Top 5 ways social media can help your business or organization

I frequently get asked by businesses and organizations how social media can help them, so I thought I'd put together this list.

1. Social Media forces you to be concise. Twitter only gives you 140 characters, so you have to get better at writing headlines to be effective in that medium. It's no coincidence that many social sites do the same. We're getting better at using effective headlines to convey our messages of the impact our work has on so many people.  Our shorter messages have more impact.

2. People give us permission to communicate with them. At the very core of social connections is this idea of permission. Millions of people have "raised their hand" to say I'd like to receive your messages.  In doing so, they expect us to be responsible with it. This is different than giving us an email address; they have given us their attention. If you waste it or abuse it, shame on ya.

3. We're building trust with our audience, customers or not. Jeffrey Gitomer's book, The Little Teal Book of Trust, talks about how difficult it is for many to gain and keep the trust of consumers. Social media generally uses smaller bits of information spread out over time to gain and keep trust. What you do with that trust is up to you.

4. People are recommending you to their friends. LinkedIn has a tool where you can recommend another's work or skills. Twitter has a button to re-tweet (forward) someone else's post, and Facebook enables recommendations by allowing you, as a user, to "like" a business, cause, brand, or product. You can bet that smart marketers are mining that list for people who should be customers.

5. Increase your web traffic by linking all of your social posts back to your web site. Cross-posting and social syndication are frowned upon by the social media purists, but they build their business by being purists. The rest of us have to sell something.

You'll learn as you go, and any expert who tells you they know everything you'll ever need to know about social media will be wrong by tomorrow afternoon. The technology isn't changing as rapidly as the audience, and the innovative ways in which you can use it.

// Kyle Sexton is an award-winning marketing strategist and international speaker. His innovations have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, and his book, REMEMBERSHIP - New Thinking for Tomorrow's Membership Organization, is fueling transformations in membership organizations throughout North America.  He can be reached at 888.899.8374 or get his free resources at