Looking for success in social media? Take a page out of the playbook of Signtronix, a 50-year-old manufacturer of signs for small businesses.

The signmaker reports a significant uptick in new business development—and stronger customer relations—by using Facebook and Twitter. Sure, many social media gurus make the promise of rising sales and word of mouth. But Signtronix has taken the social networking ball in its own hands and scored a slam dunk.

What can you learn from Signtronix’ success? Read on…

"Many companies have been scratching their heads thinking about Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools available to them and wondering what they can possibly achieve from them," says Tom Johnson, director of Marketing at Signtronix. "Almost every company either has jumped on or wants to jump on the social media bandwagon, but they don't have any specific goals for their efforts.”

Key one: Set specific goals around your social media campaign. Without clear objectives, you could waste a lot of time.

Signtronix set up its Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites with a single goal:
showing potential customers the power and beauty of its sign products and allowing customers a forum to talk about their experience with their new sign.

“In just the last four to six months we've received phenomenal customer feedback and hundreds of referrals just because people have forwarded our Facebook site to other business owner friends or family who need a new sign for their business,” Johnson says.

Key two: When you get feedback, respond to it. Signtronix has done a good job of listening to its customers and making updates based on what they want to see or know.

Indeed, the company’s social media campaigns have helped both on and offline. Facebook has provided important in-field support as well. Johnson reports a number of his sales reps calling to tell him they sold signs specifically because business owners saw their Facebook messages.

“One customer immediately pointed to a sign on our Facebook page and said, 'That one! I want one just like it' and ordered the sign right away,” Johnson says.

Key three: Make social media a part of your sales efforts. Be sure to refer customers to your Facebook fan page to check out new specials or to see photos, etc.

Beyond the sales lift, Signtronix’ Facebook and other social media campaigns have also spawned word of mouth, another promise of these sites. And not just word of mouth—but good word of mouth.

"The positive feedback provided on our Facebook page and via Twitter has been incredible,” Johnson says. “We've had such great comments about our signs and also our sales and customer service representatives.”

Getting the picture? It’s not always necessary for your small business to spend big bucks on a social media guru. There are some common sense strategies you can employ on your own.