The Social Networking Feature Creep.

Today, more than ever, companies are using every conceivable method possible to engage with their customers, to reach new prospective clients and ultimately to expand their reach beyond their present place in the marketplace. We too, have played somewhat into the social networking frenzy with our Business I.T Blog, that in truth, takes more time to oversee than initially envisaged. All too often, businesses become bogged down with the feature creep. I can picture the boardroom meetings; “Right Folks!, how do we improve our customer service?” “What about this Twitter thing?” , says Barry. “It’s been on Oprah and everything” he claims. “No LinkedIn!”, says Lisa, quick as a button.  The office manager asks if anyone has used Facebook or Bebo before, unaware that Bebo is only useful if your audience happens to like Hannah Montana and that Facebook is king of the feature creep. Skype, Youtube and Instant Messaging are also offered as suggestions.

Barack Obama championed the use of these services during his presidential campaign and companies are scrambling to also find ways of using social networking to their competitive advantage. I would always advise companies or individuals to use these methods but to remember the most important rule is to ‘Engage’ with your customers. Do not use social networking to spout weekly offers and marketing nonsense.  Don’t use them all at once. It’s better to build up a reputation with one at a time, or better still, choose one that’s most relevant and use it to its maximum potential.

feature-freaksEach of these aforementioned services in their own right is extremely useful but when you lump them all together and try to juggle them, you invariably ‘drop the ball’. Your concentration may be strong and focussed at first but just as your finished your blog post on Monday morning, you realise you have to respond to a few messages on twitter, and just as someone leaves a comment on the blog, you are informed that the facebook profile hasn’t been updated in 3 days. During all of this, you probably haven’t even stopped to think that the main website, the hub of the business, has been completely ignored for a few weeks now. Worse still, none of this is your main job and you’ve ignored that too!

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