Web Site Promotion – Are You Ready For Social Networking?

What are the benefits and risks of Social Networking to Web Site Promotion? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

There is no simple answer to this question, but the questions and criteria to consider when you make this decision may surprise you. To determine if social networking is right for you are not, you need to consider what kind of person you are. Are you someone who does not mind that people you do not know personally, may know lot’s of details about your life? Do you have a job. or are you looking for a job that requires a great deal of discretion, or even secrecy? Are you essentially a private person or a public person?

Let’s look at these questions in detail. In order to be effective in social networking you will need to allow lot’s of people to get to know you online. This is different from people getting to know you through your information. When I post to this blog, I am happy for as many people to read it as possible. Although my blog may reveal something about my personality through my writing, it is not the same as if I were on Twitter revealing what I am doing right now. I do not have pictures of me doing my favorite hobbies, as people do on Facebook, on any of my web sites. There is a certain distance between my personal life and my writing. That’s just the way writing works. Unless I am writing an autobiography, I can choose whether or not to write about personal details in my life.

When it comes to social networking, it is a huge social event not unlike a street fair. People show up based upon some kind of common interest, but you are never sure who you will meet. You just know there will be a lot of people there. Your social networking sites are like your own personal People magazine pages. The more details about you that you write, the more people seem to be attracted to your social networking pages. Of course, there is a limit to how personal you should get, but this is generally true. If you are a very private person, you probably will not like social networking.

Are you the kind of person that would rather not have your picture online for the world to see? Do you have a job at a large company that requires you to keep, or manage sensitive information, such as financial data, or corporate trade secrets? Are you in law enforcement? Are you a detective, or are you in the military? Do you have a job that relates to National Security, even if you are merely screening luggage at an airport? Are you a doctor, a lawyer, or a mental health professional? Does your work involve the protection of customer or patient confidentiality?

I’m not saying you should not be involved with social networking if your profession falls into one of these categories. I am urging you to be careful. You need to consider the ramifications social networking may have on your life and your career. No one should just rush headlong into social networking, without knowing what you are getting into. It might be wise to consult the HR department where you work, to see if there are any recommendations or restrictive requirements to your social networking activity. I don’t mean to sound like a killjoy here, but everyone that enters into social networking needs to understand that all the information you post online can be viewed by anyone at any time.

As for myself, I prefer to live openly, and honestly, and I have no concerns about what I post online. I try to be as objective as I possibly can be, and I try very hard to write truthfully, and responsibly. I would hope that people benefit from the information I post online, and might find the information helpful in some way. If someone is not interested in the information I offer online, I hope they will simply look elsewhere.

I come from a manufacturing background. I have been a CNC programmer, designer, and machinist. I was responsible to make metal parts to very specific tolerance requirements. Sometimes the parts I had to make required tolerences of less than 0.001 inch ! It takes a special skill and careful attention to make parts that are this accurate. Either the parts you make are within tolerance, or they are out of tolerance. There is no way to run and hide if you make a mistake. Sooner, or later, someone will find out. When it comes to mathematical calculations, I rely only on a calculator if it imvolves anything more complex than figuring out the tip on a restaurant bill.

I am used to double and triple checking my work to make sure it is correct. Since even the smallest mistake in manufacturing can potentially mean the loss of thousands of dollars, I am extremely careful in my work. Although I can’t say I have never made mistakes, I can say with confidence that it is a rare event, and I take full responsibility for my work. That’s just the way I am because of my experience. I had to make considerable effort to train myself this way, over a period of many years to work with a high degree of accuracy.

If I had a different kind of job that involved work of a sensitive nature, things might be different. I can appreciate that some people would not feel comfortable about talking about their life, because of personal reasons, or professional ones. If your work does involve information of a sensitive nature, I recommend that you consider either not mentioning your profession at all, or refer to it in some generic way. For example, even if you work for the CIA, you could list your job as “government worker”. (Just kidding, I don’t think if you work for the CIA they will allow you to build a social networking profile, unless is it for some kind of cover). This sounds like the stuff from spy novels now, doesn’t it?

In all seriousness, this is something to consider before you dive in head first into social networking. Make sure that you would feel comfortable to discuss anything you post online in a job interview, or with the people who know you, and work with you. Keep in mind that the information you post online, may still be on the Internet for your descendants to read, long after you are gone. From that perspective, it makes sense to careful about all of your online activities.

Is social networking a necessary part of web site promotion? Probably it is not an absolute requirement, but it certainly should be part of every Internet Entrepreneur’s portfolio. The people who ignore social networking sound like the same people who chose to ignore Google the first few years after it started to become popular. At the time they said, “I’m not sure Google is that important to web site promotion. There are other search engines out there, and it may not even last”. Just as Google is essential today for web site promotion, soon social networking may very well become essential to web site promotion. There is no doubt that social networking is here to stay on the Internet. The numbers just keep growing at exponential rates. In addition, the popularity of social networking does not depend on the fortunes of any one company. Even if Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube are replaced by other companies ten years from now, social networking will almost certainly still be around.

One additional word of caution. It is critical on the social networks to follow the rules of web site promotion. You can’t just bombard people with your sales pitch, or they will will drop you in a second. It is important to provide high quality information to make a relationship with people who might be interested in whatever product or service you are marketing. If you merely sell, sell, sell, you will sound like a broken record, and you will chase people away. Provide lots of high quality information up front, and make a good relationship with the people you get to know. This will greatly increase your referrals and make people happy to associate with you.

Good Luck in all your web site promotion efforts.

by John Lombaerde, a CNC programmer with over 15 years experience designing, programming and cutting complex parts on multi-axis computer numerically controlled, (CNC) milling machines. He is an experienced Product Designer, CNC Programmer, CNC Machinist, and CAD CAM Consultant. He also is an SEO Consultant specialized in Search Engine Placement for Web Site Promotion.