Face Time In CyberSpace

February 1, 2010 – The South Bend Tribune Business Weekly ran a cover article this week on social media’s impact on business. Tribune Correspondence Gene Stowe interviews James Burnes on the topic. Below is few brief excerpts from the article.

While the new tools offer a host of marketing opportunities, Burnes says, it’s crucial that executives and others who understand their business brand thoroughly oversee the execution of such efforts.

“It is critical that companies don’t allow interns to be their social media manager,” he says, warning against the temptation to let fresh-faced new hires, who spend so much of their personal time with the online sites, take over.

“It would be the equivalent of having an intern write your corporate press release and send it out without review.”

Instead, Burnes says, leaders must learn the tools, gaining a mastery that will guide marketing efforts while dramatically expanding their own network contacts.

“Over time, you develop some of the skill sets of how to connect with different types of people in different environments,” he says.

screenshot_sbtribunesocialmedia_20100201_completeLater in the article, James discusses why social networking impacts all business professionals, including those who don’t consider themselves necessarily ‘web savvy.’

“Even in the digital age, people are yearning for more face time. I can manage a lot larger social and professional network for a fraction of the time. If I use my social platforms effectively, I’m already caught up.

“They can turn relationships that have been collegial into business opportunities. It’s a research tool, too. It’s not just a relationship tool.”

It’s even a tool for friending or following competitors to keep up with their activities.

The evolution of social media tools — LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and a host of comment opportunities and self-produced blogs — depended on the development of economical, user-friendly technology.

“Social networking is just a digital version of what we have been doing for our entire careers,” Burnes says. “Social media can leverage new, positive opportunities for everyone.”