The Small Business Ostrich
Albeit a myth, the ostrich is well known for sticking its head in the sand. The term is commonly used by most as a metaphor, for instance, when people are unwilling to recognise the realities of modern life and how the world around them is changing. It could be your parents’ reluctance to carry a mobile phone, someone’s insistence that fossil fuels are ok for the environment, a person’s refusal to accept that football will be better off using video replay technology, or it might be the surprising amount of small businesses who don’t utilise social media. The last example puzzles me, we have 5.4 million SMEs in the UK and I doubt there is one that wouldn’t benefit, even on a small scale, from a presence on Facebook or Instagram. The marketing world has changed tremendously in the past couple of decades and it’s past time that those small business ostriches take their heads out of the sand and embrace social media as a necessary change. I am a champion of small business and love to see them succeed but unfortunately, there are so many that need to catch up and will be sucked into the ether if they don’t.
John Logie Baird invented the mechanical television in the late 1930s but it wasn’t until the electric television was developed that it became available for commercial sale in the 1940’s before then families were entertained by the radio (or wireless). This was also the medium for premium advertising. Even when the TV took off, businesses were still claiming it was a fad and weren’t using it to spread the word about how good their washing detergent was or how everyone should eat Spam. Eventually, everyone started to see the light and the TV commercial was born. Moving forward to the 21st century, something has emerged as the new tool for media consumption, the Smart phone. This is the ‘new TV’ everybody!! It has taken over in so many ways, especially in its ability to lend the opportunity for small businesses to advertise.
Advertising on television can cost around £2K for an average day-time 30-second slot and as much as £20k for prime time. Nowadays, with Tivo, Sky Plus and digital recording boxes adverts on TV are usually whizzed through on fast forward. Even when we do watch live TV, for example, a football match or X Factor, what is it we do when the adverts come on? Pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook, Twitter or Instagram etc. So the question I ask is, why do businesses still pay over the odds for advertising space on TV? Social media provides the perfect platform for all businesses to get the word out about your brand. It either costs you nothing at all by benefiting from clever organic reach or, if you did decide to take advantage of the paid adverts on Facebook or Instagram, the price is negligible and you can target your exact demographic. The important thing to remember is to have a consistent presence on the applicable platform that suits your small business, these days consumers expect it.