I have become obsessed lately with the idea of social media for small business. Maybe it’s because I have many friends who own small businesses. Maybe it’s because the economy is in such turmoil and I want to support local business. Or perhaps it’s because I am also a small business owner and I know a lot of the ins and outs of living and breathing your business all day every day.

But if we are going to live and breathe our businesses, shouldn’t some of that energy go to increasing our reach and influence? And that’s what social media can do. There’s no silver bullet with social media. Whether you are sending out a mailer, newsletter, blogging or sending a Tweet through Twitter — you still have to draw in your audience and engage them. But when you have them engaged, the speed with which you can increase your reach with social media outpaces traditional media. How else do you think a dorky guy dancing in different places around the world can get 18 million views?

Of course, the dorky dancing around the world in different places has been done, so don’t book your round the world flight yet. And just like the lottery, don’t use social media for investment purposes. Seriously, though, using social media to try to get something to go viral (millions of views) is the quickest path to disillusionment. Rather, set yourself some achievable goals like the ones below and watch the every day magic that can take place in your business.

Social Media Goals in Small Bites

* Connect with 5 new people a week on your social network

* Start a blog with posts about my business linking to other relevant content (linking to other content in a blog post is one way to increase your reach beyond your own audience)

* Get a Twitter account and post twice a day

* Follow 5 new people on Twitter per week (often times, they will follow you as well!)

* Don’t let your marketing speak seep into your social media activity — people can sniff this out from a mile away

More tips to come: In the meantime, here’s John Jantsch’s take on social media for small business. Though I would put some things in a different order and break some of his rules, it’s a good introduction to the idea of social media for small business.

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