It’s A Small World.

And thanks to the internet and social media, it’s getting smaller. (And at the same time, cooler and more fun than the lamest amusement ride ever… you know which one we’re talking about.)

Ever been away from home (and by that we mean away, like on vacation… not at the store), and run into someone you know? Or maybe someone you don’t actually know, but someone from your own area… or company… or even extended family?

That’s kind of how it goes in social media. Kind of…

.eMarketer reports that Facebook is the dominant social network for small-to-medium businesses.

…SMBs were twice as likely to turn to Facebook (86%) as they were Twitter (33%) or LinkedIn (41%), a wise decision given Facebook’s vast reach and popularity among consumers.

Now the run-into-your-neighbor-on-a-cruise bit… (Only without the sunshine, waves, dolphins…you know, the best parts.)

In a recent study (which we highlighted here), Nielsen found that Americans spend more time on Facebook than any other internet site – 53 billion minutes worth. The network saw 140 million visitors during May 2011 alone, and reaches an amazing 70% of active internet users in America.

Whether by design or happy accident, consumers and small businesses are on the same trip, so to speak. And instead of ducking behind a deck chair every time you glimpse them near the souvenir stand (like we would if we found our neighbor on the same ship as us – just sayin’), you can say howdy and engage them!

OK, you say… Sounds reasonable enough. But how?

If your neighbor took this trip to socialize and relax, how do you approach to engage without causing them to duck behind a deck chair?

Give ’em what they like.

Roost has released their second quarterly report on local business and social media. They discovered that some efforts work far better than others.

Roost finds that the best way to achieve Likes is through photo posts, quotes and status updates, with photos providing 50 percent more impressions on average than any other post type and quotes providing 22 percent more interactions when compared to all post types.

No surprise there. A recent Zoomerang study found that small-to-medium businesses and consumers agree on their favorite Facebook features – namely photos, messages and status updates.

Roost also announced that status updates in the form of questions generate nearly twice the comments as any other type.

Click graph to view full-sized.Keep in mind that yet another study, by Constant Contact and Chadwick Martin Bailey, found that people interact with brands on Facebook more than any other platform – 34% of Facebook users as compared to 4% of Twitter users and 1% of LinkedIn users. What’s more, 76% of respondents have never “unliked” a brand.

So. You and your neighbors customers have serendipitously ended up sharing a voyage. You may as well lay your towel next to theirs and pull out your snapshots – metaphorically speaking. And ask them questions. Not about you… about them! What do they think? How’s their trip? Is there anything you can do for them to make it even more enjoyable?

Because that’s what they like. And that’s the whole point.

If you go sidling up while they’re trying to enjoy the trip, and start talking shop and broadcasting at them, it won’t end well. You risk turning them into one of the 24% who have unliked a brand…

…and ending your adventures in social media… hehall wet.