make decisions about brands, services, and purchases.” People, your customers and prospects are using a variety of different services to educate and inform themselves. It could be Facebook, Twitter, Tripadvisor or a group chat on What’s App. The point is all these conversations are taking place with or without you.

The key message is don’t get left behind. It’s important so take a few minutes to check out our three simple steps to digitally empower your business.

You also need to assess which social media channels you are going to engage in. If you agree that mobile and social is important then you’ll take the next step. Be brave be social.

Here at Big Red Cloud we interact regularly on three key social media channels – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and pay close attention to what’s happening elsewhere. We long ago realised that you can’t be all things to all people as that would dilute our efforts in marketing our online accounts software. So we focus on the above three channels. Not forgetting the work we do on our own website which serves as the launchpad for most of our writing and guides.

Take your first steps and get on board. You’ll be glad you did. Results may not be immediately obvious but at least you are getting to sit at the top table. Be brave be social.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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