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The Social Media Business Proposition

Social media marketing helps companies capitalize on cutting-edge marketing techniques. In the grand scheme of things, it’s a new strategy, but one that is quickly maturing … and changing quickly as months go by.

Companies such as Fidelity Investments, for example, utilize social media not only for promoting products and services, but to help carve its image in the marketplace. Its Facebook page, for example, currently features photos of employee volunteers participating in an event in Brooklyn, N.Y., in partnership with HandsOn Network.

Social media differs from traditional media in that it involves two-way communication, where users are empowered to generate content. It can be casual (Facebook), professional (LinkedIn), or anything in between.

Social network is a conversation and it is all about the ideas you are sharing about a brand. Roughly three-quarters of those online visited social network sites last year, an increase of 24% over 2009; 79% of Fortune 500 companies have at least one Twitter account. Why?

  • To express opinions
  • To find and make friends
  • To keep in touch
  • To network and join a community
  • To learn about brands and products

In short, consumers today are social, and want to have conversations with companies. Companies are a little dubious that social networking helps reduce customer-acquisition costs, but generally agree on its significant impact in increasing product/brand awareness and reputation, improving public relations, and in driving traffic to their websites.

Increasingly, marketers are discovering the value proposition compelling; a relatively inexpensive investment in social media can show create benefits in promotions, CRM, customer engagement & loyalty, customer service, brand awareness and in understanding market-based needs.

Once upon a time, a company’s salesperson made friends with customers by reaching over a countertop cash register to shake that customer’s hand. Today’s countertop is the internet, and the cash register drawer, as often as not, appears on the company website.

So while other strategies are at work in the physical and website worlds, why wouldn’t you add to that by making “friends” of customers through social-media strategies?

Sallie Burnett
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