The phenomena of social networking sites is now old news but they are still growing stronger and stronger every day with more and more people discovering the benefits of getting more social online. This means there is a great marketing opportunity for your eBusiness. With millions of online user’s already on social networking and with new members joining up every minute if you have a web based business advertising or setting up a business profile on these websites could be great for your business. Do social networks damage your business? A lot of business owners (certainly those of a certain age) only hear bad things about social networking sites from the media such as relationship breakups, online bullying and staff wasting time on them. Because of this if even mention them in board room meetings people instantly think you must be one of those people that waste so much time on these websites. There have indeed been cases such as these highlighted by the media but if you miss out on the opportunity that social networking sites offer your competition will not. Consider the fact that Microsoft paid millions for just 1% of Facebook and that Google bought the social video site YouTube for $1.65billion and you can see that the two internet giants certainly think that social sites are important for their business. If you build a social profile for your business and encourage your staff and customers to use it to make comments about the business you can use the social networks to your advantage and build a community around your business. Whether you like it or not the fact that staff can use Facebook on their mobiles means that even if you cut their internet access to these sites they will still have access via their phones. Better to offer them limited time windows to check for updates and in return for them being encouraged to use the company profile pages meaning that even the time spent wasting time is actually benefiting the business. Why should you have a company social profile? Apart from the benefits already discussed having a social profile can help with your Search Engine Marketing campaigns. Because social networks are updated daily, hourly and so on the content is always updating and therefore can only have a positive effect on your SEO work. Google has brought YouTube into the search results. Have you noticed that the more and more you search these days on Google that amongst the results you get YouTube videos? This is no accident. Seeing the benefit of YouTube Google bought the site realising the social service it was and now includes it in the search results returned. This is a great SEO opportunity for companies to create videos about their business as mini adverts. Low budget and easy to do this could be a great chance to increase your company’s online profile. As social networks are updated so often with people updating their profiles regularly and sending messages to each other instantly they are much faster than any other medium for getting a message or news out there. SEO campaigns can take months for the message to get across whereas social networks get the message out instantly. They can aid with your SEO campaigns and give an instant news update about promotions and more. Advertising on social networks There is another great reason to look at social networks and that’s the advertising potential. With and estimate 1 in every 5 people on the globe having some sort of access to social networks let alone profiles there is an obvious marketing and advertising potential here. Add to the fact that so many people spend so much time on these sites means that their exposure to your advertising and brand is increased. The benefits of advertising on a social network though do not end there. On top of this massive market there is the added advantage of marketing to the subconscious. People associate social networking with their friends and family and therefore have a positive place in their minds. As adverts on these sites tend to be in the left or right peripheral vision areas where the mind subconsciously takes in the information then you’re branding will be being display to them when they are in a positive frame of mind providing a positive relationship between your brand and them on a subconscious level. If your advert has eye catching animation you will gain their conscious attention and possibly direct them to your website. There is no another benefit that social networks offer you in the advertising arena; profiled advertising. Profiled advertising is targeted advertising directed to people who fit your target audience. When people join social networks they give details about themselves; their name, age, where they live, job title, interests, income, likes and dislikes and more. Social networks use this information to make sure the adverts the user sees fits the profile of the person it is marketing to. So if you want to market direct to your target audience, provided they use social networking this is a great medium. A lot of the social networks now also offer pay per click advertising meaning that you will only pay for the adverts that generate clicks for your website. All in all social networks are a must for any online serious business.
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