social media checkBy now, we all know that organizations are taking full advantage of social media to closely connect with customers and to promote their products and services. But several articles and studies show that social networks are now a top purchase-evaluation tool for decision makers. Professionals connect to vendors on social media sites, and a many say that social media plays a role in every stage of the acquisition process. Just IT spending is expected to reach more than $3.5 billion this year. Influential buyers seek as much useful--and current--information as possible. They chat with peers and vendors who can help them make the right choice.

An estimated 400 IT decision-makers in a diverse range of industries throughout North America participated in research, which was commissioned by LinkedIn and conducted by Forrester Consulting. Find out more about this survey.

CIO Insight also discussed how CIO's were using Social Media as a purchasing tool.

CCA Digital Generation Centre discussed a very related subject: How social media can help you make the right business decision in the pre-product launch stage. They discussed Microsoft's announcement of their new Tablet PC, called "Surface". This was immediately interpreted as Microsoft's latest effort to challenge Apple's Ipad. This caused a huge volume of social media comments World-wide.

So all this leads up to an unusual question: Why does a business need to advertise anymore? Just promote on Social Media instead and make sure the right people are listening.

New businesses are born every day and CCA Digital Generation Centre is one. They track all these conversations in real time to discover the sentiment around these discussions. Then they guide the business to make the right strategic decision prior to the actual launch of a product.

As more organizations latch on to the value of Social Media, the whole way we do business is going to change. We are finding out that Social Media is much, much more than "just for fun"; it is transforming businesses. It is happening whether the IT department likes it or not. There has to be a company-wide strategy because now newly empowered employees must help newly empowered customers. It is an opportunity to rethink the way the company does business so that Social Media opportunities are not lost.

Sometimes these opportunities can be from an internal Social Media system, rather than Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. This promotes collaboration internally on projects, independent of where the employees are located. One product that goes after this market is Sharepoint from Microsoft. General Electric has built their own innovative internal social networking tool to break down organizational silos and cut costs.
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