Social networking is more than just a craze; it’s revolutionizing the way businesses market to the whole world. Social networks have been around for several years now, but many people are still just getting started as they realize the potential. Social networking can increase your traffic and revenue more than you can imagine.
Most online social networking efforts are free, and it takes very little effort to get some payoff with social networking. When you are consistent with your efforts it can go a long way to driving traffic to your website, increasing your exposure and establishing yourself as an expert in your field of business.
1. Use your blog as a form of communication.
Use your blog as a way for your potential customers to know you. A blog is a great way to express yourself and show off your quality. You want your readers to feel like you are talking to them as a friend, but I would recommend not getting too personal. The nice thing about blogs is that you can receive feedback on your content via comments. You can also use the blog to ask questions to your readers or hold contests. Your readers can enter the contest or respond to your questions via the comment section. I recommend keeping a dialogue going through your own comments, too. This helps to establish an environment where people know they can receive answers to their problems, as well as read fresh content.
2. Use other people’s blogs to establish yourself as an expert.
Reading and commenting on blogs within your own niche or close to your niche can help you to establish yourself as an expert. You can offer your own opinions or angles to the entries being posted. When appropriate, you can even offer links to your own blog entries or articles to offer as additional information to the readers and in turn supplies additional exposure to your website.
3. Connect with people in Facebook.
Facebook is fast becoming a great way for people to connect socially and professionally. Some people have a problem combining their personal life with their social life, so this may not be an appropriate option for you. Facebook offers your customers a way to really engage with you and learn to trust you. Meeting people and making purchases through the internet can be risky, so there is a level of trust that needs to be established before people are comfortable buying from you.
4. Leverage groups in Facebook or LinkedIn.
Facebook also has a great community of groups that you can join. It is also free to create your own group to get some communication going amongst your own customers. LinkedIn has a similar feature. I think that for certain fields LinkedIn can be a more appropriate venue than Facebook and vice versa for other fields. You need to learn which option is better for your field. Try to find where your customers are hanging out.
5. Join the twitter community to build a list of followers.
Twitter is on a rampage. More and more entrepreneurs are tapping into the marketing power of twitter. Twitter is a place where you must communicate your thoughts in 140 characters or less. You can connect with people by “following” them. Anyone can follow you unless you block them. It is a very quick way to compile a large following. Most people post links to their blog entries, or links to their articles, or links to anything that you feel would help your customers get to know you better while learning something useful for themselves.
6. Turn your blog entries into podcasts and submit to iTunes.
Learn to leverage your efforts by turning blog entries and articles into mp3 audios. Posting them to a site like iTunes can increase your exposure to that same content. Some people learn by reading and others need to hear it. Now you can tap into both types of learners. Your listeners will even have the option of downloading your mp3 files to their ipod to listen at their convenience or to even send to their friends.
7. Turn your articles into videos and post on YouTube.
Like with audio, you can also use your articles and website content to create videos to post on YouTube. YouTube is just another way of reaching out to more people.
Social networking can be time-consuming, so it is a good idea to choose which venues are more important for your customers, and to choose which options work with your personality. If you get stage fright, then videos might not be for you. If you love to chat, then Facebook or Twitter might be perfect for you. Just remember that when you are out there communicating that your main purpose is to sell and run a business. It is easy to get carried away and spend too much time commenting and chatting that you forget to focus on your business. Not only can social networks bring you closer to your customers and offer them a way to learn to trust you, but it can be fun, too!