Should Gmail be the Hub of Your Company's Social Media Strategy?

Should Gmail be the Hub of Your Company’s Social Media Strategy?

Louis Gray makes a case for putting Gmail as the heart of your Social Media Strategy.
Does it add up?
Well, Yes and No.
Let’s start with why use a Google account?
1. Access to Google Reader
2. Create a link blog using Google Reader
3. Use Feedburner to distribute your blog through RSS
4. Tracking statistics via Google Analytics
For most of us, this makes sense and we’re probably doing it already.
However, Louis argument that: ‘By using Gmail, companies can centralize all social media-related communication, make it available to third-party vendors who may be participating, and easily integrate with other Google tools.
Needs a little re-think.
Why?
Well, later on he concedes that Gmail can’t solve every account. You still need a Facebook ID to start a fan page, and a Yahoo! ID to use Flickr.
Ok, so it’s not perfect.
But if Gmail can accelerate your social media strategy, then take what you can and run with it.
Here’s Louis plan of attack
1. Secure an official company Gmail ID (my italics)
2. Use it as the hub of you social networking activity.
3. Twitter, FriendFeed, YouTube, SlideShare accounts should use that same e-mail
4. Setup new connection notifications and direct messages through Gmail and stats from SocialTooNow, I go along with this.
Indeed, there are other smart ways to integrate social media activities into Google.
These two from Digital Inspiration show you
1. How to monitor your website/blog with Google Docs and how to track changes automatically http://www.labnol.org/
2. Even better is this Google Docs trick to find Your Most Popular Web Pages on Twitter http://www.labnol.org/internet/Ok. Back to Louis.
However, others have pointed out that the following suggestion may violate Gmail’s terms of service.
‘Whether you structure the e-mail address as companyinc@gmail.com or companycorp@gmail.com doesn’t matter, so long as it’s clearly official, and the “From” data is a company name, not that of an individual.’
Daniel Pritchett sees it as a bad plan. ‘Shared accounts tend to violate TOS.’ While John Wang hopes that Google Wave will make this all easier. “It looks more and more like what SharePoint should’ve been but never became.”
Perception is (almost) everything
My concern is a little different.
If you surrender or retire your corporate email address (hard to see that getting signed off!) you also run the risk of how customers, especially new ones, and potential clients will react to your Gmail account.
It might be an ‘official’ Gmail account but the question in many minds will be: ‘Why can’t they get a real one?’
Give your 2 cents at: http://www.louisgray.com/live/2009/07/gmail-should-be-hub-of-your-companys.html

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