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According to research by Harvard Business Review, 58 percent of companies it surveyed are currently using social media and 21 percent were preparing to launch social media initiatives.

However, only 12 percent of those companies feel they are using social media effectively. Two-thirds had no formal social media strategy and 61 percent said they must overcome a learning curve before adopting a social media strategy.

In this issue, social media consultant Carl Catedral offers some advice, noting companies need to emphasize the "social" part by engaging in conversations, rather than what Harvard Business Review termed "shout marketing." A report on that magazine's research said: "The best users understand that social media is a conversation, not a monologue. More effective companies use social media to interact with customers by creating online customer groups and monitoring trends. They were twice as likely to use social media to research new products."

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Jodi Heckel is editor of Central Illinois Business magazine. She can be reached at 217-351-5695 or