This 2-in-1 question is frequently asked by marketing professionals: Why and how do we focus on social media?
Well the why is because it is a powerful tool that is not going away. It has become the way of communicating and building awareness throughout the the world. From connecting protesters in the Middle East, to announcing product recalls, to telling me you're out walking your dog. Social media is powerful and huge.
It can be used by both small and large companies. I will use my wife's Etsy business as an example for small companies (I am not ashamed to promote family here). Her business is called MS Puppet Queen. She uses the power of Facebook to help her build a community of connections of people interested in similar areas. This is a powerful way to grow awareness beyond family into the larger and broader social world.
For larger businesses that are already a household name it helps connect with customers. The following is an example from Starbucks taken from inc.com.
"Starbucks Corporation is a social media giant when it comes to engagement, including incorporating blogs, status updates, tweets, and forums. When the trendy Seattle-based coffeehouse chain realized that its sales were stagnating and that competition was becoming fierce, it had to find ways to solidify and expand its market share. In 2009, Starbucks launched the interactive MyStarbucksIdea website and corporate blog. While some industry analysts doubted whether the site would catch on, well over 100,000 internet users had visited the site by the end of its first week online. The site allows users to submit ideas for new drinks, food items, packages, even store designs. Suggestions are voted on by Starbucks consumers with the most popular ones getting highlighted.
But Starbucks took it a step further, adding an "Ideas in Action" blog that gives updates to users on the status of suggested changes. Starbucks doesn't just communicate news and business developments with its audience, but it also lets them know which of their suggestions the company has really taken to heart. Starbucks also has fully embraced Twitter beyond notifying consumers about bargains; @Starbucks focuses on sharing interesting events and music information or brand- and charity-related topics the company would like to address. It's not a one-way monologue. Followers are not just entertained. They are being engaged in a brand and conversations around it."
What a way to connect with customers! The key is to be creative, consistent, and have a plan.
Here is a video I also found very useful.
Next I will be looking for different metrics used in social media.