Does the size of your business matter for social media success? | CLT Blog

Does the size of your business matter for social media success?

Posted on 24 Apr 2012 by Terry Cox

When it comes to social media who has the advantage – big businesses with the resources to run well-funded campaigns or small businesses with the agility to build deeper relationships with smaller customer bases?

Experts have weighed in on both sides of the debate. Some small companies like Zappos have leveraged social media to become superstars. Meanwhile big brands like Dell Computers a few year’s back with Dell Hell, and McDonalds’ recent Twitter hashtag mishap show that social media is fraught with risk for the biggest of corporations.

The truth is that social media is so new and changing so quickly that it is hard to determine a clear winner. But one thing does seems apparent; social media provides a chance for big and small companies to learn from one another.

At the BIG Council, we focus on building a vibrant community in Charlotte that attracts and ignites entrepreneurial growth and success. We facilitate a peer-to-peer exchange among those facing similar challenges with growing their businesses.

For a community to be successful, however, it needs to be open to ideas regardless of the source or the size. And social media affords the opportunity to be just that…social.

That is why the BIG Council is supporting the SMB Social Media Makeover Forum in Charlotte on May 8th. The half-day event will bring together leading brands like Wells Fargo, TIAA-CREF, Hendrick Motorsports and UPS to provide consultations to 3 small Charlotte businesses (Virtual Race Bags, Medichest and Olde Mecklenburg Brewery) who are grappling with their social engagement strategy.

How can each learn form the other? Consider the following:

What big businesses can teach small companies

In collecting best practices, small businesses may not have a big business budget but they can take advantage of the dollars that big businesses have spent. A small company can learn a lot from evaluating a few big companies that are relevant to its business and

  • Study how they are using social media and what they are trying to achieve
  • Look at their results and determine what worked, what didn’t work and why
  • Assess whether their experience is applicable on a smaller scale. If not, ask if there less costly alternatives or whether marketing dollars should be reprioritized.

What small companies can teach big business

In looking for better ways to manage their social media efforts form more responsive social media teams, big businesses can study successful smaller companies to determine how size may have impacted their

  • Response rates
  • Personalization and customer satisfaction
  • Innovative campaigns and programs

Clearly small businesses can learn from the experiences of Charlotte’s largest and most successful brands and start-ups can infuse big businesses with new ideas and fresh approaches.

More broadly, I hope events like the Makeover Forum will open the pathway for larger corporations in Charlotte to work with and support the smaller businesses in their backyard. It’s about supporting the community at large so that everyone prospers and succeeds.


  1. Jennifer 24 Apr 2012 at 12:14 PM

    I think this is a terrific idea and I would love to get involved if there was another event in future. I struggle with understanding how to turn social media ‘likes’ into business.

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