Twitter, Facebook, del.icio.us, LinkedIn, MySpace, Blogs, NewsCloud, elgg, Sharepoint, PeopleAggregator, and on and on. What do these social sites have in common, other than the fashionable Web 2.0-ish way of taking away the space between words? They increase confusion for small business owners who are looking to get a respectable online presence and manage their team.
It is often asked what the value is in creating and maintaining a social profile on sites such as Facebook or MySpace, or why purchasing monthly packages for platforms like PeopleAggregator or Central desktop can benefit a small business. Well, the answer is easy especially for low fee sites. These online collaboration tools allow users the capacity to create and maintain content across a range of websites and services – and also use them as their central service to manage all that content while connecting with others. Central Desktop, for example, offers simple to use online collaboration tools for business teams and there is no technical knowledge or programming experience required.
If you are looking into a fee based online collaboration, there are four things to consider before signing up:
- How well you can use a dashboard to manage projects
- How well you can host online visual or audio conferences
- How the service will make your sharing and revising of documents that much easier
- How quickly your team can adopt, adapt, and maintain their updates and shared calendars.
If you are looking into creating a presence with social networking and viral marketing through free online sources like Facebook, you must consider the following:
- How much time it will take to maintain your social site
- How to control content and spammers
- How to promote your business/service effectively so not to spam others
- How you can create a credible existence while increasing your referral network, i.e. creating and sustaining a reputable brand
- What groups to join and how you will use them to your benefit.
Be wise and define your parameters. What platform is your friend? And which is your enemy? Wal-Mart’s exploitation of Facebook is not a model to follow. Their use of Facebook as a sales gimmick angered college students across the U.S. Before setting up a social site or purchasing a monthly package, create a strategy and determine your goals. There is nothing worse than spammers writing hate messages on your wall for all to read. And remember, keeping up with social networks is a job on its own. If you don’t have the time, then don’t do it or hire someone else to do it for you.