Should you or shouldn’t you use social media for business? It’s a topic that to some may feel a little run into the ground. Trust me, I understand. As I’ve said repeatedly, it depends on what your goals are and other variables.
Social media guru Chris Brogan has an interesting post called the "Social Media Decision Tree" with yes and no answers to questions like:
– Should your company blog?
– Should your company be on Twitter?
– Should you company make YouTube videos?
The gist of Brogan’s post is that, "It’s not all about the conversation. It’s not a matter of whether you get it or don’t. Like all things, it’s finding what works, building from a foundation, measuring progress, and adapting to new situations."
The attitude reflects another recent post I referenced about Twitter jumping the shark. The service is often viewed as a bunch of noise, and there’s no question that there is certainly plenty of that, but there is also plenty of potential usefulness that comes with it.
It’s not about whether or not you should use Twitter or Facebook or any other service. It’s about how you use it should you decide to in the first place. Are you using it to your benefit? I wrote a lengthy piece looking at examples of how local businesses use social networks to market their businesses. You might find some ideas within that.
You might have different ideas entirely though, and that’s ok too. The kinds of questions you should really be asking yourself are things like:
– Is this network helping me communicate with my customers?
– Is it helping my customers communicate with me?
– Is it opening the door for sales?
– Is it strengthening my brand?
– Is it helping me promote products/offers?
– Is it helping my company’s reputation?
– Is it helping me broaden my list of useful contacts?
These are just possible goals. You may have different ones. But if you can answer yes to these types of questions, you can probably identify the value to what you are doing (social ettiquette is something to keep in mind too). You can then ask yourself if there are other ways to use the network that could help you answer yes to these questions and re-align your strategy accordingly. Social networks are communities and they are tools, but they are not necessarily the same thing to everyone.