I haven’t kept up on this blog recently because I’ve been working on a live workshop I’m doing on July 22nd and August 19th. It will contain around 5 hours of material on social media marketing, and that takes a lot of time to put together and rehearse. If you’d like more information about it and live in the central New York area, check out this link. That guy to the right is me. 🙂

The reality in today’s world is that social media has made it important to be doing something online. Standard business practices such as putting a business in a brick and mortar location and waiting for people to come just isn’t going to continue getting it done unless your name is Starbucks. Small businesses that are thriving have learned that hooking into social media in some fashion is helping them to grow in ways they couldn’t have imagined even 5 years ago.

Don’t believe me? Think of it this way. Blogs have been around for a long time and they help get one’s message out. Facebook has been around about 4 years now for the masses, and it’s worth between $3 and $5 billion at least. They generate all sorts of cash from advertisers who want to reach people they believe are interested in what they have to sell. Facebook facilitates that by dipping into people’s profiles, breaking privacy or not, and using that information to help advertisers reach their core audience.

There’s a company called Four Square which allows people to say where they are at a given moment to let their friends, and pretty much everyone else, know where to hook up with them. Some small businesses will give patrons discounts for helping to spread the word about them, which works wonders with the younger set, and these businesses find that they don’t have to buy print advertising to get the word out because social media is doing it for them. By adding incentives to get the word out, they’re exhibiting a bit of ingenuity into their social media marketing efforts.

Look at Twitter. It started out as a communications medium for people to connect with others all around the world as long as they stayed under 140 characters. Now it’s a business empire in its own right, as businesses have learned how to monitor Twitter for customer service, get the word out on specials they’re running, and actually will communicate with their customers who might have something either negative or positive to say and just want to vent. I can honestly say that I’ve made money from Twitter via conversations and blog posts.

As more of these companies continue to pop up, I would expect that savvy investors will be scanning these companies for opportunities to get in on the ground floor, whether these companies go public or not.