All the cool kids are talking about it.  Social media has become an indispensable tool for most businesses, whether their tool of choice is blogging, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube , or something else.  If you are unsure of how to proceed with your organization’s social media program, consider starting with listening.

Unless you know what your customers, your prospects, and the public are saying about you and your industry, you won’t know what to do or say, either. No longer can marketing campaigns be conducted by getting a few creative people in the room to come up with a winning message. Today, you must know what people are saying to know which messages will resonate. And you must listen to their response to your marketing message so you can decide how to tweak it for the next time around.

Once you have a handle on social media listening, it makes sense to engage with your audience in social media, which is what most people talk about all the time. It’s the sexy part of social media, and it can be fun and valuable. But people spend most of their time focusing on the fun and exciting parts of social media, and few companies spend much time measuring the value.

For a different perspective on social media, read some recent entries by Mike from the Biznology blog.