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Social Networking 101
The Power of Social Networking

Social networking has taken over our homes and businesses. It has become how mainstream media taps into the society’s pulse. It is how friends and families stay in touch around the world. It is how new friends are made and new business ventures are launched.
It’s such a phenomenon that the creators and developers of the most popular social networking sites have become mainstream celebrities. Movies are even made about them and their rise to stardom and success.
As a business owner, blogger or website manager you can tap into the power of social networking to drive business, traffic and profits.

 

What is Social Networking?

Social networking is the practice of using a social network service like Facebook, Twitter or even YouTube. A social network service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building relationships. The relationships can be defined by the social network service or they can be defined by the user.
For example, with a social networking service like Classmates.com the relationships are specifically classmates or past classmates from high school or college. For a social networking service like Facebook, the users create their own groups by liking others and by joining groups.
As a business owner, you can use this community building effect to build a community around your business. You can tap into the likes, interests, and hobbies of your audience and prospects. You can connect with your audience and thus build your business.
Why Participate? What Are The Benefits?
There are many ways you can benefit from participating on one or more social networking sites. As a business owner or a blogger you can:
* Increase Awareness
* Maximize Exposure
* Boost Credibility
* Build Community
* Multiply Profits
* Learn more about your audience
* Create partnerships
Sounds good, right? Especially when social networking doesn’t have to take much of your marketing budget. In fact, many business owners are able to achieve great results with social networking and spend very little.

What Are The Drawbacks?

Social networking however is not a perfect marketing or business building tactic. In fact, there are some significant drawbacks to it. They include but are not limited to:
It Can Be Incredibly Time Consuming.
It can take quite a lot of time each day to participate on social networking sites. The key to success is often the amount of interaction you have with other members. Small business owners generally don’t have all day to participate on social networking sites. To post and comment on other people’s posts can suck hours out of a business day.

It Can Be Slow To Generate Results.

Depending on your goals it may take some time, effort and patience to reach them. Much like blogging it takes a while to build a following. And if you’re short on time, it can take even longer to build a following and boost your business.
It’s Another Tactic to Become Educated About.
Each marketing tactic you add to your strategy is another method you have to learn. Learning takes time, effort and sometimes it takes money too. If you’re short on any of them then implementing a social networking plan can feel overwhelming.

There are Too Many Options.

There are literally hundreds of social networking sites. Some attract very narrow audiences. Others attract all types of people from all walks of life. To use social networking effectively you’ll want to make sure you focus on the services that provide the most bang for your buck. You’ll want to choose to create profiles on services that will help you get the most return on your time, energy and money effort.
The good news is that with the right plan and approach many of these drawbacks can be overcome or eliminated. We’re here to help!

What’s In This Report?

This report is divided into two main sections. The first section is dedicated to the five step approach to a successful social networking strategy. The second part of this report is dedicated to expert tips and strategies for success.
Over the course of the next twenty pages you’ll learn:
* How to choose your target – which social networking service will you focus on first?
* How to create goals for your social networking activities.
* How to plan for success.
* How to implement your social networking strategy. (Including time saving devices and strategies.)
* How to integrate social networking into your marketing strategy.
* How to test and analyze your tactics for success.
* Social networking etiquette – what do your followers expect?
And more!

Let’s get started.

Part One
The ABCs of Social Networking

In this first section we’ve broken down the essential steps of successful social networking into seven steps. Some of them are very basic, like the first step. Others are more involved. Consider two different approaches to the material in this report.

#1 Read it through completely, keeping a pen and paper at the ready. Jot down thoughts and ideas as you work through the material.

#2 Read through each step. Pause and complete the step and then move onto the next step.

There is no right or wrong way. Do whatever works best for you.

Start Small

It’s important with any marketing strategy or tactic to focus your attention on one element at a time. Trying to juggle too many tactics least to:
* Overwhelm
* Missed steps
* Missed opportunities
* Weak implementation
If you focus on one tactic at a time you can optimize it and then move onto your next task or tactic. The result will be a finely tuned marketing system.
Social networking is one tactic in your marketing strategy. Embracing the ‘start small’ philosophy means focusing on one social networking service at a time. If you try to create profiles on too many sites they’re all going to get shortchanged. None of them will receive your full attention and thus they’ll likely fall short of your expectations.
However, if you focus on creating a profile and optimizing one social networking site at a time, you can maximize your efforts.
That being said do look forward. Do plan what social networking site you’re going to focus on first, second and maybe even third. That way your plan and strategy can support each other.
For example, if you choose to focus on Facebook first you may want to focus on twitter second. There are many ways to cross promote Twitter and Facebook activities. Each social networking site and effort can be used on the other and vice versa.
So on that note, now that you’re thinking about where you might start, let’s look at the next step.

Step One
Choose Your Target

In this step you will choose which social networking service to focus on first. With more than 200 main stream social networking sites it can be difficult to decide which site is the right site to invest your time, money, and energy. Let’s take a look at a few criteria to consider.

Popularity – Where Can You Find the Most People?
There can be a benefit to focusing your attention on the social networking site with the most members. It’s like advertising during the SuperBowl. It may cost you a bit more but you’ll be reaching more people.

Some of the most popular social networking sites include:
Facebook
www.facebook.com. Founded in 2004, their mission is: “Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”
They claim:
* More than 500 million active users.
* More than 70 translations available on the site
* About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States
* People on Facebook install 20 million applications every day
* Every month, more than 250 million people engage with Facebook on external websites
* Since social plugins launched in April 2010, an average of 10,000 new websites integrate with Facebook every day
* More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook, including over 80 of comScore's U.S. Top 100 websites and over half of comScore's Global Top 100 websites

MySpace
www.MySpace.com Founded in 2003, MySpace is “a leading social entertainment destination powered by the passions of fans. Aimed at a Gen Y audience, MySpace drives social interaction by providing a highly personalized experience around entertainment and connecting people to the music, celebrities, TV, movies, and games that they love.”
According to the factsheet on their website, “MySpace has more than 100 million users worldwide, half of which are in the U.S. Our fans are defined as Gen Y, whose numbers on our site grew over 23 percent this year. MySpace has a 50 percent market share in the 13-35 demographic in the US. MySpace is localized in 30 countries and translated into 16 languages”

Twitter
www.Twitter.com. “Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations.”
As of September, 2010 Twitter has 175 million registered users. And 95 million tweets are written per day.

Tagged
www.Tagged.com . “Other social networks are for staying in touch with people you already know. At Tagged, we make it easy to meet new people through social games, friend suggestions, browsing profiles, group interests and much more.”
You can create an account using your Twitter, Facebook or MySpace id thus combining your efforts.
Tagged claims to have over 100 million members and 25 million monthly visitors.

YouTube
www.YouTube.com “Founded in February 2005, YouTube allows billions of people to discover, watch and share originally-created videos. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform, and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers large and small.”
On their press page, YouTube claims:
* More than 2 billion views per day
* 24 hours of video uploaded every minute
* More video uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than the three major US networks created in 60 years
* YouTube is localized in 25 countries across 43 languages
* YouTube's demographic is broad: 18-54 years old
* YouTube reached over 700 billion playbacks in 2010

YahooAnswers
www.yahooanswers.com “Find out everything there is to know about Yahoo! Answers.” Created in 2006 as Ask Yahoo, Yahoo Answers is a social network that operates on a scoring system. The more you interact, the higher your score. Yahoo! Answers staff claim 200 million users worldwide and 15 million users visiting daily.

LinkedIn
www.LinkedIn is a professional networking site. It’s a place to build professional connections or further your career. Launched in 2003, “LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet.

On their about page, they claim:

* More than 90 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
* More than half of LinkedIn members are located outside of the United States.
* There were nearly two billion people searches on LinkedIn in 2010.”

********
Note: For the purposes of this report Social Networking and Social Bookmarking are differentiated. This report is about Social Networking. Social Bookmarking is the practice of bookmarking web pages and sharing them with an online community. It is also a good business building strategy. Social Bookmarking sites are sites like:
* StumbleUpon
* Digg
* De.lic.ious
********

There are other benefits to joining a very popular social networking site – developers. The sites with the most members also tend to motivate developers to create ways to improve your experience.
For example, Twitter has a number of secondary tools you can use to schedule posts, to track results and to cross promote on sites like Facebook. A popular social networking site therefore might be easier to use simply due to the number of developer applications and secondary software products.

What Social Networking Sites Cater To Your Audience? AKA User Statistics
It doesn’t make sense however for you to choose a popular social networking site if your audience isn’t using the site. It’s much more important and effective to go where your audience is. So how do you find out if your audience is using a social networking site?
Browse the site and look at who is using it.
Ask your readers and website visitors what sites they use – publish a survey on your blog or website and offer a giveaway in exchange for their response.

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