Companies marketing to small businesses should also establish a presence on top social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook before pursuing more IT resource-intensive initiatives (such as creating a company-managed online community).
The main strategic reason this is good advice is because of what are called network effects. Chief among them is the desire of network participants to go where everyone else is. This gives you great bang for your marketing buck in terms of both time and money.
Coincidentally, I looked into creating my first Facebook company “Page” today for just this reason this evening. What I’m deciding is not just to have the Page but how to best spread the word on such sites as Facebook, control content, etc. It is not a no-brainer, you need to carefully consider how such a presence affects your image and brand as well as the impression it leaves with your target market. For example, what kinds of comments will be on your Facebook Page? “Hi babe! Long time no see!” is not exactly professional and would probably be counterproductive to what the Page is trying to accomplish.
So by all means get your company out there and be social! Just remember to wear a suit when you do.