Social Networking and Business – Is it worth the effort?

John Clark posts on effective-internet-marketing-blog.com on Social Networking and Business… 

If you do not allow your people an area to link into you, your group will start to get smaller because there will be one of your competitors who will. This does not exclude any business that exchanges money for its goods or services.

We need to realize that things are with out doubt changing for Marketers today.  We need to embrace social networking, and so many other things, just to ensure we’re not left behind.  But at the same time, we’ve got to realize there is no silver bullet for us.  Just because LinkedIn or Facebook-style contact is preferred by some customers, there are others who wouldn’t use them if they were the last communication means left.  And we need to remember that yes, indeed, there are still those who don’t use computers (I know the sacriledge of the statement, but none the less, it is true).

This morning there is an article on CNet which announces that “Kids saye-mail is, like, soooo dead” which is probably true.  My daughters tutors (17-18 yo girls) live on IM, text messaging, and their Myspace accounts (and yes, since they are babysitters for us as well, I make a point to regularly read their Myspace postings…).  Does this mean that we ought to drop e-mail marketing entirely?  Absolutely not!  If it is working we keep it.

The truth is that effective marketing is about being where you need to be.  We need to play the bon vivant, knowing many, loving few.  We embrace that which works, and ditch that which doesn’t.  It may seem hard and cruel, but it’s the truth.  We are in this for profit, and we can’t afford to devote resources solely based upon our particular affection for one means of communication.

So yes, finding a way to allow folks to “join your network” is a great thing.  Similarly, we need to service the customers who would prefer to keep us at arms length.  I mean, really, I will not be joining the Acme Septic Systems LinkedIn network.  Not today, not tomorrow, not ever…  However, I might just join yours…

Further Reading

 Simon Dickson at BT Broadband office on “Why Facebook Matters to Your Business” (hint: it’s not why you’d think…)
BAMatthew at OnlineDesignStrategy.Blogspot.com on “What Have Social Networking Tools Ever Done for Us, Anyways?”
Jennifer Laycock on “All Networking and No Work Makes Your Business Falter

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