Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Social Networking for Your Business

Use MySpace and Facebook to Promote Your Business -- Responsibly

If you’re a small, locally owned business without a lot of formal tech staff, you may be just as likely to have a page on MySpace or Facebook as you are to have a Web page. A MySpace profile is easy to set up and maintain, and these profiles tend to get ranked fairly well by Google if there isn’t a lot of other information about you on the Web. But wading into the murky waters of social networking when you’re a business can carry certain risks. That’s why it’s good to stick to a few core principles:

  1. Professionalism. Make sure your employees know what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable to post – in terms of both content and images. If you run a small brew pub and want local businesses to know you’re available for hosting corporate events, don’t post pictures of your bartender cavorting goofily with patrons.
  1. It’s all connected. Be extra careful about who you “Friend” through these services. The last thing you need is for your reputable business to be affiliated online, however tenuously, with someone unsavory. Make sure employees know only to connect to other businesses or to people whose profiles are professional and in good taste.
  1. Protect your confidential information. Obviously you’ll want to publish general contact information so that potential clients can reach your business. But other information – like a staff directory that shows a clear chain of command and individual phone numbers – should stay firmly offline in order to discourage your competition, headhunters, and others from learning too much about your company.

4.    Stay protected from spyware and viruses. On more than one occasion an outbreak of malware has plagued popular social networking sites. If you’re going to use one of these sites to promote your business, you should take extra precautions to make sure your and your employees’ computers have up-to-date virus definitions and security patches. That way when you’re updating your page or networking on behalf of your business, you’ll still be safe.  



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