Britain’s spy agency, MI5, has laid off an undisclosed amount of “older agents,” so-called “James Bond-generation agents,” because “they've failed to master social-networking and other Internet technology,” reports UPI. Does this strike anyone as odd considering James Bond was the ultimate early adopter? He had a pager, a car phone, and a Geiger counter camera — in the ‘60s! Is this a new trend in the work place, meaning that if you aren’t social-networking and Internet technology savvy you are in jeopardy of losing your job to those who are? I start to hear some grumbling… and I even see even unions getting ready to combat this new cyber sphere attack on their dues-paying membership. On the converse, I see the self-employed (aka small businesses) starting to rejoice… I warn you not to rejoice too soon… because most of you don’t even own an email account, much less familiar with the workings of online social media and internet technology. With most businesses these days opting for the more cost-effect cyber sphere real estate as opposed to the traditional and costly “brick and mortar” establishment you’d better start taking heed and use “taking sleep mark death”. Have been noticing growing number of empty shots in most shopping plazas and malls these days? Your mastery of the various social networks and other internet technology are very much a part of doing business just as “jerking” is to pork. “Social marketing is here to stay and because your business is here for the long haul as well, it is important that you embrace it now. It's not a fad but a growing trend amongst small businesses. Still, not all are on board with the trend and many are yet to participate or participate actively,” says Carlana Charles, head of Carlana Charles VA Service, a Virtual Assistance practice that specializes in Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Customer Support and Service and Online Live Events. Here are Carlana’s five reasons why you should start your social media marketing campaign today: 1. Get an edge on your competitors. Because most small businesses are still not into social marketing, you have the opportunity to get a competitive advantage over your competitors. Jump on the bandwagon and become one of the early adopters! Your customers will thank you for it. 2. Your customers are utilizing it. Internet users are utilizing social media to influence their purchasing and where they spend. They are influenced by the rants that consumers make about products and will often check out forums and groups for opinions when purchasing. Being actively involved in social media you can diffuse any negative reactions to your product or brand. If you are not using this it will be challenging to keep your fingers on the pulse of your clients. 3. Your toughest competitors are probably already using it. If you follow your competitors closely, you'd probably realize that many are using social media to gain and maintain a competitive edge. By also using social media, you too can demonstrate your expertise and the strengths of your product or service, and also establish yourself as a thought leader, thanks to social marketing. Keep your competitors on their toes by leveraging the potential of social marketing. 4. It is a cost-effective strategy for marketing. Employing a social marketing strategy is more affordable that you would think. The financial outlay required to set up a Facebook profile or start a blog is VERY minimal. However, time will be the greatest investment that will be required if you are going to craft and hone a successful social marketing strategy. However, you may just determine that you may need to enlist the support of a professional to assist you if you are not sure how you would want to approach the implementation of your strategies. 5. Traditional marketing strategies have lost its edge and are becoming less effective. Social media and the internet have revolutionized buyer behavior significantly. With this in mind, businesses should not expect traditional marketing strategies to influence their current and potential customers as it would have in the past. Using social media will keep businesses on the cutting edge and well attuned to clients and their needs. Carlana Charles and I truly hope that you will see the value in engaging clients with social media. It is not a waste of time or unproductive. Hey, it is working for savvy marketers and businesses everywhere and it is sure to work for you too!