Start Marketing On Social Networking Sites
Social Networking used to be thought of as a bit of a fad and serious marketers overlooked social media for a long time. However this form of marketing has taken the Internet by storm over the past few years and these sites are a great way to promote your business and meet others that are in your specific niche via groups. Social media marketing is a different way of marketing to any other medium and the thing to remember is that you should interact with and project yourself and your business in a fairly subtle way. Also it’s great for networking and promoting your business by word of mouth.
The complaints are that too many marketers are overly pushy and obviously on the sites purely to promote their business. This can be detrimental as the people who use the sites are there for social networking and communicating with their friends – they don’t want to respond to blatant profiteering. Remember to keep it subtle and interact with people as if you mean it, then you will be on the right lines.
If you want to simply go for an all-out promotion of your business, you should consider social media advertising. This can be a very effective form of paid advertising and sites such as Facebook are great for finding a highly targeted market. Facebook have some very stringent rules about what is acceptable and it might take some trial and error to get your advert right, but it can pay off. Facebook have a lot of information on their site about how to set up and run your advert and about their rules and regulations, so have a look at www.facebook.com
Find the right site
There are a number of social networking sites, the most well-known of course are Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, with Google+ coming up fast and set to grow in the coming years. However, it is worth looking at all the sites to find one that complements your business and where you will find your most suitable audience – it’s all about targeting your market. Different sites are geared towards different sections of the social network, so it is worth spending time doing your homework to find the right site for your business.
Before you can start branding yourself on social networking sites, you need to get established in various sites as a member. Set up a membership, create your profile and write a short biography about yourself. Joining is easy; just fill in the relevant information about yourself on the site. Think of it as a networking opportunity rather than an advertising medium and be prepared to communicate with people on a general level -- don't be pushy or constantly talking about your business or you will turn people off. A subtle mention now and again and getting your friends to promote your business is a better way to raise awareness. It's more about creating a brand and building trust than it is about selling.
A profile consists of various bits of information so that other members can get to know you -- it is also the same information that sites like Facebook use to target sections of the market for advertising. You will be asked to put information about yourself such as, your business or career, your interests and hobbies, your relationship status etc. You should add a photograph of yourself or you can choose from various avatars that the site has available. It's probably better to use your own image as people want to see who they are chatting with. Within your profile, you can also add links to your blogs and businesses.
Finding groups to join
Once you’re setup, start looking around these sites for "Groups". Social Networking sites have many established groups and they have different themes directed towards different interests and niches. Find groups that interest you or are relevant to your business niche – here you will find a treasure trove of like-minded people and potential customers. Stay active in these groups, if it is only to comment on someone's post or leave an occasional post yourself.
Getting to know you
Once you have built a friendly rapport with others of similar interests, you might wish to reveal a little more about your business interests. However, pitching is just not acceptable on social networking sites! Just give some insight into what you do for a living and how much you enjoy your work as part of general chit-chat. Always keep a tone of friendship and don’t try to sell! If you approach Social Networking sites in the correct way, you will find that they can be an extremely valuable tool for your business -- even the big corporations now are getting into social media marketing, so it must be worthwhile.