Pro: Businesses can use social networking to their advantage


July 26, 2009 at 2:26 a.m.

Instead of fighting against social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Myspace, proponents of the fairly new technology think businesses need to change the way they think about these Web sites.

While many business owners are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to deal with the explosion of social media, Victoria business owner Luis DeLeon is wholeheartedly embracing the technology.

Not only does he have a personal page on Facebook, but he also has profiles for his business, Atomic Supplements, on both Facebook and MySpace.

"These types of social media are great for business. If only there were two of me, I could do more with them, however I have made sales by posting info or just simply giving advice on these sites," he said.

DeLeon is no hypocrite either. His employees are allowed on the Web sites during work as well.

"I primarily have Internet at the store for research of the latest and greatest products and for communication with our distributors. However, a little of my employees' time on social media sites is just fine by me," he said.

As it turns out, DeLeon may be on to something.

An AT&T survey of over 2,500 people in five different countries has shown that using social media as part of everyday working life can lead to a more efficient work day. Not only that but 63 percent of participants said social media has helped them achieve things they otherwise would not have been able to and 46 percent said it has sparked ideas and creativity.

Jose Diaz, a local assistant manager, believes strongly in the link between happy employees and increased productivity.

As such, he thinks companies need to embrace social media and stay current with the times.

His employees often suggest Web sites to check out to each other and carry high tech gadgets that give them 24/7 access to the Internet. Even Diaz himself will check out Web sites during breaks and downtime.

"I have yet to see any detrimental effect of their online use throughout the day," he said. "So I am all for employees having access to the net and using it to twitter, blog and network as they see fit. I will only draw the line when production is affected."

According to San Francisco information technology columnist Eric J. Sinrod, it's a fact of business that companies that make use of the best and most effective ways to communicate succeed the most. His suggestion is that managers need to think how they can use social media and networking to their advantage, rather than fighting against it.

Alex Miranda, city manager of The Phone Store in Victoria, agrees and believes that companies can use this technology to promote themselves and their clients.

"They have their advantages. I just learned that my cell phone carrier has a customer support team on Twitter and I have used Twitter to reach out to some customers with mixed results," he said. "Facebook has its advantages too. The main ones, I think, are planning events and fan pages."

Related: Con: Social networking Web sites said to be a waste of time



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