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Firms Casting a Wide Net for Social Media

As the Web has become an increasingly social place, businesses have been tinkering with new strategies to interact with customers online and promote themselves. While Facebook and Twitter top the list of usual suspects, a new research study has found that many firms are broadening their reach to other, lesser known platforms.

Datamation takes a look at the growing trend, and notes the difficulty of measuring the return on investment.

Companies are increasingly using leading social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to get their message out, but some recent research indicates many are going beyond the most popular brands both for marketing and customer support.

Social media writer and consultant Paul Gillin said the early returns from a survey he just finished across a mix of companies large and small shows some surprising consistency. Gillin said that on average, these companies are using eight social media platforms, compared to less than one in 2006. They also report near-unanimous satisfaction with the value and performance they're getting.

"These are preliminary results based on a small sample of 53 responses, but I was really surprised by how many social media platforms they're all using," Gillin told InternetNews.com. He said he placed particular emphasis on interviewing large, household brands including Coca-Cola, Ford Motor, Cisco, Dell and Sodexo.

"Companies are getting aggressive with these platforms because the down economy has forced them to be creative and cut back on some of their traditional media spend," he said. "They're trying new stuff and they're seeing a payoff."

But he admits the payoff is more subjective than a clear return on investment. "I didn't find anyone that was measuring ROI in any meaningful way," said Gillin. "For the most part, I think it's a feeling that being closer to the customer pays off."

Read the full story at Datamation:
Businesses Go Multiplatform for Social Media