The buzz right now is finding ways to use social media as a marketing tool for your business.  We’ve all read dozens of stories about how people have successfully used one form of social media or another to move their business ahead and to make more sales.  

I’ve shared a number of ways I’ve used it to build my own business, but it’s time we talk about the stalker in the room regarding social media.  If you use Twitter to any degree, you’ll know the what the stalker is. If you use Facebook, you may have encountered it and so on.

The stalker is the failure of the platform to always work properly from a technical standpoint.  For example, Twitter can pop up with an “overload” message.  We’ve all seen the whale on their website one too many times.  The reason I bring this up is if you’re a business or a person using Twitter to drive your business, have you thought about what would happen if the site were down for a period of time?

For example, when the U.S. was doing so well in the World Cup soccer tournament, Twitter faced a variety of issues. Facebook is not immune to challenges either, whether it be changing their format, their privacy rules, how photos and pictures load, or other technical issues.

And let’s not forget that these are free sites that are controlled by their developers.  Yes, I know that you can purchase Facebook ads, but the vast majority of “marketing” going on through “Like” pages or on Twitter is simply by way of posting and sharing links, news, deals, etc.   At any time, Facebook and/or Twitter could accidentally or arbitrarily “delete” your page.  And what could you argue?  “Please get my FREE page back up so I can keep doing business!!”   Hmmm.  Not sure how much they would respond.

If you or your company is building a significant portion of your business plan through social media, just be wise about the risks involved.   There are phenomenal opportunities in social media, but there are some downfalls as well.

My recommendation is to make sure your social media campaigns use at least a few channels you can control, primarily your own website and if possible, your own blog.  Blogging has shown to be one of the most effective ways to interact with your followers, as long as your content is solid and relevant to your followers’ interests. If your business warrants it, you would also want to mix in some traditional forms of marketing and advertising.

Just as you wouldn’t rely on one customer for all of your sales and revenue, do not rely on one marketing stream to promote your business. You minimize your risk by working your strategy across multiple platforms.

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