Social networking has evolved to the point where it’s not just for friends and non commercial uses any more. Now, businesses are finding that it is the perfect solution for online marketing and although many are abusing its potential, there is still plenty of room to take advantage of all that this medium has to offer.
Social Media Setup
If you are not familiar with online social media, it is a good idea to take a week to familiarize yourself with the different sites. Each one serves a specific purpose. For example, Digg.com is used to help promote useful or interesting pages, while Facebook is more for traditional networking. Twitter is a new service that allows you to collect followers and communicate with them in 140 character posts.
Even though these services are typically used for personal reasons, with the right marketing touch, they can be modified to suit marketing needs. The key to making social networking work for your company is how you approach it, and how you carry out your marketing plan.
Building a Plan
As with any form of networking, finesse is necessary. Online users of social media are incredibly savvy and they don’t appreciate blatant advertising. In order to be successful with social networking, you need to develop a plan, keeping this in mind.
For example, if you plan to use Twitter, it is best to keep blatant marketing posts to a minimum, and intersperse them with useful posts that provide your followers with useful information. In a nutshell, that is the absolute key to making any form of social media work for your company.
Useful Information = Devoted Followers = New Clients
Branding Made Easy
Social networking has made branding incredibly easy and incredibly perilous. With one wrong post, you can tank your company’s image and it can be very difficult to rise again. Although even today’s largest companies are using Twitter and Facebook, they still keep this in mind. The founder of Zappos, one of the world’s most successful shoe stores, uses Twitter daily, and there is much that can be learned from his approach.
Branding your company through sites like Facebook or Twitter can be accomplished in the way you interact with your followers, and the value that you provide them in exchange for following you. If you give them information that they can use, and you maintain a aura of professionalism, you will see results.
Making Your Network a Success
The best way to see how beneficial social media can be is to get out there and give it a try. Observe what other people are doing and find the approach that will work for your company. Take the time to develop relationships with your followers and you’ll be building a foundation for permanent growth for your company.
Although there are a few downsides to this form of marketing, by far it is the most cost effective means that small businesses can use to get their message across, build their brands, and increase their sales.