Ignoring social media could cost your business

Posted on Nov 23, 2009 :: Insight on Business, Web Exclusive.
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Posted by of Insight Publications

If you’re reading this blog post,
it’s likely you found your way here via some form of social media whether it
was “Tweeted,” posted on Facebook or some other means of communication that I
have yet to stumble on.

Social media has profoundly
changed the way journalists work. No longer do writers need to wait until the
newspaper hits your front step or the magazine to land in your mail box to
share stories of interest with readers. A few keystrokes can direct you to a
website with a full story or we can share a few news nuggets via Twitter.

I got on the social media
bandwagon more than a year ago and it has really changed how I work. I “talk”
with other writers and people at organizations and businesses throughout the
New North. I have found some unique story ideas, made connections and learned a
lot. But getting involved in social media is definitely daunting. As a
freelance writer, my schedule is flexible and if I have a few minutes here or
there, I can hop on Twitter and see what people are talking about. There’s no
one looking over my shoulder wondering what I’m doing or writing about.

For the November issue of Insight
on Business magazine, I wrote an article on how businesses can incorporate
social media into what they’re doing everyday as well as what pratfalls to be
on the lookout for. I discovered there is definitely no “one size fits all”
solution for businesses. What may work for one company may not work for another
depending on the type of industry, the workforce and simple logistics. (Here’s
a link to the original story: http://tinyurl.com/yf4s4pv)

Despite that, however, local
businesses are interested in social media. Events throughout the New North
focusing on social media are full and surveys of local businesses show a high
desire to get involved in social media.

But where to start? That’s the big
question. Time and again, people have told me you just need to get on Twitter
and see what’s going on. Find someone else in your industry and see what
they’re up to – what are they talking about? Who are they following? (Let me
just put a disclaimer here that business professionals shouldn’t be using
Twitter to talk about what they ate for breakfast – at least on their business
account. Trust me, no one cares. We’re just looking for information that makes
our lives easier.)

When talking to social media maven
Lisa Cruz, president of Red Shoes PR in Grand Chute, about the topic, she gave
me some simple advice for companies to share with their employees regarding social
media: “Use common sense. Businesses sometimes get wrapped up in logistics or
how they’ll control this or that, but they are putting themselves at a
disadvantage. Chances are your employees and customers are already using social
media. You don’t want to be left out of the discussion.”

Whatever you do, don’t ignore
social media. Doing so will leave your business behind and no one wants that.

–MaryBeth Matzek