Harnessing the Power of the Social Web
Social media marketing offers better reach, expanded coverage area and enhances brand awareness. Most importantly, it is a great tool for interaction and engagement with your target audience. Now is as good a time as any to adapt to the changing landscape and market your product or service through social media, if you haven’t already started.
Leveraging Social Networking in Business
Social networking is a strategy accelerator. It allows you to connect with people, strengthen relationships and reach potential customers faster than ever before. How can you leverage social networking for your business?
- The first step is to register on a social site and create an account. Add as many business contacts, colleagues and friends as you can to widen your business circle. Online business networking sites like LinkedIn are specifically tailored to facilitate professional communication and referrals.
- Get on Facebook and set up your company as a group. If you have a specific customer niche you want to reach, set up a LinkedIn or Facebook group and invite current clients and prospects to join. Send out regular (but valuable) information / messages to that group.
- Social networking sites enable you to get in touch with people who may be interested in your product or service. Communities which are formed on the basis of shared ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ are great “entry points” into potential customers’ mind space, and add the human element to your product offering.
- Promoting and endorsing business through social networks helps build your online brand reputation.
- Blogging gives greater exposure to your business expertise and knowledge. You benefit as social media users, a.k.a. your prospects from around the globe gain awareness about your business.
Here are some key social networking best practices that will help you engage with the online business community
- Be Visible and Credible
Establish yourself as an expert through regular blogging, tweeting and interacting on forums within your area of expertise.
- Listen and Respond
Don’t participate in random conversations. Listen in on social networks, try to find out what is the online buzz, what your prospects need or are interested in. Then offer your opinion and custom solutions.
- Advise, don’t Sell
Listen in to problems and offer expert advice. The more you have to give, the more you get back. People who use social networking sites have a natural aversion to sales pitches. So be the expert first, build trust, and then leverage your social networking position to subtly ‘recommend’ your products or services.
- Welcome participation and feedback
Let people talk to you. Developing relationships and community within social communities on the web can facilitate buy in, provide invaluable feedback and crowd-sourcing opportunities.
Use social networking to work your way into the hearts of potential customers. Don’t be pushy, and respect the tone and culture of the sites that you join. Gain and dispense knowledge and expertise, and soon social networking will give you a good boost as you market your products or services online.