2011 was the year of social media and small business.  Yes, Facebook has been around for eight years and Twitter for six, but in 2011 small business owners began really paying attention to these tools.

Suddenly our phones were ringing with requests for seminars and support services from companies who had previously turned a deaf ear. Even the HVAC firms, usually the last to embrace new technology, were paying and getting involved. What we typically saw was business owners rushing head first into social media, setting up profiles everywhere and quickly being overwhelmed by the time involved.

It was like unleashing a hungry man at a smorgasbord, he wanted to taste everything but was quickly stuffed. Not everyone needs to be on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube, Stumble, Digg, Delicious, MySpace and Flickr, so just like health professionals, who recommend food in moderation and exercise, we are recommending social media in moderation, with a dose of blogging.

In 2012, I think success small business owners will adopt the following strategies:

  • Pick a primary network.  Focus the majority of social media efforts on building one community.
    • Which community?  Consider your target market, Facebook is a much better choice for consumer products, while LinkedIn is a core for a B2B strategy.
  • Dedicate time. It takes time to build any social media network. You can’t expect to be an overnight success. Just as you won’t see a beach body in only five minutes a day  at the gym, you need to spend regular blocks of time building your social media and blogging networks.
  • Mobile integration. With the advent of smart phones, you have the ability to do quick updates to your social networks as they happen, including pictures and videos. This gives a fresh, breaking news quality to your stream and adds value to clients and prospects alike.

What do you plan to do with your social media strategy in 2012?