Expand Your Reach with Social Networking

Kevin Dean – Tuesday, August 10, 2010

These days, people are treating social networks as a legitimate part of their lives. People take their online profiles seriously, and a lot of time is devoted to updating and maintaining their information. They devote even more time to browsing the networks and checking out what other people are up to. And, that’s why you have to make sure your business is there for them to check out.

Now, we’re not promising that having an active business profile on any social network is going to get you as much exposure as a spread in Time Magazine or an interview in the Wall Street Journal. It will, however, get you an expanded contact list, increase your presence and status in your market’s online conversation and keep your business in front of your friends (Facebook), followers (Twitter) and contacts (Linked-In).

Social networking has moved beyond its early days of being an online amusement to becoming a way of life.  For a lot of folks, Facebook is now their primary form of communication. Social networks are also turning into a top go-to for information on things like which restaurant has the best Chinese food in Dallas or where to hire the coolest wedding singer in Topeka. Rather than Googling for the best (fill in your business) in all of (fill in your locale), your potential clients are going to LinkedIn. Are they going to find you or your competition?

Being an active participant on networking sites is a great way to put yourself in the online conversation and establish your business as part of your market’s community. Here are some ways to increase your online presence using the top three networking sites:

 Twitter: Follow people who have similar businesses as yours and invite people who list an interest in your market to follow you. Send regular tweets but make sure they’re not all sales pitches.  Offer your followers helpful hints or valuable tips to establish credibility in your area of expertise while keeping your name at the forefront of your followers’ minds.

Facebook: Create a page for your business and invite your clients to become fans. Increase your fan base by inviting potential clients from your target market. You can search for people by location, age or interest to help you pinpoint whom to invite. Having a Facebook page gives you an easy way to keep your business’ fans up-to-date on all the latest happenings in your company and a vehicle for reminding them that your services are available when they’re ready for them.

LinkedIn: The top professional networking community, LinkedIn, helps you maintain contact with past business associates and develop relationships with new ones. You can also join groups with similar interests to connect to peers in your arena. By participating in their online conversations, you create a name and a presence for yourself, all while expanding your reach to more and more potential clients.

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