Rob Harles is the Global Head of Bloomberg LP and I had the pleasure interviewing him about how Bloomberg LP uses social media to expand its various brands and keep customers. As the global head of social media it is his mission to drive social media adoption and innovation at Bloomberg globally, build their audiences and communities across all social platforms and channels, developing engaging content and experiences and measuring and driving social ROI across the company. He also creates global business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, digital marketing, CRM, Social media, Social commerce, ecommerce, mobile commerce Product innovation, quantitative and qualitative analytics. The Bloomberg company connects influential decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas. Their strength is quickly and accurately delivering data, news and analytics through innovative technology - is at the core of everything we do. With over 15,000 employees in 192 locations, we deliver business and financial information, news and insight around the world.How did you get your start as the head of social media for Bloomberg? I was head of social media for Sears Holdings for a number of years and I had built up a very strong following from my previous career. Many of my peers and various people knew me and knew what I could do. Bloomberg was looking for someone to help build their social program both from a strategic and operational perspective. I was asked to develop an outline and job description for my role...the rest was as they say history.What is the biggest challenge facing your industry today? The biggest challenge facing my industry is finding the "signal" in all the noise (useful information or interactions). Companies continue to struggle to create value from social media. They tend to think in terms of the channel rather than customer. Instead they should be asking "how do I drive value for my audience...how do I build meaningful relationships via these tools, and how do I use them to differentiate the service or product I offer?" The same principles that govern business should and do apply to social media.How hard was it to get Bloomberg to use social media? In any company it is essential to get top down as well as bottom up support for programs such as these. This was similar to when the web was in its infancy (or email for that matter). In the end, you need people in senior roles to say "this is important" I was lucky to have that at Bloomberg.What's your goal in using social media for all the brands that Bloomberg has? The overall goal is to make sure that social media is part of the way we do business, whether we are building awareness and growing our audiences or solving problems and addressing customer concerns. Social media helps us build relationships with our customers and prospects. Done well, those relationships can become extremely valuable in terms of what they can deliver for customer loyalty and innovation.What advice do you have to give small business that want to use social media to promote their business? Before you start, make sure you understand your business goals and target audience. Then ask yourself why would having a social media presence help you achieve those goals...why would a customer or prospect want to connect with you...what is in it for them? Then remember if you start a social media channel, it's a long-term commitment (it's like a puppy, you need to take care of it).What do you think is the future of social media at Bloomberg?I think social media will increasingly impact the way companies do business by enabling them to build digital relationships. I also believe that the data being generated by social media will eventually have tremendous value to companies as they seek to understand their customer's needs and interests and develop relevant and differentiated products and services. Social Media defined simply "The goal of social media is to create customers who in turn create customers."Roger Maloney is the VP of Vanguarde Consulting Group and company that prepare small business for the digital age. Roger can be reached at email@example.com.Read all Roger's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Tribl Media Insights.Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.comFollow our Twitter updates @MediaBizBloggerThe opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.