The Structure of Social Media for Small Business

Structuring your social media platform as a business gives you an opportunity not available to a consultant or sole proprietorship. While I spend a good deal of the time branding my own image, a company has the option of allowing it’s “employee faces” to brand themselves as employees or to make the “employee faces” anonymous giving all the credit to the company.

The Nashville Zoo has a guy who handles their social media. On Twitter and other avenues, however, he is the Zoo. He doesn’t brand himself as the marketing guy at the zoo. In fact, he writes for two people – the zoo pages and for a meerkat they’ve given a profile to. In this case their social media guy’s name just doesn’t show up anywhere – it’s always the voice of the zoo.

The disadvantage to this comes from the hub and spoke structure of social media. If you’ve got one guy playing the part of the company, you’re not likely to achieve a massive on-line presence as quickly as if you allowed “faces” in the company to brand themselves (and therefore you) at their own social media outlets.  The marketing guy for the company might be driving traffic back to the hub from here, while another spoke has an operations guy branding himself in the operation realm.

The hub-and-spoke structure allows for continual forward and backward movement from the hub to the spokes. And ideally, that movement creates the desire from your audience to join a Ning, Cagora or other community platform.  Once the hub-and-spoke has created links between your members and your websites – the next step is to create links among the members themselves.

Remember being a member of a fan club back in the 80’s? You cut the membership form off the back of the box, stuffed it in an envelope with a self-addressed stamped envelope and waited for your A-Team poster to arrive. Imagine, if you could have hung out with all the other A-Team fan club members. . .Imagine how much fun that would have been to see everyone else’s collection and talk about all the cool A-Team stuff.

From a small business standpoint, pick a viewpoint from which the world will see you. Find social media avenues that fit your style and befriend others in that realm. When they’ve befriended you and your services, invite them to a community forum where they can interact with others like themselves.

Get your fans in a room, and you’ll sell a lot of tickets.

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