Three studies in a row hit me with the reality that social media is far from mainstream.
- Most small businesses are not using social media. Small businesses are using websites and email marketing more than social media, but most aren’t even using those tools. (Citibank survey)
- Most tourism pros are not using it either. Considering how many consumers are doing trip planning and research online, this is particularly striking. (Southeast Tourism survey)
- Most economic developers are also holding out. They rate social media of low importance now, but recognize it will be seriously important over the next three years. Few say they don’t know enough; most say they are looking into it. (IEDC survey)
Why are so many smart people not putting social media to work for them? The phrase “looking into it” struck me.
Why would people use that particular phrase? I think it’s because they have heard at least a little about social media now. Many have sat through workshops or conference sessions on it. But that is far from enough information to implement social media.
So that simple “Social Media” workshop they took, left them with one or more of these issues:
- They don’t know how they might use social media.
- They are not sure where to start.
- They just don’t have the time, or just don’t make the time to use it.
- They are stuck in routines, and it’s hard to change habits to include new activities.
Let me know how well those fit with what you see and hear in the real world.
Working with Sheila Scarborough to create Tourism Currents, we came up with a pretty plausible way to help move these folks into action.
Smart people need focused information and examples from organizations they can relate to; then they can move into action.
We built a set of lessons, with examples and activities based on what tourism professionals actually do in their work. We approached it with a specific order, designed to talk them through the the stages from not knowing much all the way through putting it into practice.
If you are trying to help a small organization to take action, start with this: focused information and examples from organizations they can relate to.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.