I recently contributed a post to The Page Wonders blog called "5 Things You Need to Know About Social Media Marketing and PR," which discusses the "underbelly" of social media and offers some humble tips for how to prepare yourself (and your company) for stepping into social media.
One point I make is that using social media for PR and marketing can easily take 2.5x the time a traditional PR campaign would along. If you're wondering how social media can possibly be so time-consuming, take a glance at the diagram at the left (thank you to Jerry Owyang for publicly posting this). This elegant flowchart outlines how the Air Force conducts blog monitoring and response (one of the social media programs we also run at Page One PR on behalf of many clients).
Case in point, just as you might monitor print and online news publications for coverage of your business or organization, when you delve into the realm of blogs and blog comments, the gloves come off. Not only do you have to determine whether to respond, but you have to determine how and consider the consequences.
Lisa Hoover at Computerworld wrote about "The newcomer's guide to social networking" today and also discussed the various intricacies that come along with social media for business. One of her takeaways: not every business needs to use social networking tools to communicate and/or promote itself effectively. I don't know that I agree with this, but I think it is less about the tools you use and more about whether you want to conduct business transparently or not.
One thing I will say - social media requires a lot of content. When I say this, I mean both producing and digesting content. Of course, you don't have to monitor social media channels to see what others out there are saying about you, your industry or other things that will pertain to your business. But then, why invest time in social media if you're not going to at least dedicate some time and resources to being social?