Social media can be a powerful tool for small business owners when it comes to communicating with customers and creating buzz around products and services.

But as many business owners will tell you, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks shouldn't be undertaken lightly.

As with word of mouth, how a business comes across in social media is crucial to its reputation.

To help you navigate the ups and downs of using social media for small business, CBCNews.ca organized a live chat with some trusty experts — small business owners like yourselves — with experience using social media.

The live chat took place on Thurs., Oct. 20 at 12 p.m. ET.

Our experts include:

  • Willie Cromack, the owner of John Henry Bikes on the North Shore of Vancouver. The bike shop has built up a community of customers on Facebook, Twitter and, most recently, Tumblr.
  • Mike Charbonneau, the volunteer director of marketing for The Revue, a not-for-profit cinema in Toronto’s west end. He’s worked in advertising for 20 years, the last few of which have been focused on digital, social and mobile marketing.
  • Donna Dooher, executive chef and owner of Mildred's Temple Kitchen in the heart of Toronto's Liberty Village. The restaurant tweets its quickie lunch special every day.

Our panel to discussed how small business can use social media and what the future holds for social marketing.

The chat is also available as a replay through CBC's Small Business page.