…and we all just live in it.  The sooner small business owners accept this the better.  Block out every other brand except those four in the picture above.  It’s the fastest way to grasp what is happening. You must adapt or it’s going to be a constant struggle.

Your Competitive Advantage

Know that you have something to offer that your competition doesn’t.  Even if that competition is Amazon.  Namely, that you are local and live and probably have a huge amount of goodwill built up in your community.  If you can leverage that on Facebook and Twitter and start building up your online community you are going to save money on advertising costs and eventually increase sales.

Commit Like a Spartan

But you have to be committed to getting up to speed in the new and changing world of online marketing.  You can not just put a toe in the water.  Every day we see small business owners abandoning their Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, sending the message that a) they did not see an immediate benefit  b) could not devote the resources to maintaining a presence or c) did not know how to be effective at engaging customers online.

For whatever reason, it’s a mistake not to make this transition.   The world is moving into a mobile social universe and you need to move with it.  Check out Digital Nation, a documentary on Frontline (PBS) that came out this week.  Read the latest statistics on email usage for the population under 20 (down last year 56%!).  Kids don’t use the phone to talk any more and they don’t use email.  You need to be where they are.

Facebook or Google May Buy Twitter

The big rumor yesterday was that both Facebook and Google were in talks to acquire Twitter. Twitter is being valued somewhere in the range of $8 to $10 billion.  Twitter, like YouTube and others is just going to become part of the Google stable of companies or Facebook is going to grab it.  So one of those Big 4 we mentioned in the title just got that much more powerful.

What Can You Do Today?

Take online very very seriously.  Don’t just hand your website off to your nephew and let the intern manage your Facebook Page and determine your social media strategy.  Drop the notion that you can just throw anything up online and that a long as you are there, that is all that matters.  We call that shovelware.  And the term has been around for 10 years.  This is not a magazine online or a book or a press release.  It is a game of engagement and community building and becoming a master of media and creating engaging content.  Every company is a media company now.  It’s become a much tougher game.  But you can win.  Just accept the world as it is and get moving.