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Oct
14

Social Network Site Marketing & The Top Sites (In My Humbled Opinion)

Social Network Site Marketing & The Top Sites (In My Humbled Opinion)

I was reading an article the other day when I came across a couple statistics about social networking sites (i.e Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.) that I found quite staggering. To get a bit of a better idea as to how mainstream these networks have become within the internet community, I will share some of these statistics I read.      

* 220+ million people visit at least one of the top 25 social networking sites (which are shown at the bottom if this page) once a month at least. 

* Two-thirds of those who use the internet visit a social networking or blog site at least once a week.

* 59% of cell phone owners polled have access to their favourite social network right from their cell phone. * Facebook alone has reached more than 500 million members since their debut in February of 2004.

With statistics such as these, it is not a bit of a surprise that social networking sites, especially over the last four years or so, are increasingly being used as a powerful marketing tool in various ways.

This chapter will focus on some of the ways in which you can use the opportunity of these sites as an effective and cost-efficient marketing tool.  Looking at the graph at the end of the chapter, Facebook is currently at the top of the social networking list with the highest numbers of members. It is also the one that I am the most familiar with as well as had the most marketing success with so it will likely be the social networking site I refer to the most throughout this chapter. However, with the exception of possibly a few minor details, these strategies can be used with just about all the sites.

First and foremost, when using a social network site for marketing purposes you obviously want to be very conscientious of how you present yourself and your business. I have always made a point of using a different account on a site for personal than for my professional. I believe it is wise not to mix the two for it can cause unnecessary complications. What I do, for example, is use my first and last name for my personal face book account and my first, last and middle initial for my professional account. I keep my professional account for my professional contacts. Simple. This leaves all the space on my page for professional exposure, the services I represent and so on. When using social network sites of any kind as part of your marketing strategy it is so important to regularly update your site which can be easily forgotten when life gets busy. I find that by scheduling an hour a day for three certain days of the week into your tasks, they are a lot easier to maintain. This includes answering each message on an individual basis. Little personal touches go a long way.   Being as networking with people is such an important part of business, these sites has been an amazing way to make contacts. I have found the best and easiest way to make the contacts that are going to be beneficial for you and your business is to join every group you see that relates to your field. Once I join a group, I go though the members of the group and start sending out friend requests to those who I find potentially interesting. When sending a friend request, always write a personal little note in the allotted spot. Nothing elaborate, just a short, friendly introduction. First impressions, even online, are lasting ones.

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Try to join in on as many of the discussions as possible, so long as you have something worthwhile to say. It is just one more way to keep your name out there. I have always found social networking systems as a great way to collect email addresses of those in your field.  While building up your social networking site contacts, it is not a bad idea at all to be putting together a group or network page of your own. You always want to maintain a professional image so it is usually best to not invite people to your group until it is at least mostly constructed.

Although it is a highly ambitious idea, there are far too many social networking sites out there to possibly post on even a fraction of them. Take a look at every social networking site you feel may be a possible match for your business, make a list, then narrow it down to the ones you feel would be the best match for your business. Keep in mind, you in order to market this way in an effective manner is to update as much as everyday. That said, do not bite off more than you can chew and it is probably not a good idea to commit to posting to more than 10-15 sites. That said, choose them carefully. Regardless of your business, I would always recommend including both Twitter and Facebook and Linkedin. If you have not heard of Linkedin, it is currently the largest social networking site out there to date for businesses and marketing. It is a great site to not only put yourself and your business out there, but to make contacts with other businesses, people within your industry and all sorts of contacts.

There are over 300,000 social networking sites out there in Cyber Land. With this, it is not a surprise that there are many, many social network sites that are meant to help businesses in various ways. Now, please keep in mind, this list is based on nothing but my own personal research and opinion. Also, this list is completely random and the order means nothing.

1) www.Linkedin.com – This site is the most used social networking site for businesses at all stages. You can make contacts, post information about your business, brand yourself and so on. This one should be on every business owner`s social networking site s list.
2) www.MeettheBoss.tv- This site is very unique. It is a business networking tool for business executives from all over the world, in every industry. All the content is in English. This site is contained with all kinds of interesting information in the form of articles, web videos and articles. There is a new one of each posted each day as well as a large archive of previous information. The information is placed in 8 separate category in order to make finding specific information easier. They are: Leadership, Governance, Strategy, Human Capital, Marketing, Innovation, Sales and Technology. 
3) www.PartnerUp.com – This is a great site for the new entrepreneur. It is basically an online community that helps business owners find the expertise and resources that they will need to start a new online business. Through this site a member can connect with advisors, business resources of all types and even potential partners.
4) www.Ryze.com – This site is an absolutely free networking site that is for the purpose to help one connect with business entrepreneurs, especially new entrepreneurs. 
5) www.PerfectBusiness.com – This is a great site that allows new business owners to launch as well as grow their business. It includes very user-friendly tools, resources as well as network of other entrepreneurs to connect with.
6) www.EntrepreneurConnect.com – This is a great social networking site in which entrepreneurs can connect with one another, share ideas, create a profile and so on. This site intended to connect with a large audience with pass promotion. This site is more about making long, lasting connections. 7) www.YoungEntrepreneurs.com – This is a great online forum for new, young entrepreneurs to connect, share ideas, and such.
8) www.NetworkingforProfessionals.com – This site offers network and online business events that you can take part in. This is a great site for meeting other professionals in and outside of your field. 
9) www.TheHomeBasedBusinessNetwork.com – This online community with all the information imaginable about starting your own online business and features business profiles, blogs, videos, and much more. I would recommend to anyone who is even thinking about starting their own online business to register to this site first thing.
10) www.StartUps.com – This site is a business, social network that is growing more and more every day. Considering it is still in it`s beginning stage, registering now while it is still an infant would probably be wise. This site has a whole lot of potential.
11) www.Focus.com – This site is brilliant! Quite simply, it`s objective is basically as a meeting place for business professionals to connect with one another and share advice about all kinds of business decisions. There are several different business function categories to choose from within this site – Small Business, HR’ Finance, and so on. 
12) www.Jigsaw.com – This site simply offers an online business card registry. I like this one because it is very simple, to the point and a great way to make some connections.13) www.blogspot.com – There are many wonderful sites to set up your blog and I have looked through a lot of them when I was deciding which site to use for my own personal blog. Once I saw blogspot, my mind was made up. I found it to be extremely user friendly and I had no problem whatsoever putting together my very first blog. They have recently added a wide range of templates, widgetsand such to ensure that your blog page is truly reflects you and your business. 
14) www.Ning.com – This site is interesting and could be a very useful marketing tool if used effectively. What this site allows members create, customize and share your very own social network.
15) www.E.Factor.com – I have met some of my most valuable contacts and connections on this very site. It is a vibrant, busy social networking site that’s purpose is pretty much for excited entrepreneurs to swap advice, connect and hopefully make lasting connections.
16 & 17) www.Facebook.com & www.Twitter.com : I will be getting a lot more into these two larger sites throughout this e-book so I don’t find it necessary at this point.

Born, raised and currently resides in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.

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