Small Business Digital Marketing Blog

(Note: Reggie Bradford is CEO of Vitrue. He submitted this story to VentureBeat.) With more than 20 years of experience as an executive in the technology and marketing spaces, I’ve learned a lot about how technology directly affects marketing strategies. The arrival of sites like Facebook, Twitter and most recently Google+ have changed the way societies communicate. While many brand marketers have incorporated social into their plans, many still wrestle with questions like how much, to what degree, how to execute, and what is next? Simply “being social” is not enough. Here are six truths marketing executives need to know about this phenomenon:

The social sandbox is getting bigger:

With 750 million engaged and active fans, Facebook is absolutely the most effective and important overall social network (and should be your main focus). You’ve probably heard the refrain about engaging on Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and emerging platforms, as well. But it’s foolish to not have an eye on Google+, which amassed 20 million users in only a month. Despite its infancy, and some launch hiccups, Google+ has great potential – most notably its integration with other Google products, essentially creating a social layer across numerous properties. According to Experian Hitwise, 56 percent of Google+’s upstream traffic came from other Google properties, with 34 percent of that traffic coming from 37 percent of its upstream traffic came from search engines, while 21 percent was driven by email. In the aggregate, Google+ could offer a valuable real-time multimedia content sharing and discovery social platform. Only time will tell.

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Brought to you by It's tough to go anywhere these days without finding a sign that begs us to "like" a business on Facebook or to follow it on Twitter. Yelp stickers in front windows are more prevalent than those from the Better Business Bureau. And all we have to do to learn about a business we're thinking of patronizing is drop its name into a web search box and wait for the results. But exactly how are businesses using the plethora of social tools to convert possibility into revenue? I came across two examples in vastly different industries. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, here are two businesses that offer tools for turning virtual relationships into concrete revenue.