Social marketing offers plenty of benefits for small businesses, but there are a number of common misconceptions that may be holding you back from embracing this new form of marketing.

Here are three common excuses used to avoid using social networking as a business marketing strategy, and the reasons these excuses are really nothing more than myths.

“Our customers don’t use social networks.”
Really? Facebook has 500 million users, with half of active users logging in every single day. In addition to that, each Facebook user has an average of 130 “friends” in their own personal networks. chiropracticinventura Combine that with Twitter’s more than 100 million users and LinkedIn’s 60 million users, and it would be difficult to imagine your customers not among these millions of users!

The reality is that consumers today are online using social networks, and you need to meet your customers where they are.

“I (or my staff) don’t have time to update a bunch of social networking profiles.”
Adding new marketing tasks to your already full to-do list may seem impossible, but there are ways to make it fast and easy to add social to your regular marketing mix. By integrating your social networking profiles together with each other and with your website, you can create a system that lets you “write once, publish to many” automatically, saving you time while extending your marketing reach online.

For instance, you can use Facebook widgets to pull information from your Wall and display it on your web site automatically. Or, you can use an RSS feed to display your Twitter “tweets” on your Facebook page. By integrating your profiles, you can share new information automatically, saving you the time and effort of posting and maintaining the same information to multiple separate profiles.

“I don’t know what to write about.”
Well the good news is that you probably already have lots of material just waiting to be “recycled” as social content, you just need to know where to look. Your monthly newsletter is an excellent source of social marketing material – you can divide it up over the course of a month and post a different article or tip each week. Or, why not share the latest news you just read in a professional journal or from an industry website?

The truth is that you don’t need to write original content to share with your followers, you just need to share useful, interesting information to keep them engaged.

No More Excuses

If you’re still finding excuses to avoid social marketing for your business, you are missing an important opportunity to promote your business and reach countless new consumers online. When properly integrated, a social marketing system can be easy to use and takes very little time and effort to maintain, but you have to commit to incorporating it into your regular marketing routine. Your customers are already using social networking as part of their daily routines, and if your competitors are not already there, they will be soon.

Don’t let social marketing myths hold you back from implementing a strategy that helps you connect with customers, brings in new leads and prospects, and drives additional traffic to your website and your business.

NOTE: If you are looking for an integrated social marketing solution for your business, check out Five Sparrows’ ConnectPLUS Integrated Social Marketing (ISM) services.

Lauren Hobson, President of Five Sparrows, LLC, has more than 16 years of experience in small business technology writing, marketing, and web site design and development. Five Sparrows provides professional website, marketing, and social networking services to small businesses and non-profits at affordable prices, giving clients access to customized services that meet both their needs and their budgets.