In times past, many businesses frowned upon online activity for business endeavors. Online communities were believed to be gateways to virus attacks, hackers, or many other unsavory activities associated with the internet. As a result, many businesses resorted to operating without establishing websites, blogs, or online communities. Today, much has changed; no longer can businesses operate in the exclusivity of offline activity or storefront services only. The world of technology has commanded change. To stay in the game, to stay relevant, and in the forefront of public view, connections online and to online communities are a must.
The importance of Social Networking
Social networking is a platform where businesses can establish their name throughout the internet web space, among website users, and the world of online communities. Most social networking communities provide profile pages for uploading images or logos, a profile section to add about or business descriptions, and sections to include contact information like website address, location, or phone number.
Sites like Facebook have taken social networking a step further; they have created an additional sector of social networking that is focused specifically on business services, called Facebook pages. Facebook pages were created for businesses, organizations, or celebrities to broadcast information about their products, services, or recent updates. Website visitors can link or connect with their pages to receive instant updates on a regular basis. The pages are enhanced with a variety of applications that can be added to promote an increase in activity and communications with new and existing audiences. Information updates can be received via email, RSS feeds, or directly on the website.
Does Social Networking add value?
To answer the underlying question in mind, how will social networking add value to my business? The answer lies on the opposite side of the spectrum. What value does your business have to offer? That is the real question to keep in mind when it comes to social networking and online interactivity. Most people prefer to connect with businesses and provide information they need or can use. Social networking for business is not the time to push forward the latest sell, commercial, or advertisement. The development of relationships and real connections with online users center around either entertainment, answers to real life questions, or information that adds value to the viewers. In order reap value; as business owner, you must be willing to sow value. The definition of value can range from providing content that is useful, articles that provide information or solutions, videos that offer instruction or portals that house questions and answers. The definition of added value is can be anything that promotes or creates opportunities for exchange or engagement.
What are the Benefits of Social Networking?
Social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and many others offer a plethora of benefits for businesses. For example, activities such as commenting, status updates, and the exchange of feedback are open sources for gathering free information. You can learn what others think about the business, products, services, or anything else you would like to know. In this exchange, whether right or wrong, positive or negative, the platform is open for engaged opinion. Remember social networking is a transparent platform; therefore, choose your words wisely and never ignore anyone, indifferent or otherwise. Audience opinions provide a wealth of value to business; and sincere responses validate to its contributors, opinions are welcomed, matter, and are treated as such by your business.
To get the most out of the opportunity, avoid making assumptions about your audience. Spend time researching and finding out what they want or what is on their minds. Ask questions, submit suggestions to trigger responses, scatter around thought provoking ideas. Keep them interested by generating special offers or free giveaways periodically. True transparency, honesty, and sincere interest for the best interest of your audience are the essentials needed for building both respect and credibility within any community, online or offline.