Just finished Groundswell (2008), a great book on social media by two Forrester research writers: Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff. In it they point out a lot of great ideas regarding social media, including P.O.S.T. The examples in the book refer to large organizations; however, there is no reason a small business can't take advantage of the same tools. Actually, a lot of the approaches in the book are virtually free and free fits with most small business marketing budgets.
One of the concepts described in Groundswell is "POST". POST discusses social media approach and stands for: People, Objectives, Strategy and Technology:
People. Know your audience! figure out who you are trying to reach and get to know them. I don't mean invite them over for dinner but know what they are typically looking for - DEMOGRAPHICS! When you have them figured out then continue on with your strategy.
Objectives. What are you trying to do? Seriously. Now that you know who your customers are, when you try to connect with them, what are you trying to get out of it and maybe more importantly, what are your customers going to get out of the interaction. You need to, in detail, determine how you will promote your message, listen to your customer's opinions (good or bad), and how you'll response to it.
Strategy. Now armed with this information, how do you enact your objectives? You now know your customers, you're interacting with them and they with you. How do you continue with this exchange - long term. This needs to become a permanent relationship to foster an exchange of ideas.
Technology. SOCIAL MEDIA - what are the tools you plan on using? you have choices - lots of them. Forums, wiki, blog, facebook, twitter, etc. With a overall view of POST, you will be able to make an informed decision as how to proceed.
If you liked this, then Get the Book!
Hope this helped and not hindered!