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The social media maze and why you need a strategy

Small business owners are seeing the greatest results from social media marketing, an industry report has revealed.

The report, from The Social Media Examiner, found that among small business owners, 62 per cent strongly believe that social media is important to their business.

The report also shows that the use of social media by businesses is on the rise - in 2010, only 31 per cent of marketers were using social media for 1 or more years. Now that number has grown to 50 per cent.

Commenting on the benefits of social media for businesses, Michael A. Stelzner, Founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com, said: "Social media has gone mainstream. And for businesses it represents an unprecedented marketing opportunity that transcends traditional middlemen and connects companies directly with customers. This is why nearly every business on the planet is exploring social media marketing initiatives."

But with so many avenues available, from Linkedin to Facebook and Twitter, and so many measuring tools available, some of the most important elements of social media for businesses include an organised strategy and level of resource. Both are vital to ensuring successful engagement on areas you want to engage on, and avoiding exposure to reputational risk.

Key factors to consider before tackling social media and when creating a strategy, include:

  • What are your goals and objectives?
  • Researching the best avenues
  • How much should you invest?
  • How can you measure the returns?
  • What are the risks?
  • Do your employees know what they can and cannot say when using social media?