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Some thoughts on Social Networking

By Shannon Sbarra on August 5, 2009

EVERYONE is asking us about social media.  It's a craze that must be in the water; a disease that's spreading faster than swine flu. 

However, there seem to be some misconceptions about how and when to conduct a social media campaign.  Prospective clients have been approaching me about social networking as though it's a savior to the recession.  They are looking for a quick fix, and are convinced that it's a top priority. 

Well, let me tell it to you straight. 

#1 Social Networking will not magically save the economy.
In fact, all of the time that employees are spending on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and all of the other networking sites has been proven to decrease productivity. 

#2 Social Networking is not a quick fix.
Setting up a few social media accounts will take several hours, and that's just the beginning of the work load.  A good social networking campaign is centered around cultivating real business relationships and friendships.

It takes time to manage your accounts, get to know other users and attract actual leads.  Many businesses who have successfully utilized social media to increase their profits have hired full time staff members to manage the accounts.

#3 Social Networking probably should not be your top marketing priority. 
Before you even consider a social networking campaign, you should evaluate your current marketing plan. Is your brand clearly defined?  Do you have a large, clear, appealing sign in front of your retail location (if applicable)?  Does your website represent the quality of your company?  Is your online reputation clean?  Have you considered a pay per click campaign? 

If you are sure that all your ducks are in a row, then this is the big question:  Do you have the time and/or money available to manage a social media campaign?