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Commentary: Social media is worth your company’s time

Jackie Sauter
Dolan Media Newswires

Obviously we’re in a recession, and time, resources and staff are limited. I can empathize with feeling overwhelmed with work and being stretched too thin.

But social media is one way to maximize the time and manpower.

Given your company’s limitations, you must convince the powers that be that social media is worth the investment. As a creative, forward-thinking worker, you are their most important asset.

As Harvard Business School’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter writes on her blog, The Change Master, “In a recession, everyone should be in marketing.”

Social media can help retain current customers and identify potential ones.

Here’s a few benefits that should convince your boss to buy into a social media campaign:

You can be your own advocate

Right now, communities are forming and making buying decisions, whether you’re there or not. When it comes to purchasing decisions, social media is all about reducing risk, said r2integrated chief executive Matt Goddard at a recent social-media workshop.

Users ask their contacts for reviews and advice. What they really want to know is, “How do I avoid making a bad decision?”

This is especially true on LinkedIn, where users are starting to take advantage of more than just the convenience of a digital Rolodex. They’re polling their contemporaries for advice.

This is where you come in. You need to be an advocate for your product, answering consumers’ concerns and pointing them in your direction.

It’s cost-effective

Using social media can be an extremely cost-effective public relations and customer relationship management strategy.

Take Webinars, for instance. They have a comparably high return on investment, especially if the its content is based on your company’s existing institutional knowledge.

Think about it: A tradeshow can cost a fortune with little to show for it. Renting space, creating a booth and paying for services adds up — not to mention travel, lodging and meals for your staff.

In contrast, hosting a Webinar is inexpensive. You can find a vendor who will plan it from start to finish and recruit a well-known speaker with a promise to share sales leads.

Done right, you’ll get more eyeballs than you would at a trade show and have a viral opportunity to spread your message. To ensure a good turnout, leverage your existing relationships by adding a Webinar co-sponsor and drawing on your customer base.

Tools are available to measure return on investment

It’s important to measure your return on investment and tools are available.

On the quantitative side, you can employ metrics tracking such as Google Analytics. It’s a free tool that analyzes your company’s Web traffic, keyword optimization and other trends.

You’ll also want to track how many people join your social networks in that 90-day span. How many Twitter followers or Facebook fans have you gained? What effect has your social media use had on the click-through rate to your Web site?

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