It is sometimes difficult to draw the line between business and chat and that is often the problem with social networking, however a combination of both used wisely can actually be a very effective business tool
Companies using both Facebook and Twitter on their webpages have found this a very efficient way of getting new ranges, messages, campaigns, news and competitions to a bigger audience and it more likely to make an impact than on an email which often gets automatically deleted. It is far more difficult to delete messages on Facebook so they are more likely to be read
This doesn’t really work for individuals in the same way. If you use Facebook entirely for business this will make you sound very dull and pushy. On the other hand if your posts are about how smashed you were last night this makes you sound very unprofessional so it is really important to get the balance right
As I am self employed, I find social networking to be by far my best method of advertising. Unlike advertising it is more personal and because it is ongoing and forever changing you are more likely to be uppermost in your contacts’ thoughts
I do use Facebook and Twitter for both chat and business. To some extent there is no harm in a little chat and a few anecdotes. If you sound reasonably interesting, people will be curious to find out more about you. I have a mixture of business contacts and friends on facebook and just a few of my existing clients. I have discovered how interesting some of my contacts are as well
I have found Facebook to be an quite effective business tool in gaining new business. A friend of a Facebook friend put a message out for help with arranging his travel. Two of my Facebook friends both suggested me,so he took their advice and contacted me. I sorted out his requirements very quickly and cheaper than he could find himself and then he in turn added me as a friend and put another message out recommending me and one of his friends picked up on it and wants to contact me regarding their USA trip.
I have also found Facebook a more personal way to keep in touch with overseas clients particularly members of the O’Dea Clan who I would otherwise only see every three years in Ennis
I also use Facebook to talk to many of my colleagues so we can share our ideas and experiences and also to thank our suppliers for a job well done or a for an interesting and well presented promotion
Twitter has limited wording so I use it more to pass on news and offers and I find it very effective to follow news as well as sports across time zones. I am currently enjoying following the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand . I have yet to pick up a Twitter customer although I have plenty of followers @cathieodea. My tweets feed into this blog and also into Linked In.
Linked in is strictly for professional use and I only add networking contacts, travel trade suppliers and existing clients. I have found Linked In to be the best method of keeping in touch with lost clients who have changed jobs or email addresses. I have gained a few enquiries and bookings from Linked In and also a few new contacts as well