Social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace and Sumpleupon, just to name a few, aren’t just for the internet socialite any more. They’ve captured the interest of many an internet marketer as well, and why not? It’s the perfect way to network, meet colleagues and form valuable joint ventures.
In a nutshell, these social watering holes can help get the word out about you and your business at nearly warp speed because of the huge volume of visitors they receive.
But how can these sites actually benefit the online marketer? Well, for starters they allow you to create your own dedicated personal pages where you can add things like product or service reviews, articles, ratings, comments and encourage feedback from other readers.
Furthermore, sites like Del.icio.us and Digg take it a step further by allowing you to save your favorite links to your own website or blog pages so it can be readily shared with anyone visiting your site. This not only gets the word out about you and your business, it goes a long way in helping establish relationships, credibility and trust.
But what’s really behind all the social networking popularity? It’s the search engines, of course. All the biggest and best search engines love these socialite sites because they contain relevant and fresh content. If we take a look at the Alexa rankings for a few of the more popular social sites we can see how impressive their ratings are:
MySpace – ranking below 10Facebook – ranking below 10Del.icio.us – ranking below 520StumbleUpon – ranking below 350 Digg – ranking below 180
Having your web site’s link on any one of these popular social sites has the potential for increasing your site’s worth and popularity on the internet. But let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits:
– Viral Marketing Use the ‘tell a friend’ link found on the social networking sites. These links have the potential of weaving your message throughout the net. If you’ve written an article, made an interesting comment or perhaps announced some news, this is how you can virally spread that content across the web.
– Back Link GenerationBecause the search engines have found favor with social networking, you can improve your search engine positioning and ranking simply by becoming a member of any of the social networking sites. Begin by creating a comprehensive profile that contains your website’s URL and RSS feed. If you can keep your website’s content fresh and interesting you will continue to enjoy a steady stream of back links.
– Joint VenturingThis social environment is perfect for helping you extend your marketing reach to thousands of other online business owners. You will have more than ample opportunity to not only gain exposure quickly but also find businesses or services that could easily compliment your business. Consequently, creating joint venture relationships becomes a lot easier because you now have access to important information on how to reach relevant marketers. This makes it perfect for assisting you in sharing advice, leads, content and more.
Now that you can see the marketing potential of social networking, how can you as an internet marketer actually use these sites to your advantage?
– Market Yourself, Not Your Products Your main objective should be to attract like-minded individuals with similar interests, goals and concerns. Do this by creating an effective personal profile and lead in with your personal story or information about YOU, not your business opportunity. Write in a way that helps your reader become familiar with who you are and what your goals are. Blatantly promoting your products and/or interests is a sure way to turn off readers.
– Contribute Your Ideas and Comments OftenContinue to look for ways to help your readers achieve their goals or resolve their problems. This is best done by contributing useful ideas and information. Sites like YouTube, Photobucket and Flickr allow members to post videos and pictures, which are seen by millions of users daily. Got a training video? Perfect. People love the ease of watching a good training or even amusement video. Get it on YouTube and you have the potential to attract thousands.
– Incorporate the Social Plug-insIf you use WordPress as a content management system, incorporate plug-ins like ‘Add This’ or ‘Share This’. These plug-ins enable your site’s visitors to bookmark your website with just one click. Getting bookmarked by as many users as possible will improve your search engine rankings.
– Use Your Time WiselyBeware; social networking can be addicting, not to mention time consuming. Not everyone with an internet business has all day to while away the hours peeking at new friends, adding comments and making small talk. For this reasons time management is critical. Start by selecting only a few social networking sites, and allot only so many hours a week to connect with friends and participate in groups. Develop an objective for using these sites and stick to your objective.
A Final WordNo business can stand alone on the internet. Your business and marketing success depends on the connections and networks you create. Using social networking is designed for making such connections, so use them wisely.