I’m a fairly strong proponent of social media for any business, small or large. With the rise of some impressive tools that really make ideas take off, and the many articles SmallBizTechnology.com has posted on the subject of social media, it’s too big a niche to ignore for anyone.
Recently it was posited that social media might be a waste of time for blue-collar small businesses. Ultimately, I think the term ‘blue-collar’ has a bit of its own stigma associated with it, in that more labor-intensive businesses are not nearly as focused on marketing or lead-generating as larger companies. Also, there’s the connotation that blue-collar workers might not be as tech-savvy as their ‘dressier’ peers.
The validity of this point is interesting, but only within a short range…literally. For instance, small businesses that operate out of truly small towns or in small markets probably don’t have the reach – or the need for a reach, for that matter – beyond the confines of their town or county line. A feed or grain company, for example, advertising services online or through Facebook might indeed be a waste of their time and money.
Be that as it may, it’s difficult for me to believe that any kind of social media presence, no matter how minor, is a bad thing. The truth is that there’s a heck of a lot of folks using social media out there, and if any one of them work for a small business, they might be already talking about their job online. Good or bad, it’s rather unavoidable.
Check out item 26 on this page. It’s clear that this author thinks that blue-collar businesses are, although perhaps slow to embrace social media, beginning to do so in larger numbers. But don’t just listen to the one author – the New York Times asked a few months ago what people’s opinions are on this very subject, and the Comments section is full of support for blue-collar businesses having social media attachments.
The point is, making broad assumptions about your customers and thinking “MY customers don’t tweet, use Facebook, or read blogs,” means you’re overlooking the fact that more and more people get their information online these days. If your company is not embracing it, then your competitors could be making inroads with possible customers.
There’s also a heck of a support structure out there for blue-collar businesses. Check out the Blue Collar Business Podcast, for one. While the last podcast was made just over a year ago, there’s plenty of material here for beginners or less tech-savvy individuals/businesses to learn from. Even social media itself seems to understand that, even though small blue-collar businesses are under-valued in the realm of media, the impact of education cannot be overstated.
Bottom line: don’t assume anything about your employees or your customers. If you’re not involved in social media, or don’t believe in it, it doesn’t mean your employees and/or your customers are not. Overlook social media at your own risk.