George and Mary-Lynn

Promote Your Business without Talking Business

Social Media 4 Small BizToday we continue our social media for small business series with Jon Swanson. Jon is the executive pastor at Grabill Missionary Church. He is also a Social Media Chaplain, where he listens, talks to and comforts people in the social media space. John also blogs at Levite Chronicles, and 300 Words a Day.

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Mary-Lynn FosterJon you have quite a following (no pun intended) in the social media space. How did you get started?

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Jon SwansonChris Brogan.

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George KruegerThat's a good way to get started!

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Jon SwansonI know. It was about four years ago now, I had started blogging just a little bit, and I think I had about four people who would look at it occasionally. So I started using it for taking notes…as a way to make sure I remembered things. One afternoon I was in my office and I read a couple of posts that Chris had written about time management. One was about time quilting, so I wrote a post, put in link to his two articles and made a comment so I would remember it the half hour it took to get home. Within an hour there was a comment on my blog from Chris! So, the fact that I replied to his comment then is what has taken me into additional blogging (both blogs I do), guest posting, and also Twitter, Facebook…

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Mary-Lynn FosterI know some business owners feel intimidated by these social media tools, so it's very unique to hear of a pastor doing this.

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Jon SwansonPart of the reason is that all of my degrees are in communication. Also, the first job that I had when I was a junior in High School was as a computer operator on a big main frame computer that was part of a service bureau for non-profits. Even though that technology is so out-dated today, I think that what's switched my brain to thinking in terms of technology as part of a communication mix.

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George KruegerJon by being actively involved in social media, do you find it helps you more with reach or further developing the relationships you already have…or in business terms…existing customers or new customers?

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Jon SwansonFor a long time it was new customers and maintaining those relationships. My online community and my offline community were two separate things. What's happening now is that those communities are blurring. On any given day, you may find a comment one of my blogs from someone I'll see on Sunday morning and from someone I'll never see.

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Mary-Lynn FosterHow do you find the time to maintain your blogs with fresh content?

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Jon SwansonI do a fair amount of repurposing material. The last time I preached, I had strung together 4 blog posts I had written over at 300 Words, and reworked the content a little. I've gone the other direction as well…the stuff I post at Levite is a mix. A recent post was about how I needed something to hold up a Flip camera for a men's breakfast that was happening (we used a Styrofoam cup). So even though the inspiration of some posts comes in the setting of church, they really aren't posts about church. They are about communication, and being sensitive and aware.

I think that applies to any small business. You don't necessarily have to be selling what your product is online, but instead you can build connections by talking about the process of selling, of retailing. Look at what Becky McCray is doing over at Small Biz Survival. You don't have to be a liquor store owner to understand the concepts she's teaching. I often guest post over there, and not because I own a small business, but because I patron small businesses. The observations I make as a customer is a different kind of perspective, and hopefully, helpful.

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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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3 Responses to Promote Your Business without Talking Business

  1. [...] Listen to our conversation here:  Promote your business without talking business. [...]

  2. Paul says:

    Hello there,

    Just came across your blog and I was wondering if you would consider writing a short piece about us since I believe that your readers may find our services helpful.

    We’re Habilis and we’re dedicated to helping people get more things done and make greater use of their time with the help of our services.

    Look forward to hearing from you.
    Paul

    • Paul, you’ve made us chuckle because the title of this post is “Promote Your Business without Talking Business”…and here we are talking business!

      We are flattered that you realize our readers are strapped for time, but we don’t really do advertorial style interviews / posts.

      You’ll notice in this post, Jon is offering up tips for small business people on how they could use social media to build their network. May we suggest that you visit our Time Management category http://biggsuccess.com/category/time-management/ and offer some tips on any of our posts that interest you there via comments. We’ve found that the best way to attract new business is to offer great advice, without overtly promoting your business.

      We look forward to learning more on how to better use our time from you.

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