Monday, August 2, 2010

Social Networking 101 (for newbies)

If you're reading this, then you are a social networker.

Congratulations! You're one of 22.7 percent of Americans who utilize social networking today - up from 15.8 percent just one year ago.

But if you're a business or organization, big time or small potatoes, are you using it to promote your offerings? It's free, you know.

Hello. It's FREE.

Here are the top three social networking sites that I use - as well as apparently most of America. There are a plethora of others - and it's easy to get overwhelmed. But if you're just getting started, you should at least have a presence on these here:

Sure, you found your long lost high school sweetheart and that second cousin once removed. But Facebook is becoming a vital tool for networking and business connections. You can set up a business profile on Facebook, like I have for Kennard Communications. From there, you can post business status updates, links, "Suggest to Friends", join or create groups and discussion boards, and maintain a calendar of events. The more you post, the more traffic you'll drive to your business or organization. Keep in mind, though, that your business profile is separate from your personal profile. Never post anything on your business profile that you don't want the world to see.

According to their website, Twitter's definition is "an apt description of the conversations here. As it turns out, because Twitter provides people with real-time public information, it also helps groups of people mimic the effortless way a flock of birds move in unison."

With Twitter, you can post messages up to a total of 140 characters, which includes punctuation and spaces. Twitter allows your business to partake in real-time communication, connecting you with your followers and other potential customers “right now”. You can tweet about breaking business news, post links to your company blog or website, or retweet posts by others in your industry that you feel will be of interest to your followers. And by using pertinent keywords in your tweets, you can gain followers who may be searching for information on what you're tweeting about - and vice-versa.

I'll be the first to say that I don't utilize Twitter to its full potential, but it's on my to-do list. You can follow me on Twitter HERE.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 70 million members. This social networking site connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals.

It's easy to create a profile on LinkedIn, but if you do so, complete it 100% (it will gauge your progress). Your Linked In account is the equivalent to an online resume or perhaps an executive bio as it has most of the same components. Search for connections and see who those connections are connected to. You can start this by importing all your email lists. In addition, LinkedIn has a search feature that allows you to find people by company, industry and city.

Join or create niche groups to increase your visibility and connect with others in your field. Request recommendations from colleagues to build a "reference library" of sorts for those who may be seeking your services. In essence, LinkedIn shows your whole professional package in one scroll of the mouse. You can see my LinkedIn profile by clicking HERE.

Finally, link everything to everything. Make sure your Facebook and Twitter links appear on your LinkedIn page, and vice-versa. You can post status updates separately on each site, or have your business Facebook page status automatically update to your Twitter and LinkedIn like I do.

I know this may be overwhelming for some, and honestly, there's a lot more to each of these sites than I've gotten into here. But getting on board this social networking train can be good for business, and did I mention it's free?

Oh, and if you need help getting started, let me know. That's "my thing", too.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad someone out there can do math.

    and this whole interweb thing... it is just a phase.

    It will be one by this time next year. mark my words.


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