What big corporations can teach us about social media.

It’s often stated as a disadvantage that large businesses cannot turn on a dime. Change requires monumental efforts; new processes and employee buy-in, soft launches, layers of approval, and hundreds of power point presentations. This culture certainly deserves its share of criticism, but it’s not all bad.

Small businesses have the luxury of quick pivots. At various stages of growth and development, it’s easy to adopt new software and new ideas. An organization with 20 clients can communicate more effectively than an organization with 20,000 customers or more.

Combine those small business advantages with the ever-changing world of social media and suddenly the communication possibilities seem endless. “My last Facebook post didn’t do so well, I’m going to try something different.”

But perhaps this is the point where big corporations can teach us a thing or two about branding and patience. It’s not without much deliberation that a Fortune 500 company launches a Twitter account. Marketing managers work with social media agencies to research target demographics, understanding the customers’ persona and developing the right tone with which to Tweet. Full time employees are solely in charge of social media, not interns or “whoever’s young enough to understand this stuff.”

As a small business, it’s important to understand this distinction and see it for its advantages. You don’t need a 20-page manifesto to start posting to Facebook, but you should have a basic understanding of your clients and customers. You don’t have to be so rigid that the strategy doesn’t leave room for adjustment, but you should establish some consistency and let your audience grow organically over time.

It can be very frustrating to work hard trying to build that social media following and feel like you’re spinning your tires; still no major engagement after several weeks or even a couple months! But over the long run, consistency will build a foundation of trust and your customers will know what to expect from you.

Take a cue from those big corporations on this one – draft a social media strategy and stick with it. Make small adjustments over time, but always communicate with one cohesive voice. You’ll never get out of the woods by walking in circles; it may take a while, but walk in a straight line and you’ll eventually find a road.