I had a great meeting this past week regarding the uses of social media in business.  It's amazing to see how things are changing in the realm of interpersonal communication - the fact that marketing can leverage these changes as well is exciting!  If you have a personal Facebook profile, follow a friend on Twitter, post to MySpace, or write your own blog, you're ahead of the curve.  Here are a few tips for using these kinds of social websites for business:

  1. Maintain a personal tone
    Too many people make their corporate Twitter account "all business." This is boring, impersonal, and misses the mark when it comes to social networking. No one will follow the release of a new product, but they might be inspired to follow its development. Talk about the challenges you face (both in business and personally) in the office and people are more likely to respond.
  2. Don't annoy people
    It's not about putting out as many Tweets or Facebook updates as you can. It's about maintaining an open line of communication with your customers. Use it too often, and people will be annoyed - many will shut you off.
  3. Have a purpose
    Don't start a blog just to have a blog. Make sure your efforts in social media have meaning otherwise they'll just be further noise in the market, drowning out your core messaging and diluting your brand proposition.
  4. Stay professional
    You need to have a personal tone in your messages, but it needs to stay professional, too. Using your personal Facebook as a corporate mouthpiece is great ... unless it's full of old photos from your beer bong days in college.
  5. Remember—Social media is a two-way street
    Social media is NOT a megaphone. It's a way for you to open up in real time to your customers; it's also a way for them to respond to and interact with your brand in real time. Make sure you are just as willing and able to receive feedback from the community as you are to send out messages.

Here are a few other social media resources for you to check out: