‘If you don’t have social media, it’s like having an unlisted phone number,’ says Charlie Wollborg, a partner at a marketing strategy and creative design firm in Pontiac, Michigan. This from an article on the business of social media by Jennifer Youssef in the The Detroit News.

A growing number of smaller companies are beginning to see the business value of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn that let users post information and communicate with others. Users also can meet new people through their contacts, giving them access to a broader audience.

Marketing experts say if used correctly, the sites can be of tremendous value, allowing businesses to inform customers about activities within the company, creating a personal connection and giving the company more exposure.

While Attorney Henry Baskin, quoted by Youssef in the story, doesn’t believe social media works for marketing professional services because his clients don’t use social media, business people using social media seem to prove him wrong.

  • Madeleine Miehls, who operates an online oral history and writing business used to feel like Baskin until she found clients through LinkedIn. She used to laugh off social media as a waste of time. Now she finds it not a waste of time at all but a faster way to connect with people for business.
  • Jeff Antaya, chief marketing officer for a midsized accounting, tax and management consulting agency encourages employees to use LinkedIn account to meet potential clients and peers. By showing new hires how to build up their circle of professional peers on LinkedIn, they become more comfortable networking. Social media also gives gives his company another way to publicize job openings, events and industry-based publications.
  • Jennifer Cherry, vice president of a public relations and marketing firm finds social media a powerful PR tool for building and maintaining a brand among your constituents. “It tells a company’s audience and prospective clients who they are and what they do. Retailers should be using social media as a tool to hear what people are saying about the company and their competitors.”

Like websites 10 or 12 years ago, social media is not mainstream for law firms yet, but as Antaya says “It’s like a snowball rolling down the hill, it’s picking up speed. Five years from now, it’s going to be the standard.”