Networking has been used as a marketing tool for generations of business owners and I find it is a good profile builder for my business. However, if you are a business providing a unique service and hence, have little or no competition, networking can be a huge part of new client acquisition for you.
This form of traditional networking has evolved as the Internet has grown and developed into an online version of online networking. This form of online networking is called social networking and I feel that is has become one of the most effective online marketing tools available.
Social networking refers to online sites where people gather together to learn, share ideas and socialize. When considering the opportunities for word of mouth advertising, social networking online is the best opportunity for referrals when leveraged effectively.
‘But where do I start?’
If you are new to social networking or you want to become an expert at it, the first thing to do is to research your market; have a look at what is being said by others on networking sites. Most social networking sites have good search facilities so you will be able to get a feeling for what works. Then I would try and put together some sort of strategy which will allow you to possibly measure what you do. This can be followers on Twitter, traffic numbers to your website, increasing meetings in your diary etc. All of these are areas that I have experienced and I have also been asked to write for other sites thus expanding the platform I use to market my company.
There are arguments for using the services of someone who really understands social networking by outsourcing it to someone. Alternatively, try and ensure there is someone in house who can spend dedicated time to manage the social networking activities of your business. Maybe even find a halfway house where in house and external marketing people work together. I do this for a number of clients like http://westcountrysolicitors.blogspot.com/ and http://employmentlawsolicitor.blogspot.com/
The fact is that social media is a proven and effective business tool. Use it wisely and you’ll have a new voice for your customers to engage with, and you’ll make more sales in the long run.
If you would like to talk to me about social networking in more detail, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org