Facebook gets the second most online traffic every day, just behind Google. Not too far behind them are other social media giants such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and scores more tailoring to specific audiences and niches.

If that doesn’t get your juices going—if it doesn’t get you thinking your company/brand better jump on the social media bandwagon—it should.

Friends, fans, and followers are tweeting, posting, and connecting about people, places, movies, products, services, things they like, things they don’t like, etc. etc. in ever-increasing numbers. From a marketing perspective, you can’t help but want to be part of the conversation . . . and you can’t afford NOT to be.

One way companies can stand out from the increasingly crowded social media jungle is by giving customers and prospects a flavor of the people behind their brands—from presidents and CEOs, to executives and other senior staff.

If this sounds like a case of trying too hard to connect people and products, think again. Where would Sir Richard Branson and his various Virgin offshoots be absent his efforts to connect personality and corporate branding? What about Steve Jobs and Apple?

Granted, much of their efforts took place prior to the social media explosion, but their success in wedding personal and corporate branding can’t be overstated.

I’m not suggesting every company exec or head honcho has to convey the swagger of Branson or the intellectual “cool” of Jobs, but there is value in letting customers and prospective customers know more about the people behind the products.

Why? Because customers and prospects are more likely to talk about and buy from companies that share their values—and what better way to demonstrate those values than to engage in social media programs built around your executives?

Your customers/prospects will get to see what the people behind your brand look like, hear what they are thinking, and learn what they are doing. In turn, they’ll share this information within their social networks, opening your brand up to their ever-expanding circles of friends, associates, and friends of friends.

TIP#1: In general, content should reflect your company tone and message. The personal stuff can come later—funny, poignant tidbits and insight about your executives, yet consistent with your brand.

TIP#2: Stay on message, but remain flexible enough to reference real-time, relevant events and company news.

TIP#3: Utilize a cross-strategy of pinging/commenting on industry and related blogs. It shows your team is in touch and connected, plus readers of these other blogs might start following you and sharing your messages within their social networks.

TIP #4: Be sure your company Web site is up-to-date and relevant so those who become interested in your brand can go there to learn more about you, buy your product or service, or read your blog.

TIP#5: Play nice with others. Social media sites are not the place to criticize competitors or put down their products. Make it all about you!