"It is impossible for ideas to
compete in the marketplace if no forum for
their presentation is provided or available."
Thomas Mann, 1896
The Business Forum
Networking Help Your Business?
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
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
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
EONS.com — For the Baby Boomers (40+)
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.
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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