Well known brands have fans. The digital equivalent is a large following on Facebook, Twitter or even Youtube. Once the brand achieves a certain critical mass, there are two common strategies that the best in class companies align around. First, to build the brand’s social media presence, you have fan acquisition. This can be done in any number of ways, through email campaigns, social networking advertising and more. The more cost effective, the better, as while fan acquisition is important, ROI by study, by channel and by category varies wildly, which means that the lower the overall investment, the better. One analogy I heard was that building up your social fan base is the same as building up your house file for email marketing. To me, this is appropriate, and given the high volume, low return on a percentage basis of email marketing, I think this analogy is smart.

Once you have your fan base, two common uses of your social media presence are the following:

Social broadcasting – this is generally pushing content towards engagement, social sharing, caring and feeding of the base and most importantly, culling the sales, where possible, from the ripest prospects.

Social response – this is generally done by a customer care or product service organization as increasingly, it’s more cost effective for an individual to complain on your facebook page than it is to call, wait twenty minutes through a gauntlet of an automated menu to get real help, only to have a underpaid, overworked call center employee on the side of the globe fail to address the issue.

Tools that might be considered for social broadcasting spredfast , or Hootsuite, or any number of others. Radian6 also has social broadcasting capability, and the space is rapidly evolving, with Google+ possibly having a larger role to play, or perhaps not. For social response or social CRM, there are tools Batchbook, Sprout Social, SalesForce, and many more.

Whether you are part of a large org or run a small business, these types of tools can be an amazing asset to help in responding to your fans as well as providing them with interesting and unique relevant information.

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