toolsComes an article in today’s (6.4.09) NYT titled, “Small Businesses Are Taking Tenative Steps Toward Online Networking” (by Mickey Meece), discussing broader acceptance by small businesses of social networking as a marketing tool.

Lots of good stuff here for professional communicators.  The eye-catcher for me was a comment attributed (kind of) to the president of the International Council for Small Business, Charles H. Matthews, regarding social networking sites … “the key was to view the sites as tools, not toys.”

Pardon the self-promotion, but we just published (6.1.09) our monthly newsletter, March Forth, and the topic was “Social Media Strategies … Managing Business Relationships.”  “Tools, not Toys” would have been a perfect title.

Basically, the NYT article and our newsletter say the same thing.   Here’s what we said (in part):

One Size Does Not Fit All

Chances are you don’t need it all – every online gadget or gimmick that some friend is using.  What works for some businesses might not suit yours.  What works now might not work in the future.  This is not a time to play, “keep up with the Joneses.” 

Your social media strategy should be tailored towards the business goals of your company.  If integrated with your traditional marketing activities, social networking can support and enhance your efforts to achieve important business objectives.

It sure feels as if the applications for social networking, initially considered super hot for direct-to-consumer business activities, may be evolving for small businesses and, particularly, for business-to-business use.

Makes sense that this evolution would occur.  Finding the right application for your business is worth the effort.

Post by Nick Vehr – 6.4.09