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Social Media: Lessons from 2010 & Thoughts for 2011

January 5, 2011

If 2010 was the year for small businesses to test the social media waters, then 2011 is the year to dive in and accept that it’s here to stay as a component of the marketing mix.  It’s not going away – it’s growing.

This statistic confirms that:  Of 751 American businesses surveyed, 50% said they would increase or maintain their social media budget in 2011, according to GrowBiz Media and Zoomerang.

So, looking back at 2010, what can we learn about social media for 2011?

Social marketing won’t replace your website.
This year, some high profile companies began to advertise just their Facebook pages. Does that mean the demise of the company website?  Experts say no. Social media is key for instantaneous conversation, informal sharing, and growing relationships. However, your website remains your brand anchor. You own it and its content, so you can more completely share your company’s experience, history, and mission. Your website reinforces your credibility. Your social network builds your connectedness. There’s essential value in both.

Online driving offline.
As virtual as relationships have become, they are becoming intertwined with local face-to-face interactions, and this is where a small business shines.  Finding the motivated, tech-savvy customers in your local area is a gold mine for your firm.

One example is Foursquare, a location-sharing app you download to your phone to “check-in” to local places, earn badges for repeat visits, and share your check-ins (open houses or home buying seminars?) on your Facebook or Twitter feeds.

Social media overload.
What’s better? To be online in all the right social media places even if you cannot find time to do much with them? Or, to limit yourself to just a few you can manage, but miss opportunities on the others?
Doing fewer things well is the right answer. Even though Twitter and Facebook are the hot places to be, you may need to choose just one so you can engage with your community more intentionally. There are also tools like TweetDeck that let you manage all of your profiles – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare – in one place.

Sources: http://www.openforum.com, mashable.com

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