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I would agree that Social Media can be important to small business. However, I would take issue with the comment "investing time on building relationships with people is far preferable to spending money on advertising." It's not the advertising (which can be VERY costly), it's the part about time. I would argue that, as a small business owner, time is your greatest asset. If you are not comfortable with SM, that can be a lot of time—with potentially negative results.
If you DO have that challenge, there are companies and services out there that really can help. Just be sure you find a company that really does promote your authentic voice. There are many that just re-post information and generate noise. Find one that can really understand who you are, and transmit YOUR voice, not theirs.
Great information and agree with the closing comment "utilizing small business social media as part of a well structured campaign is definitely worth it!"
Great article. Too often people look at Social Media as just another marketing channel. It's all about engagement! Get your happy patrons talking about you. And you can't expect them to do it without asking them ... It's amazing what happens when you simply ask.
It looks like this is another attempt at "owning" an employee's contacts. In 2008, there was the LinkedIn case:
The question of social media account ownership has even reached British courts. In 2008, a British recruitment consultant, Mark Ions, was ordered to hand over his LinkedIn account to his former employer, Hays. A court ruled that Mr Ions contacts constituted confidential information gathered during his work for Hays and therefore the former employer had a right to access the account.
It's less likely, under British law at least, that an employer would be able to claim ownership of a Twitter or Facebook account belonging to an employee or former employer.
Here is the link to the article: http://goo.gl/mHZ5A
Granted it is a British case, but Pay Attention ... is FaceBook and Google+ next?