Unfamiliar Territory: The 2009 social media for business challenge.

Author:Chesnutt, Brandon

Social media has quickly changed the way we communicate and share ideas as a society. But for businesses, all this talk of blogging, microblogging and social networks has generated plenty of curiosity and skepticism. There hasn't been a proper push to get businesses in metro Detroit collectively thinking, "Will or won't this crazy social media thing work for me?"


But why should I start considering social media this year?

Never before have businesses of all sizes been presented with a better opportunity to connect directly with customers and prospects, form strong relationships with buyers, build brand equity and learn how to better position their company, services and products.

The Web is now home to millions of conversations, and some of these discussions involve you, your business, your competitors, your industry or topics of importance. By simply putting an ear to the keyboard and listening to what audiences are saying online, a business can learn directly from consumers--for free. Think of social media as one big customer feedback card.

It's also no secret that when the economy is struggling, budgets (especially for communications programs) are typically placed under extremely high scrutiny. This leads to the "I want to reduce spending but continue to increase my market share" paradox. Instead of scrambling to stretch marketing dollars wherever possible or simply cutting a hole in your 2009 communications plan, businesses should consider implementing a social media strategy. Most platforms are little or no cost and can be set up in house. There is also a wealth of information available online for free that can help educate a firm on how exactly social media can work for it, detail important factors to consider using case studies, and how to appropriately measure programs.


Now take the first step

Head over to Google and look up a few search terms like your company name, top executives, products, services...

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