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Many business people are suddenly starting to show some interest in the phenomenon that is social media, much to the thrill of their marketing personnel. But there is still a lot of confusion about this new medium, and objections abound. Below I take on a few of the most common ones.

Recruiters will poach our people. I hear this a lot. And it’s pretty easy to overcome. First of all, if your employees are that easy to poach, you need to look at your policies and see why they are so willing to leave. Secondly, there are many other ways for recruiters to find your people, and don’t think they aren’t getting calls from them on a regular basis. If you create a culture where people want to stay, it won’t matter if recruiters have another way to reach out to your staff.

We don’t have time. This is a valid concern, because if social media isn’t done correctly, it can be a huge time drain. However, if you manage your presence correctly, you can reap the benefits with a minimal time commitment. There are many tools available that can help you manage your various social media outlets. Hootsuite and SocialOomph are two great ones that allow you to schedule your tweets for a future time. So when you read something you think your audiences will find interesting, schedule an update. I find this allows me to maintain a connection with my followers without taking nearly as much time.

We don’t want our employees wasting time on social media. Again, a valid concern, but one that can be easily overcome by establishing a clear social media policy. Social media is like any other marketing tactic – it should be strategic and align with all your other marketing activities. Create a policy that allows you to gain the benefits from it while still maintaining a modicum of control. Train your employees on your policy and have it available for them to reference as needed. If they are busy with work, they won’t have time to spend chatting on Facebook. I personally think that the occasional visit to these sites has become the cigarette break of days gone by. It’s a quick moment to rest your mind and take a breath between tasks.

This is just a phase. Technology is always evolving. The current social media sites may not be here forever, but the concept is here to stay. (See the article entitled, “If the Pope is on Twitter…”) At one point email was considered to be a phase, but now you wouldn’t even think of not having an email address for each of your employees. The beauty of many of these social media sites is they allow you to establish a community of people – clients, prospects, colleagues, press – and create and maintain relationship with them. It simply makes it easier to reach people you’d never have access to through other methods.

LinkedIn is only full of people looking for jobs. There certainly are people who use LinkedIn to find jobs, but there are a lot more who use it to connect with colleagues, prospects and others in their industry. It is a treasure trove of information for anyone in business, regardless of what you are seeking. Don’t fall into the trap that many do and just set up a profile and leave. Create your profile with accurate information, and indicate whether you want to get job requests or not. Use the many tools on the site too. The advanced search feature can help you find business prospects more easily than any other traditional method. Join groups of like-minded people, and watch the connections start to form. It can be incredibly powerful.

In the end, the benefits far outweigh the concerns. You just need to do it in the correct way. Establish a plan and an owner for your company’s social media presence and make sure you are consistent. I’ve personally reaped the benefits of being on LinkedIn and Twitter, and know you will too.

Let me know what you think. What objections have you heard? How have you overcome them?

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