Social media is the new differentiator between organizations that “get it” and organizations that are perceived as being out of touch with the people they serve. But it is more than a mere perception of being out of touch. There is constant buzz in your marketplace no matter what industry you’re involved in. A great deal of that buzz is generated, and repeated, via social media platforms. If you are not participating in generating, monitoring and influencing that buzz, you are not only missing out on a great opportunity, you risk being buried by your competitors who know how to finesse the social media system. Social Media for Business is the hottest topic as a means of advertising right now. Successful organizations look to social media solutions to create brand awareness and extend their marketing initiatives and as a two-way communication device between employees, management, and the general public. Social media is also a big player in corporate reputation management, especially when negative events occur and the organization needs to respond in a down-to-earth believable way. Social media in business provides a consumer-accepted way to acquire and disseminate organizational information while simultaneously being able to receive near real-time feedback from the people receiving that message. Large and mid-sized organizations also turn to social media solutions to facilitate inter- and intra-company communications between management and staff. Top 10 Ways to Use Social Media in Your Organization 1. Put links to the social media services your organization uses on all of your key website pages. 2. Develop blogs (blog marketing) and have your staff engage in meaningful dialog with blog readers. 3. Create web videos of your broadcast media commercials and post them on YouTube and other social media sites. Consider doing the same with your annual report and stockholder meetings if appropriate. 4. Designate someone to learn the ins and outs of tagging and how to utilize tags to raise your online visibility. 5. Create podcasts that focus on the market to which your products or services cater rather than simply on your products or services. 6. Participate in community discussion platforms that are related to the market you serve. 7. Partner with vendors, suppliers and organizations that sell your products or services to form social media platforms and contribute content. 8. Learn how to leverage sites like Twitter to extend your corporate personality to the masses. 9. Repurpose company newsletter articles as blog material. 10. Utilize sentiment measurement tools to analyze your corporate reputation and to track your market’s feelings about you overall. Don’t Let Social Media Simply Become a Buzzword In order to reap the benefits of social media marketing, blog marketing and more, it is important to have a social media expert either on-staff or available as an outsourcing partner. Once begun, your social media efforts have to be maintained and extended in order to derive the benefits you seek.