Jacques Allrich works about 60 hours a week, sometimes more, helping his clients to maximize their business through social media sites.
But despite the long hours the 43-year-old husband and father has one simple goal—to work four hours a week.
Admittedly, that goal may be some distance away as an increasing number of business owners are plugging in to social media marketing and are turning to gurus like Allrich for help.
“Social media marketing is the next big thing today,” said Allrich, owner of Social Marketing For Youoff Camp Creek Parkway. “This is where the future of marketing is going.”
And Allrich plans to take many small businesses there.
“I help businesses get more clients and cash using social media,” Allrich said. “I call it social real estate.”
The number of small business owners using social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter doubled between 2008 and 2009, according to the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business.
The school’s finding is based on a December 2009 telephone survey of 500 small business owners, which looked at the relationship between these businesses and social media. It discovered the technology adoption rates in the U.S. have doubled from 12 percent to 24 percent.
And 45 percent of those surveyed believe their social media initiatives will pay off
financially in 12 months or less.
Allrich has helped about 50 small business owners since starting two years ago and he has watched some turn their companies into million-dollar enterprises within a year by using Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The Haitian native has helped them create engaging videos on YouTube, get them on the first page of Google and double their sales in a year.
For his clients, he set up teleseminars with callers phoning in at a scheduled time to speak to his clients.
He has built and customized their Facebook fan pages as well as create advertisements and post engaging contents that led to an increase in customers and cash.
“It’s a lot that goes into running a social media business,” said Allrich, who takes on about four or five clients at a time. “It’s time consuming.”
Christmas Miller, owner of Illuminations Intuitive Consult, said Allrich helped her a month ago to transform her Facebook fan page to be more aesthetically appealing and generate more traffic.
“Before it was plain and generic. I was very impressed,” Miller said. “I got quite a bit of compliment on it.”
Still, Miller hasn’t checked to see how many more traffic the transformation has generated. Allrich also provided Miller with marketing ideas and strategies to increase her clientele.
And Miller has taken to posting more on her Facebook page and Twitter, though she admits she is still trying to find the right fit for her personality. But like most of those in the University of Maryland survey, Miller prefers Facebook.
“Certain contents ignite with Facebook fans and it seems to be more personal things,” Miller said.
On her fan page, Miller posts information about upcoming seminars, workshops, personal appearances, events and motivational quotes.
“I haven’t seen a lot of interaction on the fan page,” Miller said. “One thing I can say about social media, everybody has a fan and everybody can have a following and it doesn’t matter what it is. That’s the beauty of it.”
Miller said so far she has worked with Allrich only once, but the two has stayed in touch and Miller said she plans to seek his help on some other things she wants done.
“He made it affordable for me to do,” Miller said. “He was flexible with me too. He was nice and informative.
"The thing about him is that he explains stuff to you. He lets you know stuff you don’t think to ask so you don’t end up paying for things you can do yourself. He makes sure you’re armed with enough information so you can make really informed decision.”
Now Allrich plans to focus more on informing his clients while he pushes towards a four-hour work week by leveraging his resources and outsourcing most of the grunt work.
“I love meeting people, educating people on how I can help them,” Allrich said. “So that’s what I will be doing, educating people and someone else do the work.”