In the most recent edition of MICE Monitor,
http://www.ispypublishing.com/freestuff/M.I.C.E_7_8_2010.pdf, Julian Temple of the TBC group postulated that social media “was the most important communication tool since e-mail.”
His well thought-out suggestion for companies who are considering using social media in earnest is to first spend the time understanding how each community uses social media. Rather than being a passive observer, get involved by posting and commenting. This level of participation will build awareness and credibility which leads to the next phase which is influence.
The result of being able to influence a community is to motivate an audience to write, comment and communicate and ultimately attend a conference or trade fair.
A good place to start is right here at UFILive.org.