This report from eMarketer is eye-opening and serves as proof that a solid social media strategy can be successful for corporations, if you understand its use. The data comes from MarketingSherpa's study conducted in April 2009 (see their website for methodology for the study conducted with a sample size of over 1,800).
Of the 7 components of branding strategy, the top four VERY effective strategies are:
1. Influence brand reputation
2. increase brand awareness
3. Improve search engine rankings
4. Increase website traffic.
The next noted as SOMEWHAT effective is:
5. Generate leads
6. Improve internal communications is NOT considered to be effective and the one that might be most shocking to businesses who are really hoping to cash in on social media is
7. Increase online sales.
I am a strong believer in the use of social media marketing to improve your communications with your audience. Engaging them in conversation is key, as well as truly listening about their needs and wants is KEY. They WILL tell you - the tools are free. Better yet, they will tell their friends for you.
So, grab onto social media with these best practices, that take a look at social media STRATEGY, and listen to the other businesses who have already made the commendable effort to jump on board. We can all learn from each other, especially with these great marketing research tools given to us!