by Chris Reddin
Many incubator managers are hesitant to integrate social media into their programs, fearing the effort will be nothing more than a distraction that takes time away from their core mission of assisting client companies. That fear is valid; however, social media is an increasingly important tactical component of an effective marketing plan that can supplement and enhance relationships in the business community.
Many in the business community jumped on the social media bandwagon because it appeared to be "free." However, the costs of using social media are not measured in dollars, but in time, energy and public perception. Questions arise: What is the return on my investment in social media? Can "followers," "fans" and "friends" translate into new clients, sponsors or other supporters of my program?
Possibly – if social media is viewed as a technology tool to enhance the strategy behind your relationship marketing plan. Start as you would with any other new program opportunity: Do background research, learn how the tools work and find out how your peers have used them to their advantage. Social media users also must develop enough Web savvy to navigate privacy, security and propriety issues to enhance rather than detract from client relationships.
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Keywords: marketing and promotion, marketing/sales, networking, networking activities – client, new technology, social networking
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