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The Business Forum Journal


Can Social Networking Help Your Business?

By George Carson


First we must ask ourselves is social networking for everyone, and is it right for my business? That may depend on your knowledge of this expanding media. Not knowing the benefits of the different networks or how they can help you could be critical when making a decision. Just because many businesses are using some of the popular networks such as Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, you need to determine if these are the right choices for your business.

So how do you know if your business is ready for social media? How do you get started? And most important, which social networks will work for your business?

To answer these questions, you need to look at your industry, know your competition and what social networks relate to your market. Not an easy task, nor should it be. Too often companies will jump in because they don�t want to be left behind. The same is true about companies who get into social media, but after a few weeks, push it aside because it requires more work to maintain than they anticipated.

Below are a few guidelines to help you decide on a social network program.

1  Does your business offer a service or sell product(s) that appeals to a limited market?  If yes, determine the size of your potential market. Or, if your business provides the service/product to a broader spectrum, start with the top 2 or 3 markets that are the most profitable.

2  Do you have a sales team? Whether it is one salesperson (outside of yourself) or a dozen sales teams, choose a region to target. This can consist of an area such as the 7 western states in America, or a smaller region such as one specific state. You can grow the area after you have implemented the social network program.

3  Do you have the support staff that can dedicate the proper time to develop and maintain a social network program? If not, you can hire an outside firm.

4  Does your business rely on walk-in customers, or online sales, or both?

5  Is your business B2B, or a B2C?

6  Are your business goals and objectives to increase sales, or increase profitability?

7  Do you have an advertising or publicity budget? Is it realistic with your sales projections?

8  Are you a start-up, or an established business (been around for at least 3+ years)?


You can quickly see with this exercise that in order to compete within your industry, you need to be visible and heard. Most businesses can benefit from a well-planned social network program. Now that you have answered these few questions, where do you go from here?

If you are prepared to take on the task of implementing a social network program, it is now time to see what is available. With over a hundred different business networks to choose from, and the list grows daily, here are a few to help you get started in your quest.

Facebook and Twitter were originally created for individuals to communicate, today, they have found a new home with businesses. If you use these networks, fully learn and understand how to get the maximum benefits for your business.  Here is a short list of other social networks to consider:

Bebo � an AOL network that consumers can share photos, communicate and express themselves. A longer version of Twitter and similar to Facebook.

Focus � this is a B2B network mainly geared for the high tech industry. Companies can get experts to answer or solve their business questions.

MeetTheBoss � a great international network for business and financial industries. Consists of Fortune 500 CEO�s who discuss Leadership, Sales, Innovation, Technology, Marketing, Strategy, Human Capital and Governance.

Ning � You can create your own custom network, and community website. 

TalkBizNow � This is a comprehensive interactive business network that allows users the ability to network, advertise their business, etc. 

Tumblr � Similar to Twitter that started in 2007. � For the Baby Boomers (40+) Internet users. 

Athlinks � For the sports enthusiasts who enjoy swimming and running. 

Ryze � Looking to find other new entrepreneurs? This is the place.

Other networks and productive tools to consider are: Ogoing, Pinterest, Dropbox, Twitxr, StumbleUpon,.

You can think of almost any topic and a social network probably already exists, such as German-speaking people, Latin Americans, Musicians, Artists, Gothic and Industrial Sculpture, and hundreds more. That is the beauty of this media. If you use social networks properly, you can reduce your marketing costs while increasing your profits. For example, did you know that Twitter has a search tool to find companies or related businesses that you can follow?

Okay, now go and plan social network program that will meet your company�s goals and objectives.

George Carson is a Fellow of The Business Forum Institute  and he has been active in the advertising arena since 1973.  He has successfully developed unique concepts, programs, designs and corporate campaigns for a variety of local, regional and national accounts.  He founded his own advertising and publicity firm in 1980. Since that time, he has provided the marketing and publicity services to a wide range of clients including: Jeep Corporation, Sir Speedy Corporation, Yamaha Sports, Regal Medial Group, Bell Brand Foods, Laura Scudder�s, CBS radio, Uniden LPGA Golf Tournament, the City of Orange, Universal Studios, Snak King, ASICS sporting goods, La Reina Family Brands, Partition Specialties Inc., MVP RV, Yamaha Music Schools, Encryption Solutions, Inc., McMahon�s RV, amongst others.  As a designer in Los Angeles, California, George co-founded a design studio where he created materials for a variety of television shows and motion pictures: including: �The Sting�, �Kojak�, and �Lombard and Gable�. He also developed campaigns for Kenny Rogers, the Osmonds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Budget Rent-A-Car, Transamerica and Occidental Life. George holds a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design with minors in English and Photography from Cal State University of Long Beach.

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