Like many in the beginning, I was skeptic about social media. MySpace was the new way to keep in touch with friends and customers, and I wasn’t having it. After a year of pushing and pleading, my circle finally talked me into setting up a profile. And, as the story goes, the rest is history.

 

Businesses of all sizes should get involved with Facebook and Twitter for the simple purpose of customer service. While MySpace has sold out and is falling swiftly off a cliff, Facebook and Twitter are still growing by leaps and bounds, which means your customers are probably on at least one of these networks. If your customers are on them, then you should be too.

 

Big businesses should integrate social media into their marketing to stay fresh and act like a small business by communicating with their customers. Small businesses should integrate social media to keep their customers happy and informed.

 

Big Businesses and Social Media

 

In my personal opinion, big businesses tend to get boring after a while. They shut-off connections with the real world, block the websites that keep their marketers informed of what’s trending online, and drain employees with small offices and bad lighting. If you’re a big business that has thick protections against any sort of social media while at work, you’re probably only doing yourself harm.

 

Twitter and Facebook allows for big businesses to be fresh and current with what their customers want. Sure, marketers take stats and polls and understand their customers in many ways, but understanding your customers on a social level adds another layer to your marketing plan. And what’s wrong with knowing your customers better.

 

Many big businesses, like Starbucks and Hewlett Packard, use Twitter efficiently to communicate with their customers. These are big businesses who know how to market to their customers. They offer specials, news, and interaction focused on customer satisfaction.

 

Small Businesses and Social Media

 

Small businesses tend to communicate with their customers better than big businesses, simply because they see them more on a face-to-face basis. That doesn’t mean social media isn’t for you. By having a Facebook and Twitter profile, you are only stretching your reach to your customers. Offer specials, discounts, promotions, and company updates to keep your customers involved and informed.

 

When you send out newsletters or update your blog, invite your customers to continue the conversation on Twitter or Facebook. The more that you can get people to talk, the more your company will grow. Conversation on social networks is the key to spreading your brand like wildfire, and all you have to do is get people talking.

 

There is not one good reason to not have a social media marketing plan. Whether you’re a big business trying to connect and understand your customers, or a small business looking to simply ‘keep in touch,’ Facebook and Twitter are the best ways to do this. You need to always be thinking of what will take a conversation to the next level, and what will spark your customers’ interests. Record what works and what doesn’t, rinse and repeat.

 

Remember, ROI is not always measured in initial traffic to your website, but the amount of influence you have throughout social media and the impressions that you make on your customers. If you can keep them happy by offering information and promotions to only your friends on Facebook and Twitter, you will make them feel like VIP’s and create wonderful relationships.