Social media is helping small businesses improve their customer service operations.
Eighty-seven percent of consumers were motivated to make a purchase due to positive feedback they read online, PR firm Cone found in a recent study. Conversely, 80 percent reporting they decided not to buy products because of negative online reviews or comments.

For small businesses, social media marketing can help monitor comments made by current clients and customers. In the event of a negative response, addressing the concern through direct prospect engagement can help turn the situation around and build positive perceptions into a positive. With more than 12 percent of consumers reporting they solicit opinions from social media contacts, using a Facebook or Twitter account can help monitor social conversations and provide SMBs a platform to address consistent concerns.

In general, social media offers small businesses opportunities to engage prospects on a level they never could before. Failing to leverage the technology could give competitors a leg up in attracting new prospects.

Facebook, specifically, offers companies an accurate picture of their current customer base, ContentLEAD reported on Friday. With 60 percent of Facebook users reporting that they Like brands they already use, businesses can use this information to target these people and increase word-of-mouth referrals.