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Using Social Networking

There are literally thousands of articles on the internet- many of which, lead to coursework on how to work a social networking angle for marketing. I had been looking over all of these this morning and thought about what sites I have on my own Facebook account and why I do. Of course, this is anecdotal, but that’s really the essence of social networking when used as a marketing strategy.

I think the thing you see more often than not, is that using social networking as a marketing tool is free- it really isn’t, it’s going to take some of your time, but it is well worth it. Now, I’ll go into the example that I mentioned, which is Mario Badescu Skincare. Firstly, I address this as a customer- not as a marketing blogger, as a customer, and that’s the crux of social networking, making it personal. The latest status update makes an announcement: We want to do an ASK A SKIN SPECIALIST blog post so give us some questions to cover! We’ll pick the best few and answer them in a post soon!

This is doing it right. Why? Because the customers you want, want to know that you, as a business care about what they want. I’ve seen a few comment threads where customers have commented with questions about a product, or a side effect of a product and whoever is running the Mario Badescu Facebook page actually answers. Why is that a a great thing? Most people don’t want to add a robot. They don’t want to add a nameless, faceless entity- but when you take that away, and you use social networking for what it is, <i>social networking</i>- this is where the magic comes in. You build rapport, you show knowledge of your product, and care for your customers. In short, they will be more likely to pay attention, and not only that, suggest your page to others- that is the essence of viral marketing. Many companies just don’t get that, and you see this all the time, they view these social networking sites- be they Myspace, Twitter, or Facebook as being free advertising. They can be that, but if you aren’t utilizing the “networking” aspect, you’re falling short of the true potential you could have.

I think many people are a little hesitant to jump on the social media train, yet, but if you’re considering going this route, think about your target audience, and consider if your products and services are something you can actively talk about and discuss. If you can’t, you may want to steer clear, or find someone who can talk about and promote for you- rather than just spamming as so many have been trying and failing with already. Social networking is definitely becoming a boomtown for business marketing and promotion, but it only really works if you can invest the time to put the ‘social’ into it.