Top 5 Social Networks To Consider for Your Business

Most industries get the gist when it comes to their social media marketing strategy and the incorporation of the head honchos Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These aren’t the only social networks to think about though. There is an enormous amount of industry specific, niche social networks out there that could give you valuable insight into the way your target market are thinking and interacting online. Here we will look at the pros and con’s of what the web has to offer your business.

YouGoSocial

The concept behind this ‘supersocialgroup’ is ideal for businesses who want to expose the maximum amount of media to the most united audience online in one foul swoop. YouGoSocial has integrated the sharing possibilities of all the most successful social networks to date and amalgamated them into one extremely diverse social network. All the users favourite attributes of Flicka, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, LastFM and Craigslist can be shared on YouGoSocial. It pulls audiences together and promises a very public outreach with extreme exposure possibilities for businesses to access through this social network.

Google+

This is the new social network that is hot on every social media blog and tech lover’s mind right now. Created by Google with the mind to cull the ‘random’ public engagement and superfluous social sharing, it seems to be a social experiment that could do very well for those looking to keep their privacy in check. They encourage social sharing between people who actually know each other in real life situations and want to have a more natural identity online in their social capacity without the stage fright of millions of unknowns seeing into their profiles and engagements. It’s a new endeavour for Google to gauge how their audience reacts to this concept of a more private social media and is by invitation only. Attributes include Circles, Huddles (groups where you can control who you interact with) as well as usability for the individual such at the +Upload option where you can upload visuals directly from your phone. However, this doesn’t seem to be the place for businesses who want to command an audience or find a following due to the exclusive group divisions. It is too early to say for this one though so explore the possibilities none the less

A Small World.com

This site is incredibly exclusive and can be very positive in terms of networking with the most elite of your industry. It captures an international network of people who are connected by three degrees of separation and is invitation only. Members are only allowed to invite a certain number of people and are encouraged to keep the invites to a minimum and only invite those who can be of substantial benefit to the network as a whole. The exclusivity of this social network means your connections will be authentic and your response rate should be high in terms of networking and learning from your peers. This is one for those who want to engage on the most sincere level of authenticity for their business strategy.

ZiiTrend

This social network is an amazing resource if you need some ideas from the market themselves and a way to predict the future of trends. Inspired by the concept of Prediction Market and The Wisdom of Crowds, this social network is all about asking questions and getting answers back; great for market research and crowdsourcing at its best. Said by users to be incredibly accurate considering the diversity of the audience, ZiiTrend is where you should go for your own businesses inspiration or if you need a little direction and some reassurance and advice from those who count.

Stardoll.com

It could be a lot of fun incorporating this social network into your social media plan. It isn’t for everyone though. It does however tap into the massive demographic of fashion loving teenage girls which is something to really start taking seriously if you are in the fashion industry. An example is Tavi Gevinson’s fashion blog, Considered one of the most influential fashion blogs ever and all coordinated by a girl who began it in her pre-teens; these girls are the leaders amongst your target market. This social network encourages the user to shop and dress her online doll, much like paper cut out dolls. However, this site has a shop, a blog and features actual brands like Versus and Miss Sixty and many other major designers.

It’s worth knowing where trends are going in fashion and online and this is a great way of getting some insight.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Nel_Marie_Erasmus/896872

 

How to Prevent Social Media Failure for Your Business

Facebook can work for your small business, no matter how big or small your business might be or how big or small your advertising budget is, you can make Facebook profitable for your business.

if you’ve tried and failed with social media in the past, then perhaps it wasn’t social media that failed it was the way you DID Social media. Almost all the gurus who teach this, do it wrong. That’s a very bold statement to make but I firmly believe it to be true.

Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t mix business with pleasure” well that’s something I learned as a child. It’s as true today as it was then.

What most people have been teaching in recent years when it comes to Facebook, Twitter etc and particularly how to integrate these services into your business has failed to make the distinction between your personal presence and your business presence within the social space. It’s this failure to separate your personal social activity from your business social activity that has contributed to the failure of your social campaigns.

Albert Einstein said that the definition of stupid is to continue to do the same thing over and over again and to expect a different result.

Therefore if something doesn’t work It is more than likely that the process of what you doing is wrong rather than the concept. So if the process is wrong then change the process, it really is that simple.

Using Facebook for business is a concept or a strategy, one that has made a lot of people very rich very quickly and will continue to do so for a considerable period of time to come. Social media is not a fad, the latest craze, a flash in the pan or any other flippant idiom you could Lay at its door. So if people are making money using social media it’s necessary to analyse what they are doing that is different to what you are doing, or to put this more succinctly change your process.

One of the key elements you need to consider when you embark upon a social campaign that is designed to help your business is to clearly identify who your target market is going to be. I can almost guarantee that your friends and personal social contacts have absolutely no interest in what you do within your business. So they are clearly not within your target market. So don’t pitch your business within your personal social space, reserve that for your business social space.

The question is how do you do that?

Fortunately Facebook allows us as business people to differentiate our personal social relationships and interactions from those of our business relationships very easily.

Facebook business pages are more commonly known as fan pages. A business can create as many business pages as it possibly needs and can even assign these pages to different elements of its business.

For example if you’re in the insurance industry then you’ll most likely be involved in the insurance of everything from property to business to vehicles but very few people are involved in all three of those areas and therefore it is unlikely that there is a large target market for all of those insurance related products as a single package.

However you could create three separate Facebook business pages, and then grow each of these separate pages into three separate distinct parts of your business with social media.

This will allow you to differentiate your personal relationships from your business relationships with relative ease.

Maintaining these distinct parts of your life as separate elements will enable you to share the right content with the right people at the right time, allow you to grow your business without annoying your family and friends. Furthermore in the eyes of your customers and clients you will be seen as a professional knowledgeable trustworthy source of great information, products and services in whatever sector of business you are in.

In today’s ever busy world it important to create the right impression when it comes to promotion of your business, and more importantly to create the right view of you the person and you the business owner.

That is why it is becoming increasingly important for business owners to create a separate and distinct business presence on social media sites like Facebook, using the tools made available such as Facebook business pages.

So what are you waiting for, get your Facebook fan page designed and live before the competition does.

We are a social media consulting company in Victoria British Columbia, Canada.

fanpagebydesign [http://fanpagebydesign.com] specialize in social branding and the custom designed Facebook fanpage to give businesses a viable social presence and to provide websites designed and optimised for their local market all powered by social media.

We know social media, our clients know their business. Working together we can design a social media program to grow your business using locally derived traffic and the power of social media.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Kevin_W_Baker/265006

 

Overcoming Social Isolation

When I was a freshman in college I went through a severe bout of depression. A lot of it was due to the relationships in my life. It was my first time away from home, in a new town, and I didn’t have many people to talk to or hang out with. Since I was always shy and socially anxious throughout most of my life, I found it incredibly difficult to start new relationships.

My social anxiety quickly turned into a vicious cycle. I had never been good at making positive relationships in the past, so I truly believed I was incapable of making positive relationships in the future. These beliefs made me act in ways that only reinforced my anti-social habits. I decided it wasn’t worth the effort to go to parties, bars, or other social get-togethers. I found myself thinking things like, “Who would want to meet a person like me?” or “I don’t deserve a good girlfriend.”

Essentially, my social anxiety turned me into a recluse. I went to class and then I locked myself in my room for the rest of the day – alone and socially isolated.

A lot of psychology research suggests that positive relationships are crucial to our happiness and well-being. Having someone to talk to you and enjoy time with is a great psychological safety net when you are feeling down. Without these relationships, we often remain stuck in our misery without anyone to help us out.

Having relationships doesn’t just give us something to do on the weekends. It also gives our lives meaning and purpose, because we are affecting the lives of others. The truth is that we are very interconnected with the people who we surround ourselves with, and when we don’t satisfy that desire to belong we find it hard to find happiness.

This is why we must protect ourselves from social isolation. When we have extreme amounts of social anxiety we may want to avoid every interaction possible. But does acting in this way really benefit us? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you like being alone – that is a choice you have the right to make. However, I find that most people – deep down – want to be able to build positive connections with others.

Things to know when overcoming social isolation. 

    • Your social anxiety may be partly due to your belief system. Pay attention to your thoughts when going into a social interaction.
    • When you find unhealthy beliefs, try adjusting them or replacing them with beliefs that are more effective.
    • Start with small social get-togethers. Maybe with just 1 or 2 friends. Work on building a few solid relationships and then try building your social circle from there.
    • Remember: the quality of your relationships are more important than the quantity of your relationships. Just because someone has more friends or a bigger social network doesn’t mean they have fulfilling relationships.
    • Identify your strengths. What value do you offer to others: respect, kindness, loyalty, humor, adventure, etc.?
    • Don’t be afraid to take risks and make mistakes every now and then. That can often be a necessary part of the learning process.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Try to have more conversations and more interactions – that is the only way to truly become more social.

I hope these small tips will help you overcome social isolation and social anxiety.

Click here for more information on how to overcome social anxiety.

Steven Handel is a frequent blogger on psychology and personal development who practices what he preaches. Check out his article on The Shyness and Social Anxiety System.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Steven_Handel/348196

 

I Don’t Have Time for Social Media Marketing – I Have a Business to Run

“Social media sounds interesting, but I just don’t have time to get into it. I’m too busy running my business!”

You’re right. If you want to be effective in social media marketing, you have to invest some time. But there are ways to effectively manage a social media campaign(s) in less than an hour a day. The reality of the time suck

OK, so the truth is that social media CAN be a major time suck. You can (and I often do) go on Twitter “for just a minute” and end up chatting for two hours. You can come across a new forum and spend an hour setting up a business profile. You can hop from article to article, just reading and commenting on stories and tips for half a day. You can – and you should. These are all things that will help you learn the ropes, engage in networking opportunities and promote your business. But you don’t have to get caught in the social media time suck every day.

Your business comes first. Social media is just one way of promoting it. At a meeting the other day, a successful and socially-savvy REALTOR® explained that they key to evaluating how to spend the time you have available for promoting yourself was by repeatedly asking yourself, “How will this activity bring me business now or down the road?”

So what do you want out of social media?

Sales? Brand recognition? A positive name in the community? Connections with people who can help promote your business?

Think about this question, look at your overall marketing goals and write down your campaign objectives. Be as specific as possible here. For example, if one of your goals is to have your restaurant packed full of patrons every Friday night, your campaign objective for the week might be to get five diners to come in as a direct result of your online efforts. (You could measure this by using a coupon code throughout your online campaigns.) If your goal is to increase your brand awareness in the community, perhaps your campaign objective is as straightforward as getting 20 new local followers on Twitter.

Jessica Andreola is the Operations Manager at the Courtyard Burlington Harbor Hotel. Active on Twitter (@CYBurlHarborVT) and Facebook, Andreola says she keeps up with social media throughout the day by checking in on her profiles on her mobile phone and iPad periodically.

“It is important for us to keep up with local news and events, to promote Burlington and to connect with clients/potential clients,” she said. “For us, social media is integrated into our marketing plan. I don’t sit down and post all at once… I check Twitter a few times a day and post on Facebook a few times a week.” Andreola’s says the brand enhancement, client engagement, community knowledge and referral rate numbers make social media well worth a little of her time.

You now know why. Here’s the how:

The #1 key to managing social media marketing time is having a strategy in place and sticking to it. Here are a few tips:

  • Block out time – It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, it just has to be a focused and consistent part of your day. It could be half an hour in the morning and half an hour at lunch, or perhaps an hour at the end of the day. Put this time in your calendar and turn off everything else. Use this time to really focus on developing your online presence, engaging with clients and building your brand.
  • Follow your customers – With limited time, you need to go where your customers are. Sometimes, you know exactly where they hang out (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Other times you need to test the waters in a few places and see where you get the most feedback. Wherever it is, spend at least 50% of your time there.
  • Don’t get distracted – If you see an article you’re interested in, bookmark it so that you can read it later. Skim articles and look for relevant nuggets of information or helpful tips. You want to get a sense of what is going on with your friends, followers, colleagues and industry experts, but you don’t have to read every single word. You don’t have to keep clicking. Focus on YOUR BUSINESS.
  • Embrace the tools – There are many options available for accessing your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare sites all in one dashboard. I use Sprout Social, and many people find TweetDeck or HootSuite helpful. By having all your feeds in one spot, you can be much more efficient in monitoring activity and promoting across multiple platforms.
  • Schedule your promotions – Spend a little extra time one day a week setting up scheduled promotions (tweets, blog posts, etc.) to automatically go out at specific times throughout the week. There are a number of tools for helping you do this if you are not using a platform such as SproutSocial or HootSuite. I always found time.ly to be simple and easy to use. By scheduling your promotions, you free up your daily time to respond and engage.
  • Take it mobile – Smartphones are wonderful things, and they allow you to call up your accounts just about anywhere. So use that 20 minutes you are waiting at the doctor’s office to reply to a few tweets! Snap a photo at the conference you’re at and upload it to Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. Set your accounts to notify you on your phone when you receive a direct message, so that you can shoot off a quick response in a timely manner!
  • Note: Depending on the traffic to your sites, you may need to adjust the notification alerts on your phone depending on your promotions, plan for responding to feedback, etc. If you are aggressively promoting your Twitter page, you may not want to get a cell phone alert about a new follower every 2 minutes!

You DO have time

Social media does take a time investment. But if it means reaching new customers, connecting with current clients, engaging with industry peers and promoting your brand – isn’t an hour a day worth it? Other Resources

WORTH READING > Amber Naslund wrote an excellent series of articles and ebook on Social Media Time Management.

Melissa L. Reyes

For more tips, how-to’s and insights on using social media to promote you and your small business, visit us at [http://socialamateur.com].

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Melissa_L_Reyes/1129219

 

Twenty Ways to Make Social Networking Work for You

What is Social Networking?

Social Networking is a term used for various web-based platforms designed to connect individuals, organizations, and businesses via social interactions. Users can interact using text, images, and audio/visual media.

Top Social Networking sites include:

* Facebook 
* Twitter 
* LinkedIn 
* YouTube 
* Flickr

Traditional media (like radio or newspapers) feature a one-to-many paradigm. Social Networking feature and facilitate a many-to-many paradigm. While the many-to-many paradigm provides individuals and businesses with an unprecedented ability to reach large numbers at very low costs (or at no cost), it also means having to compete with many more “publishers” of information. One also has to be particularly sensitive to different forms of social interaction permitted on each site and the level to which users wish to be “prospected” by one with a commercial motive.

Making It Work

This article will walk you through the basics of making Social Networking work for you and/or your business. Different Social Networking sites vary in what they offer, intended use, and etiquette. Here we will explore twenty generalized strategies that can be applied to most forms of Social Networking.

1. Provide Useful Content

People will find you and let you into their networks if you provide useful content. YouTube, for example, has become a remarkable source for homegrown “how to” videos, covering everything from how to tie a Windsor knot to how to build your own computer. No one minds if you promote yourself within the context of those videos or within the context of your YouTube “channel” page.

2. Avoid Direct Selling

Who of us hasn’t experienced the disappointment of being invited over to an acquaintance’s house for an intimate dinner party only to find out the dinner party was a way to oblige you to stick around for a long pitch on why you should join his/her multi-level marketing scheme. People join Social Networking sites to make new friends, communicate with old ones, and discover new and interesting things. A Twitter feed or a Facebook news feed that is purely promotional or even semi-veiled promotion will be of interest to few.

3. Don’t Let Your Content Get Stale

Nothing hurts a business like a “cob web” site, a site that’s obviously not been updated since 1998. The same goes for Social Networking. Before you jump into trying to establish your presences in one or more Social Networking venues, ensure you have realistic resources for updating a Twitter account or your own Facebook fan page.

4. Lurk for a while and then Uncloak

Before jumping into any Social Networking venue, lurk for a time. To “lurk” means to spend time consuming the content provided by others but you’re not providing any content (messages, posts, “tweets”, etc.) yourself and users might not be aware you’re even part of their community. Lurking allows you to absorb user culture and avoid breaches of etiquette that seem obvious to experienced users. After lurking for a time, you’re ready to “uncloak”, which means making it obvious to other users you’re an active member of their community by joining discussions or providing your own content.

5. Make Your Content Portable

Portable content makes it easier for others to spread your message. Consider sites that allow others to syndicate your content via RSS or embedding code. Make sure you properly watermark your content so others can follow it back to your site for updates or similar content.

6. Use Humor

A good, appropriate sense of humor is an excellent way of raising your profile within a network. Naturally what is funny to some people might be considered highly offensive to others. It’s best to keep your humor conservative and respectful.

7. Don’t Ignore Tags

If a Social Networking site supports tagging (entering key words), make effective use of tags. Tags allow others to discover content based on tags (typically by just clicking on a tag) and you’re ignoring a potential source of traffic.

8. Pass On Compliments

Instead of telling people how great your product or service is, tell others how great their efforts are. Social networking is about building levels of trust. It’s very easy to trust and like someone if they like you first.

9. Ask Questions

Who doesn’t like to demonstrate their smarts before their peers? Asking questions gets a discussion going, makes people favorable to you, and raises your profile within a community. Pick your questions well and make sure they’re not answered by an obvious Google search.

10. Answer Questions

Many people have questions but rarely do they get an adequate answer. So many “answer exchange” type services provide answers that are extremely cursory or simply posted for a quick laugh. You can raise your profile in any social network by bringing your knowledge and experience to bear.

11. It’s More Important to be Sociable than to be “Right”

There’s a classic comic of a guy who refuses to go to bed, despite the urgings of his wife. He discovered, much to his amazement, someone on the Internet has the wrong opinion and he won’t sleep until he has corrected the other’s opinion. The best way to blow your profile is by losing your cool. If something looks like it’s heading towards a charged debate, state your position, thank the other for stating his/her position, and disengage.

12. Make It Easy for People to Find You

Take a step back and consider how another might find you for discussions outside of the social networking venue. Are you taking advantage of a linkable signature line? Is there a link to you home page in your profile? Have you configured the site to alert you via email if someone has private messaged you or followed up on some posting you’ve made?

13. Complete Your Profile

An incomplete site profile makes you appear hasty and lacking in attention to detail. Complete your site profile to the fullest possible extent. Include anything interesting about yourself you’re willing to share with others: books you’ve read, exotic foods you enjoy. These things add dimension to your online “character” and might be talking point others use to break the ice with you. Also, try to include an appropriate, complimentary picture of yourself. People like to look at smiling faces.

14. Leverage Immediacy

Magazines require you to wait until next week or next month to hear about it. Newspapers make you read about it the next day. TV makes you wait until 11 pm. Twitter lets you read about it while it’s actually happening. People have come to expect the Internet to provide the first draft of any event. The event doesn’t have to be a flood or a war. For every person who attends a major conference in your industry, there are probably 10 people who wish they had the time to attend. These people would welcome on-the-ground coverage by someone in their social network.

15. Don’t Underestimate People’s Intelligence

In points 9/10 it is suggested asking questions or answering questions as a way to raise your profile. Many people are tempted to turn a question or answer into a semi-veiled promo for their product or service. Avoid these kinds of gimmicks.

16. Get a Second Opinion

You know you. People who know you know you. But how do people who do not know you, view you purely via your words. What you think is succinct can seem terse or arrogant when words are not accompanied with vocal inflection. If possible, find someone who has no prior knowledge of you and get an opinion as to how you come across online.

17. People Love to Read About Others’ Problems

Many years ago there was a computer column by science fiction author Jerry Pournelle in the now defunct computer magazine Byte. Every month Pournelle would talk about tinkering with some new computer he was trying to set up for his wife or install some new video card in his PC. Surveys indicated people very much enjoyed his columns where he encountered problems. People have an innate fascination when things go horribly wrong for others. Don’t hesitate to walk readers through a problem you’re having. Just keep it reasonable and whine free.

18. Don’t Ramble

Twitter, of course, enforces a 140 character limit forcing you to be very succinct. Other sites are pretty open ended. As in all things on the Internet you have only a brief amount of time to get a person to commit to reading what you wrote or watch your media presentation. Write in the newspaper style, keep your important facts at the top and answering the five W’s in the first two or three paragraphs. If you’re doing a video, YouTube gives you ten minutes but, save for the most detailed “how to” type video, keep a video much shorter than that. Movies stick to scenes that go no longer than two to three minutes.

19. Don’t Get too Attached to a Social Networking Venue

The Internet is the classic Red Queen’s Race from Alice in Wonderland. The Red Queen character comments “… it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!” To wit, today’s Twitter might be tomorrow’s Friendster. Keep an eye open for the next big thing, where your clients, customers, and visitors are going next. Make sure your content is easily portable to the next big thing no matter what it is.

20. Practice the Three R’s

Remember you’re representing either your business or you as a professional person. When online keep it:

Rational: Stick to the facts. Support your opinions with facts and logic. 
Responsible: Stay on topic. Keep your messages, images, and media appropriate. 
Respectful: Respect people’s tolerance for being marketed to. Don’t waste people’s time making them think they’re getting something they are not. For example, don’t provide a YouTube how to video and then ask people to visit your site to see the final key step

All text is copyright 2014 TouchBistro Inc. You may quote this document in whole or in part, online or in printed format, as long as proper attribution is given.

Copyright 2014 TouchBistro Inc. http://www.TouchBistro.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Karl_Mamer/1144322