-Submitted by: Breanna Banford, Social Marketing Specialist, Enterprise Business Group

How do you get people to change and move away from their comfort zone into new and unknown territory? Making that jump is scary for most because change is hard.

There have been several critical shifts in technology over the last century that have forced people to make major adjustments to the way they work and live. In my lifetime, it has been the mass use of computers and the introduction of the Internet. Most recently, it was the emergence of social media, social networking and mobile devices.

Social media is a new realm most understand on a personal level, but are curious about how to appropriately implement it into business marketing practices. Sure, Facebook is great for connecting with old friends and family, Twitter provides quick snippets of news and industry-specific information to and from your followers, and LinkedIn keeps you in touch with your professional network. But the question is, how do you strategize and use all these new platforms to understand and reach your customers, especially in the B2B business world?

Man scratching head in confusion looking at a chalkboard

Image Credit: Getty Images®

As a social media marketing specialist many people wonder what I actually do for a living. They joke, “Oh you just spend all day on Facebook.” While it’s true that I’m always connected to the social world, my role is to show how social media is implemented into the overall marketing strategy. Social media marketing tactics will not replace what marketers have done in the past, but rather work alongside the effective traditional marketing tactics. It’s all about integration.

In the near future, marketers will be expected to know how social media marketing fits into the bigger picture and begin developing plans on their own. There won’t be specialists to do it for them in a few years. As a marketer it’s wise to continue exploring, learning, and then teaching and executing what you’ve learned. But, where do you start?

I believe the best way to emerge into social media for your company or as a professional is to start with research. There’s a lot of free information online – read news articles (Mashable), sign up for free webinars (Hubspot), take advice from the experts and follow them on Twitter. Test the waters by sharing information that matters to you or your business on your social networks. After you explore you’ll have a better idea about where you fit into the social networking world and feel more comfortable sharing your expertise.

How have you integrated social media in your professional life? Which sites do you use most?