Everyone is talking about how the next big thing for your business is getting yourself on the next big webby 2.0 social network. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, bla diddy bla bla bla. Don’t get me wrong – social networking & blogging sites are immensely valuable tools. In many cases, they have replaced how companies already communicate with their clients, offer services and generally conduct business. But if you haven’t jumped on the latest YouBookyTwit bandwagon, you’re probably wondering if you should waste your time.
My answer: How much time do you have to waste?
You see, there have been fantastic success stories that have sprung up from the advent of this social network & blogging craze. It is naturally understandable that people want to capitalize on what they perceive as a simple path to success. Sign up on Facebook. Start a blog. “Tweet” that you just clipped your toenails. I encourage you to take EVERY OPPORTUNITY to get your services to your clients and build your relationships as much as possible. But posting up pictures and getting “followers” is not enough.
Are you doing all you can to solidify the core design elements of your business first? In other words, getting a bunch of “friends” on Facebook might make you feel warm and fuzzy. But does it come at the expense of getting your site current and up to date? Blogging is a fantastic way to build your internet presence. It is, however, extremely time consuming. Will you or your staff devote the time to regular posting? An outdated or dead blog is a surefire way to make your company look like your are out of business. None of these added elements matter nearly as much as a solid design foundation to build on.
Think of it like strengthening the core muscles in your body. With a strong core, daily activities such as walking, sitting, or picking up an object are relatively effortless. Anyone with a bad lower back will tell you that doing even these simple tasks are brutal. Now think about your business. Let’s say you have a solid network established on LinkedIn, but what happens next? Where do your clients go for more information? How clearly is your message established? A strong design foundation for your business will make it easy to transition all the current forms of internet and traditional marketing.
Most of all, it will be fundamental if and when the next big thing comes along. Social networks will change – quickly. Facebook for example has only really been around to the general public for about 3 years. It’s popularity has only really took off in the past year or so. Does it make sense to allocate your time and funds into what many consider a massive time sucking vortex?
It’s important to understand that you need an overall strategy when thinking about the future of your internet presence. Spending the time to develop your presence on all the social networking/blogging IS worth your time. But not at the expense of looking at the overall picture. Make sure your designs differentiate your company and convey a special message. Develop your e-newsletter. Keep your content on your site current (or get one to begin with!) Dedicate yourself to writing on your blog. Solidify your corporate identity.
After you have the fundamentals in place, THEN figure out if this other stuff is all it’s cracked up to be. And even though many of these online outlets are free, your time is not. Figure out how much time you have to waste and use it.