The Downside of Social Networking

I’m seeing the concept of social networking pop up all over the internet, and more and more its being touted as a business tool. If you’re thinking of investing some time into social marketing to grow your business, make sure you’re thinking about the big picture and the possible negative consequences to what you’re about do.

With that in mind, the most important reason I’ve found NOT to get into social networking (or at least to be extra careful when you do) is that your contact list and confidential business relationships are some of the most important assets your business has!

This is especially true if you sell any kind of product that relies primarily on customer service as its primary selling point. Let’s say you’re an insurance agent contracted with one of the major carriers. In my experience insurance is a highly competitive field, but can be effectively marketed using face to face networking. Once you’ve pounded the pavement to build up a client list, are you sure it’s a good idea to publicly advertise their names and contact information? What’s stopping your competitor from contacting each of your customers with a better deal?

For retail distributors, you might want to think twice before you publish your wholesale supplier’s contact information on your Facebook friends list. For those who outsource, you may want to reconsider letting your customers contact your vendors directly.

Information is one of the largest assets most companies have available to them. While there are many positive aspects of social marketing, it’s just as important to consider what you have to lose.

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