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How to Use Social Networking Sites as a Business Tool

I believe that the principle behind social networking sites like Facebook and many others is to connect with the people in our lives. These sites can also be used ethically for business. Now, the question is. Is leveraging your connections on social networks for business purposes ethical? Yes it is only if you do it in a way to meet the needs of your connections on the social networking sites.

 
We’ve all heard plenty about social network marketing strategies. It seems everything has a social networking component and we all need to know how to leverage these sites if we expect to be successful professionally or personally. But, it’s not as easy as signing up and spewing one long sales pitch.

 
When you leverage social networking for business purposes, it’s a bit more than that. When you choose to join a social network to use as a business tool, you want to keep a few things in mind. There are millions of people on every social networking site and they won’t pay attention to you if they don’t think there is something in it for them. Below are seven social networking business strategies that we use, that you can use to build your business most effectively.

 
1. Find your niche

Whether you choose to focus on a specific market segment or product, you will achieve the greatest success (and the largest audiences) if you find your niche rather than speaking broadly on a topic. Niche means your area of focus.

 
2. Have Something to Say

As stated earlier, your social business strategy should be more than a sales pitch. Focus on a niche, link to current events and offer expertise to illustrate your thought leadership. These things are useful to people and they will come back to read more of what you have to say. I have heard and read countless comments from people who thank me for providing them information constantly with respect to my niche.

 
3. Be Part of the Community

Social networking is a give and take. If you expect others to be part of your network, you need to be part of theirs. Comment on people’s post, re-post and share what you like. People like it when their updates are picked up by others and will respond in kind. Extend your reach and get involved.

 
4. Keep it Professional

While your favorite social network site may refer to those in your network as “friends,” they are not. You should keep your personal and business social networking accounts separate. This would help you a lot to differentiate your friends from your fans. Otherwise, you can use the same account for both. This depends on what you are building a brand on/about. If you are building a brand around your business, then keep accounts separate. If you are building a brand around your name, then you can use the same account. This is what I do and I do my best to keep my account professional.

 
5. Update regularly

The great thing about social networking sites is that you can share a link to a news story or another site and call it an update. Don’t get bogged down in too much content or you won’t update regularly. If you want to use social networking sites as a business tool, then you must make it a habit to update regularly, let say between 10 and 20 times a day. With this, you would keep your clients updated. Constant updates will help them stay in touch with you in the midst of too many updates and attention from other businesses.

 
6. Don’t take it personal

If someone says something you don’t like, ignore it. Your social network presence is an extension of your personal brand and you want to maintain a good image. Report anything intensely inflammatory but do so behind the scenes.

 
7. Hashtag everything

Whenever you upload a pic, write a note, publish a blog post etc, make sure you hashtag them with appropriate keywords. Hashtags will help you connect with more people on your social networking sites. This gives you leverage to use for your business.

 
Social networks are an integral part of your overall business strategies. They offer low-cost, high-visibility campaigns with proven success. As you leverage them as part of your own business strategies, always remember that these are marketing tools. With that in mind, every word should be as cautiously chosen as it would be for a brochure, newsletter or Web site. While the vehicles may have changed over the years, the message must still remain consistent. Your social network marketing strategies will yield far greater returns and increase traffic more effectively when you choose one message, one voice, and one target audience.

 

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