Social media marketing is a great tool for getting your company seen and heard, building brand awareness, and increasing leads and sales. But you have to do it the right way and invest the work and time upfront to make it reap real returns for your business. This means research, research, research. This means understanding the unique characteristics of each social network and its users. This means being able to accurately define where your target audience is.

It sounds like a lot of work, and that's because it is. Social media marketing isn't a quick, free way to impact your bottom line. It isn't something that you should give to an intern because they know how to set up a MySpace page. It's a marketing tool, and it should be given just as much attention (if not more) as your advertisements, SEO and PPC campaigns, direct mail pieces, and your website.

With that in mind, here are a few steps to get you started.

Get the full story at iMedia Connection