Wednesday, February 15, 2012


There is a lot of attention focused today on technology, and especially social media, as it relates to business development. Not a day goes by that someone does not mention the importance of Facebook, Twitter or Linked In to increase visibility, sales and profitability.   Along with the accolades for social media comes the critiques that it is a waste of time and could even put your business in danger.

Social networking provides platforms for business people to network online. As a marketing strategy, it relies upon people sharing and commenting on information. It  is really no different from attending a traditional (face to face) networking event except that it happens online where the world is open to anyone with a computer.

On social networking websites, individuals and companies can set up a profile page, post links to articles online, share what they're reading through Amazon plug ins, feed blog posts into the site, and befriend countless people. Technology opens up a broad world of contact through social network marketing.
More and more companies are turning their efforts to social networking as part of their marketing strategy. There are several pros and cons to using social networking as part of a marketing program.


1. FREE - all it takes is a time commitment
2. IMMEDIATE - immediate effects include click thru(s)  to links and company websites
3. SHORT LEARNING CURVE - most sites are easy to learn and easy to navigate
4. FAR REACHING - provides access to global marketplace


1. OVERWHELMING - using lots of social networking websites at once can be overwhelming
2. ANNOYING  - easy to turn off followers or connections with too many and/or irrelevant posts
3. TIME CONSUMING - consumes a busy small business owner's time

Regardless of the disadvantages, social networking can be an effective part of any marketing plan, but it must be used correctly. The following tips will be useful to small business owners, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking to increase their social networking visibility and use it for marketing purposes.

Use your social network page to communicate your brand

Instead of linking to the home page of your website, set up a unique page for each of your social networking sites, and include who you are, what you do and some personal facts to make the profile more user friendly

Manage online reputation carefully. Avoid posting political, religious, or controversial opinions. Don't use a social networking profile as a platform to spout off about a former employer, coworker, colleague or business associate. What you post online can stay online for a very, very long time.

Create a careful balance of posts. Too few posts and followers and friends lose interest. Too many and people are turned off

Be a friend to get friends. Nothing is worse than a person who posts only about themselves, or things to promote their business. Help others and attract true friends.

Give people time to understand who you are and become friends. As with a face to face networking event, not everyone will be a connection, nor will everyone wish to do business. Over time, as people read your posts and learn more, they will be attracted to the business or person posting and seek to do business together. In the long run, effective use of social media leads to more profitable, long lasting, and better business contacts.

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