The cornerstone of social media is the ability to quickly exchange information.  The oldest way to find products or services is by talking to people that you know and compare their experiences when you need similar products or services.

They are in a position to give you valuable advice about who (or what) you can trust for what you need.  You trust their word and recommendations.  This information is an endorsement, and it is golden.  An endorsement is something you can rely on.

Today the same thing is happening by way of social media.  The difference is that it is happening at a much faster pace, with a much larger group of people voicing their preferences, opinions and experiences.  Now, by the use of social media for marketing, organizations that provide products and services are intertwined as part of that conversation/experience as never before.

What is called, or referred to as Web 2.0, has enabled people to interact with one another, and whole groups of people, in real time via the rise of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and blogs.  Social media marketing takes advantage of these various outlets to connect anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Organizations are taking advantage of this new dynamic.  They are sharing (posting) feedback from their customers.  The customer is getting honest assessments, and the organizations are taking advantage by promoting themselves in the most popular ways that people communicate today.

In the process, organizations are getting a larger audience than they would by way of the conventional marketing of the past.  They are getting accurate input about consumer preferences, and even getting information about products and services wanted, but not yet offered; whether it’s a modification to an existing product or the need for a totally new one.  Companies now have one of the best toolkits ever to gauge the direction of the market, respond to demand, and cultivate their market share.

The smart organizations are taking advantage of social media marketing, and the really smart organizations are using professionals in public relations, consulting and advertising agencies to design and manage a more effective social media plan or campaign.

In my blogroll below, I’ve included the names of a few organizations that I have found to be particularly good sources for learning more about social media marketing.  In separated, self-titled entries at the top of this page, are two examples of very different organizations currently using social media