Apr 20, 2009

What Social Networking means for my business...

I've been reading up on tweets lately. Searching for small businesses such as myself - selling a product online - trying to learn something new (and I do all the time) from others.

But...I've been struggling to figure out what social networking means to me, and how I can use all the tools available to increase my business. After all, that's why I was interested in social networking in the first place.

I wasn't looking for a job, or to build an MLM empire, or to convince people I knew all about SEO (search engine optimization) and SMO (social media optimization) like most tweets I found about business were.

I wasn't this new wave of "entrepreneur" that popped up during the recession either, or the "twitter expert" so many claim to be. Could my business really benefit from this platform?

I have been slowly learning that the answer is YES. Here are just some of the things that I have discovered.

  • Social networking is about offering "networks" information they would find interesting or helpful.

You don't have to sell anything to people, just share experiences and resources. If they want what you sell - they will check it out. They would never have known about your product it if they weren't initially interested in what you had to say and visited your site (or blog). Otherwise they would have found you in the search engines. I have a few blogs that I do for my personal interests - parks and dogs. The information I share is totally unrelated to my product - yet I see in my google analytics traffic coming to my main site through those blogs. Ahhhhh!! I get it. So I have to think the work or time I put into it is like the $ I pay per click. A soft or passive sell. I figured I better make blogs about things I was passionate about - otherwise I'd never do it.

  • Social networking is about sharing and contributing.

It's really about the EASE in which you can share ideas, articles, or even products you like. If it was not for reading tweets I would never have found twitter.com/addthis which offers an excellent tool. The tool can be put on any site to allow your audience (or visitor) to easily share it with others they know. So now I can offer people the ability to add my Ring Guard website to their Social Network and guess what..they have! On the "AddThis" website you can track what sites they are sharing with (and what pages).

  • Social Networking is about learning and growing.

I've "stumbled" upon many resources I never knew exisited (and I have been making a very decent living online for over 10 yrs). I found out how to use certain aspects of google more effectively (google goal setting and google base to name 2). I have seen what others are doing to promote themselves. I have had people answer my questions (not many mind you but at least some do). I try to "pay it forward" as much as I can.

Now of course there are idiots out there social networking who THINK they know it all or will not acknowledge your contribution to a thread of interest. AND I have run into a "data mining" link fake out from a tweet ...so you have to weed out the bad and follow those who you value.

After all....it really is about the QUALITY of follows not the QUANTITY.

I look forward to learning more from those I follow - and share their links with others. That is afterall what networking is about.


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