I recently read a short but very much on point article from July 22nd on Entrepreneur.com.  It was entitled 5 Misplaced Social Networking Fears and I was immediately drawn in by the notion of “misplaced fears” in the title.

It’s an accurate way to describe what I have been seeing so in many clients, prospective clients, colleagues and seasoned offline fear eyenetworkers that I know.  Like the author, I also often wonder why online networking hasn’t been embraced more among certain small business owners.

I’m not really talking about those who are so technologically out of the loop that they don’t even have a website for their business yet.  Granted, I suppose their are still some out there who are doing just fine without one.  I’m talking about those who may have an internet presence with their website already, but don’t see how reaching out and easily connecting with hundreds if not thousands of prospects through social networking might be worth their time.

Clearly, the internet allows one to network on a much larger scale than by doing so locally in person.  Face to face time is obviously still a viable way to get new business, but why stop there simply because it’s been the traditional way to do so?

The fears the Entrepreneur article list as being some of the most common are also the ones I see most often: being stuck in the old mode of doing things, too many overwhelming choices, skepticism about its effectiveness, fear of making mistakes and fears about lack of privacy.

While these are certainly understandable concerns, none of them need to keep you permanently on the sidelines.

It’s perfectly ok to test the waters first before jumping in and to start slowly.  Realizing that social sites are increasingly “where the people are” will help you begin seeing that it’s not much different than a large networking event you’d participate in locally.  The method may look different, but the idea is the same—making valuable connections.

Regarding privacy, know that the major social sites out there provide you with numerous ways to control what it is you do and don’t share.  Become familiar with what your options are and do this first thing, before engaging in the conversation.

There is so much opportunity online to expand your network, broaden your reach and grow your business—I’d hate to see you miss out by being needlessly afraid.

Are you still hesitating?  Let me know in the comments whether your fears and concerns are still holding you back from incorporating social networking into your own marketing plan.

If you’re curious about learning how an effective online marketing and social media strategy could help transform your own business, then contact me for a free 20 minute phone consultation to see if I’m the right resource for you.

Photo credit: OTH

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