Still wondering about how social media affects your business? Most firms still are. In fact, I've begun referring to this social media space as the new "wild west" within the internet marketing world in which we live. There's a lot going on and it's hard to control. In fact, you can't control it - how can you control conversations people are having with one another - you just can't. So companies have to begin at least monitoring what people are saying about them online. More progressive companies have actually begun having conversations about their brands through social media. But that’s only the beginning. A recent survey by eMarketer showed that more than 90% of marketers believe social media is an effective branding strategy.
In late 2008 another survey was done about the effectivness of using social media for branding and visibility. Large majorities rated social media marketing effective at influencing brand reputation, increasing awareness and improving search rankings and site traffic. Some companies will just put up a company blog or Facebook profile and that's a great start. But, it's really only the beginning - it's getting consumers into those environments and engaging with them online that becomes more difficult, yet improves results. You have to continue to nurture the conversation, otherwise it just dries up. It is like having a one-way conversation with someone who isn't even listening to you and that gets kind of boring don't you think.
Amazingly, about 25% of businesses of all sizes reported not monitoring social media commentary at all - and that's a bit scary. People are talking about you and your company online, and you need to be part of that conversation. Hopefully people are saying good things about you and you can get involved by thanking them. On the other hand, wouldn't you like to know if someone is saying something not so good about you and have an opportunity to repsond and recover. Certainly. Just "google" your company name and your own personal name to monitor what people are saying about you, if anything. If you aren't going to participate in online conversations about you, at least be aware of them.