How to use social networking sites to market your business . . .
Social networking is the latest buzz word, with a plethora of websites mushrooming everyday to cater to this new media audience. The concept is however not new. All of us are a part of a social network. Be it the high school sports team or a group at the office. In fact, our lives revolve around the social groups that we are a part of.
Networking is nothing but maintaining a friends circle sharing common interests. Businessmen use this as a key tool in generating word of mouth recommendations and creating mutually beneficial contacts.
Online social networking derives from this fundamental concept and takes “friend-making” to an all new height, expanding beyond your home, office and neighbourhood to the entire world. Some of the popular sites today include Facebook, Orkut, YouTube and LinkedIn.
These sites operate based around a cascade effect. You invite your friends, they invite theirs and in turn you discover common friends you had long lost touch with. Moreover, you get to see pictures and messages left by friends of friends that you don’t personally know. If you feel you share common interests with them, you can befriend them yourself; thereby using the social network in the capacity it is best suited to.
Given that social networking sites enjoy enormous popularity with subscriber bases of multiple millions, they are an important media for online marketing. Most sites are adding new applications and features to their offerings every day. In many ways, it is like the web culmination of address books, blogs, forums, communities, picture albums, messages and even email. If email was the dominant internet innovation of the ’90s, then social networking is its replacement in this decade.
There are several paid or unpaid (viral marketing) ways to market oneself on a social network. One of the most popular ways is to create a profile or groups page for your product. Your friends in this case are actually fans or users of the product and the message boards become a testimonial space. Video, pictorial and word content can constantly be upgraded in a blog-like fashion. Most companies have long realized this and jumped on to the social networking bandwagon.
Another way to reach out to target audiences is to advertise on these sites through either a cost-per-click or cost-per-impression method, similar to Google Adwords. This method not only allows you to reach audiences that can be targeted by location, interests, age or personality, it is also economical as you pay only for results. Marketers can also design games and applications to integrate with the site for a fee, thereby gaining active audience interaction with their product idea.
The key to successful marketing on social networks is to define a very specific target group and then to try and reach them through as many fun and innovative ways as the website legally allows. Like any other social group, the more you participate, the more you benefit.
Social Marketing Photo
By mohamed_hassan from Pixabay