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You probably expect social networking for businesses to be a lot different from normal use of a social network. Well, for once, you’re in for a shock, because it really isn’t. I get ahead of myself though. I Reiterate: I said this before recently, but since a lot of business people who probably weren’t listening to that one are now paying attention due to context, I want to say again why I often don’t bring up but a handful of the social networks out there. Before these things became viable for business, I never had a reason to mess with them. It’s actually less convenient to get in touch with people who know me over them than other channels at my disposal really. And, I still only use them when it comes to business, and I’ve only, obviously, used so many myself. Why it’s the Same: Well, the reason being a business and reaching out with social networks is not any different is because the whole benefit is how up close and informal it can be with your customers or prospects. So, all that formality that being a business usually brings about is kind of not so strong here. Discretion and Valor: However, there is just a hint of that formality. Discretion and respectable demeanor when representing your business is still important. So engaging in the less civilized and less becoming behavior that lots of users often do, is not a good idea as a business. Knowing the Right Ones: You need to pick the right social networks over which you can do genuinely useful and practical things. There are a billion social networks, and a lot of them are very popular. Sadly, some of them are actually pointless, or just unintuitive for a business. The ones to put energy into are Twitter and Tumblr for communications and content marketing, as well as simple, clear purpose and interface. Along with these, many see success with Facebook. But honestly, Facebook is way overdesigned and directionless. It’s so hard to really get a clear presence with predictable interaction formats with it. It really is a hassle. Now, the problem is that the other one that’s useful is in fact part of a bigger set of services that has an honest to god social network of its own. YouTube is a very powerful social outreach and interaction platform. But, Google Plus sucks epically. Now, YouTube’s comments sections may be less than exemplary, but the video interaction possible over YouTube is only now beginning to be truly explored successfully. Focus: As a business, you’re usually going to be this detached member of a pantheon, which means you’re not approachable or human to your customers. Through social networks, you can hear what people say about you, engage people directly both apologetically when complaints are made and in appreciation of fond mention. This kind of personal, approachable projection removes a lot of the struggles of marketing and in customer logistics and analytics. Conclusion: You may notice that social networking for businesses is just like any other application, just with a wee bit more decorum. Once you realize that, and you just look at the common logic most use when approaching social networks, you’ve got this licked.



James Mello
James is the Lead Author & Editor Product2Market of Blog. James writes for the Product2Market blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Marketing.