Common Business Uses for Social Media

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most cost effective ways for businesses to advertise, but social media is more than just getting the word out.  So how are companies using social media currently?

This list is by no means complete, but I wanted to throw out a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.  If you have anything to add, let me know!

  1. Monitoring - Keeping up with what is being said about your company and your brand across the social web is important and should be a part of any good social media strategy.
  2. Broadcasting - Social media is a great way to get the news out!  The hard work is building a solid network.
  3. Connecting - This is an obvious one, but something that some business do miss completely.  Social media is a two-way street and any business that uses it otherwise is going to learn real quick that listening is probably the most important part of the conversation.  Take the time to actually connect with your customers!
  4. Networking - While this is similar to connecting, networking is ideal for businesses who are looking to collaborate with other companies.
  5. Customer Service – Businesses are now using tools such as Twitter to interact with and serve customers online.  Take CoffeGroundz for example.  They are a coffee shop which offers Twitter-to-Go!
  6. Market Research – So you have built a network of people who are interested in your products or services.  While large companies will probably still want to put together focus groups or do additional research, no company should overlook the fact that social media allows you to poll your customer base quite easily!
  7. Real Time Search – This is just a wonderful benefit of being actively involved in social media.  Google now features real time social media results on their search results pages!
  8. User Generated Content – You see some larger companies putting together contests where users submit videos and the winner will have their video used as a TV ad or be featured on the company website.  For smaller businesses, allowing your fans to create blog posts can save you a lot of time and effort!
  9. Reputation Management – Comcast is a great example of this.  A lot of their customers were not too happy, but Comcast began using Twitter to address the problems of disgruntled customers.  The result?  A lot of happy people spreading the new about Comcast!
  10. Learning - Any business that can’t learn a thing or two from their customers or their critics isn’t going to do well in social media, or business for that matter.  Social media is a great way to get new ideas.  Open the door for your customers ideas and try to get to know industry experts in your field.
  11. Web Traffic – Anytime that you can invite your social networks to your blog or website, you will see a spike in web traffic.  For e-commerce businesses, this usually translates into more sales!  Typically, traffic from social media sites is going to be of higher quality than other sources.

I am really hoping to get some input on this list.  Please let me know if you have been using social media in other creative ways!

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