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Social Networks: The beauty of the commitment


August 26, 2008


As the volume of traffic to social networking has been growing exponentially, 2008 proves to be an even more successful year. More than 80 million people in the United States frequent networks like MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tagged, etc. and become more and more addicted communicators. Social Networks are now mainstream.

The increasing popularity of social networking, of course, affects other activities and media. A survey conducted by Entertainment Media Research reveals that there has been a trend of decreasing interest in activities like watching broadcast television, reading books, magazines, and newspapers, visiting other web sites, and playing games.

Moreover, while social networks connect people to communicate with each other, according to the survey they also have the potential to become the content distribution platforms of tomorrow. 1 out of every 4 users says that social networks could be the main way to access video, music, and content.

Thus, it is becoming vital for every individual and company to develop their social media presence and create an environment to communicate with friends, customers and prospects across different social platforms.

The previous article touched on some of the advantages of social bookmarking as well as the ways to get a huge amount of free traffic and increased company or blog exposure. This time the focus is on Facebook and Twitter seen as a good point to start with social networking.

Facebook:

Facebook is a social utility that connects people and organizations with friends, customers, and prospects. It offers various ways to establish a presence - groups, pages, causes, etc.

Pages: The first step is to create an attractive and entertaining corporate profile. It is considered as a must to update your page on a daily basis. You can upload photos, start a discussion board, create a poll, etc. Polls are a good marketing tool to get feedback from your customers about the products and services the company offers. Another option is to let people write on your wall and also upload their own media.

Fans: Search and invite relevant friends with influence to join your network. That is important because when someone becomes a fan of your company, all of their friends will see that and eventually can join as well. Yet another great advantage is that when a fan accomplishes any actions on your page, they will be listed in their news feed.

Sharing: You can share content and every time you update your page, all of your Facebook Fans will become aware of that.

Events: Yet another useful marketing tool is the ability of creating event pages. When you add events people will get notifications about it.

Groups: You can search for groups relevant to your business and then take part in conversations revolving around your company as well as the products and services that you offer. Most of the small size companies don’t have a resource for moderation. In this case, you’d better search for existing groups talking about your company rather then create your own forum moderated by someone within the company.

Tracking: You can put in a keyword by which to track how many times your brand is mentioned on the Facebook walls across all profiles.

Facebook Social Ads: The ads can appear either on the left sidebar or in users' news feed. In order to target your audience more precisely, you can filter through by age, keywords, place, etc.

Apps: The huge amount of interest and the excitement in the developer platform is due to the virality of the applications. Strive to create application that's viral and people will be willing to share it with their friends.

Twitter

Basically, Twitter is a microblogging platform through which twitters write short messages and share them with the world. The post updates should comprise of 140 characters or less.

Twitter is an excellent, addictive tool for getting connected socially and can be actively used as a self-promotion and marketing tool.

The key element is who you follow, and who follows you. You can easily follow thousands of users and enter into conversations conducted among multiple users.

The updates are called “tweets”, and they can include a great variety of topics starting with your latest blog post, going through what you’re doing right now and ending with your upcoming calendar, for example. Leaving aside its use as an informational resource and publicity tool, Twitter is mainly a communication platform for individuals and their personal social networks.

For many Twitter is a traffic generation tool. Admittedly, the placement of links within profiles and conversations can drive visitors and traffic to your website. It is especially powerful if you connect with early adopters and influencers. From a traffic generating perspective, Twitter can become a main referrer for unique visitors to a blog

Marketers should care about Twitter not only because it drives traffic and provide possibilities to share news, information, and links with your followers, but because it can contribute to the other social media efforts in driving conversions and sales.

Tips on how to get more out of Twitter

1. Personal Branding: Twitter is a social media platform you can use to build your personal brand. Therefore your Twitter avatar should be created and used wisely.

2. Twitter feed. Set up a Twitter feed. Friends or customers can subscribe via mobile or RSS and get notifications. Twitter can also be used to provide mini-updates for one-on-one clients.

3. Take part in discussions: It is important to join conversations, share links and ideas.

4. Promote your Twitter outside of the service: Add your Twitter address to your email signature, profiles, and business cards to let people know about your profile on Twitter.

5. Network for benefits. If you interact with other like-minded people, especially those in the same industry and establish deeper relationships with them, it can be beneficial for you when you need testimonials or recommendations.

6. Flag words: You can highlight words with a # to mark them as searchable keywords. That is very useful for SEO having in mind that Twitter posts are now being indexed in Google and Technorati

7. Twitter tracking and search tools: Twitter allows you to track words and phrases and get a notification any time your search term appear on Twitter. This feature is good for monitoring what people on Twitter are saying about you and your business.

8. Allow users to comment on your blog through Twitter: In the ever-changing world of communications, it is becoming mandatory to bring Twitter replies on your blog. Here is how it can be implemented.

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