Attention small business owners who think social networking is silly: knock it off.

We know you’re just afraid, or confused, but you can’t hide behind those excuses any longer. With the recent announcements of Bing and Twitter integration, and Google’s Social Search, your business can’t hide any longer. Those angry tweets about your poor quality that you ignore? Yep, those are appearing in searches right next to your latest press-release. Photos of your day-old looking food you served up are not only on Flickr, but now they’re in any searches people may perform who are friends with those folks.

Bottom line: you’re bad service and poor products are going to be exposed faster, to a wider audience, and with lasting impact. So get involved; interact with your customers, make them feel welcome, make them feel something. Have a great product? Good. Lots of people are no doubt talking about it. Let them know you’re listening. Encourage them to make those success stories much louder than the horror stories. Make sure your online reputation is less of a trick, and more of a treat.

photo credit: peasap