Submitted by: Sreeni Jakka, CEO, Tech02

Social Media is no longer a fad. Twitter enjoyed its billionth tweet early this summer, Facebook has exceeded 500 million users, and you have employees that are LinkedIn lions with 1000+ contacts in their network. Market leaders such as Best Buy, Starbucks, Nestle, Old Spice, and Dunkin Donuts leverage social media in a variety of ways, from marketing and ecommerce to customer service. We also see almost every business on Facebook now. Businesses understand that social media is a medium that they need to participate and engage in. It’s like the early 90s where Web was the new thing for several businesses, and every business rushed to have a website. By late 90s every business had a website; of course, it’s questionable what they do on the web – for most businesses a website serves as another billboard. Social media is experiencing the same situation currently with small to mid-sized business.

Almost every business is on at least one of the social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Unfortunately, it just stops there. What exactly are you doing on Facebook for your business? Social media provides a way for “engaging your customers and prospects.” Just being on Facebook doesn’t mean much; you might have a fan page, but it will be one of the nearly 500 million fan pages. Presence doesn’t count for participation and engaging in social media.

The issue is not entirely ignorance, but a lack of tools and economic campaign models for small businesses to actively participate in social media. Analysts predict that social media will become (has already become in some views) the “new Internet.” Platforms like Facebook have orchestrated plans and methods to capture audiences, and conduct all business interactions within their ecosystem. Large corporations have created a new role in their employee roster called “Social Media Managers,” whose job is to engage their customers and prospects using an array of social media platforms. Social media managers have several tools such as Social Flow, Tweet Deck, CoTweet, etc. to participate in multiple social networks and interact with their clients. They also have the time and energy to carry on different social media campaigns from marketing to promotional activities.

Small businesses obviously neither have the budget nor the time and expertise to effectively engage in social media campaigns. The problem for small businesses is two-fold: lack of expertise for social strategy and lack of an economic tool set to implement strategy. Strategy requires time and an understanding of the opportunities, plus an outside-the-box thought process in leveraging the new social paradigms. Lack of an economic tool set makes small businesses’ efforts expensive and contributes to loss of interest. There are small businesses that just work within the Facebook ecosystem catering to Facebook users exclusively and very profitably.

TechO2 has been actively participating in Social Media Ecosystem space, especially with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. We have the expertise in social media and also understand the opportunities for our clients’ bottom line in social media space. TechO2 is specializing in developi