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According to online trends and analysis web site HitWise, Facebook surpassed Google Search as the most visited site on the web last week. Google Search accounted for 7.03 percent of US Internet visits last week, compared to 7.07 percent for Facebook.

What does that mean for VARs? It means that there’s no ignoring it—social media is not going away, and resellers need to figure out how to maximize and market through the medium to lure new customers and maintain the relationships they have.  

To decipher the complex landscape of social media, businesses are flocking to Facebook, and setting up Twitter accounts, but, without much of an idea what and how social media should be used to drive business. A new whitepaper from email marketing firm ExactTarget attempts to shed some light on how businesses can establish and execute a revenue-generating social media strategy.

Jeff Rohrs, vice president of marketing for ExactTarget provides four essential tips to successful social media marketing for companies who want to “get serious about social media.”

1. Talk about the Passion
Rohrs says businesses need to identify the “passionate voices within the organization,” to help spread the word and share their intense beliefs in a businesses’ products and services through the social media medium. Rohr says the optimal passionate voices are not always found in-house, and businesses should look externally, if in doubt.

Social Media “experts” are not that hard to find—unless, they are good. Boutique agencies with on-staff social media “experts” are popping up everywhere, but beware of people who claim to know because the Folks Who Know say there is a steep learning curve to marketing effectively through the social media medium. The good news? There are some honest and true consultants who really get it and can positively impact the bottom line. Do the necessary research and homework before contracting.

2. Empower Speech
Rohrs says once a business identifies the people with the passion, legal teams and C-Suites need to let the information flow freely. He encourages businesses to consult with their legal departments or outside counsel to draft a social media policy that encourages responsible participation that has an impact within the social media medium, but without constricting the flow of information which can sabotage the entire strategy.

3. Social Media Task Force
Bringing together passionate voices and managers from all over the organization will help merge perspectives and keep a finger on the pulse of the success of a business’s social media. Rohrs suggests forming cross-functional social media team that meet regularly to develop, measure and continuously evaluate how the company should engage through existing and new social channels.

4. Tapping the Right Tech Tools
New technologies are being created daily to help monitor and measure social media use.  Rohrs indicates effective social media should be integrated into an overall online marketing strategy that taps tech tools and techniques like email marketing and tweeting solutions that engage customers and prospects across multiple mediums, but stops short of over-communication, or as Rohrs says, “killing consumers with kindness.”