Kind words, friendly greetings, cheerful smiles…. In this big world of ours, it's often the little things that mean the most. Small businesses recognize the power in small gestures, thus cultivating customer loyalty and strengthening relationships by focusing on customers on an individualized basis. And now, as social media makes its mark, small businesses are using this emerging channel to listen to their customers and develop these relationships further.

As Victor Ho, co-founder and CEO of FiveStars, says, small businesses carry a more personalized feel that larger companies can't quite recreate. While large companies have the ability to employ a full social team, their efforts often appear generic. Small businesses, however, are able to bridge the gap between online and offline feedback by converting social chatter into real-life relationship-building improvements.

But, as Jason Kocina, president of Checkerboard Strategic Web Development, notes, many small businesses know social is an invaluable tool, and they know what they hope to get from implementing such tools, yet they are unsure how to structure their strategy and measure their success effectively.