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Small businesses and large alike need to shut up and listen instead of using social media as an advertising and broadcasting tool.

They are too worried about who has more Twitter followers and about who has more fans on Facebook. They’re worried about who is getting the message out more consistently on those platforms rather than taking the amazing amount of market intelligence available to them by looking at people that are following them and reading what they are writing on their own pages.

Businesses need to spend less time tweeting and posting to Facebook, and more time reading, listening and understanding what it is their customers really want. They can’t expect to use social media only when it is convenient for them and expect customers to remain engaged.

Way too few companies are empowering their employees on social media, seeing it as a threat instead of a benefit. Small business needs to recognize that their best advocates are their employees. Empower your employees and they will power your brand.

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