This blog has been written by Nathan Windle, director, at CrowdVu.It has been estimated that approximately one in four people use social media worldwide for personal use, and this number is only going to grow. As is the case with personal use, social media for business is also steadily on the rise. The number of organisations and entrepreneurs now using social media as a business tool is impressive; with over half of all small businesses (SMBs) reporting that they have and continue to utilise social media to support their marketing efforts.

Nevertheless, even though these corporations and SMBs are embracing social media as a business tool, and acknowledge its potential, only 34 per cent of businesses feel that their social strategy is connected to business outcomes.

Difficulties arise when the vast amount of information available on social sites is realised, and this quickly highlights the importance of social harnessing and demand generation.

This is where Marketing Automation (MA) comes in. MA has several benefits, such as centralising content and workflow, and reducing data silos, but its main strength lies in social and demand generation.

So what are the steps you need to take to get to grips with your social media strategy?

Social sharing is all about allowing your recipients to socialise and share your content – this process systemises word of mouth. Considering this, it’s a good place to start since word of mouth is one of the strongest forms of endorsement.

Social sign-on is another key stage, as it allows contacts to complete long sign-in processes and registration forms by prepopulating the data using their social login.

Social listening is already largely used by PR and marketing departments, and assists predominantly in brand awareness. It provides a clear picture of how your brand/products have been received, which is obviously key when monitoring performance.And finally,

persona based marketing intelligence, which builds on from social listening, allows marketers to source and segment potential clients based on relevant conversations, interests and social activity. This leads onto a more effective approach to social selling, which at the end of the day is what we are here for.

If this has sparked an interest, please check out our own CrowdVu, which provides such a social intelligence offering and has been designed for sales and marketing professionals.