I was reading Barb Pellow's article Print Service Providers Are Going Social! which highlighted how two printers are using social media strategies to connect with customers and increase business. Social media can and does work when the right strategy is developed. Companies like Vistaprint and Tukaiz discussed in the article have created strategies that work for them.
While these campaigns can provide inspiration to try something similar don't get discouraged if similar campaign doesn't bring you the same results. Like any marketing campaign you should develop a strategy that meets your needs.
When you're ready to explore social media campaigns for your business you don't need to jump on Twitter and start offering free business cards. It's ok to lurk for a while, that is spend sometime up front doing analysis on what people are saying and doing on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Not all social media sites have the same audience. A recent MarketingProfs survey shows usage of 5 major social network sites. The results shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. When starting out stick to one or two services like LinkedIn or Twitter.
There was a recent article on 4 Myths About Social Media and Business that took a look at some of the misconceptions about how best to use social media in business.
It is also important to understand how non-printing small businesses are using social media to reach out and many cases skipping print marketing. Punch Pizza, a Twin Cities pizza chain has been using social media to engage with customers. Punch recently gave away 10,000 pizzas after the Vikings loss to the Saints in the the NFC Championship. Their social media campaign generated buzz with thousands of mentions on the web and on local TV news coverage. Details and analysis of the pizza giveaway are online.