Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How To Use Web 2.0 Social Networking Sites To Maximize Your Marketing Efforts

How To Use Web 2.0 Social Networking Sites To Maximize Your Marketing Efforts
Social networking sites offer you a great way to get yourself known. Social networking sites allow you to create a profile and then connect with other users on the site. Most social networking sites also allow you to join group where you can meet other individuals who have the same interests as you do.

The thing, though, is that you need to watch how you use a social networking site to promote your business, since you do not want to be seen as pushy. No one likes a pushy salesperson. There's a hard sale and a soft sale. When using sites such as MySpace and Facebook, you may want to do so in a soft sale way. This means that you want them to know what you are offering without giving them a feeling like it is being shoved in their face. I will break down a few sections of the social networking site and show you how do a soft sale marketing style.

Creating Your Profile
This is your main area that you will want to do your product or service promotion. Remember that your website should have your business profile on it. With that in mind, you are going to make your profile on the social networking site a little more personal.

Take advantage of the fact that this is an informal place so you are free to design it in any way you like. Fill in areas of personal information. MySpace allows you to put information about your favorite movies, music and interests. Those areas should be filled in to give people background about you. After all, we all feel more comfortable purchasing products and services from those we know.

In a brick and mortar business, your customer comes in and you deal with them face to face. During the transaction, you and your customer talk and some personal information is shared. Take going to the furniture store as an example, you can relate to how the salesman will walk around with you, and during the process of showing you the furniture, some off-topic discussions may arise. Sharing personal information allows the salesman to create rapport with the customer, which builds a good consumer-salesman relationship.

On the internet, we do not have the chance for some face-to-face sales and relationship building that we do in the brick and mortar business. Therefore, you need to take advantage of the chance you are given to let the potential customer see you not only as a businessman, but also as someone who is just like them.

I use my profile on MySpace to promote my business. My main profile features a slide show of various pictures of my family and myself. These are just some random home shots with captions. I have some graphics on my profile that are fun and entertaining. I have even placed a radio feature on my profile that has about four songs loaded on it. This is my personal area on the internet and I use it in conjunction to promote my business. The informal layout and personal feel of my profile has driven a large amount of traffic to my website.

As you can see, you are getting interactive with those who are visiting your profile while promoting your website where your potential customers can go to. You just have to put a link that they can click to direct them to your main website. This way, you will not look like you're pushing them to take advantage of your service or product; instead you're giving them an option to visit your website for more information about your business which is your way to "soft sell".

Joining Groups
Most social networking sites have a group section where you can find groups with the same interests as you. The groups usually have the members' main profile picture and name displayed for all group members to see, as well as a forum area for all group members to discuss things relevant to the group. This is a great way to make your profile work and start sending traffic to your website.

The part that most people fail to realize when using groups to market their websites is to not spam the group forums. Many people join a group and then start putting links of their websites up in the group forum, hoping to drive more traffic to their websites. This is a bad marketing etiquette and this usually results to being banned from the group and your account with the social networking site also being shut down. This does not benefit you in any way and is the quickest way to lose credibility as a professional.

So how do you use the group to drive traffic to your website? Well, that is simple, so let me explain how it works. You have already created a nice personal profile that does point toward your website. The purpose of the group is to network with other like-minded people and in return you can count on the fact that they will check your profile out. Once they have checked your profile out, the possibility that they would check your website is high, provided that you have placed a link they can click to direct them to your main website.

Just take part in the discussions and leave the rest to your profile. You do not want to push your business too hard to the people in the group forums. Just socialize and the rest will fall into place.

Check to see if the social network site you are using has a signature area for group forum postings. You can use the signature areas to place a piece of text linked to your business there, so that all of your postings are at least advertised in an appropriate way for your business. For the text, just put your business name and then link it to your website and you are done.

Onsite Blogs
Social networking sites such as MySpace have blogs that you can add to your profile. When you create your blog entries, the first few entries' titles and a brief overview of your blog will be displayed on your profile page. This allows other users to find your blog entries easier. Depending on your business, there are several ways that you can utilize the blog that these social networking sites offer.

For example, you are offering a service for custodial parents to collect on past due child support. You can use the blog to write your own mini articles that deal with child support and the effects of estranged parents from their children's lives. This gives you the chance to offer useful and valuable information separate from your website so that your website is not overly cluttered up with tons of information. Show those in need of this service how you can help them after showing them why they need the help. Be factual and creative and always remember to direct them back to your website.

For those that have products to sell, this is also a great place to showcase some of your products. Take the time to create some catchy entries about your products. Most social networking sites do not seem to have the ability to put pictures into your blog entry, so make sure that you entice the
readers with the way you describe your product without using any pictures.

Tell the people how that product in that entry post will benefit them. If you only have one product, do not worry, you can still pull this off without sounding repetitive.

Let us look at green tea as the product you are selling. Now, you only have this one product but you are still going to utilize the blog to catch the interest of potential customers. Your first post should describe your product and indicate some of its benefits. After that, you can already post an entry containing more information about the product such as the price, sales rate and what the consumers say about the item. These would help your potential customer get well-informed about the product and would make them interested.

Remember to point back to your website so that you can close the sale. Use words such as "Click Here to Get Yours Now", "Click Here to Learn More" "Click Here to Find Out if This is Right for you" and so on and so forth. Just let them know where to click. If you are offering a service, you can post your business phone number at the bottom of each blog entry.

Do not be afraid to get creative and get their attention. My blog is bright yellow in color with purple text. I had originally started out with a simple black with white text and then I moved to white with black text. I figured it looked more professional. Well, traffic coming from the on-site blog to my website was very minimal. When I punched it up a notch and went with bright yellow and purple, my traffic from there had increased. I got their attention and they clicked my link at the bottom of each entry.

Remember to keep your blog updated to drive more readers to read your blogs and visit your site. Since most blogs have an entry date on them, even a new reader will go elsewhere if your entry dates are old. This is an important part of marketing with a blog, and if you cannot keep it fresh, then it won't work for you. Your posts should not always be lengthy; in fact, it is better if you keep them short but precise.

Before we move on to the next chapter and more information on maximizing your marketing with the Web 2.0 market, let us recap how to use social networking sites. First create a personal informal profile that shows a more personal side of you. Next, find groups that fit with your interests and join them. Do not spam, these are just ways to get yourself known without pushing your product or service. Lastly, utilize the on-site blogs to show case your products and service. Remember that social networking sites are just one form of the Web 2.0 market that you can use for marketing. There are many more Web 2.0 website types and I am going to show you throughout this eBook how to use them to your benefit.

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