Social Networking for Businesses

This article was originally written for ArrowQuick Solutions, a technology consultancy for small businesses.

“Social networking”, and “social media”, are popular buzzwords in corporations nowadays. Social networking is basically the use of online tools such as MySpace or Twitter to communicate and share information.

Relationship charts of social media tools on a whiteboard.

Some of these sites began as tools for people to connect with each other on a personal level. Businesses and organizations quickly learned how to use them to talk with their customers and promote themselves. In recent years there has been an explosion of websites designed to let people network with each other and businesses.

With the sudden popularity of these tools and success stories of businesses who used them effectively, social networking has become a trendy buzzword in marketing circles. As with all trends, there is a danger of misunderstanding how it can and should be used.

Social media tools are not a magic wand. You can’t just add it to your website or marketing strategy and magically see results. It takes time and a lot of work — to be serious about it, you really need to have a dedicated person in your company responsible for managing it.

It’s also not a panacea. It won’t fix a bad product or bad customer service. (Well, not without your help.) It is simply another technique to improve your relationships with customers, suppliers, and the public.

Finally, here are some Twitter-specific tips:

Social media picture courtesy Dean Meyers.

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