Don’t get overwhelmed by social networking sites like Twitter & FB

All this talk and media hype of social media can be overwhelming. I’ve met with numerous small business owners recently who are looking for innovative ways to generate revenue in today’s economic climate. Because you cannot pick up a newspaper today without reading about Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sties, these business owners are struggling to figure out how to use all these applications while running their business. I’ve honestly met with several people who have folders filled with web articles printed out entitled things like “How to Use Twitter” and “Social Networking Sites You Shouldn’t Miss”. These business people are spending so much time printing the articles; they’ll never find the time to use the actual sites to help them generate revenue!

I say, before investing undue hours or even days researching and learning these applications, first find out if your customers/prospects are even using these sites! For instance, if you are selling products to business professionals, then linkedIn may make sense as they are probably using it to network with customers and prospects. But if you are selling products to stay at home mothers, Facebook or other social networking sites like CafeMom may be better suited for your time.  Also, if you are selling technology products that are “cool” then you should make sure that people should be twittering about your products! By understanding your customer’s focus, you can save yourself time by focusing in more appropriate areas.

If you do decide to pursue one or more of these sites, I’d recommend you simply jump in and set up an account on the site.  Set aside 15 minutes or so a day log on and surf the site. Don’t be afraid to click, post, etc. That’s a great way to learn how to use the sites, why people use them, and what is considered “acceptable” ways to use them to grow your business. Most of the time you can edit or delete whatever you do by accident (just remember most of these sites make this information you post public in some fashion!)

For instance, maybe set up your own personal Facebook profile if you don’t have one. It is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. Additionally business can be generated on this site though this profile- although that is really a secondary goal (but you may find by talking about your day in your “status updates”, people my remember your business and send referrals your way… ).  After you get the hang on Facebook, you can look into a Business Facebook page which is designed to promote businesses and share that with your family and friends network (but that’s a topic for another day!). Good luck and enjoy it! Remember, it should be fun, not scary!

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~ by Shannon Group on April 21, 2009.

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