For those who don’t know what social networking is, let me take a moment to clarify. It’s the new catch phrase for what used to be called word-of-mouth advertising. A social network is an online community where people meet others who share common interests. Many business owners ask me how they can become part of these online communities. Most believe it’s hard to get involved in community-based networks, and even harder to use them. This is a myth.
In order to use a network to your advantage you must do the following:
Find the right network—the one where your target audience is spending its time. This may be a large network like MySpace, or a more niche network with a smaller focus like Dogster.
Make sure you network with the right customers, and leave the Tom Cruise fake accounts out of your network. This will help you send targeted marketing releases out to your true target audience.
Keep your social network identity in front of the customers that you acquire on the social network. This can be done by writing comments, writing blogs, sending messages, and bulletins.
This advice is just the tip of the iceberg for what can be accomplished in a social network environment. Any and every business should consider a strong social network campaign, as it can increase your exposure with your customers.
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.