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Strategic insights
The Real Value of Social Networks is You

Written by on March 16, 2010

In the Wall Street Journal there is an article call "Entrepreneurs Question Value of Social Media." In it you can read how small business is starting to question the real value of Twitter--pointing to a survey that found that 22% made a profit, 53% broke even and 19% lost money after engaging with social media.

And it is certainly not the first time we have seen articles or surveys like these. But, this kind of generalization completely misses the point.

To put it simply. Twitter, in itself, is worth nothing to you. Nothing! It is what you do on Twitter that makes a difference.

It's like saying 22% of small businesses, who used a mobile phone made a profit, 53% of mobile phone users broke even, and 19% of mobile phones user lost money. Right?

The problem is not the mobile phone--that is just a tool. The problem is that companies will lose money if they don't know how to communicate. The mobile phone cannot help them with that. It simply connects people.

And it is exactly the same on Twitter, Facebook and other services. In itself, they are worth nothing. It's just a tool.

Twitter simply helps you connect with the world. What you do from there, and what effect you get out of it, is then up to you.

What the survey really found was: 19% alienated their fans and lost money because of it. 53% didn't really get it and found themselves stuck in neutral. But 22% did understand what social is all about, and they made a great profit because of it.

You should look at the 19% to see what you should NOT do. Ignore the 53% because they didn't really change anything. And learn everything you can from the 22% who made it work.

...and always remember that YOU are the one who creates the real value--not Twitter.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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