A great small business listens. Whether the customer is voicing an opinion in the store, online or via another platform – the company and its staff members are there to hear what is going on.

And, one of the best ways to listen is with social media. These sites can fit nicely into any financial plan, and there is nothing crazy about devoting a significant amount of time to sites like Facebook and Twitter. Why is that? A small business that makes the effort to actively engage people, regardless of who they are, stands a good chance for success.

In order to do just that, it may be helpful to focus on these four key social media and financial tips to reach a wide range of consumers:

1. Listen before talking back
Recently, Dave Kerpen, chairman of Likeable Media, explained to Inc. magazine's Allison Fass about how social media can be effective and why a small business should be involved. For starters, listening has to take place before talking. On sites like Twitter, there is a good chance that customers are already asking for specific services. It just takes the company that offers those products to listen to them. It pays to hear the pulse of the consumer before sending out any other marketing material.

2. Talk back, then talk back some more
Social media is meant to be active. This means that a small business owner has to use it, or else its positive effects won't be felt. Kerpen told Fass that most brands don't respond online. Therefore, those that do have an instant competitive advantage. Talk back to everyone, including current customers, but especially those of the competitors. A little extra effort could go a long way.

3. Set aside funds for social media
Sure, signing up for Twitter or Facebook is free. But this doesn't mean a social media marketing strategy won't cost anything. According to Mashable, a portion of the budget should be devoted to this aspect. That added investment could go a long way toward boosting the business. However, it is important to remember that it is about quality over quantity, so even a small budget can be useful.

4. Choose the proper social media sites
Sure, Twitter and Facebook are two of the biggest sites out there. But that doesn't mean that they are the only ones. Mashable noted that small businesses should choose their platforms wisely. A company may be better suited for Pinterest, or be image-heavy and flourish on Instagram. It depends on the product, service and goals.