All the latest market research is showing that social networking is moving into the mainstream, extending out from the teens and young adult segments that started popularising it.

Whilst many have ventured onto Facebook and LinkedIn, there’s still a lot of confusion about how Twitter can be of help to businesses. One trend that I’ve noticed is that an increasing number of recruiters are posting jobs on Twitter, so its fair to assume that they’re getting some responses that result in placements and their subsequent commission. Similarly, Digital Marketing ‘experts’ are using Twitter to gather a following about subjects such as Search Engine Optiimisation, which can only help build their credibility and networking opportunities to generate more leads. Even Jamie Oliver has built a community of nearly 40,000 Twitter followers who are no doubt more amenable to making purchases from his online shop.

But the question remains, who is really making money from Twitter ? Well, according to this article, Dell are claiming to have generated an incremental $1,000,000 directly attributable to their Twitter activities. In a nutshell, Dell have been using their @DellOutlet Twitter account to alert followers to special deals each week; in some cases offering 30% off a particular model of laptop. They are now saying that they’ll post details of special offers for their Twitter followers each week, so if you’re in the market for a new PC, it could be worth keeping tabs on Dell via Twitter.

So there you have it. The evidence is that some companies are making money from their Twitter activities. Does your company have a plan to monetise social networking ?

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