The past year was an eye-opener in many ways for the entire IT industry. It saw Dell’s fall from grace, the transformation of BlackBerry phones to pariah devices, Apple lost Steve Jobs but its iPhone 5 emerged as the leading mobility device of 2012 and so much more. But the much-hyped news which turned out to be a dud was the launch of Facebook, the social media site, on the NASDAQ. Within months the shares of Facebook are trading at less than its IPO price and its earning statements, which were recently made public did not help matters. In face of criticism regarding the way Facebook places advertisement on its pages and the questionable ability of such PPC campaigns to target specific user groups, Social Marketing lost some of it sheen in 2012. In fact many software development companies opted to go the way of placing Google PPC advertisements instead in order to enhance web traffic and engage a wider group of potential clientele. The key reasons why many companies pursue Social Marketing are as follows:Strengthening Customer RelationshipsThrough social marketing most companies in a variety of industries from software development to automobiles seek to establish closer customer relationships. In this case, Social Marketing provides companies with an instantaneous and low cost method to connect and build stronger ties with chosen customer groups by providing special discounts, limited period offers etc.Enhancing Brand Preference and Brand AwarenessIn case of existing client groups, this form of marketing can play a key role in enhancing the preference for the advertised brand. This helps increase repeat customers and improves the brand image as well as bottom line for the company. Additionally, this system of marketing can also enhance brand awareness among targeted user groups to improve overall visibility of a product/service, by improving and establishing interaction between various customer groups.Improvement of Information-Sharing among StakeholdersAn additional benefit is this format’s ability to facilitate an improvement among various stakeholders of the company. These stakeholders include customers, suppliers or partners even if the company is an offshore software developer or engaged in providing Quality Assurance services. This form of marketing allows such stakeholders to instantly convey their changing requirements to the company almost instantaneously. This improvement in communication would help companies adapt faster to their business environment and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.Increased Revenues through New CustomersThis form of marketing can act as a key method for acquiring new customers as well as breaking into new niches. Additionally, the improvements in information sharing with key organizational stakeholders can also play a key role in devising new products as well as driving innovation in organizations to improve overall market position even if the company operates in the field of Java application development or mobile apps development.These are key reasons for companies to invest in social marketing, however, questions regarding the capability of existing social media sites to actually deliver these benefits so that the company enhances its bottom line has come under fire in 2012.The Future of Social MarketingAny illusions that social marketing initiates by themselves can propel a company forward have been dispelled in recent years. In 2013, we can look forward to the integration of social marketing within the scope of additional marketing initiates such as PPC advertising, television advertising etc. Like any other trend, this emerging marketing is expected to evolve and its incorporation into other marketing initiatives commonly undertaken by organizations to acquire new customers, extend its reach and foray into new markets.In the coming years we can also look forward towards increased use of various social media optimization techniques to help companies focus such marketing efforts and target their desired market segments to maximize benefits. The proliferation of smart phones, tablets and related mobility devices are also expected to result in mobile apps development, which are targeted at improving social marketing initiatives of various companies specially those operating in the SME segment.