Social networking: the key to big business

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TechWhile using social networking to increase business is common practice, a lot of businesses don?t properly utilize it. With an effective social networking strategy, you can easily increase your client base while branding your company and saving money. With users in the millions, sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit can give your business the boost it needs.

1) Give your business a ?face?.

These days it seems like everyone is on Facebook — and they are. The site boasts an impressive 175 million users and growing, and a lot of these users may be potential clients. Utilizing the fan page is an effective way to brand your company, giving your business a free way to gain exposure. A lot of companies, however, don?t know how to optimize the use of the fan page.

The trick? ?Come up with a creative, non-intrusive way to market your product or services to your fans. Or use the opportunity to become a valuable resource to them, sharing good insight and content,? says Dante Lee, president and CEO of Diversity City Media, a subsidiary of Lee Moss Media. Provide your fans with solid information about your business and what it does, but be careful not to spam them. (?Spam? is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.)

2) Drive your SEO.

Most social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook offer unique URLs to users. A great way to optimize the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of your business is to include your business name in these URLs. To be especially effective, try to include an important keyword in the URL as well, and you will quickly see your business move to the top of many search rankings.

Running a company blog is also an easy way to both promote and brand your company, and to utilize SEO. By choosing effective keywords and phrases you will drive much more traffic to your site, resulting in a bevy of potential clients.

3) It?s not what you know; it?s who you know.

Think about it, even the name ?social networking? is indicative of making connections. For professional women and men, this no longer limits connections to high school friends. By using social networking tools properly, you can connect with a related business whose clients may need your services, too.

4) Don?t get stuck in the past.

More and more businesses are turning to social media to promote themselves, and that?s a train you don?t want to miss. Showing that you are ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing and promoting yourself indicates that you?re likely progressive in your field, as well. In a time when your potential clients are using smart phones to stay connected like clockwork, staying on top of their newsfeeds will keep you fresh in their mental rolodexes.?

5) Increased traffic equals increased business.

Dell saw a $3 million increase in sales from Twitter alone in 2009 and your company could be next. By offering a discount or special code to your social networking followers, you will instantly drive up site traffic. You?ll find yourself with new followers who were just there for the discounts, but who have now become clients.

Even professionals in non-commerce industries can utilize this technique. Try linking to a special page on your site that boasts the company?s accolades, or linking to a recent article about your presence at a local charity event.

As with any marketing plan, making sure to choose a reputable and reliable company to handle your social networking is a good idea. Social networking is an effective way to promote your business for free, but it?s got to be done correctly or you may even lose clients. Utilizing the ?now network? of instant, free-flowing information can undoubtedly show your business great growth.