Even though the benefits of using them are not in doubt, many Internet marketing start-up are not being plugged in to social networking sites because their owners are not sure how to utilize them.
Sure, social sites give you a lot of interactivity and allow users to personalize their sites, compile a list of favourite links, videos, music, photos, documents and share it all with friends and visitors, but how exactly does that help you develop your Internet marketing start-up business?
The first thing to understand is that there are two basic types of social networking sites, so you will need to be clear in your own mind about what it is you want to do – bookmark or network?
Social Bookmarking Sites
Social bookmarking sites allow you to build and organize your favourite links (i.e. bookmarks) AND you can choose to restrict them to selected friends or make them public and share them with everybody on the Internet.
The big advantage of social bookmarking is that your favourite links are no longer tied to one specific browser accessible from just one computer in one location.
Social bookmarking services enable users to save bookmarks on a remote web server which can be accessed anywhere where there is an online connection.
Social bookmarking sites usually categorize links with a “tagging” system which allows users to choose keywords with which to “tag” their bookmarks. Sites can then be retrieved via the tags.
You may invite visitors to bookmark your posts. You can do this by adding a button to your page that links through to Stumbleupon, or Digg, or TwitThis and so on.
However, there are so many social bookmarking services, that if you added all their buttons you’d end up with more buttons than content on your page! Instead, use a service like addthis.com, which places one button on your site for a wide range of social bookmarking sites.
Social Networking Sites
Social networking sites offer a convenient method of connecting with people who share similar interests to you.
Sites like Facebook and MySpace allow you to post your advertisements and promote your products, as long as you do not simply (and stupidly) send out spam. Traffic will build on any site that has original, good quality, regularly updated content.
MySpace or Facebook?
There has been a lot of talk recently about how MySpace has nothing of value to offer the Internet marketer, but that is not the case. It was simply a case of too many Internet marketers not knowing who their audience was.
The point is that MySpace tends to attract a younger age bracket with less money to spend than does Facebook. Get to know the sites and adapt your content to each one, don’t simply post the same stuff to both.
One other reason why social networking sites are sometimes dismissed as not being any good for business is that some people do little more than set up a profile. Then they hit a brick wall, and not knowing how to get around or over it, they don’t do anything. Merely being there is not enough! Find ways to communicate with the people who are there on their terms, not yours.
Go careful, though, that you don’t go overboard with the crazy applications and the “late night partying confessions” stuff if it is not the sort of thing you want your clients to see!
Whereas social bookmarking sites are simply sites for you to collect and organize your favourite links, social networking sites, being more sociable, require more time and regular fresh content updates. With social networking sites you have to work on your image!
Search Engines Love Web 2:0!
One more reason why Internet entrepreneurs should establish a presence on social media marketing sites of both type is because they are regularly visited by search engines. Search engines absolutely love SMM sites!
Links posted on such sites are regularly followed by search engine spiders. So, by building up your links on these sites, your website backlinks will grow, and so will your search engine rankings, which is what you need if your Internet marketing start-up is to survive, grow and thrive.