Tuesday, November 4, 2008

StoresOnline Entrepreneurs: You Need Social Networking

StoresOnline Entrepreneurs, now is the time to get involved with Social Networking. In an article by Mr. David Javitch of Entrepreneur.com, Mr. Javitch interviews Mr. Dan Schawbel, the Social Media Specialist of EMC Corp. In the interview, Mr. Javitch makes some very compelling arguments about the significance of Social Networking. StoresOnline Merchants will be interested in the highlights of this article:

Mr. Javitch: Can you tell me about the trend that has employers hiring employees to take on social networking duties?

Mr. Schawbel: ...Due to the current economy, there are clear restraints on marketing budgets, so free social marketing is the best alternative. As companies grow and social networking continues to expand, the entrepreneurial boss simply cannot devote all of the time needed for a successful effort. He or she needs to hire someone else dedicated to assume this responsibility. This person will be the internal community manager who will create, monitor and transfer information about the company between and among employees who have a voice and can influence or build the corporate brand.

Mr. Javitch: What's the benefit of hiring an employee who manages the business's Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and other social networking accounts?

Mr. Schawbel: Small businesses should at least be involved in the largest social networks, belong to forums and have at least one blog. Each of these websites is a way of positioning yourself and your company to the world. You can create a video, respond to questions or problems or start a discussion. For instance, when someone joins your Facebook group, the word spreads virally through that person's newsfeed. Remember, people want to join groups; they want to meet people and buy products or services based on their friends' recommendations.

Setting a Google Alert for your name and company's name is highly encouraged. When someone blogs about you, your company, or your products and services, you'll be notified immediately through either e-mail or RSS [feed]. Then you can use their name to get back to them for further interactive communication.

Mr. Javitch: Can you break down which blogs, FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, etc., are most popular to the separate generations? Business owners who target a certain age market need to know which social network to invest time in.

Mr. Schawbel: MySpace has over 185 million users, split evenly between men and women14 to 34 years old. Twenty-five percent of them are in the U.S. FaceBook has over 110 million readers, more women than men. The majority of these users--80 percent--are under 30 years old and half of all FaceBookers are located in the U.S., Great Britain and Canada.

LinkedIn has over 26 million readers, with the average age being 41. Men make up 64 percent of the audience. Their average household income is $109,000. Twitter has 3 million readers, two-thirds of whom are men 18 to 34 years old. Armed with this information, marketers can more effectively target specific age, income and geographic groups.

You also need a profile page on Facebook. It will tell readers about your company, people, service or product. Remember, people are searching for information; give them what they're asking for. And above all, the process is free; the only cost is your time.

This article gives StoresOnline Merchants ideas on where and what they need to do to start taking small steps into the world of Social Networking.

Do you have other suggestions or preferred Social Network sites and/or strategies that you can share with other StoresOnline Success Blog readers? If so, leave a comment or question here.


Bradley said...

I currently have a site through a company other than storesonline and they do not allow me to use social networking. This is a total hurdle in getting traffic to my site especially since most of my PR is through word of mouth.

Hattie Rae said...

Social networking is for great for people that wish there were 34 hours in a day. The internet provides you with a great opportunity to network and allow users opportunities to effectively target their audience by logging on to social sites. You can reach as more people in a few minutes on the web then you can walking aroung passing out business cards.