Small business got a taste of social media in 2010. Following the lead of Fortune 500 companies and big brands, small business owners were probably introduced to social media on a personal level first: joining family on Facebook, taking note of Twitter on ESPN or Tosh.0, or someone emailing a funny video from YouTube. Of course there were also the email invitations to connect to former colleagues on LinkedIn, checking out personal photo albums on Flickr, and for a few, even adventures on Foursquare. The average “Joe” or “Jane” with a locally-based small business was indoctrinated into the “social” world in 2010.
So there it is. Social media has pervaded our lifestyles and the lexicon. After recognizing the networking and communications potential of social media on a personal level, “Joe” and “Jane” decided there must be a business application for all of these free, web-based tools. Some have already added social marketing to their business arsenal and a small percentage are doing it well. Many more have floundered awkwardly into untested waters. One thing is certain, more small businesses will try to use social marketing to create new prospects and new sales in 2011. Here is what we have learned, so far.