Market your small business with social media (maybe)

Tracy Coenen

The social networking evangelists are telling everyone to jump on board the social media train, especially if you're a small business owner. It's being hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread, and a "must-do" for business owners, but I'm in favor of a more moderate approach. I want to share my personal experience with social media, and how it has (and has not) helped me grow my business.

For this article, my comments will refer to three types of social media:

  • Blogging -- A site just like WalletPop, where articles are posted and comments from readers are often encouraged. Business owners will often write their own material, gearing it toward the interests of their clients.

  • Twitter -- A kind of "mini blog" in which posts are limited to 140 characters, offering business owners an opportunity to do a quick update or link to an item of interest on another site.

  • Social Networking – Sites like Facebook or MySpace, in which users create full-blown profiles of themselves and link to others to share contacts and information.

I work with social media on a limited basis, because I feel it has limited usefulness to a business owner. Some social networking evangelists will likely want to burn me at the stake for saying the usefulness is limited, but it's true.