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The Pros and Cons of Facebook for Small Business

A fear of Facebook by the business community and especially senior management is simultaneously irrational and prudent. 

It’s prudent because nearly every single concern raised by executive
and IT professionals about Facebook (and other social media) is true —
negativity, wasted time, confidentiality breaches, spyware and system
hacks. Give me five minutes in a room with a group of business leaders
and I’ll fill a whiteboard with dozens of additional reasons why they
prefer to block access to Facebook and other sites. Their cautiousness
and proactive risk mitigation should be commended. 

Likewise, their irrationality is worrisome. With every opportunity
comes risk. The benefits of social media are beginning to outweigh the
disadvantages, especially when customer engagement and brand management

Management’s vision is clouded. Its wisdom is skewed by a fading
paradigm. Not having an active presence on Facebook, Twitter and the
like doesn’t mean people aren’t saying bad things about you. Banning
social media from the workplace doesn’t mean your employees aren’t
wasting time some other way. It doesn’t mean they aren’t participating
anyway. It just means you aren’t listening.  

Listening isn’t a spectator sport. Despite the popular notion that
listening is passivity at its finest, listening is an active form of
communication. You just can’t join a networking site and lurk and
eavesdrop without getting engaged. Listening is the undisputed #1
social media strategy. Effective social media integration requires
participation. Social media is about engaging in a conversation.

Getting engaged isn’t just a marketing and sales department function
either. It means everyone from the CEO to the maintenance crew should
be listening, learning and participating. To stay in touch today, you
need eyes, ear and feet on the proverbial digital super-highway (or
would that be eyes, ears and fingers in digital-speak?)

It’s time for management to get over its irrational fear of
Facebook. Now is the time to jump on board. Just be sure to pack the

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