Social Networking and Technology.
Are more people using it and adapting to this new technology.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Beware of risk of using social networks for business
Businesses should think about using Social Networking technologies for marketing, public relations, employee relations, or any other initiatives. However, remember that there are some issues to be aware of before starting. The good thing about Social networks is that it allows people to create communities on the Internet around shared relationships, interests, and activities, but in the business arena, social networks can be used for much more. Many case studies show how companies are able to use social network services to generate new leads, strengthen relationships with customers and employees, and improve their business operations.
Here are some guidelines for avoiding pitfalls when implementing a social networking campaign:
1. Filter information. Actively filter personal or private, confidential or sensitive information about yourself, your company, your employees and partners, and your customers from the information you or your employees post online. Make sure that none of the information you post is covered by any non-disclosure, patent applications, or contractual agreements, which could quickly get you into hot water.
2. Provide value. Post only information relevant to your audience online. Before any post, ask yourself: Is this information interesting and useful to my audience, or does it only serve us? Your audience will quickly tune you out if you continually post marketing fluff and self-serving promotional ads.
3. Be truthful. Be as forthright and honest as possible. Remember that these types of media are interactive and can quickly get around. You’ll find that unhappy customers and disgruntled employees are not shy in posting negative comments about you and your company for all to see – especially if they find you evasive or less than truthful.
5. Provide clear guidelines. Take a cue from IBM and provide clear guidelines on what is and what is not acceptable, and who does and does not speak in behalf of your company. Make sure your employees know the guidelines and follow them. Let them know that whatever they post online can remain there for years to come and could come back to haunt them later on.
Despite the risks of using social networking services, there may be more risks of not using them at all. For the most part, if you don’t shape your own image on the Web, someone will do it for you. Social networks make it quick and easy to set up a basic profile, and that’s the first step toward gaining control of your business’s reputation online.