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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Social Media Isn't a Substitute for a Marketing Plan

I found a couple of articles online regarding social media for small businesses:

The Business Week article explains that social media is a great tool for small businesses because it's a great way to reach a large audience for free.  The Reuters piece, however, suggests that 75% of small businesses don't find social media at all helpful in their business.  The article quotes Maria Veltre, executive vice president of Citi's Small Business segment:

"What this survey indicates to us is small businesses are very, very focused on running their business and on generating sales and managing their cash flow and doing the things that are really important, especially in these economic times," Veltre said. "I don't think quite yet the social media piece of it has proven to be as significant."

I think both articles are right.  Social media presents an incredible opportunity for small businesses, but it has to be based on a solid marketing plan.  And any social media used must be consistent with that marketing plan.  Creating several accounts with differing messages (or forgetting to update them) won't help your business.  It might actually hurt it.
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