Social networking is the latest and greatest in Internet marketing but if you feel like you are getting lost in the shuffle, you’re not alone. There are tons of social networking platforms out there and if you try to jump in with both feet into all of them you’re going to spend all of your time connecting without seeing any profit. No matter what your business model is, social networking is only a small part of the picture.
So how do you find a balance between ignoring social marketing completely and getting way too involved? By picking your touch points for social networking and integrating them you can be available to your target market without being totally overwhelmed with communication. The simple five step process outlined below will help you use social marketing effectively.
1. Pick how you’re going to be available.
There are several sites that contain opportunities for you to network with your market but you don’t have to join them all. Twitter and Facebook remain the most popular, but you can also find your target market in other areas. Join at least these two and then try to find something that is more niche specific – for example, a forum or group site based on your topic. Yahoo groups, Google groups and Ning all house groups and sites that are on specific topics. Look for niche specific sites on these major hubs for opportunities to connect.
2. Make your presence consistent.
Once you’ve decided where you’re going to be present, make sure your profiles are consistent across the board. Use the same photo for your social networking sites and people will be more likely to recognize your profile and connect with you when they join these sites.
3. Market your touch points.
Once you’ve established yourself and your profiles, make sure people know how to find you. Put links to your profiles on your blog, your website and in your signature file for your email account. You’ll get more connections this way.
4. Make time for networking on your touch points.
One of the keys to keeping social marketing simple is to time your posts, updates and responses. Make time each week or each day to post and make connections. You can schedule updates to coincide with new blog posts. Some of this can be automated; but make sure to find the time to visit the site manually to check to see who has befriended you and respond to other people’s updates.
5. Manage multiple accounts from one spot.
You can make social networking even easier by having a management tool to help you keep everything balanced and on board. Social-Fly.com will help you keep your social contacts in order with reminders of when you last touched base with someone and important information about them. It’s mainly if you are doing a lot of personal networking on these sites, rather than using them as broadcasting and branding platforms for your business. If you want to manage multiple platforms at once try a tool like HomePuzz.com which will integrate your Facebook, Twitter and other accounts all together.