We’ve all heard about Social Networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In. These are great FREE marketing opportunities that all small businesses need to be taking advantage of. The problem is that far too many business owners fail to consider the time that it will take to maintain these pages. Yes they are free but if you are not building your networks by posting useful information and content you will not see the return on the investment of your time that is possible with these kinds of sites. Too often I have seen business people downplay the importance of this free marketing exactly because it’s free. Its human nature to link the value of something to what it costs you. If you spent thousands of dollars on a marketing campaign you would scrutinize every aspect of it; the graphics, the message, the placement, etc. You should approach your Social Network marketing with the same commitment. Set aside time every few days or at least once a week to review your sites and add value for the people who visit them. Value is the key…make sure that the content you are posting is relevant to your customers and offers them a reason to not only visit your place of business but want to became a fan of your page or follow you. The return on investment here has huge potential. As your Social Networking sites build (friends telling friends telling friends telling friends) you have the opportunity to reach an ever expanding group of potential customers in a way that no other marketing strategy can match.
But…only those who understand the power and value of Social Networking will spend the time necessary to make it work. And only those who understand the importance of the marketing message will reap the benefits. For all small business owners time is money…don’t waste either. Talk to a marketing professional about your needs, and remember that if you don’t spend the time needed to manage your Social Networking sites right, it will cost you in the end.