Social Media: Should or Shouldn’t I?

LOTS of buzz in marketing about social media – Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube. Seems like everyone wants to talk about these channels lately. For business-to-business marketers, I must admit I’m skeptical about many of these tools. I hear lots about Twitter, but find it rather hard to imagine what it could do for b-to-b branding or demand generation. Ditto FaceBook.

But blogs seem solid. They deliver timely content, fuel search traffic, and give marketers an opportunity to get into content areas that they couldn’t do in traditional channels and so much more. Certainly, effective blogging isn’t without its challenges. If you’re going to commit to a blog, keep it fresh. If visitors see that the last update was 3 months ago, they likely won’t be back. I’ve seen this with my personal blog – consistent fresh content delivers traffic. I heard a comment at a presentation the other night that also rang true, “If you’re a good writer, blogs are a good idea.” Just because you CAN publish easily via a blog, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Have someone with a solid writing background either author, or at least edit content.

YouTube is another interesting channel. All talk of “viral marketing” aside, YouTube is a simple, low-cost way to distribute video. Have a cool new machine tool you want to show people? Shoot a nice 30 second video clip, stick it on YouTube, and post a link on your website. Done. No muss, no fuss.

But Twitter and Facebook – while they may have applications in consumer marketing, I really don’t see how the effort/results ratio is worth the distraction.

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