How Social Media Can Benefit Your Business

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1) Social networking can build up your online reputation and your brand.

A) Do this through Facebook is by connecting vendors to one another. Your efforts will be appreciated and could be rewarded by those you've helped connecting you with a vendor who may be interested in putting some business your way.

i. Passing on relevant links and posts to your customers and asking them for their reaction. Your customers will feel you value their opinion and don't just see them as your 'target market'.

ii. Answering common customer questions, sharing opinions and insight, breaking the 'latest news' in your industry. This will mark you out as being the first to give customers the inside track on what's going on, what the latest product developments are, and even what discounted goods or services are currently around. Also, respond quickly to any customer query or even a casual question. Your customers will feel valued. They will also regard your presence on the site as being constant rather than fleeting or intermittent. This will help to build trust.

B) Do this through YouTube is by uploading videos which not only help your customers, but also help you become recognized as an expert in your field. Teach others a specific skill and be sure to then emphasize what the benefit of acquiring that skill will mean to the user. Through passing on your knowledge you will be perceived not only as an expert, but one who is generous with their knowledge and open to helping others. In terms of generating feedback, you could also ask users if they found the information useful and for suggestions as to how the instructional videos you post each month may be improved.

i. Pointing your contacts towards a YouTube video where you let them know about which business events you will be attending in the coming months. You could also say how much you look forward to meeting them there, as well as any friends or associates they intend to bring along. This will get your contacts thinking about people they know who you would get on well with find common ground with and then possibly talk business with.

2) On social networking sites, give as much as you take.
A) As powerful as social networking is as a marketing tool, to be truly successful it is essential to remember that by joining these sites you are opting to join a community. A community is all about people listening to each other, helping out, empathizing, encouraging. i. On sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the rest, always strive to have a contribution-focused mindset. Others will love you for it, and, in return, they will contribute to your online success. B) In business networking you can like things, comment on other pages and engage in entirely new ways. This change should not be underestimated because the networking potential of commenting on other pages and actively engaging with users away from your own business page is huge. i. The important thing to remember here is that every time you engage somewhere it will leave a link back to your own page so very much like commenting is a good strategy for growing blog traffic the same now applies to Facebook. ii. You never really knew up until now who was running Facebook pages. It could have been somebody from an agency, the brand manager or just an intern. There was no simple way to contact business owners and the page was pretty much a broadcast tool unless you wanted to leave a public comment on the wall. With the new settings it will be far easier to get in touch with business owners or people who run the pages so this could become a great lead generation tool as many businesses now have a Facebook presence of some sort.

3) Advantages of business networking.
A) Business Networking Reduces Marketing Costs. Effective and well planned business networking can often replace marketing and advertising. Word of mouth is often the best form of...
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