It's no secret that small businesses are using social media to reach out to many consumers, but new expert advice suggests that the type of user being reached is more important that the total number.

Writing for American Express' OPEN Forum, Rohit Bhargava explains that, according to some estimates, active content creators make up about 1 percent of a social media community's population. This seems like a small number, but Bhargava says the goal should be to turn as much of this 1 percent as possible into customers.

Because these individuals are constantly sharing their experiences through social media, they can be helpful for marketing a business if they are fans of what that company does. Bhargava suggests a number of ways this can be accomplished.

Customers should be asked if they have blogs and given access to exclusive offers if they do. The company's desired URL should also be clearly stated, so social media users discussing the business can link their comments back to the correct site.

The social aspect of social media could also be brought into the real world, Bhargava suggests, if the company supports meetups, conferences and groups that allow fans of the business to connect with each other in person.

The popularity and influence of social media sites is undeniable, making them a great small business opportunity. Citing recent research figures from ComScore, CNET reports that more banner ads are seen on Facebook in the United States than on any other website.




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