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Social Media Calling All Small Businesses: Make Me Your Slave and Prosper


Ralph Braseth

Ralph Braseth is an Ole Miss/Oxford expat living in Chicago, where he teaches journalism at Loyola University. A new media devotee, Braseth spends time helping small businesses and non-profits utilize social media to increase awareness, brand and profit. His fee is $0. He makes up for that by over-charging big businesses.
Dear small business owner, this column is dedicated to you. Let’s start off by popping a few balloons.
1. Social media is high tech. Wrong. 
2. Social media sounds difficult and must be hard to learn. Wrong.
3. I’m so far behind. Everyone is doing it. They seem like experts. Dead wrong.
What is social media: The idea is so simple that it baffles most of us. A newspaper advertisement is a great example of one-way communication. The public gets the message and the process ends. Think of social media as a conversation like you and a neighbor might have talking over a fence about your dry cleaning business. Social media is a dialog.
Purpose: With others, your business will extend its brand, reach and customer base. Your business bottom line will increase. Those are not promises. Those are goals, but I wouldn’t bet against us.
Who is this for? This column is for owners of small businesses. I want folks with small store fronts, maids, house cleaners, handymen/women, lawn services or anyone else trying to make a living in these tough economic times.
Who is this not for? Medium and large sized businesses that pay someone to run their social media efforts or businesses that can afford to hire a social media person but don’t. We respectfully ask those businesses to stick to their own plans. However, our plans will be public and we don’t discriminate, so join us — publicly if you want, but you will be asked to foot the bill for our Christmas party.
Together, we are going to level the playing field and put some muscle on that business of yours.
You have two homework assignments this week. First, I need you to write me an email letting me know of your interest. If you do not have an email account, ask a friend or family member to share theirs. Write “small business” in the subject line. Second, tell your friends. We need 25 businesses to take part. The bigger we are, the stronger you’ll get. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone, but the owners of those 24 other businesses will become your first new customers and that, my friends, is but one example of the raw power of social media. Contact: rbraseth@gmail.com or if need be 662.832.8686

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