Social networking for business: What works and what doesn't

Social Media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube are changing the way the world does business. I think this is in response to our desire to connect with others. Relationship Marketing is all about connecting with people first as human beings and then as customers later. For a real business relationship to work, both parties must receive value. If only one or neither does, that relationship won't continue for long.

It is the same with Social Networking. You have to provide value consistently for people to want to follow you (as in Twitter) or be your "friend" (as in Facebook). This value means something that helps them in their business or their personal lives.
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So, what works in Social Media and Social Networking?

What to do in Social Networking -- Provide solid value first

Provide tips that are valuable to your followers. If you talk about a special that is with a third party --- where you have no benefit from your followers purchasing --- you gain points.

Retweet

This means you copy something that was said by one person and send it to your followers. You are helping in three ways here: 1) You help the person who sent the initial tweet and they will remember that, 2) You help your followers by providing value and 3) You help yourself two ways. First you strengthen the relationship with the person you are retweeting (don't you love these new words we come up with today?) and secondly you help yourself as others see you as a resource. Make sure it is value when you retweet otherwise it comes off as TweetSpam and that can only hurt you.

Link with URL shorteners

This sounds a bit technical but it's quite easy. If you have a really long name for a website (URL) it can eat up your 140 character limit fast. A better way is to use one of the free URL shorteners available. Bit.ly is good for generating statistics on how many are coming to the site. Tinyurl and snipurl have been around for years and are quite reliable.

Always points to more value on your blog or Web site

Let your Facebook postings, your tweets and Linkedin messages always point to your Blog or website (they can be the same) where your followers or friends will find more value on the subject. This is the methodology you want to deploy in your marketing today. Generate value on your Blog and point to it with your notices on all the various social networking sites.

What to avoid in Social Networking -- It's all about me

Ugh! How many times do we need to hear that the world doesn't keep spinning around YOU? We all want to hear about ourselves and how what you have to say will make our lives better. Make all your communications about how others will benefit from being involved with you. Frankly, we don't care that you're "standing in line to get a hamburger." What will help is if you found that hamburgers are available at half price today from 12:00 to 3:00 at 4th and Main and they are the best you've ever had. That information would be valuable. Make it about others and you will succeed.

Spam city

We hated spam on email (still do). We don't like it any more in the era of social networking. So stop it already! Yes, we know you have a "great way to make money on Twitter" on your site but frankly, we're tired of hearing it! Instead, promote serious ways people can solve problems in their business. You add to your credibility and avoid being seen as a spammer.

Too much "unfollowing" or "de-friending"

When you stop following someone (and there are times it is appropriate) make sure it is because of serious problems (like spamming --- see above). When we see someone has "unfollowed" us (more of those clever new words we get today), it can hurt. I remember one person who I admired and had purchased a lot of her materials. However, when she unsubscribed to my email I was hurt. Was I logical? Of course not. However, that person has already lost thousands of dollars as I spent the money with someone else --- and she doesn't even know it! Careful on what you do and who it can offend. Hear more about this story in my podcast at www.TerryBrock.com.

Social Networking is really very much like good ole networking has been since human beings started gathering in groups. Treat people with honesty and dignity. Relationship Marketing principles work today on these new media. Avoid the "hot new ways to increase traffic" that smack of hucksterism and chicanery.

If it doesn't come from a genuine, real desire to help other humans beings, it should probably be avoided. This is true in Relationship Marketing, Social Networking and life.
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Social networking for business: What works and what doesn't
Social networking for business: What works and what doesn't
Reviewed by Merlyn Rosell
Published :
Rating : 4.5