In business, social media is becoming much like watching the elderly engage with technology, organisations just haven’t mastered how to effectively utilise it. This piece aims to prove the doubters wrong, to put the spring in the believer's proverbial step and to wash away the cobwebs of poor social media strategy. Organisations must be motivated to transform every day, run of the mill social media initiatives into deeper, tangible business impact. *Dialogue deepens relationships* Have you ever had a conversation with a customer that wasn’t useful to the progression of your business? If you have, there’s a reason you’re not in this week’s edition of Forbes. The fact is, dialogue deepens relationships and the best way to communicate with your customers is through social media. Sure, some companies are loathed to see the cancerous spread of negative reviews about their products or services but utilising the social media tool effectively allows those very same companies to be proactive and reach out to their dissatisfied custom directly. All of this within a controlled social media environment, ultimately leading to innovative improvement of their product or service they have on offer. *Influence is imperative* Business must get to grips with defining what they want from their social media marketing strategy. Do they want fanciful figures that have no impact on monetising their social media investment? Well, that is exactly what they will get unless they take the time out to target the correct core. They must understand that customer is king but also be wary of the realisation that users who may not necessarily be seen to be customers can also have a major impact on social media networks, both adversely and positively. More than 80% of the social media population is made up of ‘potential influencers’. Ignore these at your peril. Businesses that identify who these people are at an early stage and attempt to build bridges with them will be the high flyers. Want to know how influential a social networker is? Visit Klout (www.klout.com
). Klout will give your potential influencer a score out of 100 indicating just how influential an individual is over a social network. *The trek to Trustville* A consistent social media output ultimately builds trust between you and your customers. How can you ignore mediums such as Facebook and Twitter? Facebook is available in 70 languages with over 1 billion users worldwide. Twitter sees more than half a billion tweets posted every day. Build those relationships with customers. Engage them on a personal level by creating interesting but ultimately useful content in order to position yourself as that dependable and trusted fence post within the social media field. Facebook and Twitter both make money through advertising. The clever bit? They tailor your ads based on very specific user information. Intrusive? God no, just ingenious! Advertising is costly and can be crippling to companies that do not execute it correctly. But advertising with social media marks out clear and achievable access to consuming clients. Don’t be put off by an ailing campaign. Results don’t appear out of thin air. The key is to tinker and to experiment until you find that ever elusive successful format. Start small and then once you’ve found the formula back it big, just like in the casino but with only one winner. When it comes to developing and implementing social media for your business, the biggest cost can be time. But if your social media strategy is reaping dividends, then it’s time well spent.