Any time a new medium bursts onto the scene, it seems that big brands and tech companies jump in and experiment, but it takes a few years before SMBs wade in. Understandably so, as SMBs typically have fewer marketing dollars and tend to spend them safely. They don’t have the time or money to experiment with untested, unproven tactics.

So I’m happy to report that social media’s been around long enough that we’re starting to see real results that SMBs can use to develop their social media marketing plans. This survey demonstrates that social media fans are more likely to buy from the brands that they support (on Facebook and Twitter, for example).

It seems like common sense, doesn’t it? Some of my favorite brands on Facebook are small ones. There’s a woman who started a company making necklaces for breastfeeding babies to fiddle with while nursing called “Mommy Necklaces.”  She has nearly 3,500 fans on Facebook (including me) and does an outstanding job of interacting with them. She runs random Facebook-only promotions and giveaways – and I realize I’m only a test case of one – but I’ve bought several more necklaces than I would have as a result.

When someone “likes” you (or “fans” you, as it used to be called) on Facebook, they are essentially giving you permission to market to them. Your updates will appear in their Facebook stream (think of it as their Facebook home page). So while they’re checking out what their friends are up to, they’re also reading your posts. It’s a great way to promote discounts, contests, and ideas. If you’re a B-to-B company, use it to show off your smarts. Post articles or information that might interest your clients.

And when your followers post on your Facebook page, write them back! Thank them, respond to their comments, engage in a dialogue with them. You are forming a relationship online and more and more, these online relationships are becoming BIG drivers of word-of-mouth and new business.

Need help? Let me know. In the meantime, come follow us on Facebook!