Both marketing and selling are centered around the age-old act of building relationships. If your prospects and customers are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any of the myriad social networking services out there, you can take relationship building to a new level - you can share useful content, help customers do their job, drive your tribe to create content, run highly targeted promotions, and most importantly, you can listen.
Social networks are highly effective means of communications, but they must be integrated into your marketing and communication strategy. Facebook is a great new tool for us marketers, but to get optimal results we need to make it work in conjunction with everything else we have in our tool bag.
The recent acquisition of Radian6, a social media monitoring platform, by Salesforce, might be an important step towards convergence of social media marketing with "traditional" marketing and sales.
Call it whatever you want ("cloud marketing" would make you fully buzzword compliant...), but if as a result of this acquisition we marketers would be able to get a holistic view of our marketing campaigns by combining Salesforce data with social media intelligence, then marketing will become a little more 'science', and a little less 'art'.
We evaluated Radian6 about a year ago and were deeply impressed. We're a Salesforce customer. I can't wait to see how the two platforms will be integrated. For example, if we'd be able to enrich our contact database with information flowing from social media feeds, or if we'd be given the opportunity to correlate sentiment with revenue, then the folks at Salesforce have done good!