The most critical factor in social media marketing is to engage in conversation. The simple fact is that marketing in the Internet world is not a one-way activity.

Engage with your markets and customers:

Make sure you update your fan pages and company profiles regularly on the social media (Web 2.0) tools that you use. This can include Twitter, Facebook and even your LinkedIn profile. If you are too busy, assign someone who is committed to responding to the conversations you are monitoring and using.

Expand your blog by opening it up for comments. Invite people you know to read and link to it; monitor the comments and make sure you respond with well-constructed answers.

If you are online, and you should be, always engage in active feedback with your market. More and more consumers are looking for solid information from other buyers to determine the credibility and quality of goods and services they find online. Add a 3rd party, online review capability on your website and solicit feedback from customers in order to build trust in your brand.

This can seem like a lot of ‘extra work’ for many business owners and executives. The important message is that consumers have unprecedented voice and visibility today, enabled by the Internet and Social Media websites. If you have not brought your company around to this reality, it is time to start.

Download the whitepaper “Leveraging Social Chatter: Online Brand Reputation Monitoring and Management below from Gary Levine and see if your business is on the right track. Gary’s whitepaper also provides a useful Social Media checklist that offers you advice on the things you should be doing in protecting your brand online.

Gary is a Social Media strategist at WSI, one of the largest Internet Marketing companies in the world.

Download the free “Leveraging Social Chatter: Online Brand Reputation Monitoring and Managementwhitepaper from Gary Levine on our dedicated Whitepapers download section and learn how to Monitor and Manage Online Brand Reputation.