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Two years ago when the building industry began its economic downturn, even the companies most hard hit looked at how they could cut costs and increase productivity through an investment in technology. A recent study by The World Economic Form reports that the countries most likely to thrive following the world wide economic slowdown are those countries that have made the biggest investments in technology. These countries, simply put, have created a competitive advantage by lowering overhead and thus improving efficiency and productivity.

One area in which we have already seen exponential growth is social media and blogging. As unemployment rises, the number of subscriber sign ups on business networking sites such as LinkedIn has grown by as much as 25% in a single month, reflecting nearly 28 Million users (September 2008). Businesses and organizations are running to join the social media movement, allowing them to reach broad audiences of like-minded people at virtually no cost. Frequently this is in lieu of using traditional media or even formerly inexpensive online tactics such as SEM. While Google is cutting anywhere from 200 employees to 1% of their workforce, depending on what you believe in the media, it’s reflective of a movement away from SEM toward the strategic use of social media and tactical blogging. This strategy may prove to be equally or perhaps even more effective for substantially less cost.

It’s time to overcome the misconception that businesses don’t spend money during an economic downturn and embrace the fact that the American entreprenurial spirit fights for survival by spending money prudently. Every organization and company must improve their ability to communicate with more relevance and frequency to their defined target.

Social media provides the opportunity to leverage brand, build loyalty, maintain relevance, and reach new customers by leveraging relationships with existing customers.

While it’s a microcosm of the movement to create efficiency through the use of technology, social media has seen more growth during this economic challenge than any other business sector. There is substance behind it. If your organization has not investigated how to more efficiently communicate with new and existing customers, I strongly suggest you do your due diligence.

Read the Report: Global Information Technology Report: 2009

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