The 1980s are remembered for their developments in business and technology, particularly computing. The 1990s for their advances in technology, particularly the growth of the internet and online business opportunities. If the 2000s are to be remembered for anything (although it may still be too early to tell), it will be their developments in communications and online communities, particularly the incredible power of social media.

This form of media gives major brands and companies as well as small business, some seriously big power, but it is rarely used as it should be. Commitments to quality are sometimes overlooked, and opportunities for branding, direct sales, or indirect marketing are often passed over. These missing opportunities do cost businesses.

Social Media for Branding:

A dollar unearned is a dollar lost. Businesses are often questioning the value of social media for their branding efforts, but few take action when they should. Billions of dollars are being left on the table, particularly as major brands move onto these media services, and the value of a social media-friendly brand still is not being recognized.

An experiment is always worth more than not even trying. Discussion on this media's branding abilities will only take companies so far. With the low cost of media efforts, an experiment with this type of media branding can generate huge returns, all with a relatively minimal level of risk. Develop a simple plan and test your ability to grow and expand your brand.

Social Media for SEO:

SEO consultancy (and in-house efforts) were once the domain of spammy content and low quality link generation efforts. Poorly planned information was setup on low-cost websites, and marketers shot out as many links as were possible. Despite being somewhat effective, the old world of SEO is packed with inefficient models and outright unethical business models.

However, this media form has given SEO new life. The old "SEO is spam" cliche is no more thanks to the development of this form of media. Each new social media asset is another opportunity for high quality outbound and inbound linking, and every conversation is another opportunity to spread links that actually add value.

With Twitter tweets and Youtube videos now regularly appearing in Google's standard search results, the divide between search and social media is likely to become even smaller. Marketers accustomed to spam-style SEO tactics are in for a new surprise, while businesses that embrace this media receive a well-deserved SEO boost.

Social Media for Sales:

Social medai is not a good sales platform, but it is a good resource for generating future sales. The ability to generate prospects is one of the most important aspect to the sales process. Marketers that were once dependent on direct lead generation have a new platform available to them, particularly in open media platforms like Twitter or Myspace.

The greatest news is this media is still in its infancy. Businesses that are built on lead-based sales have good things to look forward to. As this media develops further, sales models will be refined, micro-networks offering great sales potential will grow greater, and marketers can look forward to a platform that is refined, sales-friendly, and willing to be marketed to.

Author's Bio: 

Jeannine Clontz, IVAA CVA, MVA, EthicsChecked™, provides marketing and social media support, training and consulting to busy entrepreneurs. For information about finding a VA, download her FREE 10-Step Guide to Finding the Right VA, or to learn why Social Media should be an important part of your marketing plan with her FREE Report, Social Media Marketing Benefits, visit:, or contact her at