Social and business networking is not going anywhere. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, Biznik and other similar sites are evolving quickly to take over where blogs left off. Social media is a tool that can be used to benefit businesses that are willing to think outside the typical PR box. Facebook pages, ads, and profiles are potentially your secret weapon for building your brand image before a warm audience quickly and cheaply. But how do you know if Facebook is right for your business model? How will you know if Facebook is the social networking site you want to target your efforts for your company? You have to find a ready-made interested audience worth your efforts (those ten thousand fanatics who can promote you and your business).
How will you feed that audience to keep them satisfied but still hungry enough to come back for more? Facebook has over 130 million active members and the number continues to grow at a phenomenal rate daily. You can use it as a powerful marketing tool if you figure out how to maneuver through all the features and applications Facebook has available. With 130 million+ users, it is obvious that Facebook marketing can be a powerful place to reach new customers and drive hordes of traffic to your website.
Working in Facebook effectively means you have to make a plan to create a public profile and post an avatar (photo) that attracts people to your page. Simple, straightforward information and a decent headshot is a great place to start. Include your business contact in your listing and then go out and find colleagues, clients, and other professional personal contacts and add them as your “friend” and then ask them to reciprocate. This is a quick and effective way to start building your community and finding your 10,000 zealots. You can buy ad space on Facebook to reach a targeted market segment at fairly affordable rates or you can create a Group to network with and expand your business contacts. Another useful tool on Facebook is the Facebook Marketplace. You can promote and sell your goods and services there for free!
If your company has a blog you can import it into Facebook through newsfeeds. You can promote meetings, conventions, marketing events, etc on their Events page. There are so many new and emerging add-ons and applications it is important to begin to know Facebook so you can stay abreast of their latest and greatest trends that can benefit your business. With Facebook you can quickly and easily connect with potentially hundreds of new contacts. If you are a local business and rely on a local web presence you might want to explore the Marketplace page and find people in your local area who might need your goods or services.
Think of Facebook like a neighborhood potluck dinner. Hang out, ask about other people, and begin to create relationships. Get to know people, share, and be a giver not a taker. Facebook can be a major traffic source if used correctly. You can just go in and set up a profile and wait for it to automatically send you messages or you can go out and actively meet people every day and make Facebook work for you. You get out of Facebook what you are willing to put in it. With a little research you can make Facebook work for your company.
Find the targeted audience that fits your goods, services, and products and then reach out and find them by age, location, gender, interests, education, groups, etc. As social and business networks continue to grow rapidly and the daily repeated visits by their members, how can a company ignore the possibility of implementing it as part of their marketing plan?
By: Shannon Evans
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