A LEADING Coast social media expert has urged businesses to overcome their uncertainty about the technology and use it to their benefit.
Annie Infinite of Saucy Social Media says many business owners were unnecessarily sceptical about social media and suggests a confident approach to the likes of Facebook and Twitter is the key to success.
"Social media is the way all marketing seems to be going," Ms Infinite said.
"In Australia, I've got to be honest and say we are lagging a bit. There are a lot of social media users and we love it, but the businesses seem to be a little bit afraid.
"But the best thing for a business is that everyone has to start from the same place. You start off with a profile or a page and you build it from there."
Ms Infinite said one of the biggest hurdles businesses needed to overcome was the fear of being criticised on social media.
"What businesses have to realise is that if people have negative feedback it is going to be there on social media whether you are there or not. People are going to say it anyway," she said.
"So you are far better off to be 'Johnny on the spot' to be either grateful for the praise people give you or deal with the complaints quickly in real time."
She said if they were smart, small business owners could have more of an impact through social media than larger companies who did not have the luxury of being so personal with their clients.
"That is probably the first big step. Be on there consistently and have a mix of the personal, more everyday life aspect and the business aspect," she said.
"Be on there daily if you can and make sure you are always out there.
"Treat it like a networking event where you might talk to people about the weather, the football and also a bit of business."