So, here it is the middle of the summer. School is out. Businesses are running on partial staffs, and for many people, the last thing they are thinking about in the midst of all of this sun and fun is whether or not their social networking presence is working for them. Think about it though. When your staff is less than focused and your customers are less interested in your product or service than they are during the less sun-friendly months, it's time to buff the presentment, clean the junk out of the attic and, for some businesses, change the look and feel to reflect the mood of the recreation-focused public.

Where to begin? How about starting with ensuring that your presence, or presences, are casting a consistent and relevant message. Does the information on your World Wide Website and your Facebook page jibe? Are there old postings on one that contradict the other? Look for confusion points. If your brick and mortar-based concern changed to summer store hours a month or so ago, is that reflected on your sites, and, more importantly, do all of the sites have the same information? Also, consider putting season-specific messages, whether outbound or inbound, in a place of prominence. Make it easy for the customer to find you and to know when you're open and set a mood that invites the customer to your shop. For entirely web-based businesses, similar rules apply. Neat, orderly and consistent messages across all of your presences will enable a distracted and vacationing customer to find your value before his/her interest wanes.

Your customers don't like tripping over old mattresses, broken bicycles and piles of random garage junk when they're looking for the camping supplies that they left in the corner last year. If your presence is like that garage floor, overrun with clutter and old, unneeded items, then you missed the spring cleaning, but it's not too late to do the job now. Take a hard look at that page that you were perfectly satisfied with last February. Does it still seem as fresh and relevant now? One way to make it look clean and inviting is to archive the old and less than relevant information. Get it off the landing page and make room for something new, fresh and relevant. That's not to say that the old information and content is worthless, but it belongs neatly packed away and clearly labeled for future use. Now, what to do with all of that nice, fresh real estate?

As you read this, it is probably mid- to late August, and you're thinking about those things that we all deal with in August. Family vacations, back-to-school shopping, preparing for the year-end business processes and the like. Retail stores typically get the idea that you have to appeal to shoppers' seasonal needs; hence, the seasonal catalogues with season-appropriate items and illustrations. While a full-page beach volleyball shot may not be relevant to your bank, investment firm or manufacturing plant, a message acknowledging the season and an attempt to reach out to your customer base at the human level may well be the impetus that drives those folks your way when the summer fades, the leaves fall and business is again at the forefront of everyone's mind.

DAVE MARTINA [] is the vice president of systems integration for NEPS, LLC of Salem, New Hampshire, a firm that provides solutions for the automation of document-intensive business processes.


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