I have been receiving Facebook invitations from my old LinkedIn contacts. There is a lot of talk about using social media to promote a business but not a lot of clarity about whether or not this makes sense. So I really like Anita Campbell’s article in Inc., Can Digg and MySpace Be for Business? Anita quotes Geoff Karcher, CEO of search marketing firm Karcher Group.
With any online search strategy, you have to keep your eye on the ball. It’s not about traffic. It’s about conversions and sales. Ask yourself: Are the people who visit a typical small business website from a Digg link or who visit a business MySpace page likely to become customers? If so, then it could be a winning strategy for your company. But if you think the person who arrives from Digg is not likely to ever visit again, take a long hard look at why you are devoting time and energy to Digg. Since most small businesses have limited resources, you may find your limited time and money can be better spent elsewhere.
Karcher goes on to say that social networking can be effective for some types of business, but he recommends that if you have limited time (and doesn’t that apply to all new entrepreneurs?) your online marketing strategy should focus on four fundamentals:
- Natural search optimization
- Paid search campaigns
- E-mail marketing
I would add that the order of these is a good prioritization. Start with #1 and add the others down the list as time and budget permit.