Everyday around the world, more and more people are joining social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Technorati etc… My question is why?

It has been said that if you continue to do what you have always done, you are going to get what you’ve always been getting. In other words, you need to change business strategies and marketing campaigns to adapt with the times. Darwin once said that it is not the fittest of the species that survive but the ones that are most adaptive to change. Let’s take a tip from him and apply it to marketing through social media networks. Remember, change is sometimes good.

Here are ten reasons why companies should join social media and how they can make their campaigns a success

1. Change Your Networking Technique
The first thing companies should understand is their market. For example, what makes your customers loyal? Is it your service, your product, both? Second is to find out where your customers are. That can be achieved by a simple study placed on your website. Ask them to link to you on the various social networking sites by placing a Twitter, Facebook, Sphinn and/or Digg button or just asking them. This will give you a basis in better understanding who your current customers are and which ones are missing. This is a great starting point for making positive change happen.

Making the changes needed to your existing social networking techniques and adapting to your market will give you a better reach to a new market audience each and every month. Make it a point to set up one of the social networking links on your company site or if not, at least include a blog that is updated monthly with news and fresh content. Solicit questions from your repeat customers. And please remember, testing and re-testing various techniques is part of the process.

What’s your business outreach?

2. Use Facebook For Your Business Out Reach
Use Facebook’s networking system to build a page that carries news of your company. Apart from this, you should also engage in various ‘Events’ and add them to your network. Spend a couple of hours a week understanding what works and what your customers want to know. Invite as many like-minded people to join your group as you can. Start locally… then move your reach as your customers become more global.

3. Utilizing Twitter To The Fullest
Twitter is the fastest growing business tool on the Internet. Look at the Mobile applications available through Twitter. It’s mind-boggling. You can use various tools to establish direct links with your potential customers and provide existing ones with instant updates on company products and policies. It’s no secret that, in time, using Twitter will generate traffic in droves to your web site.

4. Use LinkedIn For Maximum Marketing Advantage
LinkedIn is currently the hub of marketing and affiliate activity on the Internet. Everyone who is anyone will be there. To some it may seem intimidating, but it is very easy to use. You can create a large following that can be channeled into business contacts and a potential customer base.

One suggestion I would like to make is, don’t use LinkedIn to discuss only business activities. Make it a habit to expand your network by discussing things that are of interest to you. It could be green thinking, business conferences, new software or anything else, and don’t be shy to get involved in the Q&A section. Update your activity at least once a month.

Use Only A Few

5. Make The Most Of Applications And Widgets
Almost all social networking sites offer applications and widgets that can be incorporated into your blogs and web sites. These plugins can help promote a business, when used properly. Twitterfeed is one such application that can be used to channel new blog posts into your twitter account so you never have to log in to post to Twitter.

6. Use Only A Few Networks
Once you are comfortable working and using at least three different networks, then you can test out and try others. But don’t take on too many; it will become overwhelming. Personally, I think that if you spread yourself to thin, you won’t master any of them. Remember that change is key here, and with change comes the responsibility of figuring out your strategies. This will help focus and keep up with regular posting.

Seriously people…

7. Be Careful What You Post And What You Don’t
This is really a no brainer… Or is it? How many times have we heard some stupid stunt by an employee or employer? Keep your personal life out of social media. No one really cares but your close circle of friends; remember that the world is not as forgiving as you are, or as your family members might be.

Understand that you are using social media as a networking tool for your business promotions. The effectiveness will always reflect back on your participation. Never waste time posting personal deals on your social networking accounts. You should concentrate on exposing your business and build your brand recognition online. The best way to go about achieving this is to be yourself while staying professional.

8. Make The Most Of Forums
If you have a unique selling point, you should use some forums to highlight them. Comment on blog posts. If your comments are relevant and useful, this is a great way to build recognition and respect for what you have to say and for your company. Posting links to your blog on these forums is another great way to show your commitment to the topic or service you offer. Keep your links relevant to the topic at hand, and don’t be too opinionated. It shows bad form.

9. Keep An Eye Out For The Experts
Look out for seasoned professionals in your niche field. I am a huge believer that it’s not the “gurus”, or so called “gurus”, that should be followed but the ones that make sense. My tip: just because they have a huge following does not, necessarily, mean they know what they are talking about. NO, it just means they know how to market themselves. Watch them; see how they attract readers and followers in all the social networks. I can assure you: it’s all about confidence, knowledge and the will to make things happen.

Privacy Is Your Responsibility

10. Privacy
This is an important factor that most seem to forget. Make the best use of the privacy settings on your social network account. Set up your email filters, decide whom you want in your network (and whom you want to keep out) and make sure to block out people you do not want to connect to. Keep in mind that you should filter your invitations very carefully- carelessness can lead to a loss of a potential client or customer.

In conclusion, you must ensure that you have a set number of forums and networking sites that you are comfortable interacting with. You should also make it a habit to stay on top of the latest breaking news. Use Google Trends if you have to, or Google Alert, but know your market. Set aside an hour or so every day for your networking, blogging and forum posting. This will lead to a better future for you and your business.

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