This article may be short, but it’s very, very sweet in terms of its power and simplicity.

I was having a conversation with another marketer about the most common question we get asked lately. The question is, “What is the ROI for Social Media?” Face it. You are getting asked to post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, You Tube and your blog and want to know if it really pays off. Now I could tell you success story after success story of sales results for companies, or I could tell you about the referral power, collaboration and credibility building that you get from these sites.  We could dive deep into the Search Engine Optimization benefits, but I might leave a few of these topics for future articles.

Today, I want to talk about one of the biggest uses for Social Media that is absolutely invaluable and yet highly ignored. It takes the least amount of time annually, costs nothing, yet seeps through all the noise online to deliver to you daily ONLY the information you need to know. Important information, like:

  • What your competitors are up to
  • What your clients are saying about you and your company
  • What the newest trends are in your industry
  • Hot stories in the media that pertain to your company and industry
  • And so much more

In the military, they call this their listening station or listening post. I consider it my secret online spy. How do you harness all of this in less than 30 minutes of your time? By setting up your Google Reader in a very clever way.

If you read my article about expert failure , you know that you really can’t be putting blinders on and assuming that the enemy isn’t making advances. Building your listening post will allow you to:

  • Constantly improve and enhance your offerings
  • Identify your most relevant media contacts
  • Stay up on the latest and greatest to avoid becoming obsolete or archaic.=
  • Help position you as an expert in your field
  • Turn bad customer experiences into heroic customer service
  • And (again) so much more.

I think that’s pretty good ROI for 30 minutes of your time. Don’t you?

About the Author…

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Cidnee Stephen
Cidnee Stephen

Cidnee Stephen is the owner of Strategies for Success, a marketing company that focuses on the needs of budget minded small businesses and professional services. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.