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At the Online Marketing Summit in Minneapolis this week, I presented on Social Media Strategy and briefly highlighted Blogging and Twitter as tactics. What better time to build better relationships with your customers than during a recession?
TopRank’s informal polls as well as the research of other organizations offer insights that report a growing optimism and interest at the budgetary level for social media investment.
Recently, Forrester & MarketingProfs published the results (eMarketer coverage) of a joint study of B-to-B Marketing in 2009 that ranked changes in marketing budget allocation. The notion of engaging with customers socially is a new paradigm and will take a shift in thinking for most organizations to adopt. Clearly there’s an opportunity to boost awareness and knowledge of social media best practices as well as models for strategic planning and adoption. There’s been progress in opening lines of communication between brands and customers through brand sponsored forums (like Best Buy below), review sites and social channels such as Twitter, Social Networks and crowdsourcing sites like Dell Ideastorm and My Starbucks Idea. These efforts in combination with increased buzz about the social web have motivated many companies to launch vairous social media initiatives. There are many interesting examples of social media mediocraty, outright failures and successes.

Researching competitor social media usage as well as success stories and case studies that reflect possibilities for your own company can go a very long way in convincing corporate management that social web engagment makes sense for your company.
The bottom line in making a case for social media is going to involve some homeword towards understanding the channel & tools, setting clear goals, understanding how your customers behave and what their preferences are for media discovery, consumption and sharing.
This is the first of several posts that will visit the key concepts offered in that presentation. Budgets are slim and purchasing decisions are often made based on relationships and connections right along with price.
A big part of the problem is that most companies start social media initiatives, ad hoc without any strategy. In fact, the list over at Peter Kim’s wiki currently lists nearly 950 examples of companies using social media with blogging, social networks, microblogging, online video and widgets attracting the most attention. With goals, strategy and tactics in hand, the metrics piece that measures value can be associated with comparable advertising models in order to associate $ amounts. We respect your privacy.PhoneThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing.

Word of mouth is powerful in good economic times and it’s even more impactful when economic pressures drive companies to be more creative and resourceful in purchasing products and services. Building a business case for social media means doing homework on the target audience, setting goals, creating a strategy and making a plan that outlines what tactics and technologies make the most sense.
Retail and consumer goods make up the overwhelming majority of social media participation by vertical, but  Government and several B2B verticals are also represented. Starting the corporate journey on the social web as a tactical excercise can be a waste of resources or worse, damaging to the brand.
Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li do a good job of explaining this in their book, Groundswell, when describing the ROI of blogging. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing. Measuring the effect of such a plan is where confidence will increase regarding value and help answer the ROI question.

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