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Social Media Marketing Works Just about Anywhere

My trip to Johannesburg really was a life-changing event. I definitely have a different perspective on life, business, family and what’s really important (and conversely what’s not so important). This is not only true for me, but also for my two sons who were able to come on the trip with me. For them to be in a country so different from our own, to be exposed to people who speak numerous languages, including English, is an experience that I hope they will take with them for the rest of their lives.

But as I mentioned in an earlier post, what was more amazing to me than the differences between the US and South Africa, were the similarities. Entrepreneurship is strongly encouraged there as it is here and small businesses are finding that it’s very easy to connect with their ideal customers online, particularly through social media channels. Regardless of whether the business is local, national or global, having a global community on Facebook, for example, can only benefit the business in the long run.

Let me use an example of a health club. Say there’s a local health club in Johannesburg offering group classes, free weights, cardio equipment, etc. Maybe they even have a cafe where they offer protein drinks and coffee. They start a Facebook page to build their community of health-minded Johannesburg residents so they can try and tap into the friends of the current members to build their membership. They may think that they should only be adding local residents to their page because they only want current and potential members on the page.

But think about it from the new fan’s perspective. If you live in Johannesburg and are looking for a new health club, you would probably ask your friends for recommendations, possibly through a post on Facebook. If one of your friends suggested a particular location, you would probably go and check out their company Facebook page. If they only had a few hundred likes and not a lot of interaction, you might think that the current members aren’t really serious and you might look for a different option. However, if you go to the page and there are thousands of current followers with lots of useful information like exercise routines you can do at home, nutrition tips, clothing suggestions, etc., you would probably be more inclined to at the very least follow the page and more likely than not to join that health club.

What the prospective new member doesn’t know is where these followers are located. There may be an assumption on their part that the followers are local, but it really doesn’t matter as long as there is an active, vibrant community of like-minded individuals. That’s what “social” media is all about. And the mis-nomer of “social media marketing” isn’t really all that helpful. What I do on Facebook, or Twitter or LinkedIn, is more about sharing information and less about getting people to spend money. It’s generally a slower process than most business owners are willing to take but in the long run it gives you a much more loyal fan base that will help grow your business.

What do you think about the concept of local businesses looking for fans globally? Do you think it’s right or wrong for your business?

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