?In the early days of Facebook and Twitter people rarely saw the tremendous marketing potential of these emerging media. Today some of the world's largest companies have pages on the most popular sites, taking advantage of the presence of millions of daily users. Think about it: consumers who sign up voluntarily to receive information from companies. There is no doubt that social media provides a ready and sometimes sympathetic audience. Building a Social Media Presence A good social media presence requires the same level of commitment as maintaining a good flow of fresh content for your website. If it was as easy as posting a blog now and then everyone could say they have a strategy in place. Unfortunately it is not that simple. Simple steps to creating your strategy include: ? Finding your target audience ? Devising a schedule for reaching goals and sticking to it ? Keeping audience (customers and potential customers) attentive ? Keeping track of user responses ? Adapting when necessary Combining Social Media with Other Tools Using social media should not be the only means of marketing your business or services. Rather it should be used along with more traditional methods. Social media can also be used with promotional tools that are a bit outside the mainstream such as web conferencing. The major advantage here is that each can be used to promote the other. Network contacts can be updated on webinars, ensuring full attendance. Portions of video conferences can also be saved and posted on the company's page to be viewed by all contacts. Beware the Social Media Backlash As with any type of forum there is the risk of a backlash. Despite this belief however, there is there is still a lot that can be gained from social media marketing. Oddly enough, while companies try to reach out to customers via social networking sites, they try to curtail their own employees' use of the medium. Reason being, social media does have a huge following and productive time is spend online on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace to name a few. One of the cons voiced about social media marketing as a form of promotion is related to spam. No computer user wants to be inundated with unsolicited advertising. Many users are also wary of clicking links that will take them to unrelated offers. As such, companies should be aware of these concerns and work to minimize them. Both social media and use of meeting software allow companies to be a bit more creative with their promotional efforts. Additionally, this form of marketing allows a company to have more control over its message. Luckily the Internet is replete with offerings in both arenas. Perform your due diligence if you must, but eventually you will see that these tools can help chart the course to a successful social media marketing.