Growing the SMB in the Wake of Big Data and Social Media

Terri Kevany |

As technology continues to take over our everyday lives and create efficiencies and complexities, it leaves the small to medium sized business (SMB) with a myriad of options to reach their audience and manage ever-growing data volumes across every department of an organization. So what can you do as a SMB to keep up with technology and marketing trends in order to support growth in the wake of big data?

Start by creating a plan around the privacy, security and compliance of Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC). In 2015, Forrester predicts that 60% of enterprises will discover a breach of sensitive data. You need to think like the big guys even if you are a three-person shop. If you plan to host an e-shop, take payments via your website or simply collect data via an online form, do your research and align yourself with vendors that exhibit cyber best practices. Remember, your security practices are only as strong as the vendors you choose.

Take the time to establish an ongoing incident management program. An incident response plan, like a business continuity or IT disaster recovery plan, is your immediate response to a specific threat. To be effective, you need to establish an ongoing incident management program that lets you identify the potential risks so that you can create appropriate response plans, test those plans and keep them current. The plan should include the privacy, security, and compliance around SMAC.  

Next, get your message out. Experiment with budget-friendly ways to build your customer and prospect list. Social media can be a great tool when you find the right outlet or mix. Creating and pushing out content that showcases your organization as a thought leader can really move the meter, but using social media to help build your audience can be your biggest ally. Test various sites and make sure the mix of your posts are equal parts about your organization, its messaging and products/services, as well as equal parts about your friend/connection and what matters to them. While people are always thankful to gain important nuggets from a pertinent blog post or article, they may also enjoy seeing your organization in a less formal setting like in photos from a team building event. Engage with them to see what is resonating; remember to keep it light. Offer life hacks that make their work experience even the tiniest bit easier.

Letting your customer know that they matter, showing your cyber responsibility, especially with their personal data, can go a long way in building trust and fostering a lasting customer relationship. They need to have confidence in your organization beyond products and services. Make them aware that you are doing everything possible to keep them safe from a cyber attack.

Nicole Ponstingle is the Director of Client Services and Marketing at BlueBridge Networks in Cleveland.

This article originally appeared in the May 25, 2015, edition of Small Business Matters.