Online social ties will only deepen in the next year, making social marketing more effective and allowing companies to generate more revenue through usingsocial media for customer service, writes Gary Halliwell. More companies are expected to embracesocial media as a word-of-mouth tool, but some may struggle in the new real-time environment, Halliwell writes. VentureBeat/Entrepreneur Corner

Which will you use?

Social marketing will move beyond Facebook and LinkedIn – A recent Harvard research study showed that information and influence travel up to three degrees across a social network. The information you communicate to friends, family and colleagues is often passed on beyond your network – possibly to thousands of people, most of whom you will not even know. Similarly, the information you receive each day may have traveled two or three degrees before it reaches you.

This is where the meat is for social marketers. In our connected world of Tweets, blogs, emails and posts, this information transmission is captured in electronic form, and what we know as “word-of-mouth” in face to face interaction has become “word-of-digital”, and it’s incredibly track-able and useful.