The perceptions of what social media is, what it can do for business, and best ways to use it, are many and varied. Defining strategies, executing programs, and measuring results continue to be a developing story, but there is one consistent theme throughout, and that is that social media is a necessity. Just like having a website is a requirement for doing business, consumers expect your business to have at least one channel on the social media network.
For many small businesses, the knowledge that social media is important is not a strong enough incentive to actually get involved. The most important reason to establish your brand's social media channel is because SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and social networking complement each other - both are keyword driven.
Consumers looking for a product or service are going to go online to find the companies that can provide the solution, and then make comparisons of what they find. Companies with social media presence offer more information, and the information is presented in very different ways than the corporate website. For the most part, with the exception of blogs and the newsroom, company website content is static. Social media channels are dynamic and may also include comments from people outside of the company.
Taking a measured approach to social media works best for small businesses. Identify the top social media outlets for your industry, and establish your presence. It is very important for you to be involved in the conversation, extending the reach of your traditional marketing efforts, as well as to engage with current and potential customers in new ways.