When you first heard about Twitter and Facebook, was your first reaction, “I hope they go away?”

You may not get your wish. You also can’t claim ignorance of social media much longer. There was even a movie called The Social Network, in which Facebook is described as a “revolutionary social phenomenon” invented by “super-smart” young men. Separately, I read recently that social media would be part of “virtually everything.”

Those are big claims. A lot of business owners are asking, What’s in it for me? A good place to start is to take a look at Social Media and Other Marketing for the Woodworking Industry, which was part of our recent CabinetMakerFDM Woodworking Business E-vent.

Getting together 

Our own social network, Sawdust Soup, has been up and running for almost two years, and has attracted several thousand woodworking professionals and enthusiasts. There are a number of discussions, blogs, and a great collection of finished work photos.

I’ve also been on LinkedIn for a couple of years, and I believe it is the most useful for keeping up with friends and associates in any profession. There are a number of groups dedicated to woodworking, cabinets, furniture and related interests.

Twitter is a more recent interest. I’ve set up a personal account, and some of what I’ve written also shows up on our www.twitter.com/cabinettrends feed. On Twitter, your tweet may wind up between Conan O’Brien and the Dalai Lama.

I recently tried to follow the 100 largest companies in the FDM 300 on Twitter and found that perhaps 20 had active Twitter feeds. Another 15 had a company name show up in a search, but there were no postings. The vast majority of tweets are from a half-dozen companies. Twitter may be a good way to keep an interested audience up to date on what you’re doing.

Watch that time 

And then there’s Facebook. There’s a lot of stuff here that’s interesting, and a lot of…everything else. I was surprised to find wedding photos from a friend who now seems to communicate only via Facebook. I later learned from another friend that he did not in fact get married.

Facebook is still evolving, and your business may or may not be a good fit. I also looked for FDM 300 companies on Facebook, and found many of those that are most active on Twitter had a similar presence here. Searching by company name, you may find multiple listings, including “community pages” that are not affiliated with the subject person or company, but are collections of related information.

You should take a look at what social media is and learn its capabilities, even if you don’t want to share details of your birdwatching interest or collection of major league autographs.

Define your customers and ways to reach them. And find out what your competitors are doing. You might just start a great way to communicate with customers and potential customers. Maybe they’ll make a movie about you.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.