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I saw several more articles over the weekend on how small businesses are using social network sites like Facebook and MySpace for marketing.

This triggered a couple of thoughts…

There’s a whole a ‘shadow network’ of business marketers (B2C and B2B) thriving in many of the large, consumer-oriented social sites. Many of these are small businesses and professionals, and most of their pitch is subtle and framed in friendly, fuzzy, social dialog. Our Local Commerce Monitor Survey, August 2008, found that a whopping 29 percent of small businesses that advertise planned to use “links or ads placed on social sites or blogs” in their advertising in the next 12 months.

For a small business, hanging out your shingle on the Web is different from hanging it out on a social network. On the former, “brochure ware” may suffice for content. But on social networks, the whole point is to be engaged — active and communicative.

So the question becomes: How are small businesses and professionals going to keep up with the social media? How are they going to keep up with multiple social networks and platforms, and queries and comments (fair or otherwise) coming from so many quarters 24 by 7?

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  1. Social network links and reviews are critical aspects of a business’s online identity. Increasingly users who are on social networking sites will see specially-created social network pages for a business come up alongside what we think of today as traditional search results. If you want to interact with consumers, you will have to be there. At we have now embedded social network links and social review site links as an equal to website and email addresses, for when we distribute the data to the search engines. Businesses that want to reach local consumers are missing sales opportunities if they do not take advantage of such links that get published.

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