If you’re a local/community business, and you want to use social media to accomplish your business goals, the most important thing you should know is this: you make your money at the margins.  In fact, in social media, you do everything at the margins.  Why is this?  Because not every customer will write a favorable review on Yelp.  Not every customer will publicly become your “fan.”  Not every customer will comment or “like” your status on Facebook.  But those customers who do all of these things will send the message to their friends and family that you’re a great business.  And when that message is delivered from a trusted source, it can be very powerful.  So before you jump into social media, embrace the fact that you should paint with a light brush.  You’re working at the margins, and it’s a profitable place to be.  

Will Marlow co-founded AlumniFidelity to help his clients reposition their fundraising to benefit from Web 2.0 technology and marketing techniques. He’s working with clients such as UVA, the College of William & Mary, the University of Oklahoma, Bowling Green State University, Randolph Macon College, and he loves nothing better than a thorny marketing challenge.  Read more about Will Marlow here, or email him at will@alumnifidelity.com.