Does Social Networking = More Business?

I’ve thought long a hard about this and by far the most difficult concept I’ve grappled with lately is how social networking = more sales. Can we really tweet our way to success and does Facebook really matter? Personally I feel the answer is yes, no and maybe. Let me explain..

The Yes:
Unlike 99% of the businesses out there, if you fall into that 1% who continuously update all of your social networking accounts with fresh and relevant content, people will read it. If your content is well written, thoughtful, insightful and relevant, there is a high probability that some person or organization might reach out to you for advice or better yet, to buy something from you.  At a minimum they might see your content and you will have made some impression on them. Viral marketing at it’s purest form and better yet, it costs nothing more than a few minutes to bang out your thoughts and hit the publish button. So why not jump on that bandwagon and see what happens.

The No:
If you sell a service or product that in no way can benefit from social networking than you’re pretty strange. None come to mind except for maybe someone in the witness protection program. So if you are a fugitive from either the law or the mob, don’t ditch the cheek implants and fake mustache just yet. Another NO would be if your Company only sold crappy products or services. So crappy in fact that not only you knew they sucked, but your clients and entire organization also knew. If so you might consider keeping things on the down low because in your case, any discussions would be counterproductive for you. However it would be highly productive for someone reviewing your business.

The Maybe:
Since demographics on the web are as much about guess work as they are statistical analysis (I can’t be the only one who put their birthday as Jan 1st ,1900 on a website) consider this scenario. Lets assume your business sells diapers, make that adult diapers. It’s safe to say the majority of your target market would be elderly folks. It’s also unlikely this group is trolling fling.com, hanging out on Facebook or Tweeting. In fact, expecting them to participate on social networking sites at all is a stretch. However if their kids are buying their diapers, it’s far more likely they might seek out reviews or read blog posts about the impending purchase. Now if you also happen to be that blogger, your post just might encourage them to have a look at your diapers. I’m not picking on the elderly because I’ll probably be wearing a diaper one day and I also volunteer at a senior center, it’s just all I could think of.

My opinion tends to lean towards YES in all instances. I’ve grappled with this issue and have had numerous discussions with friends about this topic with the most common response being, huh? I suspect that those who ignore social networking for their business might just compel a segment of tech savvy users to ignore them.

Time will tell.

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