How to use Social Networking Sites to Drive Business

by on December 14, 2009

Guest Blogger: Shannon McLaughlin

If you’re a business owner that hasn’t embraced social media networking as a major factor of your marketing plan, it’s time to start doing a little research. Just a few years ago, social media sites such as MySpace and Facebook were mostly a method of procrastination for college kids. Although those sites are not without their fair share of attention-starved students; they have also blossomed into a huge business watering hole. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow you to meet people with common interests and build relationships by “friending” or “following” each other. Some of the free popular social media spots include Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, LinkedIn and hundreds of others.

Social networking sites such as the always-popular Facebook facilitate companies to invite audiences to get to know their brand in a way that traditional forms of marketing and advertising can’t. Every company is different, so take some time to ask yourself what the needs of your business are and find out which tools are best for your brand. Figure out your demographic by researching who your target audience is and narrowing down your focus. A fully-developed social marketing plan will help you avoid wasting time browsing sites that won’t benefit your business. Whether you want to recruit employees or connect to more people within your industry, it is important to consider your primary objective. Be sure not to spread yourself too thin and concentrate on as many social networking sites as you or your staff can handle in order to keep your followers engaged.

Most social networking doesn’t cost a thing, while proving itself to be invaluable due to the amount of traffic it will bring to your business. If you do not have a budget for paid advertising, social networking can help you establish relationships needed to get your business off the ground. The companies who interact with their users and frequently post brand-related content are those who are most successful at converting followers into dollar signs. Remember to be genuine and not update too aggressively or before you know it, you’ll scare away your Facebook friends and lose followers.

In today’s fast-paced world it is crucial for businesses to implement social media in their marketing plans. When used properly, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will create loyal customers that can become advocates while generating both awareness and qualified leads. By continuously delivering valuable company information through social media outlets, you will reinforce your customers’ buying decisions and build more loyal, personal relationships.

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