The way people interact is rapidly changing. The way businesses get their messages out to the market is rapidly changing. And the way customers want to interact with suppliers is rapidly changing. All thanks to the explosion of social media platforms. And changes in technology and the way organizations do business always spell opportunity for the channel.

Shifts in technology trends stem from the consumer marketplace, and IT departments and businesses of all sizes are trying to keep up. While the mobile device revolution is certainly fueling the most change, it impossible to ignore the rise of social media and the impact it's having on businesses, sales and the way companies interact with their consumers.

I’ve spent the better part of the last few years talking to CIOs and IT directors across all industries. And to be honest, most organizations don't have a clue regarding how social media should be included in their marketing strategies. Too many still believe throwing money at the problem or simply creating a LinkedIn or Facebook company page is the answer. So much confusion exists among businesses regarding how they can use social media to extend brand awareness, convey information, foster communication with customers and get more actionable data out of their users. And where there is confusion, again, there is opportunity for the channel.

One critical piece missing from most social media agendas is the direct connection it needs to have to customer relationship management, according to conversations I’ve had with Barton Goldenberg, president of ISM, a Bethesda, Md.-based consultancy that focuses on providing a lifecycle approach to customer relations. ISM's specialties range from sales pipeline excellence to the latest digital marketing techniques to building and managing social media customer communities.

As Goldenberg sees it, any social media initiative needs to be about generating revenue and increasing customer engagement, and if it doesn’t, it’s a waste of money. Social media is about bringing a company’s best and most interested customers closer. It’s about forming a community where information and ideas can be shared and better business decisions can be made.

Here is where solution providers can play such a pivotal role. If you are already upgrading, providing training, managing or in some way hosting your customer's CRM systems, developing its social media strategy is a natural extension. As I mentioned earlier, most organizations are throwing crazy money at building out their social media presence but are going about it the wrong way. You can help them properly utilize this evolving medium as a true lead-generation and customer-service tool and actually produce a return on their investment.

There is gold in socially awkward organizations, so start digging if you haven’t already.

Knock em alive.