Social Networks – Are they worth the time?

I was reading an article the other day in a popular business magazine that suggested that social networks have still to prove themselves as a viable-profitable business model. Hummmm. Most of these more popular known social networks they said are not yet making any money, but they are busy attracting lots of visitors that they hope to pitch advertising messages from one of their media clients who they are trying to convince (their clients that is) that this will result in more site visits, thus more interest in their products or services and finally more sales. Wow! that even sounds complicated to me and I have been in the internet media business for 10 years.

You probably expected me to say that Social Media Networks are the best thing since sliced bread! Obviously, since we have a social network and are actively building our membership! On the contrary… social networks in my opinion are not for everyone and only have worth for individual or businesses with specific objectives. Meaning, depending on your business you should research which social network would benefit you and why. Unless you are an investment professional (I ‘m a former Morgan Stanley broker) or an insurance agent, everybody is not your client.

Recent data suggests, and it makes sense to me, that the average person can, and will only maintain activity in one social network. Why…because it takes time and most people are really just doing this for fun i.e. (that’s why Facebook and My Space have the highest memberships). While there are ways to leverage your relationships in sites like LinkedIn and Plaxo most people don’t know how to do this or have the time to spend to do this. Why, again, because it comes down to the relative payoff.

In my experience you need to work these systems diligently with an objective and tactics and a strategy plan in order to benefit with results, be it a new client or new job. Being an old school sales person having learned the direct method of sales…this new media method of social networking for sales can be quite frustrating even for someone that understands the system!

Now the positive message of social networks: There are many social networks developing every day. Just because you’re in business, it does not mean Linkedin is your best social network vehicle. In fact Linkedin is much more geared to salary professionals. Checkout all the smaller, new social networks (there are many, like are geared more toward you and your typical customer (Google, social networks).

Smaller is better. You have a much greater chance for connecting with the people in your network and in developing more quality relationships! And maybe, who knows, some new business!

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