In honor of the holiday this week, I am going to post articles I’ve written for other publications in order to thank them for their support and drive traffic to their sites.

Today is from (with a few changes made from franchising to a small business).

Immensely powerful right now, social media tools are changing the ways businesses communicate with customers and the ways customers communicate with brands. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Google Wave, Wikipedia, Slideshare, FriendFeed, Posterous, Delicious, WordPress, oh my!, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed and wonder how in the world you’re going to keep them all straight, let alone start using them.

But take a step back for one second. I’ll help you get a grip. There are 10 advantages to using social media. It:

  1. Provides international exposure
  2. Attracts like-minded people
  3. Speaks directly to audiences thousands of miles away
  4. Helps put out fires
  5. Helps start fires
  6. Beefs up your knowledge
  7. Enhances partnerships
  8. Exposes you to different ideas
  9. Allows you to test or get feedback
  10. Lets you meet and converse with new audiences

As if those reasons weren’t enough, according to the Cone Business in Social Media Study, 93 percent of Americans expect companies they do business with to have a social media presence. And 85 percent believe a company should not only be present, but also interact with its customers via social media.

The one secret about mastering communication that no one ever tells you is you must spend most of your time listening. Great communicators ask a lot of questions. They really listen to what you have to say. They inquire deeply into the answers you provide.

Social media offers another way to engage in conversation. To be a master at social media communication, you must spend most of your time listening.

Please click here to read the article on for some free tools to begin listening to what people are saying online about you, your company, your industry, and your competition.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich