The One Tool Your Small Business Should Be Using

Social Media 4 Small BizToday we're talking with Becky McCray. Becky is a small town entrepreneur who writes about small business and rural issues. She also works with small businesses to maintain their web presence and help city governments with project management and grant writing. Her blog SmallBizSurvival.com has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, The New York Times, and more.

Becky's latest project is Tourism Currents, which teaches social media skills to tourism professionals.

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George KruegerBecky, I don't think I've ever met an entrepreneur with as unique a combination of businesses as you have. Tell everyone how you like to describe what all you do.

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Becky McCrayWell in addition to what you have already included, I own a liquor store and a cattle ranch. That combination always gets people excited.

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Mary-Lynn FosterWhat's the name of the small town in Oklahoma where you live?

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Becky McCrayI live in Hopeton, Oklahoma, and then I always say my hometown is Alva, which is a nearby town of about 5,000 people. Hopeton only has about 30 people.

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Mary-Lynn FosterIn your experience, what is one common roadblock that keeps small businesses from using social media, and how would you suggest they get past that block?

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Becky McCrayIt seems the most common thing I hear is that people are not sure where to begin. The way to get past that is to learn by doing. So I always encourage people to pick one social tool, and start participating. That's the way that you learn about it, that also gives you the chance to observe what other people are doing and learn from them. For most small businesses in small towns, that one tool should probably be Facebook. Even in Alva, the town of 5,000, there are a lot of people on Facebook, and there's plenty of a customer base there to work with. My own liquor store is represented on Facebook with a page and we actually have decent customer interaction there. It's a good tool, so that's where I encourage people to begin.

I also tell people not to forget who they are. Interacting with these tools is just like interacting in person. So when people say they aren't sure what to do, they're kind of expressing some uncertainty about how they communicate. In all reality, they know how to do that…they just aren't sure how to do that on these tools.

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Mary-Lynn FosterThat's why I really like your suggestion to just start using one. Not only will it help people get past their fears, but it also allows them to learn how to use their normal voice in this online space.

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Becky McCrayYes, and people are also concerned about, "What if I fail and what if I mess up." I can promise you that people do make mistakes on Facebook or any of the social media sites. As long as what you are doing is well intentioned and small in scale, you're very unlikely to have a major disaster on your hands. It's just like when you are talking with a customer and have a slip of the tongue and say the wrong thing. People understand! Don't presume that your customer is going to be much angrier with you just because they're online, because they won't. They're still real people too, just like you.

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George KruegerBecky, you know me, so you know that I often put my foot in my mouth…it's easier not to do that when I'm typing!

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Becky McCraySame problem here!

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Mary-Lynn FosterThat brings up a good point, though, because something posted online is always out there. If I make a mistake while talking with you, it is only between you and me. If I make that same mistake in the online world, anyone can see it.

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Becky McCrayThat's true. The difference is… nobody else is going to notice. Especially if you are in a smaller town or a small business, most of your customers are just folks…they're just people, and they're very inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt.

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George KruegerSo we just need to quit putting so much pressure on ourselves!

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Becky McCrayYou got it.

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00585-051310.mp3

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] What one tool should your small business consider using today? If asked, Becky McCray would answer social media, adding that, rather than being overwhelmed by the many possible channels out there, small business owners should focus on just one. And that one should be Facebook. Listen to the full podcast discussion. Bigg Success […]

  2. […] What one tool should your small business consider using today? If asked, Becky McCray would answer social media, adding that, rather than being overwhelmed by the many possible channels out there, small business owners should focus on just one. And that one should be Facebook. Listen to the full podcast discussion. Bigg Success […]

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