You’d better learn how to get social…socially networked, that is. Truly innovative O&P organizations are successfully embracing social media to create an engaging social community/marketplace as part of their Web marketing strategy. Web 2.0 can deepen online relationships and lower the cost of reaching new customers. Lowering cost and deepening relationships. What could be better?
You can create and strengthen target market engagement and customer loyalty by empowering your online community to shape and influence your reputation using online tools like … a Facebook page for your business or a YouTube channel. Facebook has, as of this moment, around 175 million users worldwide. YouTube had 100 million videos being viewed daily in 2006. That was 3 years ago and only a year after it was founded.
Here are just a few of the places you can become socially networked right now.
Founded in 2002, Plaxo.com started out as on online address book that kept up-to-date information for its users. Now they have created Pulse which is an online social networking site. According to Plaxo.com, it is a “dashboard for seeing what the people you know are creating and sharing all over the open Web.” Pulse also allows users to connect to other networking sites that they use.
Founded in 2003, MySpace.com allows users to connect to old friends and connect to new ones providing a unique opportunity for business networking. Users can post journal entries, and add or omit as much information about themselves as they would like. Also, businesses can create a user profile strictly for business purposes letting online networkers in on what services your business can provide.
Launched in May 2003, LinkedIn.com boasts a business friendly online atmosphere providing connections between professionals around the world. LinkedIn gives users the ability to create a profile that sums up their professional careers. When you create a connection, you are virtually connected to their connections and so on which creates exponential marketing and networking opportunities.
Founded in February 2004, Facebook.com hosts millions of users each day. By creating a personalized Facebook page, users can hook up with friends and colleagues and also find new connections and reach out to their target market. This social networking site also invites businesses to create a business page. Post images, notes or create a new group to reach out to the people with whom you wish to connect.
Founded in 2005, Squidoo.com offers users the chance to develop a personal “lens” or page that focuses on a topic that interests them. The site also gives users the ability to earn royalties for their content. Squidoo.com explains that “nearly 40% of all Squidoo users donate the royalties they earn from the site to charity.” This gives businesses the chance to not only get the word out on their business but also give back.
Founded in February 2005, YouTube.com allows users to post, share and view videos. Everything from video blogs to short clips can be found through a search function. For businesses, this may be an inexpensive and innovative opportunity to let possible patients or customers walk through your door – in a virtual sense.
Founded in March 2006, Twitter.com invites users to answer the simple question, what are you doing? Identified as a short messaging service, Twitter allows users to post status updates that convey a quick message to other users. According to Twitter.com, this service allows people to “follow the sources most relevant to them and access information via Twitter as it happens — from breaking world news to updates from friends.”
People like to participate in online communities. That trend will continue to grow as the economy gets worse. Whether it is online gaming or networking, blogging or watching videos, people are participating more and more.
Why should you use these marketing tools?
Used with other forms of marketing to reach, persuade and engage your target market – existing customers, prospective customers, current and potential employees, referral sources and satisfied customers – online networking acts as a great introductory tool as well as a supplementary tool.
What are people saying about you and your brand? Are your customers satisfied? Dissatisfied? You will hear about it, be able to monitor it and respond to it – at lightning speed – but only if you are part of the online community. This is why it is so important for you to be proactive in setting up your own social media marketing applications.
Social media marketing is fast, efficient and low-cost. Even more important is the ability to gauge whether or not it is working. When you log onto YouTube, you can see instantly how many channel views, video views and subscribers you have.
Access to statistics and analytics is a major component of a successful marketing effort and did I mention that having your own page or channel on many networking sites is free?
With any online presence, it is important to update your page and information. Neglecting online interests is just as bad as closing the door on a customer.
And always remember, nothing on the internet goes away. You put it out there; just assume it is going to be out there forever. Carpenter’s adage: “Measure twice, cut once.” Social Media Marketing Networker’s adage: “Think twice (before you) post once.” While social media marketing is fun and easy, do not forget that it is your business reputation you are “playing” with.