In the history of organizations, starting and operating a small business has always been fraught with some challenges and difficulty. Two of the common and widespread challenges are to source capital and find competent staff on a tight budget. A major headache for small business owners has often been visibility; being able to bring products and services to the notice of potential customers.
Unlike already established corporations who have the massive funds for media campaigns, small businesses have limited finance. They are limited in their ability to allocate scarce funds in pushing the publicity of their brands. Therefore, the problem of getting products and services out there persists for many small business owners.
Then came the advent of social media; various platforms that engendered hyper-connectivity among the populace. Friends and strangers alike all connected across vast distances through their devices and an internet connection. Unlike television or other traditional means of advertising, people could access information and news at virtually any time of the day and at any location of their choice.
News about the emergent blockchain technology is only a click away for many social media users. Interesting events could be followed by everyone in real time just as it was happening. A good example is the cryptocurrency price spike of 2017. Investors and other stakeholders consistently monitored the meteoric rise in bitcoin price and other cryptocurrencies with excitement. There are even some telegram channels for crypto trading signals that helps investors to stay ahead in the game
This was a goldmine for small businesses; you did not have to pay any huge advertising fees for airtime. All you had to do was create an account on any of the social media platforms for your brand, and garner a good following. Your brand could be visible to a large number of people which would have been virtually impossible via traditional means.
Small and medium businesses now had almost equal access to their target market with the big names in the industry. The only difference is in how much any given company is ready to work to attract the attention of social media users. It all seemed so perfect… But was it?
The Drawbacks of Social Media
After the early euphoria of social media benefits and advantages had died down, people began to notice some subtle imperfections. The benefits seemed too good to be true just like the 2017 Bitcoin price surge. All of that access and exposure and yet, you only had to pay the cost of your internet subscription.
Therefore, a couple of people decided to start looking below the surface and they noticed some subtle points:
In exchange for the wide accessibility and coverage that social media platforms offered, what they got in return was data. At first, no one really understood how valuable this was since it wasn’t like you were paying money anyway. But data is, in actual fact, way more valuable than money.
Social media has seen a skyrocketing in a number of users (about 3billion people as at 2017 and still counting). As can be seen in the chart below:
Large social media corporations have exclusive access to the information concerning the vast number of people making use of their apps and websites. With this data cornucopia at their disposal, they can readily sell targeted advert slots to the highest bidding companies.
This consequentially overturns the previous balance on its head. As opposed to the supposed equality that was thought to be brought about. Social media actually offers access to the target market for businesses that are financially buoyant enough to pay for it.
This is obviously a gaping hole in the utility of social media by small businesses. With low funds, it can be difficult to compete with more moneyed companies for the attention of consumers on social media.
However, this situation can easily be remedied by blockchain technology as we will be discussing subsequently.
Another huge problem that accompanies the use of social media for small business is inaccuracy and even conscious falsification of data. This happens when tracking data and reporting on the vital metrics like product usage and purchasing preferences.
The resultant information is used to target adverts at specific audiences, thereby monetizing it. Some internet users have learned to generate false data through the use of click farms or click bots.
They would consciously generate internet traffic by paying a lot of people to repeatedly click on a particular link. For example, they might pay 20 people to click 50 times each on a website about changes in Bitcoin Price. This will give a false impression that those people are cryptocurrency or blockchain technology enthusiasts.
Small businesses involved in these sectors would then target their adverts at these bogus “potential consumers”. In some unfortunate circumstances, small businesses may even have to pay to direct their adverts towards those users without knowing they were false clicks.
This is another problem being faced by small businesses in the use of social media as an advertising platform.
Blockchain Technology to the Rescue
You might be wondering what Blockchain Technology has to do with any of this. Isn’t it meant for cryptocurrency transactions- Bitcoins, Ethereum and all of that? If that’s your view of blockchain technology, then you have no idea at all about how powerful this is.
It is true that blockchain technology caters to the keeping up with and confirming the authenticity of cryptocurrency transactions. However, it is more than just that. It is a holistic technology that can support economic, financial, and even social transactions and interactions.
There are numerous applications for which blockchain technology has come in quite handy. One is for the development of Decentralized Applications (DAPPs). In fact, it is being touted in some quarters that electoral voting systems might benefit from being based on a blockchain framework.
And one of the industries that are set for blockchain technology is the whole concept of social media and social networking itself. This is great news for small business owners because all of the blockchain technology has the potential of solving all the previously mentioned issues concerning small businesses and social media. How this latter sentiment will work is examined closely here:
Cuts out the monopoly
A major feature of blockchain technology is that it’s decentralized. All transactions, interactions, connections, and data stored do not have to be uploaded to a central database as is being done currently. Rather, the system works horizontally where updates are carried out simultaneously on all the nodes in the blockchain.
In essence, a blockchain social network will remove the necessity of a monopoly holding on to all the data and selling it to the highest bidder. Rather, with the transparent system of the blockchain, the transaction history and usage logs are accessible to all nodes within the system. At the same time, users are assured of their privacy on the blockchain.
Therefore, small businesses can have direct access to the data made available to their potential customers. This increases the efficiency of advertising. What’s more? New initiatives are emerging that will give more power to the users of social media channels. As the social media space gets decentralized, the power of monopolies will be broken.
Assured data accuracy
Another highly desirable feature of a blockchain supported social network will be the accuracy of data. Since blockchain technology works by repeatedly authenticating transactions at specific intervals. Bots and bogus click farms will have a hard time peddling the false data they are known to generate.
With the application of blockchain to social media, small businesses can be sure that they’re interacting with real users and getting accurate data. They can, therefore, have maximum coverage and get practical results in advertising campaigns.
Stem the Loss of Audience and Potential Customers
In recent times, more people are coming to the consciousness of just how much of their private data is being peddled by social media companies. As expected, the reaction is dissatisfaction; and in some extreme cases rage and fear. People feel like their privacies are being invaded for monetary gains.
This has led to an egress from various social media platforms by users. Many people are beginning to delete their social media accounts. The graph below shows how the quit indications for Facebook have spiked recently.
This means that small businesses are losing access to some of their target audience who called it quits. However, with blockchain technology-based social networks, there will be no fear of privacy invasion, and so you are less likely to lose potential customers.
More Successful Initial Coin Offerings
This is another area in which blockchain technology is making inroads. Initial Coin Offerings have replaced traditional IPOs as the largest and perhaps most effective crowdfunding strategies. Now, combining ICOs with blockchain based social networks will achieve truly revolutionary results.
It is obvious that blockchain technology is the future of business. As a small business owner, you should be excited about the possibilities and actively seek ways to optimize your business for the blockchain revolution. You definitely don’t want to be left behind.