BOSTON (TheStreet) — Remember when you first heard the word "Twitter?" Most likely, you wrote the whole thing off as a passing fad. Only the most desperate narcissists would want to narrate their life in real time, right?
Millions of tweets later, Twitter has become a cornerstone of the social-media landscape, along with LinkedIn and Facebook. According to the new conventional wisdom, these sites are critical in attracting new and future customers. Big businesses have spent the past year test-driving numerous new strategies, from Procter & Gamble
A few specialty businesses do depend on mobile updates to draw most of their customers, such as the gourmet-food carts in Manhattan that post their upcoming locations on Twitter. But for the vast majority of businesses, a Twitter or Facebook presence doesn't translate into huge profits. To be used effectively, these sites should be thought of as networking resources, not a path toward direct sales.
"Networking is more about farming than hunting," Misner says. "It takes a long time, and it's often harder to measure results in the short term."