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Sometimes it’s hard to separate the signal from the noise. We get that. Technology is constantly changing at a rapid pace and what’s this week’s hot new tool for marketing your business may be entirely different than last week’s (or more likely, it’s a different representation of the same thing from last week).

When presented with all of the new hotness that you’re told to use by numerous pundits on all things technically hot, it’s important to look at your business model, your customers and your overall web strategy and decide whether or not it’s a good fit.  Sure, Twitter is a great tool for concise and quick updates and sharing of information, but are your customers likely to have Twitter accounts? Are they likely to want to follow you? Have you created a compelling reason for them to follow you?

The new business model as it relates to newer Internet technologies requires a certain amount of transparency with your business, and if you are not prepared to offer up some of that transparency (let your customers get to know you, to see inside, even to take part in making product and service decisions) and also to keep those updates flowing, chances are Twitter may be relegated to your hallway closet, along with that old Thighmaster and those dusty old LPs.

The same goes for social networking platforms like Facebook, MySpace and even LinkedIn. Make sure you are prepared to take on the extra time and labor commitment necessary to keep those profiles updated and keep in touch with your customers.

Your best strategy is to have a strategy for your online presence. Find out about your customers, figure out your business needs and see where they intersect with available web technologies and trends. Taking a broad overview of such needs and capabilities can help you focus your energy and decide what options are most crucial and which ones are as destined for the Goodwill donation pile.

I can speak from experience — we’ve set up several profiles for Workshed, some of which are updated more than others. The other rub of Social Media is that it can take time to quantify the results of one’s efforts. We recently had a new client lead who stated they found us on Facebook. I’ve heard of other people getting some big ticket development jobs via Twitter.  But it takes time and dedication to reap the fruits of one’s labors. And patience.

Also, one must decide how much they want to leverage these technologies. Do you want to become at the top of the heap in your industry or market? Or do you want to simply build a stronger bond with your customers? It helps to  have a strategy in place so one can build a schedule and guidelines and stick to it.