I love to cheer for the underdog. Maybe that’s why I loved reading my daughter the classic tale of the Little Engine that Could. You know the story, the little unlikely engine who helped get the train full of toys and sweets for the kids up the mountain. This wasn’t a big powerful commercial train, it didn’t have lots of experience in this area, but it had determination and spirit.
I feel that social media has the power to get the underdog up the proverbial hill. In the past, large corporations held marketing power with their large media budgets. Television advertising, billboards, full-page magazine ads – these weren’t cheap. Not to mention full branding campaigns complete with logos, taglines and jingles. I admit, back then my clean had to be as real as Ivory, it had to be 99.44 (this may sound familiar to some of you, if not check out the popular jingle on this ivory commercial). Now however, I buy a lot of my soap from an Ottawa-based social enterprise called Soap2Hope. I’m connected to this entrepreneur on Facebook and love to get her posts on new products (I’m interested in trying her latest tub tea soaks!).
Small businesses who take to social media don’t need large budgets to reach their target audience. They need platforms that enable them to demonstrate their niche, their uniqueness and a way to engage with clients. And now it’s easier than ever to get instant feedback. I recall joining a focus group almost 20 years ago, spending my whole evening in a room, eating a cold sub that was my provided dinner, and giving feedback to an insurance company on their services and branding. With social media, that can be done in minutes from the comfort of home. In fact, Architectual Digest sends me surveys every now and then regarding various ads and products that they feature. It’s fun for me and fast and free focus testing for them!
Speaking of media outlets, this is another area where I feel that power has shifted to the underdog. It’s not as common for people to have the physical newspaper delivered to their door anymore. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook provide “breaking news” almost instantly. And we don’t need to rely on major news outlets to give us our information – almost anyone can report on world issues, sports, local events and more. Food and movie critics can be an average citizen with a passion for either and with a well-written and respected blog. If you have enough followers and content perhaps you too can be an “influencer”.
Do you have an underdog story to tell? Did social media help you gain traction? Or, did social media introduce you to some underdogs that you have helped up the hill? Feel free to share!
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