What’s the Point?: Smart techniques on how to use Facebook.

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Three key ways to enhance your social network through facebook.

If you are new to Facebook, you must be wondering, what is the point of Facebook? What will these virtual friends and groups do to help me in the real world? If you’re purely on Facebook for social reasons, it is a fun way to find old friends, connect with new ones, and keep in touch with anyone that is most likely connected to the world of Facebook. For other people that may be on Facebook for Business related reasons like myself, there are a million ways to advertise, connect, and learn tons of new information.

The #1 Key to Facebook: CONNECTING

  • Find people that are interested in YOUR group, fan page, business, etc…
  • Facebook offers two majors ways to instantly connect with someone. Keep these in mind when you find someone that you may have a good connection with or think may be of help.
  • Facebook messages are just like email. Use this to start a conversation with a new friend directly through Facebook.
  • Facebook Instant Messanger functions just like iChat, or Skype Chat. But on Facebook, you can see when your friends are on-line and have a live conversation. This is a helpful tool to hand information back and forth instantly, and connect to things you may not have usually found.
  • Your Facebook, and the work you put into it only have value if the viewers are interested. Make sure your content is Interesting,easy to follow, and holds the interest of your viewers.
  • Target YOUR Facebook friends. Facebook Fan Pages even have a tool that allows you to see who is viewing your page. Target those people and see the outcome.

The #2 Key to Facebook: VIRAL ADVERTISING

  • Interesting content is what attracts people to your facebook. Find engaging youtube videos, links to interesting news articles. Facebook groups and Fan pages allow you to easily connect your friends to the things you want them to see. Pull things from your site, your friend’s Facebook’s, publish what you find interesting and what will grab people’s attention.
  • People see your interesting content, grab it and post it. Before you know it, three times as many people are looking at it within hours and sharing it with people you would never have the tools to connect with.

The #3 Key to Facebook: UPDATE

  • People do not want to see old links, videos, and pictures.
  • Facebook allows a person to immediately post something NEW.
  • Keep your Facebook up to date with key things you want your friends to see that will help them and help you connect and learn.

Facebook has a million possibilities for any person. Take it and use it to your advantage today

Fish Where the Fish Are: How to reach the right people on Facebook.

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As a business owner on Facebook you want to connect with the people that matter the most. You want people seeing your Facebook profile, group, and Fan page that care about the content and will spread it to other people that care. What and where you post your information is the most important part. It is not that difficult. Facebook has many resources for people to find the people they need.

Sony created a very interesting way to connect with the people they were targeting. Sony built a site featuring their latest movie about Vampires. They needed a quick and easy way to connect with the people who like vampires. Sony received over 18 million hits to their Fan page in only three weeks. How in the world did they do that? They fished where the fish were.

Facebook offers a very popular application where people play in a virtual world of Vampires. The exact rules are beyond me, but sony knew that targeting that particular audience would be the perfect way to advertise their Fan page. Before they knew it their site was up and people were more interested then ever in their Vampire movie. This is a perfect way to target your ideal audience. Obviously this takes a bit of money and maybe a multi-million dollar company, but the concept is flawless. Don’t try to create a brand new audience for your product, that audience is most likely already out there on Facebook waiting for you. You just need to find them.

  • Find groups with your ideals or major concepts. Groups have walls where you can post things, and hear what other people have to say. Drop a line and maybe someone will see it and start talking to you, or vice versa, find someone and start talking.
  • Groups also have discussion boards. Post something on an interesting discussion.People use groups to advertise themselves. Make a wall post and insert a small bio. Someone is sure to see it and pass it along.
  • There are tons of great business applications that help you connect to people in the Facebook business world. Promote your business by adding your business card to your profile. Add a professional profile to connect to different companies. Don’t be afraid of Facebook. It’s not just a social site for your teenager, it has a million things to help someone in the Business world.

Facebook is a tool that takes time, patience, and effort. Facebook isn’t something that you can set-up and just let sit there. You need to work it a little to get what you want. Wander around Facebook for half and hour and see what other people are doing. That is the best way to get ideas and pursue the world of Facebook.

Brand yourself like Obama: how social media can help you reach new heights.

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(Case study on the power of Barack Obama’s political campaign through the use of Facebook and edge-based organizations.)

As an 18-year-old first-time voter living in a swing state with a Facebook, I was the demographic Obama was looking for on Facebook. Obama used Facebook to target the 18-29 year old demographic, which he did well. Obama had unbelievable success with Facebook during his campaign. I witnessed this first hand. As a politician, Obama used a completely out-of-the-box technique to target his audience.

I will quickly discuss how Obama used edge-based Organization. What does it mean to have an edge-based organization? It means that everyone is aware of the situation, is able to take action, share values, and can make decisions that empower the edge to take action. Obama used the Internet and Facebook as a huge way to help with self-organization and edge-based organization. People could use their own personal power to help Obama’s campaign. I will share with you some hopefully helpful examples.

As we have discussed in previous posts there are very strategic ways to advertise yourself or your business on Facebook. Obama used these same exact strategies with some obvious financial benefits, but used them and used them well.

Obama’s support through Facebook was viral and was used as a hugely successful way of brand development. Everything about his campaign snowballed in a positive direction to give him endless amounts of support. There were many things he did, that you yourself can try, or assemble ideas from:

  • Sidebar advertisements, selling t-shirts which immediately gave money to the Obama cause
  • Sidebar video blogs, immediate press release
  • Obama “gifts”, used to create fun viral advertising. (send one Obama gift, your friend sees who you sent it to on their mini-feed. BOOM, its sent again…and again..and again…
  • Obama Supporter groups. Ex) Barack Obama (one million strong for Barack Obama)
  • Obama Applications. Add the app – tell your friends about it. Ex) Obama Facebook Application
  • Bumper stickers — A Facebook application you can add where you can view thousands of “bumper stickers” that can say pretty much whatever you want. Most of these involve the latest pop-culture of funny YouTube videos, but around the election every other sticker was Obama related or McCain-Dissing stickers. Bumper stickers are strictly targeted at the High school and College age group. Just another way to state your political view and most of the time, your love for Obama. The amazing thing about these is that these are free to make and are usually made by the high-school to college age group. Obama’s campaign had nothing to do with making these. They were made completely by Obama supporters and spread by the thousands on a daily basis.

Obama on Facebook is the new political lawn sign. Your Facebook could easily advertise who you support. You could add the Obama apps, join the groups, become fans of Obama. People’s Facebook political views were even 100% in favor of Obama. Instead of saying Democrat, liberal, etc… It simply says OBAMA. People were Obama crazy on Facebook. Articles say that this is the new future of politics. Obama used Facebook to create an amazing tool for Politicians. From now on, if a politician is smart he will use the tools he has on the web to get the attention and press needed. Young voters were huge this year, and Facebook played a large part in that. Facebook made Obama not only the most elligable candidate, but the “cool” candidate. Obama used Facebook wisely and very much to his advantage.

I found one other specific example of Barack Obama’s success on Facebook. The New York Times Magazine sponsored Obama and created Facebook free “gift” that people could send the day after Obama was elected. It was a small cartoon graphic of a NYTimes paper with Obama’s face on it declaring “Obama Wins!”. An amazing example of how Obama’s campaign found big companies who could use their money and power to help his cause.

Another tactic Obama used was on the day of the Election people could dedicate their status to Obama. For example it would say Aurora is the xxx,xxx,xxx person to dedicate her status to the Barack Obama campaign. This was an amazing viral connection that I witnessed sweep through Facebook the day of the election. And on the day of the Inauguration CNN totaled 1.5 million people who had Obama related status’.

Obviously these are not all realistic options for small businesses, or people just entering the Facebook world, but hopefully you see the amazing things Facebook can do, and this inspires you to venture out and try new things.

Social Media for Sales Sloths.

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OK this is probably nothing new.

I have no idea what the average salesperson is up to these days. Cold-calling? Doubtful. Networking meetings? Perhaps.

If your salesperson aren’t spending a least half their time social networking (Linkedin, twitter, plaxo, facebook), they should be slapped upside the head. Granted, most Social Networking is most effective if you can sell your product or service on a nationwide or worldwide basis. But no matter, there are infinite opportunities awaiting your salesforce in the social sphere. All it takes is a little initiative.

Here are the three big reasons Social Networking should be on your agenda:

  1. Sales is a numbers game — the more contacts, the larger your sphere, the greater number of relationships a salesperson creates, the odds of success improve dramatically. Creating relationships through Social Networks is the easiest, fastest, cheapest way to get this accomplished. Period.
  2. Social Networking is king during an economic downturn — When times are tough and budgets are tight, businesses tend to look online more for solutions. And most of the outlets for information are social networks (LinkedIn, facebook, twitter, etc). This is an opportunity for salespeople to easily make meaningful connections. Forget the buzz phrases of web 2.0, social media is simply people talking, sharing and collaborating on popular online channels. And if you’ve looked at the numbers lately, it’s a significant critical mass of people.
  3. What part of FREE, FREE, FREE don’t you understand? — I hear it all too often, ‘we don’t have the time or budget’ for social media. Well, Social offer so many Free resources I can’t possibly name them all here. Free research (guestions on LinkedIn), Free advertising (commenting on blogs, posting videos on YouTube), Free access to every contact you will ever need (“get introduced” feature on LinkedIn), Free presentation tools (Slideshare), Free document posting (Scribd), Free worldwide long distance (Skype), Free enhanced search engine visibility (blogging, profiling, or commenting with your links to your site). And much, much more.

If you’re a sales manager, general manager, or small business owner and are wondering why your sales people aren’t producing, and what these people are doing with their time, perhaps you should ask them about their social networking activities.

Just a suggestion.

B2B Social Media Marketing and B2B Social Communities: three reasons why they’re a must for 2009.

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After participating in discussions on LinkedIn and other social media sites, I often see lots of skepticism about the viability of social media in B2B marketing. Many B2B marketers seem to feel that social networking is more effective for major consumer brands, and will not produce results for B2B. The perception is usually, ‘I don’t use Facebook,’ or ‘I don’t get Twitter’ or simply ‘I don’t get it.’

B2B Social Marketing is one of the hottest things going right now especially in a down economy. There are strategies for practically any B2B market, particularly in technology. Technology forums, for example, were the original online social communities. Whatever your B2B brand or product happens to be, there are lots of unique ways to generate interest through social media.
A couple key strategies to consider:

  1. Create your own social community-– I’m not sure how many B2B tech companies are doing it, but some are creating their own social sites (using ning.com or other platforms) that offer forums, news, blogs and more all in one place. And the key is, getting your company’s internal people to invite customers and prospects to participate, and encouraging them to join in the conversation. You can also use twitter to help point key customers and prospects to join in.
  2. Entice participation by discussing relevant, compelling topics— How do you know what these topics are? Well, you can actually use your online community to discover what these areas of interest truly are. You can use surveys, for instance, to discover key concerns, or to generally find out what would make your community valuable.
  3. Allow the online community to control the conversation— don’t dictate it based on your marketing objectives. Continue to add new features and vehicles to your online community based on what direction your conversation is going.

Marketing vs. Sales: How Social Networking now bridges the gap.

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Until recently, defining the roles of marketing and sales was simple: marketing paves the way, while sales closes the deal. The job of Marketing is to spread the word to prospects, while salespeople are tasked with following up, building key relationships, and closing deals.

Today, the line between marketing and sales is now beginning to blur as more and more salespeople are becoming astute social networkers. With social media spaces becoming more popular, salespeople and entrepreneurs all over the world are using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites to discover new markets, meet prospects directly and forge profitable new business relationships. No lead generation, branding or cold-calling required. In a sense, many salespeople are becoming their own marketers.

The sales role in social media networking — initiate and develop key relationships.

  1. Develop relationships with people who matter. There are plenty of people participating in the social media sphere who can waste a ton of your time. Once you meet someone (prospect or suspect), make sure to get up-to-date, reliable contact information to use in your ongoing email marketing.
  2. Comment on key industry blogs, post links, and keep close watch on others who comment.
  3. Continue to build your sphere of influence. As a good social networker, be sure to invite connections to join you on other social sites, and request that your connections introduce you to others that may need your product or services.


The marketing role in social media networking — help salespeople plan, execute and measure their efforts.

  1. Work with your salesforce to create a blog and share ideas about your industry. Share your recent posts within your social media spaces, and invite comments.
  2. Keep salespeople focused — because some salespeople are not detail oriented, they may tend to overlook focused on the wrong social networking strategiesomment on blogs that are hot within your marketing space. Keep your identity present in your market at all times.
  3. Search Twithority and other social sources to uncover key influencers and leaders on the most important social sites. For example, creating a relationship with a YouTube user who has several thousands views on his/her videos, or making friends with someone who has thousands of connections on LinkedIn is valuable social currency, so to speak.

Keep in mind, however, this strategy may not be relevant to your situation, as each social media strategy is unique.

Baby Blanket Bingo: ambitious entreprenuer rides web 2.0 for all its worth.

This is a story of true web 2.0 inspiration.
It’s a simple tale of how one woman with little knowledge of internet marketing is quickly gaining worldwide recognition and big distribution for her small niche product — bamboo baby blankets. Hudson, Wisconsin Entrepreneur Tamre Sutphen, creator of shi shu baby, desgned an elegant new line of hand-crafted Bamboo/Cotton blankets that are soft to the touch, yet free of unnatural and chemically treated fibers. Zosel&Co helped her create a simple e-commerce presence immediately to help fill orders from demanding distributors, and promote the product.
The e-commerce website is just the beginning. Over the past two months since the site launched, this energetic promoter has used simple social media marketing techniques to gain thousands of fans, distribution offers from from major worldwide retailers, and much more. WIth no formal training in internet marketing, Tamre began by communicating directly with her target audiences — Moms everywhere — by perusing the MommyBlogoshere. She posted links, put her products up for review, got feedback from Moms everywhere, and ultimately got attention from major retailers who follow these blogs. Using twitter, she miraculously managed to get major retailers following her, and soon offering her distribution of her line.
Plus, did I mention that she did all of this without even having a blog of her own? That’s our next assignment for Tamre. By posting daily to a blog, and believe me she will, there will be no stopping her.
So what’s the point here? Using social media web 2.0 techniques to create buzz is inexpensive, highly effective and definitely not rocket science.

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This is a story of true web 2.0 inspiration.

It’s a simple tale of how one woman with little knowledge of internet marketing is quickly gaining worldwide recognition and big distribution for her small niche product — bamboo baby blankets. Hudson, Wisconsin Entrepreneur Tamre Sutphen, creator of Shi Shu baby, desgned an elegant new line of hand-crafted Bamboo/Cotton blankets that are soft to the touch, yet free of unnatural and chemically treated fibers. Zosel&Co helped her create a simple e-commerce presence immediately to help fill orders from demanding distributors, and promote the product.

The e-commerce website is just the beginning. Over the past two months since the site launched, this energetic promoter has used simple social media marketing techniques to gain thousands of fans, distribution offers from from major worldwide retailers, and much more. WIth no formal training in internet marketing, Tamre began by communicating directly with her target audiences — Moms everywhere — by perusing the MommyBlogoshere. She posted links, put her products up for review, got feedback from Moms everywhere, and ultimately got attention from major retailers who follow these blogs. Using twitter, she miraculously managed to get major retailers following her, and soon offering her distribution of her line.

Plus, did I mention that she did all of this without even having a blog of her own? That’s our next assignment for Tamre. By posting daily to a blog, and believe me she will, there will be no stopping her.

So what’s the point here? Using social media web 2.0 techniques to create buzz is inexpensive, highly effective and definitely not rocket science.

Is Social Media the new PR? 3 out of 4 PR Pros seem to agree.

Social Media, with its infinite number of media channels reaching millions, is quickly becoming the new way for PR professionals to influence public opinion, polish brands and sell product. If offers infinite opportunities to communicate with slivers of vastly powerful little universes.
I recently ran a short discussion on LInkedIn, and posed the following question on a forum:
PR practitioners: is social media enhancing or destroying your business?
I received the following answers that seemed very positive:
(Enhancing) “Quite simply yes. I run a public relations and social media consultancy and we run integrated campaigns that treat both mainstream media and blogs as important stakeholders/audiences. The importance varies depending on the sector, campaign as well as individual blogs/media/journalists/writers. Just last week we held a preview event to showcase a new TV show specifically to parent bloggers.” — Stuart Bruce, Managing Director, Wolfstar, public relations
“Working at an agency that has been primarily traditional PR until this year, I have seen the benefit to this agency in a number of ways. By focusing on the social media I think the niche is one of the biggest advantages we have. While magazines sometimes are specifically only for one interest, the social media allows us to break our target by age, location as well as industry. Our messages can be more targeted to the most receptive audiences and therefore have the most chance for success.” — John Whitcomb, Social Media Coordinator, Robin Leedy & Associates
“As a PR pro who recently transitioned to social media exclusively, I will say that traditional PR folks need to get on board or risk being left behind. Social media is not going anywhere and it’s an undeniably powerful medium to engage in real time with influencers and audiences in MANY spheres. Best of all, it’s measurable UNLIKE the vast majority of traditional media placements.” — Dina Fierro, Director, Fashion & Beauty at Attention PR & SMM
And then interestingly enough, there’s one PR guy who thinks SM is possibly a fad:
“Until social-media sites are capable of delivering information regarding the demographics of their readers, they’ll always be niche — plain and simple. I know, we’ll probably read a dozen or more stories in the next 12 months talking about some type of revolution, but we’ve heard all that before. In reality, revolutions are VERY few and far between. This very platform is considered Web 2.0 of sorts, but it still involves typing text into a form, something that I was doing back in 1994.
That said, social media isn’t really going to destroy anything. If you represent a consumer product, there may be some blogs that have an audience that’s influential enough to worry about. Most of these are blogs associated with mainstream media outlets, however. For most, blogs are a supplement to their additional media work and something that won’t change the world in the near term. Can those of you who spoke about social media’s unique measurement capabilities explain that? Honestly, I’d really be interested because I’ve not seen ANYTHING reliable. To say that it’s more measurable than traditional media’s a pretty big leap, given that all print pubs have to go through a pretty exhaustive process in regard to readership verification to qualify for 2nd Class postage.” — Cyrus Afzali, President, Astoria Communications

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Social Media, with its infinite number of media channels reaching millions, is quickly becoming the new way for PR professionals to influence public opinion, polish brands and sell product. If offers infinite opportunities to communicate with slivers of vastly powerful little universes.

I recently ran a short discussion on LInkedIn, and posed the following question on a forum:

PR practitioners: is social media enhancing or destroying your business?

I received the following answers that seemed very positive:

(Enhancing) “Quite simply yes. I run a public relations and social media consultancy and we run integrated campaigns that treat both mainstream media and blogs as important stakeholders/audiences. The importance varies depending on the sector, campaign as well as individual blogs/media/journalists/writers. Just last week we held a preview event to showcase a new TV show specifically to parent bloggers.” — Stuart Bruce, Managing Director, Wolfstar, public relations

“Working at an agency that has been primarily traditional PR until this year, I have seen the benefit to this agency in a number of ways. By focusing on the social media I think the niche is one of the biggest advantages we have. While magazines sometimes are specifically only for one interest, the social media allows us to break our target by age, location as well as industry. Our messages can be more targeted to the most receptive audiences and therefore have the most chance for success.” — John Whitcomb, Social Media Coordinator, Robin Leedy & Associates

“As a PR pro who recently transitioned to social media exclusively, I will say that traditional PR folks need to get on board or risk being left behind. Social media is not going anywhere and it’s an undeniably powerful medium to engage in real time with influencers and audiences in MANY spheres. Best of all, it’s measurable UNLIKE the vast majority of traditional media placements.” — Dina Fierro, Director, Fashion & Beauty at Attention PR & SMM

And then interestingly enough, there’s one PR guy who thinks SM is possibly a fad:

“Until social-media sites are capable of delivering information regarding the demographics of their readers, they’ll always be niche — plain and simple. I know, we’ll probably read a dozen or more stories in the next 12 months talking about some type of revolution, but we’ve heard all that before. In reality, revolutions are VERY few and far between. This very platform is considered Web 2.0 of sorts, but it still involves typing text into a form, something that I was doing back in 1994.

That said, social media isn’t really going to destroy anything. If you represent a consumer product, there may be some blogs that have an audience that’s influential enough to worry about. Most of these are blogs associated with mainstream media outlets, however. For most, blogs are a supplement to their additional media work and something that won’t change the world in the near term. Can those of you who spoke about social media’s unique measurement capabilities explain that? Honestly, I’d really be interested because I’ve not seen ANYTHING reliable. To say that it’s more measurable than traditional media’s a pretty big leap, given that all print pubs have to go through a pretty exhaustive process in regard to readership verification to qualify for 2nd Class postage.” — Cyrus Afzali, President, Astoria Communications

Five reasons why your company should begin participating in social media now.

Participating in Social media sites such as Linkedin, Facebook and many others, is simply a must these days, particularly if you need to broaden your network, explore new trends, share new ideas, and most important, generate new leads. I’ve been doing it for months now, and have done all of the above.
Quite frankly, I’m hooked. And the benefits of participating on forums, and discussions have helped me create relationships with induvuduals at companies that I never would have dreamed of. Here the benefits I’ve discovered:
1. A great mentoring environment — This BTW, is a two-way street. Especially on Linkedin, you simply present a pressing business question, and you’ll get lots of interesting answers, usually sent to your email if you wish.
2. Inside Sales Info — If you need a specific contact at a company of your interest, Linkedin saves time. You can reach the right people instantly and make things happen.
3. Educate, Share, network, mentor and your next clients will come from a place you never expected. Many swear by Twitter, the 21st century gossip social site. They’ll read a few of your tweets and find you.
4. Staying in touch with important business contacts. Being connected through social media allows us to deliver information that is relevant to their business.
5. Selling or testing a product? Ask your connections to be your instant focus group, give you feedback to improve features, services, or whatever. People on social media site are very generous with their thoughts and opinions. Test ads, copy, proposal ideas, whatever. It is really helpful, and takes very little time.
But don’t take my word for it. There’s so much information on the subject, you can’t keep up with it. If you’re looking for dozens of ways to use FaceBook go to Facebook Ideas Galore. Or here’s a must read article on using LinkedIn 10 ways to Use LinkedIn

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Participating in Social media sites such as Linkedin, Facebook and many others, is simply a must these days, particularly if you need to broaden your network, explore new trends, share new ideas, and most important, generate new leads. I’ve been doing it for months now, and have done all of the above.

Quite frankly, I’m hooked. And the benefits of participating on forums, and discussions have helped me create relationships with induvuduals at companies that I never would have dreamed of. Here the benefits I’ve discovered:

  1. A great mentoring environment — This BTW, is a two-way street. Especially on Linkedin, you simply present a pressing business question, and you’ll get lots of interesting answers, usually sent to your email if you wish.
  2. Inside Sales Info — If you need a specific contact at a company of your interest, Linkedin saves time. You can reach the right people instantly and make things happen.
  3. Educate, Share, network, mentor and your next clients will come from a place you never expected. Many swear by Twitter, the 21st century gossip social site. They’ll read a few of your tweets and find you.
  4. Staying in touch with important business contacts. Being connected through social media allows us to deliver information that is relevant to their business.
  5. Selling or testing a product? Ask your connections to be your instant focus group, give you feedback to improve features, services, or whatever. People on social media site are very generous with their thoughts and opinions. Test ads, copy, proposal ideas, whatever. It is really helpful, and takes very little time.

But don’t take my word for it. There’s so much information on the subject, you can’t keep up with it. If you’re looking for dozens of ways to use FaceBook go to Facebook Ideas Galore. Or here’s a must read article on using LinkedIn 10 ways to Use LinkedIn

Internet Marketing Through Social Networking.

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By Bobette Kyle

Social networking online is one of today’s hottest trends. Many, however, wonder how social networking can help their careers or businesses and exactly how to get started with this online marketing technique.

What is Online Social Networking?

From a conceptual standpoint, online social networking is no different than traditional networking and socializing. You meet people and get to know them by sharing information about each other. Those you like and/or share interests with become part of your “network.” The marketing magic kicks in when those in your network start talking about you. Your reputation spreads by word-of-mouth.

The Internet and related technology have taken networking to the next level, expanding each individual’s reach and exposure through online marketing. Where traditionally people gather in person to network — at the same time and place as others — members of online networking groups are not limited by time or geography. Each group member can interact 24/7 from any location worldwide. Consequently, online networking techniques are very different from in-person networking.

How To Interact Through Social Networking

Ways to interact are numerous. The first order of business is to decide what your marketing goals are with respect to social networking. While “finding new friends” is a sufficient personal reason for social networking, business marketing goals need to be more specific. Are you an individual looking for a job or freelance work? Do you want to gain exposure for your product, band or company? Are you looking for potential employees or contractors? Do you want to get prospects interested enough to visit your Website or contact you? Your goals will dictate what you put on your profile and social networking home page as well as who you look for the become part of your network.

After you’ve decided on your purpose for online networking, choose which social networking Website(s) you will participate in.

Where to Network Online

You can find a comprehensive list of social networking site at Wikipedia here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites. I am familiar with those listed below. They will give you an idea of the range of opportunities you will find at social networking Websites:

  • Yahoo! 360 (360.yahoo.com): Yahoo!’s social networking site is in beta as of this writing. The unique feature here is your Yahoo! 360 space is cross-promoted with other Yahoo! products, such as with your reviews on Yahoo! Local and your Yahoo! Groups. Like many social networking sites, you can also host a blog on the server.
  • MySpace (myspace.com): This is the mother of social networking sites. Originally dominated by teens, there are reports of the “graying of myspace” as older people and businesses are also networking on the site. It may be worth your while to spend some time there to see if your target customers hang out there.
  • LinkedIn (linkedin.com): LinkedIn is excellent for professional, career-related online marketing because it focuses exclusively on business and professional networking. You will find interfaces to connect with classmates or colleagues (both past and present); find service providers or clients; post or find a job; and ask or answer business-related questions.
  • Gather (gather.com): This network incorporates user publications (in the form of articles) and a points reward system into the usual social networking activities.

Each social networking Website has it’s own “personality” and a different mix of people to interact with. Before signing up, go to each site and explore a bit — search on keywords related to your goals and interests, check out the different groups, the activity level, etc. This will help you determine if a site will be beneficial to you. Once you find a site that interests you, establish your presence by signing up and filling in the questions for your profile and site home page. Once that is done, you are ready to interact.

Whom To Interact With

  • The people you want to associate with (i.e. make “friends” or be “connected” to) will depend largely on your goals. There are several types of people you will want to consider contacting. Each can help you in different ways, so consider looking for more than one type of “target friend:”
  • Customers and Consumers: People who will benefit from what you do, consume or buy your products or services, and rave about you to their friends.
  • Others Within Your Industry: People with whom you can network, share resources and cross-promote with.
  • Media and Publishers: People who work for or can influence publications you would like to be mentioned in (e-zines, newspapers, Websites, etc).
  • Consultants: People who may want to hire or purchase products from you.
  • Event, Company or Organization representatives: People who operate business and associations that support your industry.

How To Find Friends

A few people will find you based on your profile, but you will want to actively seek out quality friends. You can start to find friends by joining groups related to your expertise, that have members who match your target friend profile or interest you in general. You can also approach individuals and ask them to become a friend and/or part of your network.