How can the different types of Social Media be used to grow my business online? Building a business is no longer about passing out flyers or offering a sale, social media has taken a front-and-center role and is essential in building and growing a business. In the past, the Internet was used as a one-way vehicle for businesses to present information about their products and services to prospective customers. That was Web 1.0 and the old saying “that was then and this is now” applies to the Internet. The Internet has changed and the evolution of Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 has led to new opportunities for businesses to not only communicate valuable information to prospective clients, but to also receive crucial feedback from the Internet community. There are now many different types of social media and social bookmarking which can be leveraged to provide vast opportunities for business owners, if used correctly.
Web 2.0 is all about the Internet user and giving the Internet community a voice. It is a two way street of productive information that can help to build a business customer base and particular brand. One of the important components of social media is building “social authority”. Social authority grows from the point when an individual or organization differentiates itself from others by establishing themselves as an “expert” in their particular field.
is the most popular social media term and includes Internet sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn. These sites allow users the opportunity to connect with people who share similar interests and provide the opportunity to connect with even more users as your profile grows. Social Networking now accounts for almost 15% of all time spent on the Internet.
sites include YouTube, Wikipedia, Craigslist, FlickR, and eBay – just to name a few. These sites allow users to generate their own content and post that content onto these widely popular sites. Users not only create their own content and post it onto these sites but they can also manage that content, keeping it fresh which allows for the visitor base to grow exponentially. This gives businesses the opportunity to use content as a tool to attract visitors, which can later be converted into customers.
sites such as StumbleUpon, Digg, and others give users the opportunity to recommend Internet content to others, who then in-turn vote on the quality of that content. An example of an up-and-coming Social Recommendation site is TrustedOpinion, a site that reviews restaurants around the world. The key here is quality. If your company or organization provides a quality product or service to customers who are happy with that product or service, they will most likely recommend your company to others who will, in-turn, vote on their experience. The benefit is that your company can build its brand and expand its customer base.
sites like delicious.com, Digg, Newsvine, and Reddit Technorati, Google Bookmarks and to a certain degree Twitter and Facebook give users the opportunity to share their bookmarks with other Internet users. Bookmarks can be organized, stored, managed and searched with others. The difference between Social Bookmarking and Social Content is with bookmarking, the resources themselves are not shared but instead the bookmarks to which the sites are references are shared. This can be an invaluable tool to businesses looking to grow repeat visits from users. Descriptions can be added to the “tags” of each bookmark so users can understand the content of the resource without first needing to download it. The advantage is that these types of links have human insight associated with them, while in contrast; search engine spiders are more automated. Social Bookmarking can give your business website an “omnipresence” meaning it can help to sell your products faster and more efficiently and the best part about this is that Social Bookmarking is free, which means more profit for your growing online business. Showing that you are on top of the news in your industry gives a recognized level of credibility.
- Solid research will help your business discover where its targeted customers are. For example, do they use specific forums or read certain blogs?
- A business can create profiles on those sites and begin to build a network with prospects of various groups and communities. It is important to understand the rules of each community first.
- The goal is to add value to the conversations and to build and grow genuine relationships. Through these interactions, create circles of influence so that people start to trust your company and your company, in-turn, will build credibility.