What is with all of this social networking?

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I was a guest panelist last week at the Vermont Business EXPO on social networking and how to make it work for your business.  I was privileged to present alongside some of Vermont’s experts on technology including:

·      Elaine Young, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Program Director of e-Business Management and        Marketing, Champlain College

·      Ted Adler, Founder and President, Union Street Media

·      Dave Winslow, President and CEO, EpikOne

·      Dan Cypress, Realtor, end user for business and personal use. 

I am a huge advocate of networking – both virtually and in person.  Sure, social networking cannot achieve what traditional networking would –when you look at it, emails cannot beat out old-fashioned phone calls when working with clients, vendors or tying to close that important sale.

But, when you are working with Gen Y, or marketing to them it is unavoidable.  In fact, many companies do not ask for references anymore, they just check your recommendations on LinkedIn.  And as marketers are setting up company pages on Facebook and other social networks that allow businesses to have a presence, it is becoming increasingly important for key management to setup a personal profiles as well.

Is it necessary for you or your business to embrace this social networking fad? Well, I once thought email was a fad  – and now, fortunately or unfortunately, am one of the most hyper-connected people I know (it is the nature of my business).  Needless to say, PMG has its own Facebook page and I have embraced many social networking sites for both reconnecting with old friends and building the PMG brand.

My biggest tip? Protect your contacts.  It is ok not to “friend” or connect with someone.  Your contacts are yours – and should be treated as you would your old fashioned rolodex… treat those relationships with care.  

Here is a great video that Elaine featured at the panel, which gives a good overview of what social networking is.

Is it right for you?  Well, you can’t know if you don’t try – and since it is free (except your time), give it a whirl.  Let me know what works and what does not.

Bonne chance!

Nicole Ravlin

 

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