Long gone are the days of 2006, when companies glanced longingly at social media and wondered what potential it held.

Now, if companies aren't going through the natural growing pains that come from joining the blogosphere and social sites, they are at a severe competitive disadvantage.

Many companies have by now launched initial social media initiatives and are looking to move their efforts to the next step.

This is where social media experts such as Josh Hallett come in.

Hallett has first-hand experience in using the power of social media. He's leveraged his blog and grueling schedule as a conference speaker to establish himself not only as one of the true thought leaders in the business blogosphere but also as an in-demand social-media consultant.

If your company is dipping its toes in the social media waters and needs to know what comes next, Hallett can help demystify this form of "new marketing."

Q: Many times it seems that a company will start blogging, and later abandon the blog. What do you think is the biggest hurdle that companies need to clear if they want to grow their blog into a successful marketing and communication tool?

A: First off, it's a long-term commitment—and they need to set aside much of the marketing and PR spin that sometimes creeps into some corporate blogs. There is sometimes the thought that since it's their blog, they have "control." Well they do to some degree, but ultimately the organization needs to be willing to talk about things they might not want to talk about.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier