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Reap returns from social media in 2012

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NEW YORK -- This year, businesses will focus on the fruits of social media marketing, speakers at Real Estate Connect in New York City predicted Thursday. In 2012, "we will start to see the results of our social media efforts," said Ernie Graham, general manager of social media search platform SocialBios, which Move Inc. acquired in July. "2012 is the year of social media ROI (return on investment) for businesses," agreed Clara Shih, co-founder of social media software company Hearsay Social and author of The Facebook Era. Hearsay Social's platform helps businesses manage their social media presence and measure the results of that presence. Typically, the company tracks metrics such as the number of people that "Like" a brand or how many of a company's agents participate in social media, but "now we're starting to connect (social media) to sales," Shih said. Social media success depends on fostering an ecosystem that keeps consumers involved, ...