10 WAYS TO GENERATE LEADS USING SOCIAL MEDIA

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Have you ever considered using social media as a way of getting more leads? If you’re already using social media for your business, either to get more engagement, more traffic to your website or to raise awareness of your brand, why not also make an extra effort to also get more leads out of it?

An infographic by Wishpond (at end of post) shows us just how useful social media can be when it comes to generating leads: for example, 77% of “B2C marketers say they have acquired a customer through Facebook”, “34% of marketers have generated leads using Twitter and 20% have closed deals” and “LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter”, with 77% of B2B marketers saying that they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn.

Social media also leads to more “indirect” leads, as it helps you get more traffic that you can try to convert once they get to your website, and studies have shown that most buyers (77%) are “more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media.”

Generating leads using social media doesn’t happen instantly, like all other social media results. It takes a bit of effort, and the bigger and better your social media profiles are, the better the chances that you will generate more leads.

1. Use social media to share valuable and useful content.

If you have a blog you can share your content on social media – the more valuable and useful this content is for your audience, the better your chances at getting more leads. It’s also important to share other people’s content, and not just yours, but make sure it is content that your audience will truly value and appreciate. By sharing your own useful articles and resources, you will establish yourself as a knowledgeable person, and ultimately one that people will want to hire for their insight. When writing articles, try to think of the type of content that your target audience will truly value and want to read more about.

2. Always be nice on social media and engage with your audience.

By constantly engaging with your audience and always being polite and nice (even when they don’t really deserve it!) you will create a great first impression to all potential leads. But, perhaps even more importantly, this way you will start building long-lasting relationships with your fans and followers that can later lead to more leads and conversions.

3. Add links to your website/s on your social media accounts.

This is a very important aspect if you want more social media leads. Simply write your website address in your profile descriptions or in the designated spaces so that interested people can easily access your website and lead to more conversions.

4. Don’t just wait for the leads to come to you – look for them yourself.

Occasionally, people will use social media to look for a specific business they need. This is especially the case with B2B, where a particular business requires some services and asks around on social media to find the best candidate for the job. Try to check related groups and communities regularly and make keyword searches to find anyone that could be interested in your services, and approach them.

5. Calls to action.

Don’t be afraid to sometimes be a little salesy on social media. Among your regular updates and engagement with other social media users, you can sometimes post updates where you advertise your services or products and their benefits, and encourage people to go to your website to see what you offer. Don’t go overboard however so as to not alienate your followers and so that they think that you are only using social media to sell, as this will have the opposite of the desired effect.

6. Advertising on social media.

Advertising on social media can help you find lots of quality leads. On Facebook, you can use the Promoted Posts feature to advertise your most valuable posts and drive more targeted traffic back to your website which can lead to more conversions. You can also use regular advertising, which usually helps raise traffic, and try to target your ads as much as possible. If you have any special offers running, advertise them on social media to reach your target audience. It’s always preferable to try to link back to landing pages in order to increase your conversion rate.

7. Be helpful.

The more influential and respected you become on social media, the more questions and inquiries you will get. Make sure to take the time to respond to these questions, and also let them know that if they need any more help with anything else, they should contact you for your help. By being helpful this way, you increase your chances of getting quality leads in the future – some of the people you’ve helped may come back to you when they need your help and this time even employ your services or buy your product. It will also help you become more influential on social media, and create a better name for yourself, one that people respect and go to whenever they need the help. It’s important to understand that it is not by any means about short-term gratification – it requires a lot of work, time invested, and patience to get the results you want.

8. Add a contact form to your Facebook Page.

This is easy to do and can lead to great results. Simply get one of the contact form apps for Facebook and install to your Page – try Contact Form and install it in seconds:

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9. Hold a Google Hangout.Untitled6-1

With Google+’s Hangout feature, you can easily set up a webinar that can help you not only get more traffic, but also more quality leads. For example, you can set up a Hangout where you hold a webinar where you teach the viewers something useful that relates to your business, or even present one of your products or services. Your viewers will feel like they are getting something useful out of the Hangout and there will be more chances that they will go to your website and buy something from you! When you set up your Hangout, make sure to advertise across your social media profiles and consider sending an email to your list to help spread the word and get more viewers.

10. LinkedIn.

LinkedIn can be an amazing source of quality leads if used properly. Start by making sure your profile is complete with all the relevant information about your company, links to your websites, images and work history. Then find people you know and have worked with in the past to get Recommendations from them – this way you will be more influential on LinkedIn and your profile will look much better. Once your profile is all set up, start to engage with other users and build relationships with them before approaching them directly. Then start joining different relevant groups or even consider start one yourself. Make sure you engage with people in groups and try to look for question and enquiries that you can help with. There’s much more that you can do to get leads from LinkedIn, so much so that it requires it’s own article – so make sure to keep checking Socialable for a post on this in the very near future.

Are you using social media to generate leads? Have you been successful so far? And if so, what techniques do you use? Please leave your comments below!

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14 Great Tools to Create Engaging Infographics and Images for your Social Media Posts

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5 Ways to Maintain Brand Cohesion on Social Media :By Kimberlee Morrison on Jun. 5, 2015

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By Kimberlee Morrison on Jun. 5, 2015

Running a successful social media campaign can be difficult, especially when your brand wants to run the same campaign across multiple networks. An infographic fromMarketingInColor outlines the steps your brand needs to take to remain cohesive.

  1. Get your brand identity straight. Consistent use of the same visual messages makes your brand instantly recognizable. Just being recognizable can give your brand a big boost.
  2. Create a consistent voice for your brand. Twitter is one of the most important platforms when it comes to brand voice, as the short messages can make everything you say impactful, even retweets and @mentions.
  3. Be mindful of timeliness and seasonality. Everything, from images and text to videos and links should be carefully considered. Posting certain content at certain times during the day can have large impacts, as can seasonal changes in attitude on social media.
  4. Create content sharable. Reaching beyond your core audience is important to growing your social following. Shareable content also encourages your most engaged fans to become brand advocates, giving you even more growth.
  5. Maintain a consistent tone across networks. Obviously you should make tweaks to suit different networks and demographics, but you should be on message and consistent.

Readers: How do you keep your social media presence consistent across different platforms?

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LINKEDIN ACQUIRES REFRESH TO HELP YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR MEETINGS: by Nicole Brown

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LINKEDIN ACQUIRES REFRESH TO HELP YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR MEETINGSThis article originally appeared on Recode and is written by Kurt Wagner.

LinkedIn has acquired Refresh, a startup that helps people prepare for their meetings by collecting and sharing information on the people they’re meeting with.

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Refresh, which is based in Mountain View, Calif., scours the Internet for information on the people a user is scheduled to see, such as news items mentioning those people. The app will also pull info from Facebook or LinkedIn, and can sync with your email to determine when you first met (or at least emailed with) the people you’re scheduled to meet.

LinkedIn already offers a similar product called Connected that manages your existing LinkedIn relationships and reminds you to follow up with people after you’ve met.

The company plans to build new features using the Refresh technology, although its unclear if those features will be standalone apps or baked into LinkedIn. Refresh will shut down its app on April 15, according to a LinkedIn spokesperson.

A dozen of Refresh’s 14 employees will join LinkedIn’s Identity team at the company’s Mountain View headquarters beginning next week. A spokesperson declined to share terms of the deal.

16 Ways to Use Social Media to Promote Your Event: By Kimberly Reynolds

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Does your business conduct events?

Are you wondering how to use social media to promote those events?

Social media is a powerful tool to gain exposure, whether you’re hosting a physical conference or an online event.

In this article, I’ll show you 16 creative ways to increase awareness, engagement and sales for your event.

16 ways to promote an event

Discover 16 ways to promote an event.

#1: Use Facebook Ads to Remarket To Prospects

Facebook custom audiences allow you to show ads to people who have already visited your website. This is called remarketing (also known as retargeting). Advertisers can show event ads to Facebook users who left your website before purchasing a ticket.

Remarketing can be a very effective strategy because people rarely buy the first time they hear of an event or see an offer. This is especially true for big ticket items like conferences and conventions.

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If your event features well known experts, include their likeness on your advertising assets.

Pro Tip: When you advertise to prior website visitors, be sure to EXCLUDE Facebook users who have already purchased a ticket. This can easily be accomplished by creating a custom audience from the same page you used to track conversions, i.e. your “Thank You” page.

SMMW15 facebook ad set

Facebook allows you to include and exclude multiple audiences for each ad set.

#2: Create a Highlight Reel From Prior Events

Video provides a unique opportunity to convey the energy and excitement of a live event. Great visuals and catchy audio are a potent combination that drives registration. It also creates engagement opportunities as the video is shared with friends.

Create a video that conveys the excitement and fun of your event.

Things to keep in mind when creating a video:

  • Remember your intended audience. Your video should convey the value of your event to prospective attendees. Make the benefits of attending crystal clear.
  • Host on both YouTube and Vimeo. Each platform has different strengths, so take advantage of both. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world and the most used video platform on the Internet. Vimeo, though smaller, offers more control over your brand and no distracting banner advertisements.
  • Leverage it everywhere. Video can be shared almost everywhere: your website and/or event landing page, in your newsletter, in articles, with affiliates and on social media, including 15-second clips on Instagram. Click here to see how we used video on our Facebook event page.
  • Facebook loves video. Uploading native video maximizes your exposure in the newsfeed. In fact, Social Bakers reported that “Facebook videos achieved a 10 times higher viral reach than YouTube links did.” You can also set your video as “Featured” for maximum visibility on your Facebook page.
SMMW15 facebook featured video with link

Remember to include a registration link in the description of your video, preferably near the top.

#3: Harness the Power of Visual Testimonials

Do you have great comments in the exit surveys from previous events? Maybe you’ve interviewed attendees or speakers and captured statements of excitement about specific sessions, speakers or your event in general. Don’t let these nuggets go to waste!

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Create a template with branded images and a consistent color palette to help unify your marketing efforts and make it easy to share testimonial quotes.

Create simple graphic images with these quotes and comments. Share these visuals in your email marketing campaign, social platforms, blog posts and email signatures.

Be sure to give attribution to the commenter. People love to see their comments used and they often share this type of graphic. Also, having these third party statements lends credibility because they provide positive word of mouth about your speakers, sessions and event.

Bonus: Create a testimonial video. Video is an extremely effective medium to showcase the passion and enthusiasm your event inspires. A well-done testimonial video builds trust by allowing viewers to see and hear words of praise, rather than simply read them.

Testimonials from presenters are especially effective because they are generally considered trustworthy and credible sources of knowledge.

#4: Empower Affiliates, Fans and Attendees With Shareable Assets

Make it easy to share your event. Provide a web page with branded downloadable resources that fit any platform.

For attendees: Capitalize on their excitement! Provide a button to immediately share a tweet or post when they land on your “Thank You” page after registering.

Tip–ClickToTweet makes it super easy to create a simple, pre-crafted tweet.

For affiliates/fans: Make it easy for them to share your event by providing a variety of downloadable content: audio, video, an article, graphics, updates (Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Google+), email/blog post, and blurbs/newsletter updates.

Provide options to accommodate different posting styles as well as the image requirements of the various social networks. For example, rectangular images work best on Twitter, while square images look best on Instagram.

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Rich media assets like audio clips and short videos ensure there is something for everyone to share.

#5: Use Photos of Attendees in Social Updates

If you have a repeat event, leverage those fun photos you took at the previous events! Even better, share user-generated content on your social accounts.

Take a flattering, fun picture of some of your attendees and create a status update. Identify the people in the picture and be sure to tag them if you can. This gives the person an opportunity to comment and talk about how much learned or what a great time they had and how much they are they are looking forward to attending again.

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Have a photo booth at your event to capture fun photos of attendees to use in marketing future events.

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Photos of attendees look great in posts and they also make for creative ads!

#6: Create One Unified Hashtag For Use Across All Social Channels

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many events skip this one, vital step. Create, use and market your event-specific hashtag. You should be using this hashtag well in advance of your event dates and it should be included on EVERYTHING. Every digital image you create, every piece of collateral, your email signature…anywhere you can think of – share it!

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These super attendees remembered their hashtags–don’t forget to add yours!

By using an event specific hashtag, you’ll make it really easy for people to find not only what you are sharing, but what other people are saying, too!

This is also a great way to create and participate in an engaging conversation with attendees and interested parties.

Not sure about hashtag best practices? Check out this article to learn more.

#7: Mention Your Event and Hashtag in All Your Bios

Now that you’ve created your hashtag, don’t forget to add it to the bio (about) section of each of your social accounts! Utilizing the bio section is an often-underused tactic but has the potential for big gains. Once you have a link to your event, update your bio section, people have a very simple way to find out more – they just need to click the link!

Not only does this create an easy way for people to see the event, it also ties that event directly to YOU. Ultimately, people connect to people and this is one way to give authenticity and transparency to you personally – not just the event.

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Bitly links in your bio are a great way to track the effectiveness of your event marketing on Instagram (shown here) and other social media sites.

#8: Share Pictures of Speakers With Quote Overlays

It’s almost impossible to over-emphasize the importance of using visuals in your marketing. Donna Moritz, Socially Sorted, explains, “In this fast- paced, noisy online world, visual content is the best way to not only capture the attention of fans, but to have them take action on your content.”

While a headshot of a speaker might excite some people, it’s important to share something worthwhile from that speaker as well. Take one powerful statement from each of your speakers and add that to a graphic containing a headshot of the speaker. This gives people something to tie to that speaker, a glimpse into their personality or their presentation.

This also provides another opportunity to give your speakers additional exposure. (And for them to share with their own audiences, providing exposure to your event).

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Make sure the images are compelling and enticing enough to share.

#9: Create a Group Post Featuring Event Speakers

Odds are, you selected your event speakers because they are thought leaders in their fields. What better way to highlight the caliber of talent at your event than an expert roundup blog post?

Asking your presenters to contribute to this type of post has several benefits:

  • Your speakers will feel appreciated when they are afforded an opportunity to display their expertise to your audience.
  • Prospective attendees get a preview of the excellent content shared at your event.
  • Your readers glean the expertise from multiple experts in one post.
  • This type of post is often one of the most shared, providing you valuable, lasting evergreen content.

Some ideas for round up posts are marketing tips, favorite tools, blogging tips, marketing predictions. You can also do niche roundup posts such as Facebook advertising tips, Twitter tools, etc.

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A blog post featuring your event speakers doesn’t need to “sell” the event to be an effective marketing tool.

Over the years, we have published several posts featuring expertise from our presenters for Social Media Marketing World:

#10: Share Behind-the-Scenes Visual Content

A LOT of work goes into pulling off a fantastic event. Give a glimpse into this exciting and sometimes chaotic experience by sharing images and videos of the preparations going on.

Share your stories of how you’re pulling everything together and don’t forget– mistakes and challenges happen. Be authentic and share the challenges you face and what steps you took to resolve them. It humanizes your brand and makes you more relatable.

Posting behind the scenes photos and videos is also a great way to to generate buzz and boost engagement. It builds an emotional connection by fostering a sense of being an insider to the event, a “glimpse behind the curtain”.

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Share important steps in the planning process–like this tasting at the caterer–to build excitement about your upcoming event.

Content ideas:

  • Venue and surrounding area
  • Route to important local sites/attractions
  • Closest place to get a good coffee
  • Event signage and goodie bags
  • Fun things to do in the area
  • Bloopers
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Convey the scope and attention to detail of your event at a glance with behind-the-scenes visuals like this photo of the staffing schedule.

#11: Create a Facebook Event Page

Most people log in to Facebook at least once a day. Make it easy for them to keep up with event news by creating an event page listing. Your event page is also a great place to encourage pre-event networking. The convenience of an event page also encourages sharing by attendees.

To help make your event a success, Facebook has added new tools such as targeted newsfeed ads and event insights to measure the effectiveness of your efforts.

As the big day approaches, don’t forget to send out reminders to encourage people to RSVP on your event page.

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Check your Facebook event page regularly to answer questions, share tips and delete spam.

#12: Welcome new Instagram Followers With a Video Invite To Your Event

Instagram has made it very easy to offer a warm welcome: direct messages with video. You have 15 seconds to say thank you to your new followers and invite them to your event. This is especially effective if the person making the video will also be at the event to greet attendees. Who doesn’t like to see a familiar face when in unfamiliar surroundings?

You don’t need fancy equipment to make a quick video–just a smart phone!

#13: Mention the Event in Your Podcast

Whether you have your own podcast or you’re a guest, seize the opportunity to discuss your upcoming event. Be sure to talk about your value proposition-–not just who the speakers are, but what your attendees can gain by attending.

Remember, you are asking people to invest time and resources to attend; highlighting important take-aways (don’t forget to talk about the fun stuff, too!) is a great way to pique interest and get more registrations.

sme podcast episode library

Daily podcasts like The Social Media Examiner Show offer multiple opportunities to mention your event each week.

Erik Fisher, Community Manager for Social Media Examiner and Podcaster atBeyondTheToDoList.com, suggests, “Make sure to mention the event consistently across multiple episodes, mention it multiple times per episode without being too ‘salesy’ and use a clear call to action for your listeners.”

Other tips:

  • Mention the event as a “sponsor” of the podcast.
  • Interview presenters and mention that they will be at the event.
  • Make it part of the conversation.
  • Use an easy to remember URL when you mention the event.

#14: Create Special Graphics in a Variety of Sizes For Your Speakers

Make it fun and simple for your speakers to promote their presentation at your event. Be sure to use a great photo of the speaker and keep the image consistent with the branding for your event.

Since different social media platforms use various sized images depending on the type of post, take the time to create graphics in a multitude of sizes. This makes it convenient for your speakers to optimize the images on whatever social network they use.

Encourage your speakers to share, share, share the graphics on their social platforms, blogs, email signatures and more.

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Square graphics work well on Instagram, Facebook and Google Plus.

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Rectangular graphics look awesome in tweets and they can also be used as Facebook Open Graphic images.

#15: Leverage Facebook’s Call-To-Action To Drive Traffic To Your Registration Page

You’ve already (hopefully) updated your cover photo to showcase your event, so why not take it a step further by adding a Call-To-Action (CTA) Button?

Facebook recently rolled out its new CTA button for pages, said to “bring a business’s most important objective to the forefront of its Facebook presence.” What could be more important than generating event revenue for your business?

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Different call to action options provide a variety of choices to draw attention to your particular event.

smmw15 facebook call to action button url destinations

You can also specify different destination urls for desktop versus mobile traffic.

#16: Add Your Event to Your Email Signature

Have you considered how many emails you send and receive on any given day? Each one of those is an opportunity to spread awareness for you event. Simply add a hyperlink and/or graphic to your signature line.

email signature with smmw15 promo

An eye-catching graphic in your email signature is a non-invasive way to spread awareness.

These are just some of the tactics we have implemented to promote Social Media Marketing World. It’s important to try a variety of tactics and see what resonates with your audience. If something works, remember to document it in your marketing plan to use again.

How about you? Have you tried any of these tactics? Have you seen any other creative ways to promote an event? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

How 3 Ordinary Americans Are Getting Paid for Their Social Media Posts

Social Media Scoop

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are profiting off your posts. Last quarter, Facebook reported ad revenue of $3.6 billion, and that’s 53 percent more than just one year ago. A new social media upstart called Tsu is trying to do just that. Tsu gives 90 percent of its revenue back to its users.

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Is Social Media in Financial Services a Friend or Foe?-Kitty Parry , CEO and Founder of Templars; Founder of Social Media Charter

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Social media regulation for the financial services is now a reality. But is this just another compliance hurdle, or does it offer several opportunities?

When you bring together decision-makers and regulators to look at how social media can improve trust and transparency, and create rules that provide clarity and consumer focus, it helps to foster a collaborative relationship between the regulator and the industry. This is essential for navigating a somewhat uncertain landscape. At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos this year, social media expert David Kirkpatrick and European banking authority Huw van Steenis will come together to discuss this pressing issue in a global context.

This shift is long overdue: the use of social media in the financial services sector has been held back by teams with a muddled view of what is compliant and safe. There is a tendency to think of social platforms as subject to the same controls as traditional corporate media relations, to believe they require managing by specific spokespeople, using largely pre-approved (by compliance as well as senior management) content.

In fact, it is more helpful to liken social media to the experience of using email for the first time. What did companies do? They certainly didn’t say: “Let’s limit this tool to 10 individuals.” Instead they said: “Let’s train all our employees to use this tool as safely, efficiently and quickly as possible, and put the appropriate monitoring and controls in place to keep them and our firm safe.”

There have always been unfortunate information leaks and public-relations gaffs via email, but few people suggest that companies should restrict the use of email. In fact, best practice and management tools have emerged, and as a result the majority of us have become skilled at using email. Social media is the same (sort of). The perceived technical “headache” is that it does not pass through corporate firewalls and filters, so monitoring and management is a bigger challenge. But it is a challenge that the technology industry is meeting. Greater clarity from the FCA would give companies more confidence to use social media to connect with consumers and start building trust.

We are six years on from the banking crisis, yet last year 40% of customers stated that they were losing trust in the industry, according to a survey by Ernst & Young. Social media gives both consumers and companies a voice, and research indicates that CEOs with an online presence increase their trust factor.

There are commercial imperatives for financial services firms, too:

On social media, your consumer base is increasingly active, and you need to be as well. It is crucial that companies take the time to gain the skills to engage consumers authentically and appropriately. We all know it is not that cut and dried. There’s a reason why financial institutions haven’t engaged already: fear of the immediacy and uncontained nature of social media. Early mistakes, such as the mockery of JP Morgan on Twitter after followers were asked to send questions to #AskJPM, shouldn’t put firms off. PR mishaps happen every day, on and offline, but the last thing companies should do is communicate less.

Social media offers the chance to reach out, not just to sceptical younger generations but also within organizations that have become constricted by departmental silos, making them less able to respond to changing customer demands and leaving them exposed to a range of conduct risks.

The answer is company-wide training. Why haven’t firms invested in this? Because financial-services companies haven’t placed value on social media, viewing it as the reserve of the young: a fad, almost. Well email wasn’t a fad and nor is social media. It may look very different in five years’ time, but it’s not going anywhere.

Companies that stop their employees using social media are ignoring the now almost universal penetration, in developed countries, of smartphones and tablet devices. The reality is that people will use social media both in and out of the office.

There is an opportunity here for companies to seize the opportunity and get ahead of the curve; to improve profitability and manage their reputational risks. This can be achieved by developing collaborative relationships through and around social media, and by policy development between firms and the regulator; between IT, marketing, compliance and the C-suite; and between companies and their customers.

The initiative I founded, called the Social Media Charter, has encouraged this in the UK, bringing businesses and regulators together to increase understanding and dialogue. We have developed guidance, training, benchmarking and, for the really committed, an integrated implementation process that will ensure companies can engage online in a compliant and safe manner.

As more customers turn to social media to inform their choice of financial product, and to voice their concerns, this initiative provides a safe way to ensure your company is using social media effectively.

This year marks a new chapter. Now all financial companies in London are talking about social media, but the business case is still being proven. Too often, social media sits with the digital experts rather than the senior business leaders. It’s time for that to change.

The chance to innovate has genuinely arrived. No longer can regulation be used as a reason for fear of social media, instead with clear boundaries, the most successful firms will be the ones that harness this platform. We are sure to see more innovation in the next five years than has occurred in the last 20.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and The World Economic Forum to mark the Forum’s Annual Meeting 2015 (in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, Jan. 21-24). The Forum’s Young Global Leaders community comprises extraordinary individuals between the ages of 30 and 40 who are united in a common commitment to shaping the global future.