Social Media Catalyst

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Web Influence

How to use Social Networking Site for Advertising Products/ Services:

Create your account- Creating a profile is not very hard task and can be easily done. However, you may need to keep all your profiles updated on a regular basis.
Expand your network- Almost every networking site provides you option to search friends who share same interests as you. So always search and invite members who share the same interest as you or those who needs your product or services.

Try to be more socialize-Always participate in online discussion forum that maybe directly or indirectly related to your site. This simple practice can sometimes be more fruitful to build connection with your prospective clients and pitch in your products.

Be more persistent- Social marketing advertising work best when you are persistent. Keep in contact with your “friends” with comments and messages.
Show your expertise- You may also write an article or blog about your product and post it to bulletins. This simple act can let your friends or members who belong to same community know how your products or services can address their needs.

Create your product or service video- This is perhaps one of the emerging ways that seems to be rising in popularity by advertising in the form of a video. You as an individual can create videos and can even share on different social networking website.

Paid Advertisement- Just in case, if you are willing to shell out some money, make the best use of paid advertisement to these social networking sites. It will surely be an extra advantage.

When you utilize social media sites, you may soon appreciate the advantages of it. It doesn’t matter, how you choose to go about social networking advertising, whether you create your own profile for free or buy advertising space, you can rest assured that your sales and business network will receive a vast increase

New tools of Marketing:

Social Networking sites are new tool of marketing that has gained its popularity in last couple of years. This new concept is considered as very effective tool for capturing marketing leads. It has emerged as one of the most significant tools that provide a platform where you can network and gain new customers. This newest form of advertising online has become a must for any business who wishes to market their product or service over the internet.

Today, many local and international companies are using this common tool to create their own customized profiles on social media sites, and then add potential customers and business contacts as friends. Making friends and connecting with a targeted demographic play an important role in social networking. In fact this simple practice of making friends has been the key factor to bring success in different social media sites. Unquestionably, the potential growth of advertising your product or service is unlimited when you utilize social networking sites.

A social network websites primarily focuses on creating online community of people who share common interests and activities. Since this tool is internet based, it provides different ways for users to interact, such as instant messaging and e-mail services. As a result, it has created new ways to communicate and share information. Indeed, social networking has become a favorite place to advertise your business for free. So, if you are one of those who is planning to advertise your product or service, these are simple ways that can help you utilize social networking sites more effectively-

Would online social networking strategy work for a corporate business online?

Would all types of audiences be conducive for the idea?

It’s a great idea for the corporate industries to pursue, whether they have a product or a service. The goal of any business that is customer-driven wants to generate buzz about their activities. What better way to do that than by engaging in social media and social networking in order to do so?

Photos add an especially nice touch to the social networking idea. Businesses can certainly expect a lot of activity from that particular action as customers will likely love sharing their purchases that show off the size, colors, and types of purchases that they make.

As it goes in social circles, online business networking certainly is going to make a big impact in their industry as they delve into a very popular, fast growing technology. Imagine:

Facebook pages with pictures of their products, satisfied customers giving feedback, others with suggestions.

Twitter updates on a frequent basis – - announcing sales, product updates, etc.

Linkedin updates with connections to key business partners in their corporation.

All of these platforms, and still more where they will appear, are going to be extraordinary for a retailer who has been around for quite some time. They have definitely latched on to the next best wonderful thing that can enable them to be around for a long, long time to come.

Unique Social Networking Strategy by Sears:

Many companies, both online and offline can appreciate the benefits of networking and how it can clearly benefit their company. In the form of offline, traditional networking, many companies use their Chambers of Commerce such as Bombay chamber of commerce and industry (BCCI) or Federation of Indian chamber of commerce and industry (FICCI), Lunchtime networking clubs and the most effective word-of-mouth referral system.

In today’s changing global landscape, online social networking has quickly become the method and the means that numerous companies are using as their platform for reaching out to customers

The Sears Corporation has set a directional course on becoming a social shopping hub on the web. For over 100 years, Sears has provided customers with quality products at very reasonable prices. They are as famous as Coca Cola.

They are now strategizing to become an even bigger integral part of the online community with new changes and developments that will likely place them as a front runner of social networking and involvement.

Sears will develop a marketing-based strategy that will enable users to log onto their Sears accounts online and have options to access other social sites like Facebook, Twitter etc.

One of Sears’s goals in developing this strategy is to enhance their customers’ shopping experience as much as possible. Ultimately, they would like to have customers share their shopping experiences, share photos of their purchases, give and share feedback on their buying experiences and perhaps serve as a referral for new customers as they become more visible on social sites.

With social platforms like Twitter and MySpace, the social sharing should be relatively easy for Sears customers to adapt to. Whenever people find a product or service that they really, really like, they want to share it. Having these kinds of options will certainly enhance the buying experience and will also help guide Sears in the direction that they need on this web marketing strategy as they see what customers need, like and gravitate towards.

Corporate blogging:

Corporate blogs, often by their very own definition, are maintained by senior levelers or any other upper level manager within the company who has a vested company interest and wholly understand the integral importance of effective networking. Since they are ultimately responsible for the content and tone of the blog, it would stand to reason that the blog’s writer or author must have some degree of maturity and responsibility.

If your company maintains a corporate blog, no doubt you have also joined or participated on social networking sites like Linkedin or Twitter. Social networking is an invaluable tool for existing businesses and new startups alike. The benefit that a business or entrepreneur can gain from being an active part of social networking sites can create phenomenal ROI (return on investment) of your time, talents and creativity that you place in your blog.

Seasoned bloggers understand the benefits of networking with their sites and visiting and commenting on other sites. They know that in order to ramp up their blog traffic and connect with other power-bloggers who aspire to high-profile status, they must find and network with other bloggers in their niche industries in business. And in addition to networking with other sites in your field of specialisation, providing solid, valuable content is even more important while networking.

It would be very bad business for your blog if your readers found the content on your blog unsuitable or worst, boring. New bloggers are often jaded by all the hype and buzz that abounds on the internet concerning social networking. Often as loners, new bloggers make the mistake of thinking that they can make a go of it alone and increase their own blog traffic. This most often happens with new bloggers who are new to internet marketing, social networking or the online world altogether. However they fail to realize that nothing could be farther from the truth.

Corporate blogs need traffic to thrive. They need readers in order to have a purpose and an audience with which to share their information. Therefore, if a corporate blog has aspirations of taking their blogs to the next level, they must first realize the inherent benefits of consistently maintaining a valuable, enriched blog that readers refer to over and over again. Hence, the need for social marketing. Here are some advantages of social networking for blogs:

1.) Join sites that complement your business’ purpose. If you sell a specialized product or service, find the social networking site that responds well to it. You don’t want to make the mistake of selling or advertising (perceived) useless products to a third party.

2.) Visit other blogs in your niche area on a daily basis. Read and comment on their blog. This is a sure-fire way to drive traffic to your blog.

3.) Write compelling, crafty content on your blog and website. People want not just content but valuable content. Be sure to update the blog daily (if it is of that compelling nature), but no less than three times a week.

Do’s and dont’s for social networking for corporates:

Basic rules of the Game:

Just like in all types of business and life, there are some basic rules to be adhered to. They can be called as etiquettes. These can be spoken and/or non-spoken, but many businesses and individuals often do not practice these rules when they are on these social sites. Not only can this be embarrassing and damaging to your online image/ perception, but could also be a deterrent in your business objectives, or any potential business and any future business dealings with other company’s and clients.

If your corporation wants to utilize and maximize the use of social networking avenues, they should carefully choose the representative who will speak on your website, your blogs and any social networking platforms where you may be. And, not only the company’s representatives, but also employees and freelancers that are associated with the company. . In other words, you have to be utmost careful of the way your corporation is portrayed on the social platforms.

Your Company’s Image/ perception:

What people do on their personal time is definitely their business, without a doubt. Where they go, who they are with and what they do is their business. But it becomes a company’s business when that individual/employee/representative affect the company’s reputation by posting inappropriate posts, uploading controversial photos/ clips or even linking to questionable or irrelevant sites. What does that say about your company?

The point of social networking for businesses is to drive traffic, make connections and gain a following for your company. Social networking is driven by the individuals who are a part of the company and speak for the company not for personal creative satisfaction and who represent the company online. Make sure that your followers are getting quality and appropriate material.

What can you do to ensure that your company is represented accurately in the social circles? This can decide whether your presence online is any value addition to your company and it achieves the objectives or goals which it has set out to achieve.

What does our Social Networks Say About you:

Let’s play a game of memory: What is your latest Twitter entry? What was the last photo you uploaded on your Orkut account? Can you remember or do you have to go and check it really quick?

Social networking is fabulous but it is not without its set of problems and misconceptions. For example, a lot of people think that social networking platforms are a free for all. They think that they can write anything, post anything and even link to anything. While there are certain spaces that have their own culture and personalities, what should you as a corporation or a business owner do to ensure that your platforms are professional but believable?

What are the Objectives?

Many people personally tend to use the Facebook platform as a socially-connected forum to keep up with the latest events in there areas, upload photos and check out stuff. That is about 20% of what its use is. The remaining percentage is used for networking with other writing professionals on leads and talking with editors and contacts.

Not many people use the complete 140 characters available for use. People love to know what other people are doing through twitter. Follow the person to different links and information. For both platforms though, we should be careful about what we post, what we say on the post and consider who’s reading the post. We should not post details about our children, i.e., what schools they attend, their birth dates, ages, etc., nor should you post details about my married life. Who really wants to know about those things from layman like us, unlike celebrities whose every tooth and nail is analyzed threadbare. But, do all users think about the safety aspect with so much concern.

Defining and Setting Success Metrics:

We should know what to measure and when to measure. This is the area where businesses- without proper guidance, or internal knowledge – start seeing hazy returns. Metrics is the area where most organisations or marketing teams don’t see recognizable returns or returns that are hard to quantify for social media campaigns. Choosing the right success metrics is the first challenge of implementing a social media campaign you can measure.

Figuring out what success metrics translate easily into a business context for your organisation is what matters.

The number of followers on your twitter account is a pretty meaningless success metric to use, although it might be satisfying and flattering to try to increase. However, if for example you are a chocolate shop owner in South Mumbai and you implement a social media campaign to get 100 female followers on Twitter who live in South Mumbai – that’s a metric that translates into a business context. These 100 qualified leads you can offer Valentine’s day discounts to in the week before February 14th. 100 leads to remind that it’s Mother’s day soon. Aiming for 10,000 random followers from all over the world might be a nicer number to look at, but being stricter with your success metrics and choosing a more miniscule goal will make the relationship between the outcome of the campaign and your bottom line easier to understand. 100 qualified leads are undeniably good. 10,000 people who know the name of your shop but can’t ever buy anything from it.

The next question is then to know what should success metrics be? And there is no short answer to that. This is where your marketing team or social media consultant comes in to help you define what things you should be measuring. It depends on various factors such as what tools you have available to you, what are the goals of your campaign etc. One thing to remember is that by defining success metrics you can break down qualitative attributes into metrics that are easier to understand and measure. For example your campaign goal could be to increase “Influence” and you might measure this by the number of influential blogs linking to you and the number of influential twitters retweeting you, to give two simple ideas for metrics.

Usage of back links in SEO:

Focusing on the same keyword, this can be an effective internet marketing technique. This is search engine optimization for social networking websites at its best.

This has also become the major source of back-links. It provides a great way to generate back-links for free. It boosts website visibility at search engines, because each new back-link is a new positive point for website. Generally most of the social networking sites provide the facility of creating forums. These forums are great source to get thousands of back-links. The key benefit of creating a forum signature is that- when an individual clicks on a forum that was indexed by the search engines, they will have a direct link to website from forum signature. The more post we make to different topics, the more back-links we will create to our website.

Currently social networking in a broad business sense is the best and most effective way of drawing potential clients and interest to websites. Playing its role in search engine optimization process for any website, it can increase the number of meaningful hits to website. Using this form of social marketing is more effective because it draws customers in a more ethical way. Website promotion through social networking is more like a fun and one won’t have to wait for the result for weeks or months.

Social media measurement: basics

Return on investment is of most importance for any activity. Be it a new plant, a new machine, a new products Research and development or an intangible team as advertisement. Quantification makes it easy to convince a client. For a marketing team within a larger organisation or a client-facing agency, being able to quantify growth or returns on a campaign is of course of vital importance when presenting results to upper management or clients – not to mention important to yourself or your team in order to determine whether your campaigns are actually working.

Problems with Measuring Social Media ROI

The point about social media is that it doesn’t cost much. In fact it doesn’t need to cost anything. Just open an account on Facebook or twitter or Orkut or linkedin to name a few and start getting people to know about you online. A successful social media campaign can be something started by you for zero money and expanded upon by your users/customers, or it can be something implemented and maintained by an existing member of staff taking up just minutes of their work day. Just like what I do for my company.

Social media is a marketing tool. Some people believe that social media is not a channel to sell things but it is something that should be used purely to engage with your customers. An extension of ethics – something so core to your business that you should be just “doing it” and not thinking about what you get back from it.

As with all types of promotions, social media benefits are qualitative in nature.
There are many qualitative benefits: among them being
Trust
Brand awareness
Interaction
Passion
Loyalty

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