Smooth Harold reader Scott Daniel asks via email:
Does social networking really work as a marketing tool? My CIO is standing firm that it does not.
Yes, it does, provided you have something interesting to say. For example, my blogging efforts on Smooth Harold alone have directly resulted in checks amounting to around $17,000 over the last four years, excluding advertising. I have no idea of the indirect effects realized by Smooth Harold, but I suspect they are two to three times the stated amount. Add that to my participation on other blogs (either as a publisher or commenter), Digg, and Facebook contributions, and that number becomes even higher. That may not be much for a large company, but keep in mind I’m an independent contractor. Depending on how well you market message, that number can become exponentially higher.
That said, social networking only works in business situations where you can positively influence someone or make them think you are cooler than your competitor. That’s harder to do in 140 characters or less (on Twitter), so keep that in mind when identifying which platforms are right for you. NOTE: Blogging has the largest and most diverse social networking audience by far, not to mention the most adaptable way to tell a story (be it written, with video, etc).