With all of the various tasks that agents and brokers have to perform on a daily basis, spending time focusing on social media can seem like a total time suck (and oftentimes it is). But one thing is certain: The social Web is changing the way consumers discover and interact with businesses online and off.

The first thing to understand is that the numbers clearly indicate that businesses that build relationships through social media experience an increase in website traffic, customer retention and sales to the bottom line. According to a recent post on Mediabistro’s AllTwitter site, 63 percent of local searchers are more likely to use a business that displays info on a social media site. And that’s just the beginning.

Social media is, at its best, an extension of the human relationship and an opportunity to look customers in the eye (digitally, that is), listen to them and interact person to person. This is the first time in history that small businesses have had the potential to build a massive fan base without a Fortune 500 budget.

The rapid emergence of social media as a major marketing channel has left many small businesses struggling to wrap their arms around how best to use it effectively. The thing to remember is that this is still in its infancy, and everyone, including the big brands, are feeling their way around through trial and error.

We’ve put together a Guide to Social Media Mastery to help you come up with a strategy that suits your business. If you have any questions about how to build relationships online, pick up Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” It rings as true today as it did in when he wrote it in 1937. “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Learn How to Make Social Media Work for Your Business

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