The age of social networking is more than upon us-it is becoming ingrained in us. Many of us are so addicted that we can hardly get out of bed before we begin checking to see status updates on Facebook and Twitter. Reconnecting with old friends and staying in touch with current ones are great reasons to use social networks-but what about using them to market your business?
The fact is, those same networks that you are using to share pictures and reminisce about old times can be great sources of income for your business. In addition, there are plenty of social networks out there that are made specifically for doing just that. Below is a list of five crucial things you must do to utilize social networking effectively for your business:
1. Choose networks that cater to potential prospects for your business. There are so many social networks to choose from now, it can be overwhelming to keep up with all of them. In order to be effective, you simply have to make choices. Choose networks that cater to your particular market. The more targeted the network, the more interest and activity you are likely to generate.
2. Take time to create a comprehensive, well-written profile. Many people simply assume that they will make money by filling out a profile on a social network and adding their website address. This is highly unlikely. The benefits of a social network come with interaction-and that can only happen when folks can get to know you. Take the time to fill out your profile completely, with both business and personal information (your interests, hobbies or goals) so people can get to know you as a person and a business owner. People tend to do business with people they feel like they know, so the more cold and impersonal your profile, the less likely people will want to interact with you. Liven it up! Show your personality-but do remember to behave in a friendly but businesslike manner.
3. Interact with community members and build relationships. In order to build traction within a community, you need to interact. This does not mean simply messaging others with information about your business or submitting an article once a month. You need to take the time to get to know them-find out what is important to them, ask about their business. You want to build a quality network of folks who know about what you do and care about you. This will encourage them to do business with and refer you.
4. Take advantage of the extra features offered by the network. Most social networks today provide many opportunities to help you get your message out: banner ads, classified ads, blog platforms, article submissions, video hosting platforms and more. Sure, some may cost a few bucks here or there, but if you really make use of the features provided, you can quickly become a superstar on any network!
5. Refer clients and prospects to join the network. Invite business colleagues, clients and potential clients to join the social networks you use. Is it easier to catch a particular fish in the ocean, or in a tiny pond? Bring all your prospects as you meet them to your tiny pond and you can get to know them better and interact with them on a regular, more personal basis. When it comes time for them to buy, you'll be close by!
While these five tips represent some of the best ways to help you get more business using social networks, they are by no means the only ones. To be effective, you must have a plan of action and follow it consistently. Use these tips to get started, and then continue to build the list as you become more effective at marketing your business online utilizing social networks.
Bonnie Jo Davis creates and manages social networking strategies for her clients. She is a published author, expert in article marketing, and feels comfortable working in a virtual environment.
For more information on how she might help you get the most out of your social networking efforts, visit davisvirtualassistance.com.