What’s this Social Networking about?

Social Networking, Social Media, Social Bookmarking… it can all be a bit confusing. We’ll break it down for you and hopefully give you a better understanding of the benefits of Social Networking if you are in business.

Running a business means you need to make connections with other businesses to make sales and make money. Traditionally a business would either advertise or a business representative would attend networking events to meet new contacts. Well, the social revolution works in very much the same way except on a virtual level and with the use of your website, or blog preferably. The beauty of this is that your website is networking for your business 24/7. The trick is to create engaging content and make it easy to subscribe to.

How to be engaging?

To be engaging is to do exactly what you would do when you network or advertise. Tell others exactly what you do and how your services or products can help their business. Tell them what you do in detail. Inspiration sometimes comes from family and friends. Every so often, we get asked ‘what exactly do you do?’ when asked these questions it is easy to elaborate on the finer details rather than just scratch the surface and be generic.

With the addition of a blog on your website it is easy to chronologically add fresh content about the finer details relating to  your business. This information gets stored into archives and categories which both new and existing visitors can access. As long as they are accessible, your visitors will engage with your business.

Whilst you add content to you’re website to help others, you’re not only engaging there interest, you’re also gaining the interest of big players like google, who love fresh content on the internet, which can only be a good thing.

How do you make it easy to subscribe to?

Once you have engaging content, it must be easy to subscribe to. This is where social media comes in to play. Icon’s like these rss feed icon allow visitors to subscribe via, email or other third party syndicates. The RSS feed will send content straight to the subscriber without them having to visit the website. This can be fed into other online application like feedburner which take the hassle and cost out of major website development. Another method would be to include a subscription sign up form, that would entitle the subscriber to receive a newsletter whenever the website owner decided to send one.

Another way to engage subscribers is through social networks, of which there are many, check these out. One of the biggest players is Facebook! Up against the likes of Google this site is rapidly becoming more important for attracting traffic to your website –  take a look at the graph!

Get yourself a Facebook profile and set up a page for your business, add links from your website to that profile page, tell your Facebook friends about your business, ask them to become a fan of your Facebook page, add links from your Facebook page back to your website… this is social networking in practice.

If Facebook is becoming this popular, why not advertise there rather that through google’s adwords! Facebook has a sophisticated system that can be highly targeted from gender to location which can be very powerful indeed.

Twitter is another great social networking tool, however, it is still a bit of a mystery to some, the general reaction is ‘we just don’t get it’. Well get this, if you have an audience of say 2000 followers, is that not a great networking opportunity? Of course it is not a good idea to market your business aggressively through twitter, you should gain the trust of your followers and be genuine about yourself and your business just as you would through normal face to face networking.

There are some great tools for twitter that can be used to target specific followers or people you think would be interested in your business or products. From what people are tweeting about to what there location is, again like facebook, this can be a highly targeted and powerful system.

Linkedin is another one… the principles are the same, use these other social networks to create a profile and add information that relates and links back to your website – simple! This not only grabs the interest of other users and members of those networks, it also feeds one way links back to your website which is a good thing for search engine optimisation (SEO).

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