The findings of my recent study, "The Coming Change in Social Media Business Applications,” should give traditional publishers a reason to take another look at social media. Results showed that social media is used as a general communications tool in public relations and marketing, but is evolving into a major tool of customer engagement.
Research found that companies are now looking to social media as a primary way to engage their customers, enabling lead generation, immediate customer contact and customer interaction.

As content publishers, consider that all ads and sponsorships sold are for this same goal; customer engagement. If social media becomes a primary way that this happens then you need to be a part of it. Luckily, a lot of what goes into building social networks is about leveraging focused content. That’s something publishers know a lot about, and should see as an opportunity.

The Social Media Shift

This study, to my knowledge, is the first to measure a coming shift in how companies will use social media. There are several factors driving this trend.

First, with more people spending time on online social media sites and companies are realizing a lot of their customers can be found there.

Second, the shift to online communications has made it easier for potential customers to dodge traditional lead generation and sales strategies. Social media can help break the ice.

Finally, a recession is causing every company to rethink its customer engagement strategy.

The report offers an overview of the shift toward uses in social media as well as measurements specific to Twitter and social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. (I had the good fortune to interview social media gurus Brian Solis, Shel Holtz, Dan Schnabel, Ari Herzog and Dan McCarthy.)

For publishers, this is a real opportunity and an important trend to get in front of.

Click here to download the full report.

Next-Gen Advertising: Selling What Buyers Want
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