According to eMarketer.com, in 2011, four out of five US businesses with 100 or more employees will use social media marketing. That’s a dramatic change from 2008 when just 42% of companies marketed via social media.
Social media is the fastest-growing marketing channel in the world. Spending on social media marketing in the U.S. will grow annually at a 34% compound rate through 2014, according to independent research firm, Forrester Research, Inc.
67% of Twitter users who become followers of a brand are more likely to buy that brand’s products
60% of Facebook users who become a fan of a brand are more likely to
recommend that brand to a friend
74% of consumers are influenced on buying decisions by fellow socializers
after soliciting input via social media (All Data provided by Forrester Research Inc.)

Companies need to do more than just set up a facebook fan page and wait to see what happens. In my experience, many businesses using social media don’t know how to truly engage their audience. Their messaging is 100% sales oriented and lacks any opportunity for their prospective clients to join the conversation. Ditch the sales pitch and start providing value-oriented material that keeps people interested in what you have to say. If you have an on-site blog (which is better than wordpress), use that as the foundation for your social media posts. Then use ping.fm to blast your post to all of your various social media channels. Again, be sure to write informative articles that are significant to your intended target audience. This not only positions you as an expert in your industry but it increases the chance for interaction. It only takes a few good comments to truly get the conversation started. When people do respond to your social media marketing make sure you participate in the conversation and show the world that you care.

Contribution by Mark Stebbins, Stebbins Media

 Twitter Tip of the Day:
Use special symbol characters. You may not know it, but Twitter accepts more than just normal characters. You can actually create hearts, stars, smilies and other symbols that can represent words or ideas in just 1 character. A great tool called
TwitterKeys allows you to have all these symbols at your fingertips

Social Media makes a Big Impact
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