baby with computerSure, we’ve seen big brands using social media. We see them online on Facebook and Twitter, though we’re not always quite sure what they’re doing there. Are they there to sell products? Reply to customer complaints? Monitor our conversations?

More importantly, if they are using the tools and platforms successfully, is there anything that those of us with small businesses can learn from them? Are the same strategies they’re using applicable to small businesses without the same brand recognition?

Recently, at BlogWorld in Las Vegas, one of the nicest guys in Silicon Valley, Michael Brito, shared some of the principles he feels are central to effectively using social media for business.

As Michael says, it is all about the people and the relationships, not the tools. It is critical to understand your audience – their needs and interests – in order to begin to communicate in a way which is meaningful and helpful to them. Credibility and trust are never built when shortcuts are taken and this isn’t given top priority.

Your turn:

Which brands or companies do you see “doing social media” right? What lessons have you learned which you’d like to apply on a smaller scale?

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