Social Media! It’s everywhere! It’s on everyone’s mind! Everyone is talking about it!

Some of it is hype & some of it is truth. I often get asked to distinguish the two, and almost everyone wants to know the “magic formula” for social media advertising success. While there are certainly some things you can do to gain success, there is no magic bullet or single prescription. And that’s the beauty of it. Social media is about people and communities, and each one is different.

Here’s an interesting link that describes some effective, recent social media ad campaigns: http://mashable.com/2010/09/14/social-media-campaigns/

When you look through the projects discussed there, it’s easy to think “Well, of course Gap and Starbucks have great social media ad campaigns! But not all of us have the time and/or boku bucks it can take to run a killer social media campaign. What do *we* do?”

My advice: learn from the best & play to your strengths. If a company like Starbucks; a nameless, faceless international corporation, can create content that feels sincere and personal, just imagine what a small business can do! Small business employees are close to their product/service – they’re involved in multiple aspects of the company – the kind of stories and experiences they can bring to a social media campaign are priceless. Also consider how accessible a small business is – if I can login to Facebook and contact the founder of a company with a question and get a quick answer, that’s a level of service and access that leaves me wanting to participate again and again. You don’t need a huge graphics budget & you don’t need expert coding skills. If you need help to get your brand established, or a brief consult with an experienced professional to design a strategy for you, a small investment with a skilled web designer is all it takes to get you up and running.