Social media have become the favored channel of conversation for hundreds of thousands of people and companies – an extraordinary environment for digital sharing in which geographic and generational differences no longer apply.

Being able to interact with millions of potential customers in a new dimension (one-to-one marketing) constitutes an unprecedented opportunity for self-promotion, which can contribute to raising the profile – in a viral, uncontrollable way – of a person, a company, a brand or a product.

With the objective of tapping – for business purposes – the immense potential afforded by social networks and online communities, many companies are testing out new strategies of social media marketing; complex techniques, closely linked to the psychology of the web users, their personalities, and their relationship with the "tribe" of reference.

The entry of a company into the Web 2.0 world is a delicate moment, a stage to be planned out carefully, because visibly commercial marketing initiatives or inappropriate operations are very heavily penalized by irritated users, who are now more willing than ever before to show and share their disappointment.

A successful strategy requires – right from the preliminary stage – a careful focus on the following aspects:

  • role, terms and participatory dimension of the company
  • defensive, neutral or pro-active position of the company
  • objectives to be pursued
  • strategies for development and crisis management
  • listening to and monitoring a wide spectrum of social media