Can You Use Social Networking Sites As a Marketing Tool?
Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter are not just for posting pictures of college beerfests. They have become a powerful marketing tool that if used correctly, can drive business to your website and translate into sales.
The key word here is used correctly. People who use social networking sites do not want to feel as if they are being used by some company that is simply trying to make money.
Remember what social networking sites are and what their purpose is: to make friends, get in touch with old friends, and connect people who have a common interest.
To that end, social networking can work if you are subtle about your marketing efforts. While people who use social networking sites may claim they don’t want to be marketed to, a huge number of users are doing just that. For example, every politician running for office will have a MySpace and Facebook account. Every band, whether it’s nationally known or local, will also show up there, as will artists and authors. What are they doing there but marketing themselves.
It’s hard to resist a captive audience of millions who are all online and could be potential customers. If you don’t have an account on one or all three and you have a business, you could be missing out on customers , all with money to spend.
First of all, for the true novice, we’ll give you a brief primer on each social networking site. Facebook was developed by college students as a place for students to post pictures and keep in touch. It caught on, and is now used by millions of people across the country, including boomers and businesses, Basically, you get a profile page and start adding friends. While doesn’t happen overnight, eventually you can have a significant number of people who are now your target market audience.
Facebook has several features that are a marketing experts dream. For one thing, it’s free. It allows its users to upload videos, news, start fun contests, etc, which can entice viewers to your profile and customers to your website.
MySpace is one of the most popular marketing tools because it is so flexible. It allows the user to build a web page, completely customizable, including links to your business website. For example, if you sell sporting goods, make your My Space account mostly about sports. You can change it according to what teams are doing well or what sport is heading into its season.
Twitter is another network that is catching on because it’s fast and some are finding, addicting. The idea of Twitter is to send quick updates (you only have 140 characters per message) to family and friends about what you’re doing. Posts are limited to just a few lines, and you can receive updates from friends. Twitter can be used as a fun business tool because you can send your sale staff quick updates to let them know what you’re up to. Have a potential customer? You can Twitter them about new products or opportunities or big announcements. And then your friends can Twitter you back about what they’re doing.