To many, Social Media is a that ubiquitous buzz word that seems to try to get your attention in different types and parts of media. The recent Sprint commercial mentioned Twitter, you can now tweet with your favorite news reporters after your favorite newscast, President Barack Obama tweets (or a team does for him at least) and Britney Spears is on Facebook.

Ben Stiller recently jumped on Twitter via @redhourben, and made a huge announcement of his entry to Social Media. The big players right now are Twitter and Facebook, two feathers of the same bird, serving connected but different demographics. It has been said that Twitter is not for teens, but Facebook is.

Twitter's growth was up to 1382% in early 2009.

Twitter\’s growth was up to 1382% in early 2009.

I “officially” entered the world of professional Social Media Marketing late last year, but have worked in its many siblings. Viral Marketing, Buzz Marketing, Word-of-mouth marketing. I have grown greatly in my expertise since last year — now starkly aware of the ineffable connection of SEO and Social Media Marketing, the different tools that make Social Media marketing more effective, the various tools for tracking and measurement, and how to create and customize strategies for specific types of products/services and websites.

Yet to “get” social media is not just all about having the buzzword as part of your title, or even use it on a daily basis.

The difference between a site on Geocities and a Facebook page is the different between a plastic woman (mannequin) and a real live female. The other one is just meant to be looked at. The second one, is meant to be talked to, conversed with. It is meant to solicit feedback. It is a living, breathing thing.

Social Media is living and breathing thing, can cause as much benefit or damage to your brand as a prankster in a retail store. The other cliche buzzword is engagement. A term that is easy to drop, but do we really understand it? Social Media has removed opened the doorway in between the consumer and the brand.

It is far easier now for consumers to express like or dislike of a brand, and even easier to tell others of their opinion.

Different companies have different purposes for stepping into social media. Some of them are branding, brand awareness, customer engagement and brand reputation. Whatever your purpose is, you have to constantly monitor your brand. There are many tools:

1. Twitter Search
– search related keywords and find out what people are saying about your brand in real time
2. Monitter
– much like Twitter search, but tweets stream into monitor automatically for several keyphrase sets
3. Socialmention
– find what is being said about you brand in different social media platforms
4. Tweetdeck
– API that enables you to Tweet simultaneously to Twitter and Facebook, and monitor several Twitter searches.

Why do you have to care about what people say about your brand? Because consumers do. Consumers are swayed by what people say – case in point — the crash of the movie “Bruno” after opening night because of the widespread negative reaction at Twitter. Same thing happened to Funny People.

I digress here and there, but I think I am allowed to, this is my blog after all. That’s the beauty of Social Media. The next question I seek to answer is: Is there such a thing as a fool proof social media strategy? Let me know if you know.