In the mid-1800s the industrial revolution replaced the mild, earthen lifestyle of the farm economy. Not since then have we seen world events come together to completely alter the economy. Small Business is now seeing changes that are completely mind-numbing. To get your product, service or site noticed, you’d better be Marketing for Search Engines (SEM) and on board with the Impact of Social Media on your Business. New technologies have led to new tools, resulting in new rules for finding out and sharing information using “The Cloud” of worldwide SAAS (software as a service) applications and databases that change content every second. So much for Encyclopedia Britannica sitting on your book shelf.

That’s B O O K S H E L F, flat board like things protruding from your walls, usually made of wood, that hold physical, hard-bound or paperback-BOOKS. Just picture a stand beneath your wall mounted flat screen TV with no electronics and you get the picture. The key question is, just How Does Social Media Help Small Business?

Interview with Ira Wolfe

In my Video Interview with Ira Wolfe of Success Performance Solutions, Ira shared a wagon load of information on the changing face of business, who’s really in control in the marketplace, adopting Social Media as a strategy, and the Holy Grail of the 4 C’s of SEM. Part 1 of the Skype interview takes a look at the history and changes that have taken place in marketing, including the 180 degree change in control that’s occurred with the coming of Internet choices and the Social Media Impact on Business that has placed the power in the hands of the consumer.

Not Your Father’s Business Marketing

Remember the days when large corporations “push-marketed” their wares onto society?

“You can have any Ford Model T you want, as long as it’s black.” Companies had some ideas, did some vague version of market testing, and unleashed their campaigns upon an unsuspecting public with limited TV, radio and print options. Perhaps they got themselves a mailing list and sent out sales letters to those groups they thought were their target audiences. If you got 1-2%, you were happier than a marketing pig in..slop, of course.

I’m not saying these ways are no longer valid. What I am saying is, the abundance of choice along with Social Media technologies that make assembling, collecting and exchanging ideas around millions of themes as easy as tying your Velcro-laced shoes has changed the game – forever!

The most successful companies embracing the new business marketing paradigm have learned to sacrifice and in fact totally relinquish something that 10 years ago they wouldn’t ever have – CONTROL. You are no longer in command of the marketplace. Your customers are. You even have to ask permission to market to them! What on earth is the world coming to today?

In fact, the marketplace is now dictated by non-customers and customers alike, people who try it, test it, review it and talk about it to all their friends… X 500 MILLION! According to Andy Warhol, “Everybody wants to have his 15 minutes of fame.” Well guess what? Today’s technology makes that easier than ever, at least in the mind of the general public. Outlets like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter give any human being on the planet a way to be heard or viewed inexpensively and fast. And they talk. And talk. And talk. And they film, often to their own reputational detriments, but always to the chagrin of the corporation or business that puts out sub-standard product or service.

Successful companies today embrace the lack of control, give away their products and proudly seek out ways to encourage the chatter. The problem is, if you’re NOT doing this, you are WAY behind the curve in 2011. Key words to describe product launches from yesteryear have been replaced. QUALITY no longer gives you a competitive advantage. You can’t even play the game without it! What you need is BUZZ, a buzz you may not even be able to control, but hopefully can start. Get enough buzz, and you reach a tipping point that happens faster than ever before in human history and get to the place where VIRAL is a good thing!

There’s good news and bad news for small businesses. The good news is that since the new paradigm is free in the competitive world of technology, toys and widgets, you can take part in this universe affordably and literally compéte with mega-corporations. The bad news? So can a high-school dropout working in a loft in Bangalore, India or Buenos Aires. You cannot hide from this tidal wave, even if your fortressed in your local yellow pages. The most popular websites, portals and search engines (think Google world domination) are focusing billions on localizing their content.

Get the right strategy, and you have a fighting chance at getting noticed. For God’s sake, though, have a plan!

By Karl Walinskas (c) 2011