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Monday, June 21, 2010

The Social Network Invitation

Online social networks have become popular business tools. Are they essential? To determine that you must answer a few questions.

The first question simply asks, What interest would a customer or client have in your Twitter or Facebook presence? Do you have something worth their while?

We will accept as given that your product/service serves people’s needs. That does not mean people need to read your promotions. No. Content is value. The meta value of your marketing is noise for the consumer. Judging from how these networks are used, that is a hard concept to understand.

Price promotions always garner interest,  but do you need a Twitter or Facebook account to deliver that? No, again. That is more a ruse to bring people to your site than a gift of content. Send emails or otherwise go to the people with your deals. Save social networks for social—that is, human—contact.

Tips and expertise, freely given, offer much more meat on the bone. Provided, of course, people are interested. It could be that only a small portion of your customers appreciate that sort of depth. Assume nothing. If interest exists, serve it. If not, do not feel obligated to produce something for an imaginary audience.

Facebook is an anchored landing site. People do not just happen upon your page. Your page, then, should apply to the curious. Explain your offering, declare its essentials. If you can develop a conversation, all the better.

Twitter is random. Your messages float in a babbling stream of stray notes. Toothsome morsels of information or observation pass cheek by jowl with scams and bother. The look of Twitter, with an abundance of blind links and @whosis, is confusing, at best. Your program with Twitter must include distinguishing marks. Stand out or stand down.

A final thought: the current services will change, and new possibilities arise. You will be changing with these changes.

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