Why a business should use social media?

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More and more businesses are using social media to get in front of their target audience.  It makes sense, if you are "out there" more, more people can find you.  But Social Media goes beyond that.
Reports share that Social Media is affecting and shaping the pillars of business.
An annual study of the University of Massachusetts found that 91% of companies report the incorporation of at least one social media service or tool in 2009.
And also, according to the Social Media Marketing Report for 2010, marketers are seeing a significant increase in web traffic with only a few hours of time invested per week.   They also have a noticeable increase in their search engine rankings and are able to track deals that were closed due to their participation in the Social Media space.   B2C's tend to participate more on Facebook and B2B's focus more time on LinkedIn.
The most common combination of efforts takes place on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs.

Here are a few different types of social media:

The original social media networks:
* Forums (i.e., message boards)
* Blogs

Specialized social media and growing exponentially:
* Microblogging (Twitter)
* Photo sharing (Flickr)
* Video sharing (YouTube)
* Social bookmarking (Digg)
* Wikis (Wikipedia)
* Podcasts (iTunes)
* Social communities (Facebook)

Here are the best ways to use social media when you're in enterprise:
- Build a reputation of expertise: Social media provides an outlet for displaying who you and your company are. Talking about your industry in an intelligent way via Twitter and a regularly-updated blog can raise your company's profile and brand.
- Research your customers
- Ramp up your networking: You should always be networking, because you never know when a contact can become your advocate or even the decision-maker. And that's where social media can help. LinkedIn, Twitter, Plaxo, etc. are always great places to start, but if you can network with him or her on niche social sites, you'll stand out just a bit more.
- Learn from others
- Seek out blogs and publications in your industry and subscribe via RSS
- Network with relevant experts, including those who may only be partially related
- Follow the insights of business leaders on Twitter
- Connect with commenters on your own blog
- Make yourself very easy to find on the web
- Keep an open mind

But, what does this have to do with you and why should your business use social media?
* The cost to enter and participate in the social space is minimal.
* You can boost corporate and executive thought leadership.
* Opportunities for providing customer service and feedback abound.
* You can dramatically increase traffic to your company website. Your presence on search engines will increase
* You can better manage and monitor your brand. In social media, everyone has a voice.  If your customers are not talking about your brand, you don't exist.  Whether you choose to listen to the conversations about you and your company is up to you, but realize that people are indeed talking about you.
* Social media is a great place for (free!) competitive research.
* You can generate leads and better develop your business. If your current and potential customers are online, you need to be there, too. Social media participation requires equal investments of time, strategy and patience, and generating leads through your social media efforts can be the ultimate payoff
No one really knows how social media will change in the coming weeks, months or years. One thing's for sure: It's not going to disappear. Rather, it's going to grow, develop and morph into who-knows-what. Look at it this way: Better to start now, while social media's realm is still relatively easy to grasp.

With over 10 years of combined experience in Web development, new media and graphic design, social media and online marketing, SEO, Pay Per Click and banner advertising, media buying, marketing management, and corporate branding and identity. Motive8 Media is a full-service Internet marketing and Web Design agency in Vancouver. They mainly work with small to medium sized businesses looking to increase their online exposure and visibility. They offer integrated and customized marketing solutions to fit any business need or budget. For more information and examples of their work

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