You don’t need to convince business owners, executives or professionals about the importance of their business networks. They get it. Who you know often trumps what you know in terms of creating real business opportunities and advantages.

Yet, many of these same professionals often overlook online social networking and fail to take advantage of the huge opportunity it represents to grow and nurture their business networks and relationships.

There are many reasons for this, but here are three big ones:

  • Time limitations – social networking takes time that many of these business leaders don’t have and won’t make;
  • Lack of skill – business professionals know how to have relationships, but not necessarily in the setting of online social networks;
  • Lack of awareness – busy people who don’t know how to have relationships online adds up to a lack of awareness of what is even possible through social networking.

Then, there’s the marketing problem.

Social networks aren’t that great for brand marketers

It turns out that social networks aren’t that great for brand marketing – for most types of businesses.

In his excellent piece Stop Social Media MarketingAugie Ray points to a number of studies showing that social media brand marketing (defined as pure earned media, excluding advertising in social networks) doesn’t measure up in terms of building trust, acquiring prospects or driving purchases when compared with other marketing channels.

Ray suggests there are other, more effective opportunities for leveraging social media, such as public relations, corporate communications, product development and customer service.

Social networks are fueled by social capital