Social networking is all about sharing valuable content and making friends. We as human beings are social creatures. "Web 2.0 is a way to build credibility and make your personality known be consistently ‘alive’ and ‘in the now’ on the Internet. You can also accumulate more backlinks and subsequently more traffic to your sites.
Teenagers and adults mostly use social networking sites. There are now niche social networking sites, which target people who share common interests like parenting or investing. In addition to teenagers and adults, social networks are increasingly becoming used by another group—businesses. That's right, many businesses are now using social networks to advertise in some subtle manner—and then replicate their message through systems that are already available within the social network.
I’ll discuss how to advertise without the in-your-face approach with tact. The most well known social network is MySpace, which membership base is well over one hundred million and it grows daily. If your product or services you are offering has a broad appeal, you may want to use MySpace to market your product, as you will be able to reach the largest crowd quickly.
Now, there are a number of different ways in which you can market your product or services through MySpace. One way is to setup a profile, and then begin adding friends to your list on a daily basis. You can include a direct link to your Social Networking Site, when you send emails. Depending on your goals, you may want to add a personal profile for yourself and then talk about your business/product on your page; or you may want to simply create a profile for your business and use that to market your product or services.
While you can send out bulletins advertising your product or services through MySpace, this is generally discouraged by the Myspace staff which could lead to you getting banned. It is probably a good idea to avoid this; instead, post related bulletins that don't advertise your product, but talk about something similar. This will drive interested visitors to your page, where they can learn more about the product or services you are offering. Note however, that you will have to use your domain or link to a non-affiliate page, as affiliate links are forbidden on MySpace.
Once you have had some experience marketing to the MySpace crowd, you will want to consider looking at other social networking sites. One other fastest growing phenomenon site is Twitter. Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing? Facebook is another large social networking site, which caters specifically to college and high school students. You will also want to look for niche networking sites, such as BetterNetworker.com, or Warrior which will afford you an opportunity to capture a more targeted audience.
Whichever sites you decide to use, keep the following in mind:
1) Your goal should be to develop a network of people who, first and foremost, share a common interest. For this reason, it is always a good idea to think long term (i.e. don't do things that are going to get you banned). Selling your products or services can always come later. Take the time to read everything that is available, the rules, regulations and protocol, and get a feel for how members interact with one another on the site.
2) When you are ready to talk, always ‘say’ things with a smile; think customer service. Compliment members about themselves. You can do this through visiting their websites or blogs, go through their content, understand what they are all about and praise them for their expertise or knowledge in the subject matter. Now this is only the first part…
3) The second part of your remark offers a benefit for visiting your site in kind, like a free download, or a free vacation voucher. Here is an example: "Hi xxx, I really like the things you write about your travels. You sure travel far and wide. You can receive a 3 day 2 night Hotel Accommodation for two at http://www.wealthwithme.com/ (of course use your website) Thanks for visiting!"
Sometimes you may not have anything to offer, but just leaving a comment on the other member’s account is good enough to stamp a presence for other future members to come by and take notice of you. You just have to do it consistently. Be active and in the "now".
One thing to bear in mind is you are not going to befriend everyone depending on how you project your image through the avatar (photo) and how you ‘sound’ like through your comments, but you are going to attract a certain type of people who are likely to become repeat visitors to your sites. One very useful tool can help you identify who these people are…
4) This tool is the widget. A widget is a proprietary HTML code offered by the social networking site which you publish on your site and it tracks a variety of data like daily visitor count, which countries or sites visitors are coming from (knowing this can help you tailor content to target specific countries), your most popularly read blog posts, and especially who visits your site. If you keep seeing a "same old" avatar and username who keeps popping up on your site, you’d better pay attention to this visitor because s/he is already paying attention to you! This effect is reciprocal. Write to him/her further to forge a closer relationship, dig deep whenever possible to find out what s/he wants and give him/her the value s/he is looking for. The most straightforward manner is to invite them to an opt-in page on your website, blog, lens or Hub pages. Doing this helps you build relationships, and build your list. Remember, The fortune is in the list.
5) Address your visitors by their names. Simply go to their sites and look for an ‘about’ page or a profile page. You may find both of you share common interests and an opportunity to collaborate from here. Why not comment your Spaniard, or European visitors in their native languages too? You can simply go to Google Translate and translate simple sentences like "thank you for visiting" or "good morning". They will be impressed!
I used to think it would be hard to run your own Web 2.0 domain, but not anymore. You can simply Google "free social networking site script" You can use Ping.fm. Ping.fm is a simple service that makes updating your social networks a snap, you can update from anywhere! You can download *Boonex, which is a Free Software that makes it easy to deploy and manage dating sites, social networks, online clubs, or virtual communities. If you’re serious about building relationships, and creating customers, uses services that will allow you to leverage your time while you focus on building your business. For an immediate list of 79 top social networking sites, check out Jeff Johnson’s list.
* There is ongoing controversy over the use of this software. While the management behind MySpace once declared that their site can detect and remove such usage, still there are few more products coming out. I am unsure of their effectiveness. My next question is: would you be happy adding 100 friends a day instead of 300? There is such a thing as "going overboard". Read the terms and conditions for limits. My last question concerns with targeting: How inclined are your ‘friends’ towards paying attention to you? It’s not just that adder software add friends without sense; more so in a cultural sense, people add friends to chalk up the numbers, then they boast, "Oh, I have 10,000 friends!" Remember, the old-school idea of loving friendship and remain sociable.
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