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Harnessing the Social Internet to Benefit Your Business

February 25th, 2010

social-media-marketing.jpgAs business budgets continue to tighten thanks to the global economic downturn, more and more small businesses are seeking less expensive and more effective forms of marketing. Online marketing, in its many guises, has been one of the big beneficiaries of this recent trend with social media marketing showing especially large gains. Essentially a form of guerrilla marketing, social networking can offer potentially great returns for comparatively little financial outlay.

The social Web has not only arrived but has witnessed several distinct incarnations and while each evolutionary progression may be slightly different, the underlying value for Web users and consumers is one of interaction. Users can get involved with websites like never before, making them feel more involved and closer to the individuals, websites, and businesses that they deal with.

As the landscape for consumers has changed, so to has the potential for businesses. Those businesses with an online presence that are willing to put in the time and effort to develop and nurture a social network are presented with a unique opportunity to build a loyal customer base, encourage greater customer retention, and establish the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. The end result is one of greater profits and an often surprising return on marketing investment.

Developing Your Brand

Brand awareness is a concept that can often be overlooked by the small business and is often left to the larger organizations and enterprises that can afford to continuously reinforce the positive image of their products and services. The viral nature of the social Internet helps to virtually flatten the playing field, enabling small business owners to create a buzz about their products and services. A relentless social media charge can not only assist in creating a buzz for a new product but can continue to develop a loyal following.

Improving Communication

For the small business, communication is everything. Social networking sites like Bebo and Facebook have been effectively used by companies of every size and in every industry to keep in touch with existing customers and potential clients alike. Sites like these can be used to announce new products, promotions, and news about the company.

The Impact On SEO

It’s almost impossible to talk about any form of online marketing without considering its impact on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As social media marketing can develop a lot of back links to your pages, often from authoritative and trusted sites, it can be used to improve your search rankings and generate more traffic from sources like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

Viral Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Traditional word-of-mouth marketing is considered one of the best sources of potential new customers for small businesses. It is inexpensive, often generates a loyal customer, and can remove a lot of the sales and promotion work normally required. The same can be said, to varying degrees, of social marketing campaigns. It will require hard work and some perseverance in most cases, but once the message is out you will often find that your network does a lot of your marketing for you.

Adding Social Media Marketing To A Marketing Mix

Social media marketing and other forms of marketing and advertising are in no way mutually exclusive. A good marketing mix can consist of various strategies that combine to create a diverse and rich source of website traffic. This, in turn, can combine with offline advertising to create a real powerhouse of a marketing mix.

Determining The Success Of Your Social Networking

Like many forms of marketing, the success of a social marketing campaign lies in various factors. The strength of your product or service, how well you target potential clients, campaign planning, and the length of your campaign will combine to determine how successful social media marketing can be for your small business.

Get Involved – Stay Involved

Perhaps one of the biggest determining factors of your success will be just how involved you become with the communities in which you participate. Typically, the more involved you become, the more successful you are likely to be. Get involved in two-way conversations with your potential clients. Post regular stories, updates, comments, and other social media.

Social Networking For Your Small Business Website

Social networking and social media sites are here to stay and as they evolve they become more and more beneficial to the small business owners that are willing to put in the effort. Social media marketing does need to be conducted properly; otherwise you’ll create a negative buzz rather than a positive spin and when it comes to word of mouth, there really is such a thing as bad publicity.


This article has been supplied to us by Matt Jackson from Constant Content.


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