Although I’ve been on Facebook for about five years, and Twitter for a few months, my parents were anti-social networking for a long time. The ultra-conservative duo viewed social networking as a “way to get your identity stolen” and just a bad idea in general. My dad worked at a college during the start of Facebook and often heard about cyber-bullying, inappropriate photos, suicidal status updates and much more associated with people’s presence on the site. Although I was on Facebook, I never tried to correct him on the benefits of the site.
My parents better understood Facebook last year on my 25th birthday. I ordered my cake from a local bakery and my mom picked it up for me. Upon arriving, the salesperson told my mom they recognized my name from being a fan of the bakery on Facebook and gave us a $5 discount. Anytime anyone mentions Facebook, the bakery, or business strategies, my mom chimes in with this story. This event proved to them, and me of course, the benefits of a business having a social networking presence. This is local business marketing at its best, and the efforts it took to monitor their social networking proved to be beneficial to their reputation.
Really, all small businesses who want to build a relationship with their customers should be using social networking. According to AllFacebook.com, interacting with each fan on a personal basis is one of the best things a company can do.