Everybody’s Business: Social networking important marketing tool

By Sandra Taylor-Sawyer: Local columnist

Technology has a way of touching our lives either personally, professionally or both. The use of the Internet through Web sites such as Facebook, Blastoff Network, You Tube, Linked In, Twitter and others are a growing trend that will affect the workplace.

These sites are part of a viral marketing trend in cyberspace that can be time consuming but can offer value to a business if used appropriately.

The use of viral marketing Web sites is basically high-tech, word-of-mouth advertising as well as a learning and training tool. It is one promotional tool that can be used in conjunction within an overall marketing plan, and as a training tool used to share real time work related information (American Management Association: Is Twittering a Productive Use of Work Time?).

A review of current financial statements is necessary before beginning any new project.

Typically, small business financial statements consist of a balance sheet, income statement, and often a statement of cash flow.

The statements reflect business transactions within the month as well as cumulative transactions for the life of the business.

Financial trends can be tracked, analyzed, and with other data, intricate business decisions can be made; such as the return on investment by allowing staff to surf and interact in cyberspace.

Now the question: How can this tool increase the bottom line?

As new products, features, sales, contests, or events are planned, the specifics of each can be posted and discussed in cyberspace.

Although some will argue that this is free advertising, it is not. It will require extensive time and review: Time to learn and participate on the various sites and constant review of data including financial statements to monitor if and how much it increases sales and human resources cost.

Social networking is the new revolution and a fad that will not disappear according to some marketing experts.

Generation Y is a growing population set to surpass Baby Boomers in less than a year, according the Census Bureau, and more than 75 percent of Generation Y belongs to at least one social network.

In order to sustain a business it will become necessary to have an active presence in the social networking sphere.

A review of the company’s financial records is necessary in order to allocate human resources, establish a plan, and compare financial statements before and after implementation.

Sandra Taylor-Sawyer is director of the Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College. Call the center at 769-4136 or visit www.nmsbdc.org/clovis