Social networking is one of the best venues every business and professionals can use to increase clients and establish credibility. Aside from being able to connect to millions of individuals at any given time, the fees involved in social networking is virtually next to nothing. A small business could use the available platform offered by social networking websites and use it to attract customers and increase awareness of their existence.
Social networking will even push businesses further as people in the network will continue to communicate and provide recommendations. From a purely business setting, businesses could immediately switch to their customers and reach out to them through social networking.
But social networking is not a perfect strategy for businesses to use to increase awareness of their presence. There are scenarios wherein social networking will work against a person or an establishment. When this happens, social networking could be the cause of a business to go down because of certain events that would happen in a network.
The Bane of Information
Social networking is all about sharing information, both personal and professional to everyone you are familiar with. You share personal photos, data about who you are or about your company, post videos or recommend additional websites so that everyone will know your personality or the nature of the business you are representing. Every data you provide online will be recorded and kept which means it is searchable and could be retrieved anytime.
The fact that data could be retrieved anytime with little to no effort could work against your social networking projects. Anything you said in the past could be retrieved and could be used against you or the company. And it is not only on your blogs and social network websites as forums and comments on different news and stories could be easily retrieved as well.
Degrading photos, videos, blogs and even website recommendations could be misinterpreted. This data could be used as part of a “smear campaign” from a competitor. There is virtually none that could prevent bad information dissemination since news spread fast. Your social network could spread the news like wildfire.
Who You Are is Who You are With
The popular adage that says, “tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are” is very applicable in social networking. Although social networking encourages you to connect to as many people as possible, it does not mean you should connect to anyone. Your group in social networking websites could tell your potential clients and present customers your preferences and values which could be against what you are offering.
For example, a business that offers healthy alternatives should never be seen with the group “Alcoholics Anonymous”. Although you are trying to deal with drinking problems, a fact that you are having trouble with drinking could have a negative effect on your profile.
Small businesses might not really be concerned about associations online because it is not a personal identity but there are situations wherein associating with an entity could also mean trouble. Associating with companies and small businesses with a bad reputation could easily affect your business no matter how good your business is. Research well on who you will be working with to avoid the repercussions of bad associations.
Accessing social networking websites may look like a safe online activity. But as the number of people using these social networks to connect grows, the possibility of online attacks on these websites is also growing. You may not know it but your social networking account is being used to gather personal data or use it to access very important information on your computer.
Remember that anyone can post virtually everything online and these attacks could be initiated and disguises it as a legitimate post. Attacks in the form of viruses and worms whose only aim is to gather personal information could be disguised as a video or a picture. An anti-virus and anti-spyware application should always be running while using different social networking websites.
Social networking websites may be a very inexpensive tool to attract customers but it could be the cause of the downfall of your business or reputation due to online attacks, bad association or humiliating information. Be careful how you interact with these websites to maintain security while increasing visibility.