Q: What’s new with social media?

A: I’m sure you’ve heard the term “bleeding edge” and are familiar with the plight of the “pioneers” who took on technology before it had been proven.  Web 2.0 and social networks are great examples of this.  How many people spouted the uses of Web 2.0 but couldn’t even define it?  How many early adopters jumped on the social networking bandwagon only to find that their so-called friends were rambling about what they had for breakfast instead of presenting meaningful insights? I admit I was an early “Tweeter”, but I quickly lost interest even though I managed to accumulate a lot of followers. With recent changes, however, it’s time to take a deeper look.
 
Times, they are a changing!
 
The web is buzzing with news about the partnership between LinkedIn and Twitter, which allows LinkedIn subscribers to be able to tweet from their accounts and vice versa. Bigger than the partnership itself is the implication that social networking has changed into a legitimate business tool.  More and more companies are using social networking sites as marketing and customer service platforms, business communication tools, and recruitment channels.
 
It doesn’t stop there.  The LA Times recently published an article about “Facebook becoming big friend of small businesses.” Considering that more than 300 million people have signed up for Facebook, and half of them visit the site every day, it makes sense for businesses to be where their customers are. Even in the B2B world, purchase decisions are made by individual people, P2P (people to people), and companies are recognizing this and developing plans for using social media. Couple all of this with announcements in October that both Microsoft and Google will begin incorporating tweets into their search results, and the business case starts to take form.
 
Will it pay off?
 
How do you measure the ROI on social networking? There are many opinions on this, as well as blogs, books, and patents pending.  There is even an argument for not quantifying ROI since the goal is not to “make more money,” it is “to participate in the conversation.”  Unfortunately, nice conversations don’t make payrolls or profits. 
 
This slide share offers key concepts for measuring ROI of social networking: 
http://www.slideshare.net/milkrock/social-media-roi-2382074

However if you measure or don’t measure social media, can you afford to ignore it?  I say, get out there and LISTEN.  Just like the days of old, communication is key and you need to be actively listening and responding.  Are you? Need help with social networking?  No time?  Haley Marketing Group can help.  Give us a call!

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