You’ve heard it before — Social Media

Twitter, twitter, twitter. Blogs. Facebook. Every SEO newsletter is talking about social media this month. But how many businesses, especially small businesses really believe they need to do anything about it?

The best description of how we should be thinking about social media is to compare the situation in 1997 (or thereabouts) and the need for a website and the need now in 2009 to engage in social media. Back then, companies were beginning to realise they needed a website, they were not always sure why, but it was a bit like having a fax machine, it was a credibility thing. You weren’t a serious business without a website and your days were probably numbered if you didn’t move with times.

Now it is not so much a credibility issue, more that if a business doesn’t get its name out there in social media network, it is likely to get overlooked, lose out to its competitors who are creating a buzz.

The big issue for just about every business of course is time. If SEO is time consuming, social networking is even more so. I was at networking meeting last week, and yes the guest speaker was talking about social media, and he gave an example of a finance company who had recently taken on a guy solely to run the company blog and to contribute to other blogs to raise the company’s profile and do some reputation enhancement. That is the importance being put on social media in one of the most competitive online market places there is.

So how does a small business juggle the need to get involved but within the time restraints available. After all there is no point in having a wonderful blog that has thousands of subscribers who turn into customers if you then don’t have time to process the orders.

So the answer must be – Be Selective. Look at the various different types of social media and decide which is going to give your company the best payback. For example, I have never really understood the appeal of Twitter. Why would I want to follow even my closest friends every move? But I have a client that manufacturers banqueting chairs that are frequently seen being used by celebrities, appearing in films and on the news. An aha moment. What it I put out a tweet every time a chair appears in a film on television, is sat on by a celebrity, is seen providing support for statesmen signing treaties. I’ll report back on my twittering success!

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