Chamber Matters: New Technologies
Published 26 Jul 2013Welcome to the brand new “Chamber Matters” column, where each month we’ll be talking about issues affecting local businesses and all the latest innovations in the business world. This month, we’ll be looking at how new technology can help you to stay one step ahead of your competitors.
A recent study has revealed that as many as one in three Scottish businesses don’t even have a website. In a world where smartphones and social media are part of the lives of hundreds of millions of potential customers, can your business afford to be part of that one in three?
Modern technology offers small businesses an unprecedented opportunity not only to get a leg up on their immediate competitors but also to connect with their customers in a completely new way. So how can your business use modern technology to stay ahead of the game?
The first, and arguably most important, thing to do is to think about who you are targeting. Facebook may be the biggest and most popular social network, but it’s not necessarily where your target market will be. Business-to-business sellers, for example, are more likely to get good results from LinkedIn.
You also need to think carefully about how to engage with your audience. It’s not just about getting your content in front of the customer; it’s about developing a conversation around it, listening to your customers and responding to their concerns. A key word here is “virality” – developing content that people want to share can massively increase your reach.
The instantaneous, always-connected nature of modern technology can be used to your advantage, allowing you to monitor and respond to competitor activity as it happens, as well as helping you to engage customers with time-sensitive special offers.
A great example of how small businesses can use modern technology to their advantage is a small Guatemalan shoe shop called Meat Pack. They used an innovative phone app to “hijack” customers from their competitors with time-limited, location-sensitive discounts. When the discount was redeemed, a status update was shared on the customer’s Facebook page, raising awareness of the business. Read more about the campaign and the technology behind it at http://tinyurl.com/mphijack.
If all this has got you thinking about how you can boost your business with modern technology, there are plenty of places you can go to find out more. Social Media Examiner will keep you up to date on all the latest developments in social media, while VentureBeat offers up-to-the-minute coverage of technology business news, and these are just the tip of the iceberg.
However you choose to engage with modern technology, a small investment now could seriously benefit your business going forward.