Web 2.0 and Your Businesses

Social Networking for Promoting a Business

Social networking has changed the way businesses communicate with their markets. They no longer sit in their ivory towers, but mingle with the public on equal footing. Used correctly, social networking sites can be a valuable marketing tool. The potential benefits include:

      - Name recognition and branding;

      - Credibility, because people are more likely to trust companies they “know”;

      - Stronger customer relationship;

      - Better search engine ranking through increased visibility on the internet.

Businesses need to be aware of the power of social networking. While not every social networking channel or site is for every business, it will be to your advantage to give Web 2.0 venues careful consideration and adopt the ones that can be useful to you.

Many businesses with internet presence have embraced Facebook and Twitter. Both can be useful for business purposes, but maintaining a Facebook page or a Twitter account does entail some work. It is necessary to keep the fans on Facebook and the followers on Twitter entertained with information – and, if at possible, rewards in the form of competitions.

Businesses seem to have embraced Facebook more readily. Many have built Facebook fan pages and are buying ads in which they advertise themselves to Facebook users. In the initial phases of building a fan-base on Facebook, it may be a good idea for a business to stage a competition exclusively for its Facebook fans, and then spread the word on the company’s web site, in its emailing communications and via the Facebook paid advertisements.  After a decent  fan-base is built, the company’s advertising campaign on Facebook should probably take a different slant and move from attracting new fans to its Facebook page to advertising the company itself and the products or services it provides. 

From a marketing and brand building point of view, microblogging on Twitter (tweeting) still seems to be somewhat of a mystery to many businesses. And yet, tweeting can be seen as an opportunity to build a footprint by way of 140-character-long entries that all say something of immediate interest about the company. The first step is to identify the individuals and companies that post tweets on issues relevant to your business, and then to follow them. Most will respond by following you back. A link to your Twitter account, with a clear call to action inviting visitors to “follow us”, should be placed in a prominent position on your web site.

If you as a business owner are still shying away from Twitter, the time to get onboard is now. In April 2010, Twitter announced plans to launch its own advertising platform. This platform is still in the testing phase, but the Twitter advertising model could become an important component of the business online marketing mix.