Social media is seen as a great equalizer because it allows businesses to directly connect with their customers. We asked Amy Jo Martin — founder of Renegade Accelerator, New York Times bestselling author, educator, investor, and podcast host— about how small businesses can monetize their online presence.
Why do small businesses need to have a social media and online presence to be successful?
Humans connect with humans, not logos. Social media is the ultimate equalizer because it levels the playing field and provides access to the people behind the brand. The ability to connect, intimately yet at scale, has been democratized. Small businesses are able to humanize themselves through social channels and make real connections with their customers. Those connections not only convert, but they compound over time. First we must humanize, then we can monetize.
How are successful small businesses leveraging social media to meet the evolving demands of consumers?
Small businesses are able to listen loudly and efficiently through social communication channels. The social platforms enable an instant feedback loop that can be invaluable to small businesses. It no longer takes expensive research studies to learn what your customer thinks and feels. Small businesses are able to iterate quicker by listening to their customers and asking them for insights.
Social media is also a way for customers to hold businesses accountable and choose products from companies that align with their values. Social media is a magnet for finding like-minded, like-hearted people who have similar beliefs.
In your opinion, how do small businesses help to strengthen our local communities and overall economy?
When you choose to spend money with small businesses, you’re automatically voting and rooting for your community, your neighborhood, and the economic health of your geographic region. This is an ecosystem that directly impacts your days and your life.
The business world can seem very male-dominated. What advice would you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs with this outlook?
Find your mentors. A lot of my mentors have been men because of the sheer numbers in the industries I’ve worked in. It’s been beneficial to have both male and female mentors who share my values and vision for how women can impact the world.
Also, find your community. Confidence ties back to community and competence. Having a community of women who are fiercely supportive of one another and leverage their assets together, like the Renegade Accelerator, can change the trajectory of an entrepreneur’s journey and their business. We are investing in one another, making introductions daily, hiring one another, sharing advice, and creating collaborations. This enables 10x thinking and execution.
What advice would you provide to a small business owner looking to maintain or grow their financial stability during these difficult times?
Human behavior is shifting which can mean economic models may need to shift. Remaining focused but open-minded and agile remains important. Focus on what’s working. Be intimate with your numbers (accounting) and stay in close touch with your customers, because things can change very quickly.