As a small business owner, you are either already on social networks or planning to get there soon. You probably already have a blog even though you may not be blogging regularly and you probably went ahead and created your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles even though you don't quite know how to make use of them or can't find the necessary time to do so.
But as a business owner have you considered your goals for getting on these social platforms? Most business owners just haven't understood the reason why they need to be on social networks. They give me reasons like "I know I need to be there", "my competition is there", "my kids tell me to be there" and so on and so forth.
Most businesses don't realize that by getting on social networks, what they get is brand awareness and visibility. That's the best reason to be there. These social networks allow businesses to constantly engage with others through conversations, share product knowledge, demonstrate their products & services, and basically dialog with people whom they've never met or perhaps have no hopes of ever crossing paths with.
When you do all of the above, over the long haul, it would make sense then that people would begin to become familiar with your brand and or product /service.
Another benefit of social media websites is that it is and can be a very good lead generation tool for most businesses, but especially so for the smaller ones. When people get to know you, they will ask you about your products or services and send quote requests. Some may refer people to you. The value of social networks aiding better search engine rankings also cannot be underscored enough.
Small business owners should be rushing over to these networks to make the most out of them to aid them in growing branding, visibility, and leads. Money should not be the reason that you don't go social. Just like ANY OTHER business need, small business owners need to create a budget line-item and leverage social networks to grow themselves and their brand.
Those businesses that still don't get it, will realize too late that their competition has raced past them to the finish line.