I think that even if you've been living in a cave, you've probably heard about Susan Boyle. She is the amazing singer who has become an international celebrity after her show-stopping performance on the Britain ' s Got Talent TV show.
The online success of the clip of Boyle singing is simply amazing. According to the online video measurement firm Visible Metrics, in less than five days, clips of her singing were viewed more than 47 million times and generated more than 125,000 comments.
To put this in perspective, that is more than twice the views President Obama's election-night victory speech received and many more than videos of the shoes getting thrown at President Bush.
And this data is a couple of days old. By now, with news about Boyle appearing everywhere, the numbers are no doubt substantially higher.
This happened the same week that movie and TV star Ashton Kutcher went over 1 million Twitter followers.
What does this have to do with small business?
Simply put, small businesses can no longer ignore social media. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are now mainstream information channels. In addition to entertainment, this is where customers are increasingly going to find out about products and services.
Don't get me wrong. Most small businesses do not need a social media presence—at least not yet.
But all small businesses should be aware of the impact social media is having. And all small businesses should evaluate social media as a marketing and customer-service channel.
If by chance you haven't seen Susan Boyle's performance, click here.
Steve King is a partner at Emergent Research, where he leads a research project to identify, analyze, and forecast global trends and shifts affecting small business. He blogs at smallbizlabs.com.