Do your eyes glaze over when you hear the phrase “Social Media”?

The number of businesses adopting social media into their online marketing strategy continues to grow. They are engaging, having conversations, providing support, and spreading the word about their products and services and you should be too.

According to the Small Business Authority Market Sentiment Survey, 57% of the respondents have a Facebook or Twitter account, an increase of 47% from last year. If you are one of the 43% of hold outs, there are generally two reasons: Time and overly concerned about negative feedback.

Small business owners are already doing everything when it comes to running their business. Once you commit to social media, you have to be active on it. You simply can’t establish a presence and expect that it will produce results – simply doesn’t work that way. Your followers expect you to be engaged.

Some business owners have expressed concern about the potential impact of negative feedback if they were to delve into social media. Guess what – people are talking about your brand already, you just may not know about it. The best way to stave off negative feedback isn’t to look the other way and pretend it isn’t happening, it is to address it head on, face first. That level of engagement is what the audience is looking for and at. They want to see how you react to customer service issues, it tells them a lot about who you are as a company.

Get out there and get started! Learn what it takes to develop an effective social media strategy. Once the strategy is in place and the structure is created, the heavy lifting is done! Allocate 20-30 minutes once or twice a day to engage in the conversation with your audience, listen to what they are saying and respond as a person.

Advertising is expensive. Yellow Pages are out of date (but still make for great door stops). Tons of people are sitting in front of their computers, tablets and mobile devices engaging with others on Twitter, Facebook and the like. They are having conversations about what they like and don’t like, their experience with the companies they choose to do business with, asking and getting advice from others about products and services and they are looking to be informed, entertained, educated and engaged by the companies they choose to follow on social media.

If you still feel you don’t have the time or resources to effectively insert your business into the conversation or are simply looking for some help implementing a social media strategy, learn how e-Merge Online Marketing can help bring your social media marketing efforts to life and start engaging with your customers and prospects.