In my last post I discussed the start of my independent information professional career and the need to be flexible.  In this post I want to talk a bit about building a small business and the parts I enjoy the most about my own business.

We all know that marketing and networking are essential parts of building any business.    Luckily in the 21st century we have social media tools that truly make it easy to do with a few pushes of a few buttons.

Strategic Social Networking - Fitting the right tool to your information needs.

I’ve talked often about the need to use these tools strategically and have advised clients on the this same business issue.  I have been lucky to lately be involved in planning networking events and participating in a new effort by the ArnoldIT group to unmask the strategies of social media for business purposes.

When I was interviewed last week, Ms. Hughes asked me how I got my book deal.  The answer is almost serendipity.  The truth is that my editor mentioned a few items when she contacted me:

So social media tools and professional involvement are key components to exposure and subsequent opportunities.

As the social media tools develop features and applications your marketing strategies will have more flexibility and opportunities.  You may be so busy running your business that you feel overwhelmed by the opportunities lost because you don’t have time to devote to your social media presence.

I know that I certainly feel that way at my busiest.  It is always more important to do the work that  is the basis of my business than the work related to getting the word out about my business.  In reality neither component should be ignored.

I prefer to spend my time developing information content access processes for my clients than talking about how well I do the work.  Unfortunately, without telling you that I am capable of developing information and content management frameworks that allow your users to access the data necessary for their job, I have no business.

Ms. Hughes asked me last week, which part of the work I’m doing now I enjoy the most.  The true answer to that question is what it has always been for me as an information professional: helping the user find what they need to do their job.

As an IIP I can take that work to different levels than the training and research assistance that was such a major component of my work as a law librarian.  Now I can assess the current status of information practices, the effectiveness of tools being used and develop practices and recommend solutions that improve the end users ability to get the information they need when they need it.

Information users want relevant, current information that is delivered in a timely fashion.  The right policies, procedures and professionals are the key components necessary to give users what they want.

I use my blog, as a way to expose potential clients to my ability to offer them a useful solution to their information and content problems.  My blog is promoted through Twitter.  I use Facebook and Linked-In to network and those are just the top 3.  There are many other niche tools that I have dipped my toes into in an effort to assess their usefulness to solve an information problem as well as being used for marketing.

Being a librarian, I never look at social media tools as one-dimensional.  Social media is a research tool, a networking tool,  and a content management application.  Finding the right fit and the appropriate tool can be confusing. Luckily there are many information professionals such as myself to help busy business owners and information users apply the right solution to their own information needs.

Constance Ard February 16, 2010.