The Only Thing that Matters in Social Networking… And Beyond

One of the best things about social networking is that it’s fun. And one of the worst things about social networking is that it’s fun.

Do you see where I’m going here?

It’s easy to get excited about marketing yourself or your company through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites because they’re so great to play with. The problem, though, is that they can also be an incredible waste of time if you aren’t careful. What was meant to be 15 minutes of updating profiles and linking to sources can easily become three hours of catching up with old friends, sharing war stories with business partners, and looking at photos of a contact’s vacation. Does any of that sound like a productive morning to you?

Nothing in marketing – including social networking – is so new, interesting, or compelling that it should be exempt from the one, all-important question that matters: is this helping us generate new revenue or improve the bottom line in some other way?

If something is, then by all means continue working with it. If it isn’t, however, then do it on your spare time at home, because what you’re doing is just a clever form of slacking off.

This is only a short point, and one that we’ve made already, so I won’t dwell on it too much. Just know that social networking is almost unique in its ability to be a double-edged sword: get it right, and it can help you access to hundreds of millions of people connecting each other and start conversations online; get it wrong, and you can easily devote hours of your time – or billable hours of someone else’s time – doing a whole lot and accomplishing nothing.

The bottom line is that social network marketing is that it’s still a form of marketing; make sure you’re seeing a return on your investment of time and money before you overcommit.