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To Post or Not to Post?

Experts say if you don’t approach social media the right way, it’s better to do without.

Social media is a 24-7 operation of sharing, promoting, reading, watching and, yes, working. The nonstop activity has changed the way Jessica Wells, vice president of social marketing for women’s fashion chain Chico’s FAS, starts and ends her day.

From her iPhone, conveniently plugged into the outlet near her nightstand to recharge each evening, she checks sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. “The first thing I do in the morning is check our social sites. The last thing I do before I go to bed is check our social sites,” she says. “You have to love it, and we do.”

Wells leads the Fort Myers-based retailer’s six-person social marketing team, an endeavor that has grown since the spring, including recently hiring an analyst to track its efforts. “The company believes so much in social media that about a year ago, we really decided to give it the focus that it needs,” says Wells, who served as vice president of public relations until 2011, when Chico’s decided to split off social marketing from PR. “If you don’t have resources dedicated, you can’t possibly keep up.”

But many Southwest Florida companies don’t have social media teams like Chico’s does. Rather than invest salaries for the additional help, business owners instead try to focus on it late at night, after a long day, or tack it onto a customer service or marketing staffer’s workload. Others use interns, figuring the younger generation has the Facebook know-how.

The result often is that scrimping on social media has unintended consequences: It can be a waste of time and human resources, and it can reflect poorly on the company.

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