How Free Is Social Media?

No one charges you for joining Facebook or Twitter, but just how “free” is that account? According to Forbes, you’re investing in people, technology, your reputation, and time. Before you join every social media service available, here are some things you should consider:

There are risks as well as benefits. As with many startup activities, you only have one chance for a great first impression. You can jump into social media with a poor brand definition, poorly focused content, unrealistic expectations of customer service, or be killed by malware or viruses.

Pick the right platform for your business. Within each of the platform categories defined above, there is a right one and a wrong one for your audience. For example, LinkedIn is attuned to business professionals, Facebook is dominated by the social and upwardly mobile crowd, and MySpace is for tweens and creative types.

Assess social media relevance to your product or service. If your business is industrial B2B products, social media should be low on your list. Spend your time and money on other platforms. If you are selling to consumers, especially younger ones, your business won’t survive without an effective social media presence.

Photo by Steve Garfield

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