So easy, even a Cave Man can use it. Unless you are living under a rock, you are aware of the impact of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the like. Social Networking has become the way of marketing, branding and networking for business, ahead of all other media. Within just a few years, this phenomenon has literally changed the way the world communicates, and business does business. What started as a way for college students to stay in touch, and for home made videos to be viewed by the masses, social media has revolutionized the digital world. Social Networking will never replace the importance of direct contact, face-to-face meetings, video conferencing, phone and email; they serve as a supplement to the traditional business approach.
Social networking is well beyond any sort of trend; it is the way businesses market themselves, apprize their customers and build their brands. What started out as a digital way to stay in touch with friends has become the platform for businesses of all sizes. A business page on each of the social networking sites is necessary have to remain competitive. More people sign in to their other social media sites, their email, register for webinars and the like through their Facebook site registration than typing in the information.
In addition to connecting, social networking is a medium by which a company can tell its story, offer goods and services, feature free offers in exchange for an email address (lead generation), and to gain acceptance from existing customers through testimonials. People would rather shop where their friends or associates rave about rather than seek out or take a chance on an unknown company offering their intended purchase.
Social Networking requires an investment in time; a very expensive commodity in business these days. Knowing the return on investment in this time is as important as the information shared on the aforementioned sites. Without analytics and metrics, this time invested in SN may be all for naught. Google Analytics, as well as Hubspot provide the analytics to not only gauge your efforts, Hubspot will even coordinate the efforts into a streamlined process to save valuable time resources.
While most social networking sites represent non-business relationships, the shift to business pages is growing daily. Facebook started out as a purely social site, but is fast becoming “the new internet.” Business has embraced the platform, and business pages are easy to produce.
LinkedIn is a site that was originally developed as a businessperson’s site, and has continued to evolve into a source for staffing, key personnel and business information sharing. With hundreds of interest groups, you can align yourself or your business with niche groups to showcase yourself. With a free membership, you can participate in up to fifty groups, and there are additional benefits with the paid memberships.
Ryze, Maven, Spoke, Ecademy, Squidoo, StumbleUpon, Twitter, WikiHow and literally hundreds of other networking sites are available to participate in, and each offers a unique approach to the social network phenom.
As mentioned previously, SN will never be a replacement for direct contact, so it is wise to limit ones efforts in this arena, and utilize dedicated time in the real world arena and join some local networking groups in your town, phone your business contacts and invite some important customers to lunch or dinner.
Is your business connected to the social media world? Which platform have you found most successful for promoting your business?